Verona, NY — November 14, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
They say records are made to be broken. On the DIRTcar Racing Northeast circuit its been open-wheel ace Brett Hearn that has remained one of the biggest advocates of that proverbial statement.
The Sussex, N.J. speedster took center stage for the seventh time in his career Saturday night, November 14 as nearly 500 drivers, owners, crew members, officials, media members and corporate VIPs filled the Turning Stone Resort & Casino Events Center in Verona, New York to celebrate during the 34th Annual DIRTcar Northeast “Night of Champions” Awards Banquet.
“I have a really high fireplace ledge at home that I’ve been putting the eagles (trophies) on, this one will have to go on the lower shelf,” smiled Hearn, 51, as he accepted the commemorative 65-pound hand-crafted “Tribute Trophy” that World of Outlaws champions Donny Schatz (Sprint) and Josh Richards (Late Model) received just last weekend for their own divisional titles to distinguish them as the best in the land. “That thing is incredibly heavy, seriously.”
“These championships are so hard to come by. It takes such a commitment, so much hard work for such a long period of time. Sometimes I can’t believe we can get up and do this the next morning.”
“Have to begin by thanking the Madsen family. They’ve been so good to me, giving us all the tools we need to go out and do the job the way we need to be a championship contender. I want to give Andrew (Phillips, crew chief) all the credit, this is his 2nd championship in the past three years. As I’ve had less and less interest in changing gears lately, my guys continue to pick up the slack. “
“George from Wentworth Construction, we’ve really become great friends over the last five years. Guys like Don Kruger and Bill Rumsey have been with us for a long time and Dean Pectal from Benjamin Moore Paints has become even more involved this year. Looking around its pretty to cool to see the success of my brother’s (Bobby) business —Teo Pro Car Fabrication— with three championship cars up here all at the same time. A big thanks also has to go out to Kevin Enders for his engine work, he’s given us all the power we’ve needed and more. Having everybody here together tonight makes it the most special,” noted Hearn, the all-time Super DIRTcar Series leader with 103 victories, also topping DIRTcar’s Modified list with 523 (350 Big-Block) feature wins.
World Racing Group Chief Executive Officer Brian Carter headed the presentation to Hearn and his car owner Madsen Motorsports, with WRG President and Chief of Operations Tom Deery also addressing the audience alongside newly appointed Director DIRTcar NE Competition & Track Sanctioning Joe Skotnicki. Further acknowledgements went out to the entire DIRTcar NE staff and WRG officials that helped coordinate the annual production at the internationally acclaimed Turning Stone entertainment complex.
Familiar ‘voice’ of the Super DIRTcar Series Shane Andrews emceed the program that featured interviews with every major award winner throughout the night. Always a highlight of this special occasion, customary inclusion of the four Mr. DIRTcar winning cars near center stage on the dining room floor provided a fitting backdrop that offered numerous photo opportunities both before and after the festive stage production. The sleek Madsen Motorsports no. 20 Wentworth Custom Homes-Kruger-WLR-BPG/TEO mount grabbed the most attention with Hearn posing alongside with his top-flight team of sponsors.
“You need the help of a very loyal and dedicated crew to be successful in racing,” remarked Brian Madsen, speaking on behalf of his parents Guy and Patricia Madsen while accepting the coveted owners trophy. “That sums up Andrew and Thomas (Conroy, head fabricator), their work ethic is second to none and the commitment to their job is the reason we are here tonight. Then there’s Kim and Kevin Enders (engine builder), we’ve asked a lot of them and they were always up to the challenge. Thank you for the friendship.”
“Finally, there’s Brett … able to oversee the whole team without missing a single detail. Your dedication, focus and will to win is unmatched, thank you for winning our 2nd championship. Your 7th title puts you up there with the names Petty and Earnhardt. We’re planning to be back with you in 2010. I know you’ll be needing to help Brook (Brett’s daughter) with college expenses so I’m sure having to open up your own wallet will make you even more eager to win. And that should make next year even better,” teased the younger Madsen, as he helped celebrate the family’s 25th season of racing that all began with a Street Stock ride at Lebanon Valley Speedway in 1985.
Following a similar format to the banquet program initiated last autumn, recognition of the 2009 DIRTcar Northeast touring division track champions kicked off the evening agenda with Regional Racing Series top point-getters honored prior to dinner being served at 7:30pm.
Continuing in ‘09 with DIRTcar Northeast sanctioned tracks divided into regions for the Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified and Sportsman classes, Regional Racing Series point funds rewarded the leading drivers in each class with total payouts equaling $39,425 for all nine open-wheel divisions. Recently crowned Regional champions earning $2,000 in the Big-Blocks were Matt Sheppard (central), Andy Bachetti (east) and Kevin Bolland (west), Regional 358-Modified point winners collecting $1,000 were Danny O’Brien (north) and Pete Bicknell (west), while top point-getters in the Sportsman Regions receiving $600 were Chris Raabe (north), Steve Gray (central), Brian Sage (west) and Jeremiah Munson (east).
Top point-getters in the Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman and Pro Stock classes were recognized during this popular seasonal celebration and in the end more than $374,000 in cash, fuel certificates and contingency awards were spread over 300 paying positions in DIRTcar NE’s four major touring divisions.
Eastern Region Manager Jim Kelly presented awards on behalf of VP Racing Fuels, Bicknell Racing Products Vice-President Randy Williamson rewarded teams in the name of Hoosier Tire while Larry Bishop was in attendance from Dig Safely New York, a long standing supporter of DIRTcar Racing and sponsor of the Modified Non-Qualifiers race at Super DIRT Week. Also recognized as special guests of DIRTcar Racing in this season-ending event were representatives from Camping World, Pullen’s Truck Center and Summit Auto Group.
In a special presentation made near the end of the night by Canandaigua, Cayuga County and Rolling Wheels track General Manager CoryReed, long-time scorer, handicapper and DIRTcar NE Director of Computer Operations Gary Spaid was recognized with a career achievement award. Spaid received the 4th Glenn Donnelly Award of Excellence which was created in 2006 to honor individuals, teams, associates, sponsors and others within the DIRTcar Racing Northeast community who exemplify characteristics that Glenn himself displayed. Pride, professionalism, dedication, loyalty and a genuine desire to excel are some of the attributes that qualified Spaid to receive this year’s prized award.
