Verona, NY — November 13, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
Member track officials from the DIRTcar Racing Northeast Region assembled on November 13 to set in motion their annual Promoters’ Meetings as part of the year-end awards ceremonies with Friday festivities held at the Shenendoah Golf Club at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino.
The hotel’s Adirondack Room was filled to capacity with nearly every DIRTcar NE-sanctioned track accounted for along with a host of World Racing Group officials and DIRTcar Racing Northeast staff members. Track promoter Mark Rinaldi from newest DIRTcar NE member Brighton (Ont.) Speedway joined the autumn affair while Autodrome Edelweiss was represented by Canadian colleagues Brian Mulligan and Denis Moquin.
World Racing Group President Tom Deery led off the morning agenda by having each track acknowledge its presence before introducing WRG Chief Executive Officer Brian Carter for some opening remarks.
“This is one of the times I look forward to most up in the Northeast,” began Carter, who was also joined from the Concord, N.C. corporate office by fellow directors Chris Dolack-VP Public Relations, Anna Walker-Membership Coordinator and Executive Administrative Assistant Gina Fernez. The DIRTcar Northeast core group was headed by recently named Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Joe Skotnicki, 358-Modified Series Director Gaston Salvas, Pro Stock Series Director Brian Mulligan, Director of Computer Scoring Operations and Points Coordinator Gary Spaid, PR Coordinator Jen Brown and Public Relations Director Tom Skibinski.
“It’s a great opportunity to take advantage of all the experience and wisdom found in this room by such a respected group of track owners and operators. There are so many resources to share as DIRTcar Northeast remains such a significant piece of the overall puzzle. But the key here with all these benefits is still to generate results. I know I’m always able to take away something from these talks and use it somewhere down the road,” said Carter, as he addressed the room of officials on hand to help celebrate the conclusion of the organization’s 34th consecutive season of sanctioning auto racing events.
Holding a position almost every year since DIRTcar’s inception in 1976, Chief Scorer/Handicapper & Computer Operations Manager Gary Spaid was introduced for a special slide presentation that reviewed 2009 while outlining tentative plans for the upcoming season. Spaid provided ample statistics covering feature race events and new winners in the four major touring divisions along with series car counts, while revealing a new overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar points structure for Big-Block Modifieds that is being considered for 2010.
Deery returned to the podium to highlight a $500,000 Participant Accident Coverage Plan that is being offered to every DIRTcar member facility, supplying answers to a number of frequently asked questions regarding primary costs, benefits, range of coverage, as well as those obligations and responsibilities facing each track promoter. He recognized Jeff Ladd from Rand Sports & Insurance, Inc., who provided additional material about the motorsports policy currently in effect.
“The success of our series depends on the success of our weekly tracks, they’re still the bread and butter here in the Northeast,” voiced Deery, following a year that featured a number of tour shows held for the first time on weekends during the summer months. “We experimented away from some of the more traditional mid-week stops, now its time to return to some of the series events that have more familiar roots in the summer.”
Prior to breaking for lunch, the customary season review for every track in attendance served to further enlighten the listeners and provoked Deery to add, “This type of meeting, with everyone actively participating, remains the envy of race officials around the entire country. Every now and then you get down, but then you have a night with a full pits and packed grandstands, and everything finally comes together…there’s no better feeling. And we all share that same opportunity being part of such a special group. Forget all that doom and gloom, we’re still here and will keep coming back to support the racers and fans that continue to make motorsports a way of life.”
Deery opened the floor to track officials with Rinaldi announcing that the Pro Late Models would be the headline DIRTcar division next year at Brighton Speedway …Gaston Salvas boasted about the young fan base recently filling the stands at Autodrome Drummond, with host track promoter Yan Bussiere already signing World of Outlaws Series events for both Sprint Cars and Late Models in 2010. Race Director Erick Baker, Assistant General Manager Jean-Francois Tessier, Promoter Bob Gatien and Secretary Carmen Duhamel represented an enthusiastic group from Autodrome Granby, which is expected to team with Drummond for back-to-back $10,000-to-win Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship events, as well as adding DIRTcar Pro Stocks to the Friday night card.
