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Gray Scores Sportsman Series Opener At Black Rock

Steve Gray
Steve Gray - J&H Photo

Dundee, NYApril 10, 2010 – By Rich Vleck, DIRTcar Racing Northeast Series Correspondent

On an afternoon when the ideal groove on the Black Rock Speedway appeared to be the bottom, Steve Gray found a way to keep his DIRTcar Sportsman wound up on the top and going forward to score a decisive victory in the Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Championship Series opener.

Gray, of Rushville, charged up from his 11th-place starting position into the top-five early on in the event. The race was marred in the opening section of the race by six caution flags in the first 7 laps, allowing Gray to wind up his Fox’s Auto No. 29g on the high side on multiple restarts.

Gray jumped into second on lap 10 and then went after race leader Donnie Lawson, defending track champion. Lawson, who was committed to the bottom, got caught up in lapped traffic just before the halfway point, allowing Gray to rocket by coming to Starter Scott Hixson’s crossed flags.

Gray inherited the lead but cautions on lap 20 and 21 allowed Lawson to regroup. The Woodhull resident would get a few runs on Gray once they were up to speed but had nothing for the former Canandaigua champion on restarts.

When the caution waved on lap 26 for a spinning No. 34 of Trevor Sutherland, Lawson not only struggled to hang with Gray, but lost the second spot to two-time defending Mr. DIRTcar Series Champion Chris Raabe, as the Nappanee, Ont. teenager dove his No. 01 to the inside to collect a solid finish in defense of his title.

For Gray, the win was his third in a series race, his first since Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in October of 2008. He has always run well at Black Rock but breaking through in an event like this was still uncertain for him.

“I was just hoping the car would stay together,” declared Gray in Victory Lane. “I couldn’t even get the car to stay on the bottom. Every time I went to the bottom it would drive back up to the top so I had to run there.”

Lawson settled in behind Gray and Raabe, with ’09 Series runner-up Ryan Susice in fourth and Eric Giguere completing a stout top-five.

The Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series returns to action next week when the top traveling teams venture to the north country for round two at Can-Am Motorsports Park on Saturday, April 17.

Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Race #1 – Black Rock Speedway, April 10, 2010 ‘Rock Launcher’ Event Summary
Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Feature (30 Laps)- STEVE GRAY, Chris Raabe, Donnie Lawson, Ryan Susice, Eric Giguere, Brady Fultz, Mark Chiddy, Dan Wiesner, Loren Lincoln, Jesse Cotriss, Shane Pecore, Fran Hilton, Daryl Hilkert, Rob Richmond Jr., Mark Dixon, Trevor Sutherland, Christine Martin, Gary Donnelly, Justin Wright, Bryan Faulkner, Randy McCulloch, Ricky Newton, Greg Cool, A.J. Potzrebowski, Brent Ayers, Serenity Sutherland, Marcus Dinkins, Tim Sears Jr., Rob Humphreys, Billy VanPelt.
DNQ- Brett Buono.
Lap Leaders: Lawson (1-14), Gray (15-19), Lawson (20-21), Gray (22-30).
Heat Winners: Fultz, Susice, Lawson, Raabe.
Consolation Winner: Dinkins.
Syracuse SDW 30 Qualifier: Steve Gray.

Mr. DIRTcar Series Sportsman Point Standings (Thru April 10, 2010)
Rank Driver Total Series Bonus Diff Wins T-5 T-10 Starts
1 Steve Gray 100 100 0 0 1 1 1 1
2 Chris Raabe 95 95 0 -5 0 1 1 1
3 Donnie Lawson 90 90 0 -10 0 1 1 1
4 Ryan Susice 85 85 0 -15 0 1 1 1
5 Eric Giguere 80 80 0 -20 0 1 1 1
6 Brady Fultz 76 76 0 -24 0 0 1 1
7 Mark Chiddy 72 72 0 -28 0 0 1 1
8 Dan Wiesner 68 68 0 -32 0 0 1 1
9 Loren Lincoln 65 65 0 -35 0 0 1 1
10 Jesse Cotriss 62 62 0 -38 0 0 1 1
11 Shane Pecore 60 60 0 -40 0 0 0 1
12 Fran Hilton 58 58 0 -42 0 0 0 1
13 Daryl Hilkert 56 56 0 -44 0 0 0 1
14 Rob Richmond Jr. 54 54 0 -46 0 0 0 1
15 Mark Dixon 52 52 0 -48 0 0 0 1
16 Trevor Sutherland 50 50 0 -50 0 0 0 1
17 Christine Martin 48 48 0 -52 0 0 0 1
18 Gary Donnelly 46 46 0 -54 0 0 0 1
19 Justin Wright 45 45 0 -55 0 0 0 1
20 Bryan Faulkner 44 44 0 -56 0 0 0 1
21 Randy McCulloch 43 43 0 -57 0 0 0 1
22 Ricky Newton 42 42 0 -58 0 0 0 1
23 Greg Cool 41 41 0 -59 0 0 0 1
24 A.J. Potrzebowski 40 40 0 -60 0 0 0 1
25 Brent Ayers 40 40 0 -60 0 0 0 1
26 Serenity Sutherland 40 40 0 -60 0 0 0 1
27 Marcus Dinkins 40 40 0 -60 0 0 0 1
28 Tim Sears Jr. 40 40 0 -60 0 0 0 1
29 Rob Humphreys 40 40 0 -60 0 0 0 1
30 Billy VanPelt 40 40 0 -60 0 0 0 1
31 Brett Bruono 10 10 0 -90 0 0 0 0

UPCOMING EVENTS
The 21st Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series has only one week off before resuming action in the north country with a 30-lap finale scheduled at Can-Am Motorsports Park on Saturday, April 17. Cornwall hosts the first Sportsman special across the border in June followed by a mid-week return to Mohawk Int’l Raceway, while the 2nd Annual DIRTcar All-Star Weekend extravaganza at Cayuga County Fair Speedway in July is the final tour stop prior to Labor Day. Every extra-distance affair offers valuable points towards the overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship as well as guaranteed starter status for the Super DIRT Week main event in October.

2010 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TRACK WINNER/LOCATION
Sat-Apr 10 Black Rock Speedway Steve Gray
Sat-Apr 17 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Sun-Jun 13 Cornwall Motor Speedway Cornwall,ONT
Wed-Jun 23 Mohawk International Raceway Akwesasne,NY
Sat-Jul 17 Cayuga County Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY
Fri-Sep 10 Ransomville Speedway Ransomville,NY
Sat-Sep 11 Merrittville Speedway Thorold,ONT
Sun-Sep 12 Humberstone Speedway Pt.Colborne,ONT
Sat-Sep 18 Canandaigua Speedway Canandaigua,NY
Sat-Sep 25 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Fri-Oct 1 Fulton Speedway Fulton,NY
Fri-Oct 8 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Sat-Oct 9 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY
Sat-Oct 16 Brockville Ontario Speedway Brockville,ONT

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.allstar100weekend.com and 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 the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and Chizmark & Larson Insurance www.chizmarklarson.com, and contingency sponsors are Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, MSD Ignition www.msdignition.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Vicci Racing Apparel www.vicci.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com.

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