“I respected what Glenn did and admired all that he accomplishment in Modified racing,” uttered a choked up Spaid as he looked for words to describe a surprise reception of the rare honor. “He made our brand of racing mean a lot to everyone around him and it meant so much more to be a part of something that special. Certainly never expected this but appreciate it greatly … don’t really know what else to say. Just something I never thought of receiving although it means so much. Its nice to have some family here as they’ve been a part of everything I’ve done since day one,” noted Spaid, who was joined by wife Donna and son Brian Spaid, who was also on hand representing Tri-City Speedway during the track awards portion.
A custom trophy was given to Spaid and his name will also be inscribed on a special plaque next to 2006 award winners John Holland and Al Heinke from H&H Motorsports, ’07 recipient Tim Burger from Rite Aid, and last year’s winner Mike Paris from Advance Auto Parts, that will be put on display in the Northeast Modified Hall of Fame & Classic Car Museum located on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds in Weedsport, New York.
Along with the $50,000 Mr. DIRTcar cash jackpot collected by Hearn, the five-time Super DIRT Week Rite Aid 200 winner earned an additional $3,000 in VP Fuel certificates and $1,000 more from VP for his Super DIRT Week 358-Modified Championship fast time. The World Racing Group also fitted the newest Mr. DIRTcar Modified Champion with a commemorative ring to add to his growing collection. Mr. DIRTcar runner-up Matt Sheppard garnered an additional $2,000 in fuel from VP while receiving a unique $1,000 “Gater Leads The Way” prize package from Gater Racing Photo News editor Joe Patrick after ‘Super Matt’ led the most laps during the Super DIRTcar Series which included 20 extra-distance feature races held from April through October.
For the first time in his career, Dale Planck captured the overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship. While going winless the entire season in both Big-Block and Small-Block competition, the second-generation driver from Cortland, N.Y. traveled back to the Southern Tier $13,000 richer in cash and product.
“We’re going to go for that Big-Block title next,” beamed Planck, 39, who was joined at the podium by 358-Modified Series Director Gaston Salvas and Carey Terrance, owner of the RezX Racing no. 77x Grow It Hydroseeding/TEO entry, who settled for sixth-place in the Mr. DIRTcar 358 points chase. “We’ll see what we can do next year with this one under our belt.”
“This makes me feel pretty awesome, the level of competition just keeps getting tougher every year. Just to be consistent and end up on stage is quite an accomplishment. I’m very happy to be standing here. I can’t thank Carey enough and my family for all their support. I’m getting my son going with college right now. Told him to go out there, get a good job and make lots of money then go and race with the right equipment,” added Planck, son of DIRTcar NE pioneer Denny Planck, who was joined by wife Leslie and son Steve on the this landmark occasion.
For a second consecutive season, the ‘Teenage Tornado’ Chris Raabe from Napanee, Ontario collected a $5,000 prize after his rise to the top of the Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman point standings. Once more steering owner Garry McColman’s no. 01 Scott’s Industrial Services-TyRoute Communication/TEO machine, Raabe closed out the campaign leading the DIRTcar Sportsman ranks with 19 feature wins while claiming track high-point crowns at Can-Am Motorsports Park and Thunder Alley Speedpark in the north country.
“Its pretty neat to have two eagles now and be back here with all the other champions,” said Raabe, 18, an honor student at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario where he is enrolled in his sophomore year. Owner McColman was back home battling the flu while teammates showed no signs of slowing down posing for plenty of post-season pictures.
“Chasing points around the circuit is certainly something you can’t do without a dedicated crew, and I’ve been fortunate to have such a great group of people behind me. They’ve carried me to the top two years in row, which is a pretty impressive feat considering everything required to be successful nowadays. It’s always the drivers that get to come up here and accept the awards, but its everybody behind the scenes that really make all this happen,” added Raabe, after becoming only the third repeat champion in 20 years of DIRTcar Sportsman racing and just the second to wear back-to-back crowns.
Two straight overall Hoosier-VP Mr. DIRTcar Championships was also a streak put together by Western New York Pro Stock standout Pete Stefanski, only that came in 2007. As the first decade of the new millennium comes to a close, Stefanski now owns an unprecedented fourth consecutive title worth another $2,000 for the Wheatfield, N.Y. chauffeur.
“We were fortunate this year, a lot of things went our way but that’s what you need sometimes to get an edge,” remarked Stefanski, 39, DIRTcar Northeast’s all-time Pro Stock Series winner with 23 extra-distance triumphs, including his inaugural trip to victory lane taken at Syracuse to close out Super DIRT Week in October. 10 wins in 2009 aboard the familiar Sunrise Racing no. 2 San Ter Sewing-PJ NFB Auto Sales/Chevrolet Monte Carlo/EMS ride increased his career count on the DIRTcar circuit to an all-time high total of 88.
“The whole thing probably came down to just a couple races, a few spots higher here or there would’ve made a big difference. Whether you have good luck or bad luck determines the outcome and Joey (Ladouceur, runner-up) and I had our share of both this season. We’re looking forward to getting more series races closer to home next year. We’ll just have to wait and see how the schedule works and if no. 5 (title) is in the cards. 1300 miles is a long way to travel on weekends during the season, how many times will determine our plans,” figured Stefanski, who finished out of the tour top-five just twice in nine events, going a perfect 11 for 11 in 2008 stops.
Four rookie drivers were honored at the banquet and presented special achievement awards for their first-year success by Dennis Botindari from MSS. An additional $8,500 in cash and prizes, including Extreme Mufflers and a ButlerBuilt Seat, were shared by 2009 Motorsports Safety Systems/G-FORCE Racing Gear DIRTcar Northeast Rookies of the Year award winners Rich Scagliotta (Big-Block Modified), Jeremy Wilder (358-Modified), Robert Humphreys (Sportsman) and Harvey Arquette Jr. (Pro Stock). Scagliotta was also presented a ‘Determination Award’ for loyally following both Big-Block and Small-Block Modified series, and his tentative agenda in ’10 includes a similar strategy.
‘Live’ entertainment provided by the band Raised On Radio closed out the gala evening in the events center as race teams, sponsors, track operators and guests officially helped draw the curtain on DIRTcar’s 34th season of auto racing promotion.
The start of 2010 is now only 88 days away as Volusia Speedway Park leads off down south with the 39th Annual DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH opening for Big-Block Modifieds on February 10. Check out www.superdirtcarseries.com often as further information for Volusia’s popular Winter tour events will be posted right up to race time.