Promoter Paul Kirkland confirmed that the Big-Blocks will be part of the DIRTcar Northeast Fall Nationals next October at Brockville Ontario Speedway, filling the three-day race weekend with Mr. DIRTcar events for 358-Modified, Sportsman and Pro Stock classes…Popular Sunday night hangout north of the border, Cornwall Motor Speedway officials are planning to add seven DIRTcar Sportsman events to their ’10 schedule, with weekly starting times moved up to 6pm…Tri-City Speedway will be back under the DIRTcar banner, with the fledgling track management team envisioning more success with one full season of experience under its belt…Fifth-year promoter Dean Hoag expects to continue with the Sportsman as his headline class every Friday at Black Rock Speedway, looking for more “creativity” on the upcoming schedule of events.
Now firmly entrenched as the General Manager of DIRTcar NE charter members Cayuga County Fair Speedway, Canandaigua Speedway and Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, Cory Reed looks forward to the challenge of raising car counts on a weekly basis while presenting more shows in Rolling Wheels’ continuing specials-only format. The 2nd Annual All-Star Weekend in Weedsport will once again provide two Super DIRTcar Series showcase events, closing out with a $20,000 top prize on the line Saturday, July 17. Working with series director Gary Montgomery, Reed has also penciled in a number of BRP Can-Am Late Model specials next season in Canandaigua.
On the brink of officially being crowned Mr. DIRTcar Champion for a record seventh time, Modified racer Brett Hearn announced he will be back to promote ‘The Big Show’ at Orange County Fair Speedway in June…Legendary Lebanon Valley Speedway proprietor Howard Commander boasted of his $100,000 track fund payoff projected come springtime while Airborne Speedway’s Mike Perrotte looks to beat the rain when the Super DIRTcar Series returns to the Plattsburgh pavement for the “biggest show of the season” in June.
Track manager Chip Burdick arrived in time to discuss the happenings at both Can-Am Motorsports Park and Thunder Alley Speedpark, with a similar Friday/Saturday night package planned for both Caprara-owned speedplants…Gary Risch Jr. from Lernerville Speedway noted the debut of the ‘Steel City Stampede’ autumn extravaganza at the nationally-acclaimed Sarver, Pa. oval, still harboring hopes of securing a Super DIRTcar Series race date in 2010…Genesee Speedway promoter Mike Lauterborn updated the future of the Batavia, N.Y. track, citing his interest in another nearby facility to continue his loyal DIRTcar affiliation with a full-fender class…2009 was the second year of promotion at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park for former Big-Block driver Mike Romano and car owner Jake Spraker, although it marked the track’s first season as a DIRTcar member. With a pair of area tracks going asphalt, expect a great influx of Modified and Sportsman entries to join the Friday show along with more full-fender teams as the addition of the Pro Stock class remains a strong possibility.
In the Niagara Frontier, Joel Friesen relayed the surprising success in car counts enjoyed much of the season at his family’s Ransomville speedway, yet was unable to describe a deviation in grandstand attendance as Labor Day approached…General Manager Bobby Davidson Jr. noted the success of NASCAR Nite at Humberstone Speedway, with Cup pilot Dave Blaney beating out fellow national touring drivers Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace in the DIRTcar 358 feature while Rusty Wallace served as guest announcer…Merrittville GM Eric Bicknell was proud to confirm the date of Thursday, June 17 when the World of Outlaws Late Model Series makes its maiden voyage across the border to contend at the storied Thorold, Ontario oval.