Skidmarks: Michael Storms finished 10th in the final 2009 overall Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block point standings yet it was a combination of broken spindles, engine failures and racing wrecks and having his ride —Vinny Salerno’s 4-Star Racing-Keizer Aluminum Wheels-Four Star Transmission/TEO— stolen near season’s end that ultimately landed him the Area Auto Racing News ‘Hard Luck’ award. Helen Bruce made the presentation…. In an award introduced this year by Jeff Brownell, his own driver Matt Sheppard was selected as the ‘Xtreme Slick Move of the Year’ award recipient, yet in a fine gesture, Brownell turned over the $500 prize to Salerno following the late-season theft of his Big-Block Modifieds…Putting an exclamation point on a season filled with prize package giveaways after every Super DIRTcar Series Dig Safely New York ‘Last Chance’ qualifier, DSNY motorsports consultant Larry Bishop held a special draw with consi race winners Rich Ricci Jr., Roy Bresnahan, Tim Fuller, Pete Bicknell and Danny O’Brien collecting $100 awards while Chuck Bower earned the $500 grand-prize…In a full-fender draw among drivers attending all nine series events conducted by Pro Stock Series Director Brian Mulligan, Roch Aubin, Don Carlson, Sean Corr, Joey Ladouceur, Stephane Lebrun, Dion Oakes, P.J. Peters, Pete Stefanski and Rob Yetman, Allstar Performance 100% Club member Lebrun had his name selected to win a Five Star Body valued at $2,000 from distributor EMS proprietor Eric Marin…An informal Saturday afternoon gathering of more than a dozen media members in the Turning Stone Resort Tower Hotel’s 2nd-Floor Meadow Room pre-empted the dinner banquet with WRG officials Carter, Deery and VP Public Relations Chris Dolack offering some brief notes about what transpired during the promoters’ meetings held Friday. Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman champ Raabe was among those available to answer questions, with most inquiries centered around the upcoming race season.
* 2009 DIRTcar RACING NORTHEAST AWARDS BANQUET REVIEW *
DIRTcar NORTHEAST TRACK CHAMPIONS
DIRTcar Pro Stock
TRACK PROMOTER(S) CHAMPION
Canandaigua/ Jeff Farney/ Pete Stefanski
Genesee:: Mike Lauterborn (combined)
Cornwall: Ron Morin Joey Ladouceur
Drummond: Yan Bussiere Jocelyn Roy
Lebanon Valley: Howard Commander Robbie Speed
Lernerville: Gary Risch Jr. Bob Lipinski
Mohawk: John Lazore, Don Thompson, Jody Swamp Louie Jackson
Pitts-Pennsylvania: Matt Miley Nick Kocuba
TRACK PROMOTER(S) CHAMPION
Albany-Saratoga Bruce Richards Jack Gentile
Black Rock: Dean Hoag Todd Henderson
Brockville: Paul & Cheryl Kirkland Matt Billings
Can-Am: Charlie & Billy Caprara Chris Raabe
Canandaigua: Jeff Farney Ryan Susice
Cayuga County: Cory Reed Tom Juhl Jr.
Fulton: John & Laura Wight Tim Sears Jr.
Genesee: Mike Lauterborn Brian Sage
Glen Ridge: Jake Spraker & Mike Romano Korey Wilder
Humberstone: Pete & Linda Cosco Tyler McPherson
Merrittville: Pete & Nancy Bicknell, Chad Chevalier
Randy & Tracey Williamson
Ransomville: Jamie & Joel Friesen Ryan Susice
Thunder Alley: Charlie & Billy Caprara Chris Raabe
TRACK PROMOTER(S) CHAMPION
*Airborne: Steve & Denise Fuller, Mike Perrotte Martin Roy
*Recognized as VP Race Fuels “Track of the Year”
Brockville: Paul & Cheryl Kirkland Danny O’Brien
Can-Am: Charlie & Billy Caprara Lance Willix II
Cornwall: Ron Morin Kyle Dingwall
Drummond: Yan Bussiere Mario Clair
Edelweiss: Serge Lagace (Martin Belanger) Pierre Dagenais
Granby: Jean-Francois Tessier David Hebert
Humberstone: Pete & Linda Cosco Pete Bicknell
Merrittville: Pete & Nancy Bicknell, Larry Lampman Jr.
Randy & Tracey Williamson
Mohawk: John Lazore, Don Thompson, Jody Swamp Roy Tarbell
Ransomville: Jamie & Joel Friesen Todd Burley
DIRTcar Big-Block Modified
TRACK PROMOTER(S) CHAMPION
Brewerton: John & Laura Wight Matt Sheppard
Can-Am: Charlie & Billy Caprara Billy Dunn
Canandaigua: Jeff Farney Matt Sheppard
Cayuga County: Cory Reed Alan Johnson
Fulton: John & Laura Wight Billy Decker
Glen Ridge: Jake Spraker & Mike Romano Jeff Brownell Jr.
Lebanon Valley: Howard Commander Andy Bachetti
Lernerville: Gary Risch Jr. Jeremiah Shingledecker
Tri-City: Rich Hetrick & Roy Hill Jeremiah Shingledecker
DIRTcar NORTHEAST REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP AWARDS
DIRTcar Sportsman Regional Champions
NORTHERN REGION CENTRAL REGION WESTERN REGION
No. Driver Points No. Driver Points No. Driver Points
1 01 Chris Raabe 720 29G Steve Gray 834 2 Brian Sage 854
2 74 Matt Billings 700 K38 Ryan Susice 808 K38 Ryan Susice 852
3 55 Matt Hulsizer 680 11J Alan Fink 750 99P Greg Panunte 848
4 24 Brandon Sweet 680 83X Tim Sears Jr. 744 777 Tyler McPherson 836
5 17K Sam Reakes IV 614 17D Tom Juhl Jr. 742 18R Brad Rouse 830
6 83 Dylan Evoy 606 19W Justin Wright 728 5 Don Spatorico 830
7 38 Luke Whitteker 604 M1 Dave Marcuccilli 724 12 Chad Chevalier 808
8 15 Shane Pecore 600 17 Marcus Dinkins 724 19W Justin Wright 796
9 63 Chris Herbison 580 67G Eric Giguere 722 77JR BJ Willard 786
10 12 Brandon Hagan 574 18H Todd Henderson 714 99C Nick Cupolo 780
11 92 Adam Turner 560 99 Billy Clark 712 7 Cody McPherson 760
12 10 Josh VanBrocklin 554 2 Loren Lincoln 706 44V John Venuto 758
13 32K Randy Gaudet 554 $99 Anthony Rizzardo 702 0 Stubby Pangrazio 742
No. Driver Points
1 351 Jeremiah Munson 564
2 20 Jack Gentile 560
3 21K Korey Wilder 550
4 18 Bodie Bellinger 544
5 5K Rob Gray 502
6 113 Angela Hanson 494
7 23 John Marsh 474
8 45 Chris McCoy 426
9 50J Justin Boehler 414
10 84 Rick Quick 414
11 34 Laudy Hoyenga 396
12 21B Mike Bellinger 388
13 314 Tony Farone 383
DIRTcar 358-Modified Regional Champions
NORTHERN REGION WESTERN REGION
No. Driver Points No. Driver Points
1 7* Danny O’Brien 880 42 Pete Bicknell 692
2 1 David Hebert 872 22 Larry Lampman Jr. 672
3 16 Lance Willix II 858 3B Chad Brachmann 628
4 88 Tim O’Brien 840 89B Todd Burley 628
5 90 Martin Roy 834 55 Stewart Friesen 616
6 0 Bill Gill 822 20 Jeff McGinnis 608
7 72 Todd Stewart 784 44 Brian Stevens 602
8 22 Mario Clair 784 6 Mat Williamson 590
9 24 Patrick Dupree 782 38 Scott Wood 584
10 54 Steve Bernard 778 71 Mike Bowman 582
11 66X Carey Terrance 772 72 Tommy Flannigan 572
12 73 Alain Boisvert 762 80 Chris Steele 572
13 46 Kayle Robidoux 760 26 Rick Richner 568
DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Regional Champions
CENTRAL REGION EASTERN REGION WESTERN REGION
No. Driver Points No. Driver Points No. Driver Points
1 9S Matt Sheppard 900 34 Andy Bachetti 666 777 Kevin Bolland 704
2 91 Billy Decker 876 29 Jeff Brownell Jr. 662 37MD Jeremiah Shingledecker 700
3 3H Justin Haers 868 20 Craig Hanson 544 83 Brian Swartzlander 674
4 14J Alan Johnson 852 24 Bobby Varin 628 20D Del Rougeux Jr. 668
5 42P Pat Ward 834 115 Kenny Tremont 616 61 Dave Murdick 634
6 49 Billy Dunn 824 19K Paul Kinney 612 25 Joe Crawford 590
7 99J/98 Jimmy Phelps 820 98 Eddie Marshall 590 28 Tom Winkle 576
8 7X Steve Paine 816 57 Donnie Corellis 590 65 Rex King 574
9 84 Gary Tomkins 802 6H Josh Hohenforst 570 8J Dean Pearson 562
10 99 Ryan Phelps 790 77F Mark Flach Jr. 564 17H Kevin Hoffman 523
11 8R Rob Bellinger 768 43 Keith Flach 560 11R Brad Rapp 522
12 19H Chris Higgins 758 42 Guy Sheldon 538 96 Mike Turner 512
13 29 Jeff Brownell Jr. 752 711 JaMike Sowle 534 6 Carl Murdick 456
Talented teenager Chris Raabe remained at the top of his game as the defending overall Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman titlist posted a division-best total of 19 wins and collected track crowns at Can-Am Motorsports Park and Thunder Alley Speedpark to earn Northern Region accolades. Canandaigua/Cayuga County mainstay Steve Gray racked up six wins in the Central area while ’09 Genesee Speedway champion Brian Sage (8 wins) topped the Western Region points chart. An East Region was added to the mix this season with 4-time Glen Ridge Motorsports Park race winner Munson racking up the most points.
In the Small-Block ranks, the Canadian contingent of Danny O’Brien (9 wins) and Pete Bicknell (6) were among the winningest drivers in ‘09, with O’Brien also notching his fourth straight season points crown at Brockville Ontario Speedway and Bicknell topping the Humberstone small-block chart.
DIRTcar BIG-BLOCK MODIFIED:
Collecting his first point titles at Brewerton and Canandaigua speedways while leading the entire DIRTcar Northeast circuit with 20 feature wins, Matt Sheppard easily separated himself from the pack during the summer and cruised on to the Central Region crown in convincing fashion. ’09 Lebanon Valley Speedway champion Andy Bachetti, a four-time Big-Block winner on the high banks, was the class of the Eastern Region while Kevin Bolland led all Western Pa./Ohio drivers with eight feature wins to top his area points chart.
HOOSIER TIRE-VP RACING FUELS MR. DIRTcar PRO STOCK AWARDS
Top-12 Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship
12. DAVID PAPINEAU 751 Pts.
11. LOUIE JACKSON 782
10. SEAN CORR 805
9. ROCH AUBIN 817
8. DAVE BISSONNETTE 876
7. STEPHANE LEBRUN 923
6. ROB YETMAN 954
5. DION OAKES 956
4. DON CARLSON 1009
3. P.J. PETERS 1021
2. JOEY LADOUCEUR 1144
1. PETE STEFANSKI 1157
MEDIA NOTES – 2009 MR. DIRTcar PRO STOCK CHAMPIONSHIP
The newest overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock titlist to be crowned is the driver that accumulated the most points in the 9 extra-distance Championship Series events run as well as bonus points issued from DIRTcar Weekly Racing Series shows held during the regular season. This individual continued to raise the bar as his degree of dominance carried him to the top of the standings for an unmatched fourth consecutive year!
2009 marked the 15th season that DIRTcar Racing offered an overall Mr. DIRTcar title for the premier Pro Stockers yet it produced an ending the same as the past three. And for the fourth straight season it was PETE STEFANSKI reigning supreme as he captured the 9th tour title in the past 10 years for Western New York travelers. The return of Lebanon Valley Speedway to the full-fender fold along with the first-ever tour stop at Brockville Ontario Speedway added up to 9 championship events, providing plenty for Stefanski to get the job done although not quite enough for runner-up JOEY LADOUCEUR to garner high point honors for a second time even after leading flag-to-flag in the season-finale.
Despite splitting the majority of his weekend activity between Saturday night hangouts Canandaigua and Genesee speedways, Stefanski still remained on course to grab 7 checkered flags in the ‘Terrell’s Drivin’ Route 5’ mini-series and earn valuable bonus points toward his record-setting Mr. DIRT car title. The veteran from Wheatfield, N.Y. was just as successful in series competition aboard the no. 2 Sunrise Racing-SanTer Sewing-PJ NFB Auto Sales/Chevrolet Monte Carlo EMS entry, opening the tour with a last-lap victory at Genesee before winning with two to go at Mohawk Int’l Raceway then leading all 25 laps to add his first career triumph at the Syracuse Mile during Super DIRT Week.