WRG’s Chris Dolack closed out the morning portion disclosing that a number of reserved weekend ticket packages have already been purchased for the 4th Annual World Finals, slated next year at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The Super DIRTcar Series will be a major part of the 2010 World Finals on Nov. 4-6 in Concord, N.C., where it will join the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and the World of Outlaws Late Models as all three series wrap up their seasons with championship-deciding point events.
Following an hour break for lunch, VP Racing Fuels Eastern Regional Manager Jim Kelly moved to the front of the room where he thanked the track promoters for their support in VP’s first season supplying DIRTcar Northeast Region race teams. Kelly will be suited up Saturday to help distribute fuel certificates valued at nearly $30,000 to be given away to all 2009 DIRTcar Racing Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman Modified and Pro Stock track point champions. Another $15,000 will be divided among top Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block and 358-Modified point-getters at the ‘Night of Champions’ Awards Banquet, along with special award winners recognized for their achievements at both Super DIRT Week and Cayuga County’s All-Star Weekend.
Membership Director Anna Walker offered an on-screen illustration of DIRTcar’s unique on-line membership tool that allows promoters, officials and competitors to sign up for and view member benefits, a member directory, rules, entries and answers to frequently asked questions. The modern data management system can be easily accessed by logging into www.DIRTcarMembers.com and following the instructions.
Overseeing construction of the 2010 tour schedules with most dates still pending at this time, Skotnicki mentioned the on-going establishment of ‘Destination’ events with more than a half-dozen firmly in place through early November. Joining the return trip to Lowe’s will be an early-season twin-bill at Fulton, the summer spectacular at Cayuga County, Fulton 200 Weekend and the 39th running of Super DIRT Week in October.
DIRTcar NE Chief Technical Inspector Bob Dini closed out the Friday afternoon meetings with a brief report on the minor rule changes discussed and probable amendments to the 2010 Rule Book. The biggest news in the Big-Block ranks came when Dini unveiled the production of a ‘Spec’ engine that will be made optional for use during the upcoming race season. Lowering the minimum car weight from 2,500 to 2,450 pounds was among the only projected changes in the 358-Modified division.
A 6,000 rpm rev chip will be mandated for use in both Sportsman and Pro Stock classes with each division also allowed to run only previously approved shocks manufactured by Pro Shock or Bilstein. Whether purchased new or using inventory from previous seasons, all shocks must be properly identified and color-coded for proper clearance on the DIRTcar Racing circuit in 2010.
“I’m quickly growing fond of the Pro Stock class, yet it continues to get more sophisticated every year,” remarked Dini, who was joined by fellow NE technician Scott Fremouw for the afternoon update. “We’re working to finally develop some rules for minimums and maximums to give teams better guidelines to go by. Areas like roofs, deck heights and ground clearance top the list, and we’ll only allow one-piece spoilers next season. Cars with crate engines will have to weigh at least 3,000 pounds and those with open motors 3,300. Everything we’re putting in place should make inspection easier and more consistent while keeping the playing fairest for everybody.”
DIRTcar Racing Northeast main office is located in Weedsport, New York on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds, home of DIRTcar All-Star Weekend in July. DIRTcar Northeast’s crown jewel event —Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse runs annually in October featuring Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series events for Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman and Pro Stock divisions. Ticket and schedule information is available by contacting the Weedsport office (315/834-6606) during the day or logging into www.superdirtweekonline.com anytime.
The Big-Block Super DIRTcar Series is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire www.hoosiertire.com and VP Racing Fuels www.vpracingfuels.com. Promotional partners include Rite Aid Corporation www.riteaid.com, Dig Safely New York www.digsafelynewyork.com and the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and the contingency sponsors are Bars Leaks www.barsproducts.com, Bert Transmission www.berttransmission.com, Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, Brodix Cylinder Heads www.brodix.com, Ferris Industries www.ferrisindustries.com, Integra Shocks www.integrashocksandsprings.com, Intercomp www.intercomp-racing.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Rislone Oil Stabilizer www.barsproducts.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com.