While Stefanski started and finished the points trail on top, the title was never out of reach for his biggest rival Ladouceur who went on to score a tour best five victories and set fast time in 6 of the 8 events qualifying under the clocks. Ladouceur’s 3rd straight series win at Autodrome Edelweiss in September sliced the deficit to 9 points while a runner-up finish behind DON CARLSON the next night at Lebanon Valley provided the second-generation driver from Alexandria, Ontario with his first lead albeit just a single marker with 3 events still left to determine the final outcome.
Ladouceur extended his advantage to 11 points with a win over Carlson and Stefanski at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park to close out the month, yet even with a command performance in the first-ever trip to Brockville Ontario Speedway for the season-finale, Stefanski led from start to finish at Syracuse in October to regain his top spot as Ladouceur rallied for 15th following a early flat tire.
Our 2009 Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Champion ended the season with a total of 10 feature wins which ranked second only to Ladouceur who reached victory lane 15 times. Stefanski retained his position as DIRTcar Racing Northeast’s all-time career win leader with 88, with those three tour victories increasing his all-time Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Series count to 23 first-place trophies. This year the top-12 share in the point fund in excess of $7,000, with Stefanski taking home the lion’s share of $2 grand for an unprecedented fourth straight autumn!
MR. DIRTcar PRO STOCK SERIES AWARD PROGRAM
* ALLSTAR PERFORMANE 100% ATTENDANCE AWARDS: Winners ROCH AUBIN, DON CARLSON, SEAN CORR, JOEY LADOUCEUR, STEPHANE LeBRUN, DION OAKES, P.J. PETERS, PETE STEFANSKI, ROB YETMAN.
* EMS – FIVE STAR BODY: 100% Club Draw Winner STEPHANE LeBRUN.
HOOSIER TIRE-VP RACING FUELS MR. DIRTcar SPORTSMAN AWARDS
Top-12 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship
12. BRANDON SWEET 1040 Pts.
11. ERIC GIGUERE 1042
10. SAMMY REAKES IV 1096
9. MARK CHIDDY 1156
8. GREG PANUNTE 1243
7. ADAM TURNER 1249
6. B.J. WILLARD 1282
5. DAN WIESNER 1316
4. JUSTIN WRIGHT 1434
3. JIPP ORTIZ 1494
2. RYAN SUSICE 1606
1. CHRIS RAABE 1651
MEDIA NOTES – 2009 MR. DIRTcar SPORTSMAN CHAMPIONSHIP
The overall Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship was packed with 17 extra-distance events and our newest title-holder was one of 10 different drivers to take a checkered flag at a dozen tracks that hosted crate engine-powered tour races. The crown was earned this year by accumulating the most points in seven months of extra-distance Championship Series events while collecting bonus points from DIRTcar Weekly Racing Series events held throughout the regular season. The 2009 championship trail resulted in three repeat winners while 7 drivers made their first-ever trips to victory lane in series competition. Our Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman champion was consistent throughout, mixing in a handful of victories from beginning to end with a series-best 10 top-5 finishes accumulated along the way.
Our newest champion entered the 20th Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman title chase as the reigning points king yet a roller coaster ride throughout the summer kept the points battle in doubt well into September and beyond. The “Teenage Tornado” notched his first victory in round two at Can-Am in April and needed another win at Cornwall over the Independence Day weekend in July to regain the top spot. However, his worst finish of the season —24th at Rolling Wheels— was suffered on Labor Day to suddenly drop him from 1st to 3rd in the standings with a big tripleheader on foreign soil facing the talented 18 year-old.
Yet our current champion met the challenge head-on, heading back from the Niagara Frontier with a first-place trophy at Humberstone and runner-up tally at Merrittville, advancing to 2nd in points behind GREG PANUNTE while former lead man JIPP ORTIZ faded to 3rd. The turning point was still to come the following weekend in Western New York as our champion moved to the head of the class with a 2nd and 3rd in twin 33-lappers at Canandaigua while snatching his fourth win of the ’09 campaign at Genesee. With his inaugural series win logged at Canandaigua, first year tour follower RYAN SUSICE emerged as the new runner-up in points and opened October with another triumph at Fulton to keep the champagne on ice. But after our champion repeated his victory closer to home at Brockville, the title was all but sewn up for second successive year as open-wheel teams headed back to the states for the Black Rock finale.
The ’09 points king ended the year atop the win chart with 19 victories at six different tracks to increase his DIRTcar career count to an even 50, also netting a pair of individual track titles at Can-Am and Thunder Alley. Susice (3) and Ortiz (2) led the list of first-time tour winners that featured third-generation chauffeur B.J. Willard, Justin Wright, Tim Sears Jr., Donnie Lawson and 16 year-old Syracuse winner Matt Billings — the fifth straight year a driver has copped his 1st career series win during Super DIRT Week.
By season’s end our overall champion had set fast time in qualifying on two occasions, registered (10) tour top-5 finishes to cling to a narrow 45-point margin ahead of runner-up and late-season charger Susice to claim the prized Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar title. In doing so, CHRIS RAABE continued his reign as the youngest champion in 34 seasons of DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast with the 18 year-old go-cart graduate from Napanee, Ontario keeping owner GARRY McCOLMAN’s no. 01 Scott’s Industrial Services-TyRoute Communication/TEO entry in the spotlight for another season.
HOOSIER TIRE-VP RACING FUELS MR. DIRTcar 358-MODIFIED AWARDS
Top-15 Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship
15. BOBBY HERRINGTON 650 Pts.
14. TOMMY FLANNIGAN 703
13. DAVID HEBERT 735
12. MARK D’ILARIO 791
11. PAT O’BRIEN 895
10. LANCE WILLIX II 930
9. MAT WILLIAMSON® 938
8. JEREMY WILDER® 983
7. CHAD BRACHMANN 1023
6. CAREY TERRANCE 1028
5. MARIO CLAIR 1042
4. DANNY O’BRIEN 1118
3. LARRY LAMPMAN JR. 1143
2. PETE BICKNELL 1180
1. DALE PLANCK 1262
MEDIA NOTES: 2009 MR. DIRTcar 358-MODIFIED CHAMPIONSHIP
2009 marked the 27th season for the Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Championship and the trophy is back in the states for at least one more year as our newest titlist captured the Northeast’s top Small-Block prize for the first time in his career. Top contenders on the DIRTcar Northeast 358 circuit chased points in 11 extra-distance Championship Series events, along the way earning bonuses while competing in DIRTcar Weekly Racing Series events held throughout the regular season.
DIRTcar’s premier Small-Block Series tried twice to open in the month of April, yet a complete wash-out at Can-Am and rain-delay at Merrittville pushed the ’09 lid-lifter into May at the storied Thorold, Ontario oval. The only other SDS stop scheduled prior to Labor Day was at Ransomville and after the initial two events the writing was already on the wall with nearly three months still remaining to officially crown a champion.
Although eventual track titlist LARRY LAMPMAN JR. earned his first career tour win at Merrittville and series veteran DANNY JOHNSON garnered top honors at Ransomville, both DALE PLANCK and PETE BICKNELL registered consecutive top-5 finishes to lead the overall points standings heading into autumn.
The month of September was filled with trips across the border to Ontario and Quebec for Planck yet the second-generation standout from Cortland, N.Y. established a level of consistency on both fronts that would carry him back to the states enjoying his biggest advantage of the season. Back-to-back runner-up tallies at Cornwall and Mohawk, another front-5 at Brockville, and two more top-10 feature finishes at autodromes Granby and Drummond put Planck in the driver’s seat leaving Bicknell, Lampman and 2007-08 Mr. DIRTcar runner-up Danny O’Brien to toil in his tire tracks battling for second-place honors.
While Big-Block stalwarts JIMMY PHELPS (Granby) and BILLY DECKER (Drummond) colleced consecutive $10,000 winner shares in French territory, Planck posted 7th and 8th-place finishes to lead Bicknell by 92 markers as Super DIRT Week approached. Despite Bicknell adding a pair of top-10s at Rolling Wheels and Brewerton to cut the deficit to 52 points, Planck needed a finish of 16th or better in the Brockville finale to guarantee himself a seat at the head of the table come banquet time. The ‘Natural’ was easily up to the task, leading 30 laps in the century run to end up second to race winner MARIO CLAIR and capture his first-ever Mr. DIRTcar Championship.
Finishing 14th last year on the overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified champ trail, Planck’s previous best finishes were 3rd in 2005 and 4th in ’03 — the same year he scored two series win. Now a seasoned chauffeur at 39 years of age, he surfaced as the fourth straight Mr. DIRTcar Champion that did not triumph on tour en route to the title, joining past champs Bicknell (2008), Clair (’07) and BRETT HEARN (’06) with this dubious distinction.
In his 10 tour starts this year Planck did register eight top-10 feature finishes, also posting a series-high half-dozen front-5s behind the wheel of owner Carey Terrance’s RezX Racing no. 77x Grow It Hydroseeding/TEO entry powered by a Kevlar-prepared engine. Despite going winless in 2009, Planck remains listed among DIRTcar Northeast’s all-time Top-20 358-Modified feature winners with 49 checkered flags, including 4 in the Mr. DIRTcar Small-Block series, with 4 track point titles to his credit in the past 10 years.
HOOSIER TIRE-VP RACING FUELS MR. DIRTcar BIG-BLOCK MODIFIED AWARDS
Top-15 Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Championship
15. STEVE PAINE 1201 Pts.
14. BILLY DUNN 1250
13. JEFF BROWNELL JR. 1278
12. LARRY WIGHT 1282
11. DALE PLANCK 1290
10. MICHAEL STORMS 1318
9. ALAN JOHNSON 1341
8. DANNY JOHNSON 1559
7. RYAN PHELPS 1634
6. GARY TOMKINS 1686
5. JUSTIN HAERS 1751
4. BILLY DECKER 1881
3. JIMMY PHELPS 1887
2. MATT SHEPPARD 2040
1. BRETT HEARN 2044
MEDIA NOTES – 2008 MR. DIRTcar BIG-BLOCK MODIFIED CHAMPIONSHIP
Since 1976, DIRTcar Racing Northeast has been declaring an overall Big-Block Modified champion. Over the past three decades the point fund has grown to reflect the magnitude of this championship and with nearly 30 tracks participating in this year’s title chase, a combined point fund in excess of $200,000 awaits the top 15 Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar point getters, with over $50,000 in cash and contingency awards going to the 2009 overall champion.
In a dramatic conclusion that came to a head in the biggest event of the year, the outcome of the 34th edition of DIRTcar’s premier Big-Block Modified title chase came down to the season finale with our champion finally decided by just a handful of points after Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds on the notorious Syracuse Mile. The script could not have been written up any better as it was all-time series winner BRETT HEARN edging rising star MATT SHEPPARD in DIRTcar Northeast most celebrated show with only four points separating this dynamic duo and Hearn surviving for a record seventh Mr. DIRTcar title when the 2009 campaign came to a close by Columbus Day.
Hearn kicked off the Super DIRTcar Series with a trio of consecutive top-3 finishes and only got better after that, capturing two of the next three main events at Ransomville and Brockville Ontario speedways to open up a commanding 127-point advantage over reigning Mr. DIRTcar points king BILLY DECKER. Two more front-five finishes in the inaugural All-Star Weekend at Cayuga County and a runner-up tally at Merrittville provided the ‘Corporate Jet’ with his biggest cushion of 150 markers, yet it was Merrittville winner Sheppard taking over the number two position in the standings for the first time.
Sheppard repeated his victory lane march just four days later at Brewerton, and while Hearn’s single-season record of 10 straight top-5s to begin the series came to a close at the D-Shaped Dirt Demon, it marked a glimmer of hope for the rest of the competition that so far had been mired behind the Madsen Motorsports no. 20 Wentworth Custom Homes-Kruger-WLR-BPG/TEO machine for the previous four months. The outlook, at least for ‘Super Matt,’ further brightened as Hearn could only muster a single front-five finish in the final four August events, with Sheppard reducing the gap to 60 points heading into Labor Day.
The September holiday was certainly a time for Hearn to give thanks as back-to-back gifts once again elevated the New Jersey Jet well above the opposition. Continuing to steer the potent JB Motorsports no. 9s Xtreme Lubricants/Bicknell entry in his best season ever, Sheppard suffered a broken rear hub while leading the first 75 laps in the Sunday showdown at Cayuga County before a shredded right-rear tire forced Sheppard to relinquish the lead he had held for 87 laps on Monday at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park. And even with a damaged brake rotor limiting his chances, Hearn charged forward to forge the final lead change with just five to go and claim his third series checkered flag at The Wheels.
After Lernerville lost its bout with the weatherman for a second straight September, just three extra-distance events remained yet Hearn remained in the driver’s seat opening up a 133-point margin. Consecutive tour triumphs for Sheppard at Drummond and Rolling Wheels cut his deficit to 83 markers and with the 150-point scale intact for the Rite Aid 200 Presented By Ferris & Snapper Mowers, Hearn needed to finish 21st or better to lock up an unprecedented 7th overall Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block title. And that’s just about all he could muster, experiencing a faulty yoke in the transmission to wind up 20th while 27 year-old Sheppard romped home to score the biggest victory of his budding career in the Salt City.
In the final chapter of DIRTcar Racing’s 34th successive season, 51 year-old Hearn parked the Madsen Motorsports mount in the winner’s circle on 3 occasions to extend his all-time high series count to 103, figuring in tour bests of 13 top-5 and 17 top-10 finishes in the 20-race championship. Hearn concluded his 35th season of open-wheel competition by capturing five DIRTcar Big-Block feature wins to increase his career count to an even 350; with another 173 victories registered in 358-Modified racing. The Sussex, N.J. speedster finished the ’09 series campaign leading seven main events for 391 laps, posting seven heat race wins and setting one Integra Shocks Fast Time.
SUPER DIRTcar SERIES AWARD PROGRAMS
* MODIFIED ‘DETERMINATION’ AWARD: Winner RICH SCAGLIOTTA
One driver was recognized with the presentation of a special award that epitomized his season, one that could be summed up in just a single word ….. DETERMINATION. Although he may have attended every Super DIRTcar Series event —qualifying for just 10 features— and hit all but two Mr. DIRTcar 358-Mod Championship shows that ran in conflict, he continued to travel the farthest every week from his Bound Brook, NJ home. His expenses were all out of pocket, with earnings totalling $4,800 in the Big-Block Series and $2,650 on the Small-Block tour. There were several nights when he missed qualifying by just 1 or 2 spots, and other occasions when he experienced some rough rides, yet through it all he never tossed in the towel and most importantly, already harbors plans to return to tour competition in 2010.
* AREA AUTO RACING NEWS: ‘Hard Luck’ Winner MICHAEL STORMS
Coming up in January, Len Sammons Motorsports Productions’ Atlantic City Indoor Race will once again be held to help kick off the new year. Area Auto Racing News Editor & Publisher Lenny Sammons is presenting the ‘Area Auto Racing News Hard Luck’ award winner Michael Storms two tickets to the show, which includes two tickets/ pit passes to the Atlantic City NJ Gambler’s Classic Indoor Races that will be held on Friday and Saturday, January 29th & 30th inside Boardwalk Hall. After watching the exciting headline 3/4 midget car action, Storms will have luxury hotel accommodations waiting for him in Atlantic City. Storms’ Super DIRTcar Series highlights in Vinny Salerno’s 4-Star Racing- Keizer Aluminum Wheels-Four Star Transmission/TEO entry…. Finished 10th in the final 2009 overall Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block point standings with 2 Top-10s. But it was a combination of broken spindles, engine failures and racing wrecks and having his ride stolen near season’s end that ultimately landed him the ‘Hard Luck’ award.
* GATER RACING PHOTO NEWS: Lap Leader MATT SHEPPARD
“The ‘Gater Leads The Way’ award recognizes the Big-Block Modified driver that led the most laps during Super DIRTcar Series feature race competition. Tonight, award winner Matt Sheppard, who led 699 laps in 11 main events & winning 7, has earned a $1,000 package from Gater News for leading the most laps.
* XTREME LUBRICATION: ‘Slick Move Of The Year’ Winner MATT SHEPPARD
In 2009, Jeff Brownell Sr. introduced his company’s ‘Xtreme Slick Move of the Race’ award and in an ironic outcome his 1st-string driver Matt Sheppard was selected as the inaugural recipient after his “$60,000 move” —avoided front stretch collision with slowing car late in race/dented front bumper— orchestrated at Syracuse in the Super DIRT Week finale which resulted in the biggest win of ‘Super Matt’s’ budding career. Yet in a more unique twist, Brownell awarded the overall ‘Xtreme Lubricants Slick Move of the Year’ $500 bonus to the Vinny Salerno/Michael Storms tandem following the late-season theft of their Big-Block Modifieds!
* DIG SAFELY NEW YORK: ‘Last Chance’ Draw Winners CHUCK BOWER ($500), RICH RICCI JR. ($100), ROY BRESNAHAN ($100), TIM FULLER ($100), PETE BICKNELL ($100), DANNY O”BRIEN ($100)
Throughout the 20-event Super DIRTcar Series, Dig Safely carried a strong presence with its backing of the consolation round. A total of 39 ‘Last Chance’ qualifiers were run with 30 drivers taking checkered flags, and each of those had their names entered for a chance to share $1000 in cash. Distinguished DSNY motorsports consultant Larry Bishop was in attendance to hand out five $100 awards along with a $500 check to the grand-prize winner. Odds-on favorites to share in these spoils were multi-time Dig Safely New York Last Chance Race winners Dale Planck (4), Billy Dunn (3), Pete Bicknell (2), Rob Bellinger (2), Roy Bresnahan (2) and Tim Fuller (2) as their names were entered those same number of times.
MOTORSPORTS SAFETY SYSTEMS DIRTcar NORTHEAST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARDS
* 2009 Motorsports Safety Systems/G-FORCE DIRTcar NE UMP Pro Stock Rookie of the Year:
HARVEY ARQUETTE JR. – Akwesasne, N.Y. (29 yrs.) …..
– driver of the no. jr7 A&L Enterprise/Chevrolet Monte Carlo entry;
– competed at Mohawk (8th pts/1 win, 5 top-10), Cornwall (19th pts/2 Top-10);
– finished 17th in overall Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock pts standings (5 starts in 9 series races);
$1250 award; G-FORCE Helmet, 6-Pt Safety Belts/Driving Gloves; $225 HANS gift certificate; $250 cash;
and Extreme Muffler package.
* 2009 Motorsports Safety Systems/G-FORCE DIRTcar NE Sportsman Rookie of the Year:
ROBERT HUMPHREYS – Elbridge, N.Y. (22 yrs.)
– driver of the no. 85H M&W Aluminum Products-Humphrey’s Garage/Bicknell entry;
– competed at Cayuga Co. (8th pts/1 win, 3 top-5, 6 top-10 finish, 15 starts);
– finished 29th in overall Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman pts (1 top-10 finish in 4 series starts);
$1500 award; G-FORCE Helmet, 6-Pt Safety Belts/Driving Gloves; $225 HANS gift certificate; $500 cash;
and Extreme Muffler package.
* 2009 Motorsports Safety Systems/G-FORCE DIRTcar NE 358 Modified Rookie of the Year:
JEREMY WILDER – Fort Plain, N.Y. (19 yrs.) …..
– driver of the no. 22 James Edgar Company-Roosevelts/Bicknell entry;
– competed at Glen Ridge (16th pts/2 top-5, 3 top-10);
– finished 8th in overall Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified points (3 top-10 finishes in 10 events);
$1750 award; G-FORCE Helmet, 6-Pt Safety Belts/Driving Gloves; $225 HANS gift certificate; $750 cash;
and Extreme Muffler package.
* 2009 Motorsports Safety Systems/G-FORCE DIRTcar NE Big-Block Modified Rookie of the Year:
RICH SCAGLIOTTA – Bound Brook, N.J. (47 yrs.)
– driver of the no. 8 Central Jersey Trailer & Hitch Depot-Adamsville Maintenance/Troyer entry;
– competed at Canandaigua (20th pts/5 starts), Cayuga County (31st/3 starts);
– finished 17th in overall Mr. DIRTcar Modified pts (10th-place best at Cornwall Motor Speedway);
$4000 award; G-FORCE Helmet, 6-Pt Safety Belts/Driving Gloves; $225 HANS gift certificate; $1000 cash
and Extreme Muffler package ….. plus $2,000 ButlerBuilt Racing Seat!
GLENN DONNELLY AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
….. presented to DIRTcar Racing NE Chief Scorer/Computer Operations Director GARY SPAID
MEDIA NOTES – Introduced in 2006, the Glenn Donnelly Award of Excellence honors individuals, teams, associates, sponsors and others within the DIRTcar Racing Northeast community who exemplify characteristics that Glenn himself displayed. Pride, professionalism, dedication, loyalty and a genuine desire to excel are some of the attributes that qualify recipients for this most prestigious award. *Inaugural winners car owners JOHN HOLLAND & AL HEINKE (2006), Rite Aid Corporation Senior Vice-President TIM BURGER (2007) and AAP Motorsports Marketing Supervisor MIKE PARIS (2008) are great examples. These qualities separate DIRTcar members apart from the others and it’s the dedication and love of this sport set in motion by Glenn, that make this great image of DIRT racing possible. This award is earned, not won.
The World Racing Group, in particular DIRTcar Racing Northeast, continues to be recognized as one of the premier motorsports organizations around the entire country. Comprised of two dozen member speedways throughout the region and boasting a handful of traveling tours that annually attract hundreds of teams for competition in open-wheel and full-fender divisions, it remains among the most successful enterprises in operation today. The recipient of the 2009 Glenn Donnelly Award of Excellence has not only further enhanced the status of this internationally respected auto racing association, he has spent half his lifetime documenting its history and chronicling its rise to the top echelon, while ultimately helping insure a popular existence for generations to come.
Born in what would one day become the backyard of DIRTcar Big-Block Modified racing in Central New York, our award winner was thrust into the motorsports mainstream at a very young age, attending the stock car shows at nearby Waterloo Speedway (aka Maple Grove) with his father, Elton Spaid. Venturing weekly to the track from his home in neighboring Seneca Falls, N.Y., it was no surprise that on one of his first dates with high school sweetheart Donna Freligh, he brought her to Waterloo to spend a romantic Saturday night amidst the sounds of revving engines and smells of burning fuel at the local dirt track! Many more laps were on the horizon and the couple finally wed in 1968, soon after carrying on the family tradition with children Brian and Jennifer joining the race fraternity before they were a year old. Lancaster National Speedway in Western New York was the first track for Brian, today a prominent attorney in Franklin, Pa. while Jennifer, currently employed as a marketing specialist by Stewart Haas Racing in Charlotte, N.C., first muddied her shoes at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park after the fledgling family relocated further east. Graduating with a Business Marketing/Education degree earned at Niagara University, our award winner was employed from 1970 to 2003 as a business teacher with the Rush-Henrietta Central School District located just south of Rochester, N.Y.
Remaining a devout race fan from day one, his own homework assignment became penning weekly articles for Gater Racing Photo News under the column title “Ace’s Wild” in 1978. And the following year he answered an ad to be a writer for Dirt Trackin’ Magazine, the weekly souvenir program that covered the founding member DIRT-sanctioned tracks. His deep knowledge and love of racing was soon recognized in the front office, and in 1980 he was hired as the chief handicapper by DIRTcar founder Glenn Donnelly at those same charter tracks — Cayuga County Fair Speedway, Rolling Wheels and Canandaigua Speedway, along with the NYS Fairgrounds. Working with former Dirt Trackin’ Magazine editor Larry Costa and Donnelly’s right-hand assistant Annette Lutz, he quickly transitioned to the job of chief scorer, handicapper and points keeper for every DIRT track; assuming chief editor duties for Dirt Trackin’ magazine in 1983.
He developed the original computer points program for DIRT in the early 1980s as the sanctioning body became one of the first regional auto racing organizations to use computer generated points for handicapping. Providing his personal experience in sales and marketing, he assisted in DIRT’s marketing department before being named Super DIRTcar Series Director as the decade came to a close. Our award winner also worked with Glenn Donnelly and his technical team on the transition to the new-style bodies that helped reshape DIRTcar Modified racing in 1987, often times operating tracks on nights when promoter Donnelly was unable to attend. He later joined Donnelly on a committee formed in 1992 to establish the Northeast Hall of Fame on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds.
Wife Donna worked with him on the handicapping and points from 1980 to the present, with the couple recently celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2008. Son Brian, now 41, started announcing races at Canandaigua Speedway in 1987 and worked on the television show “This Week on DIRT” and Super DIRT Week broadcasts from 1988 to 2004, today serving as the P.A. announcer at Tri-City (Pa.) Speedway while working with the track promotional team since 1998. Daughter Jennifer, 38, started working as a 50/50 ticket seller at CNY DIRT tracks in the mid-1980s. After moving to Charlotte in 1992, she became involved with motorsports marketing dealing directly with NASCAR teams, including that of Ricky Rudd from 1997-2004.
In recognition of our appreciation to his unconditional loyalty and dedication shown to the sport, and to a man who has been instrumental in the success and continuity of DIRTcar Racing throughout its existence, tonight we would like to present the Glenn Donnelly Award of Excellence to GARY SPAID!
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.