Weedsport, NY — April 13, 2010 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
With the 2010 Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series opener just days away, the title remains up for grabs. And the final outcome is expected to stay that way throughout the entire season as top teams contend for the DIRTcar Small-Block division’s highest honor.
Defending overall points champion Dale Planck will be in contention. So will 2009 runner-up Pete Bicknell, 4th-place finisher Danny O’Brien and favorite Frenchman Mario Clair, who rounded out the Top-5 on the final chart last autumn. ‘Mr. Small-Block’ Bicknell is a three-time Mr. DIRTcar titlist, including 2008, while in ’07 Clair carried the trophy back home to Quebec for the first time since the tour’s inception in 1983.
Second-generation standout O’Brien may be the hungriest among the bunch, having placed in the front-four in overall points on a half-dozen occasions, including second in 2007, ’08 and 1993. The popular pilot from Kingston, Ont. will be back aboard the potent Kendrick Racing no. 7star Global Warranty-1000 Islands RV-Stover Bus Lines/Bicknell ride, looking to improve upon his 4th-place run in last year’s final tally.
“I’ve been here many times before, just going into this whole thing to do the best I can and let the points fall wherever,” remarked O’Brien, 42, who will launch his latest bid for the crown when Can-Am Motorsports Park hosts the Number One Speed-State Farm Insurance 75 Championship event on Saturday, April 17 with $4,000 waiting the winner.
“The bottom line last year was we embarrassed ourselves. When you get going bad its often hard to turn things around. We got in a rut and just could never get out,” O’Brien said.
Already racking up 28 DIRTcar 358 wins in his career at Can-Am, O’Brien is looking to usher in the new era for first-time track owner Tiger Chapman with a return to the winner’s circle at the spacious half-miler in LaFargeville, N.Y. With 11 Series victories under his belt, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ will be looking to match his lone tour triumph taken at Can-Am in 2007. Series shows scheduled the past two seasons have fallen to rain.
“Winning races and having good finishes are all that really matter at this stage of the game,” figured O’Brien, who owns 13 track titles in the DIRTcar 358-Modified ranks and stands fifth all-time with127 Small-Block feature wins. He will be back on Saturdays to defend his Brockville Ontario Speedway title for a fourth consecutive year and contend every Sunday at Cornwall Motor Speedway where he owns five season championships.
“You need a little luck, too. Seems I’ve been in this position too many times lately, and things just never went the right way when it counted most. I plan to do my best once again, just can’t give as much attention to all those things beyond my control,” O’Brien added.
Joining O’Brien and past Mr. DIRTcar kingpins Planck, Bicknell and Clair on the championship trail will be Top-10 runners from a year ago Carey Terrance, Chad Brachmann and ’09 Rookie of the Year Jeremy Wilder and sophomore racer Mat Williamson. Canadian challengers Mark D’Ilario, David Hebert, Tommy Flannigan, and Laurent Ladouceur along with New Jersey’s Rich Scagliotta are also signed up to travel, as is Danny’s older brother Pat O’Brien, himself a four-time Mr. DIRTcar Champion with nine Series wins to his credit.
The Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series gets underway at Can-Am with Small-Block teams also starting to accumulate points at their weekly home tracks. In 2010, points earned in the Mr. DIRTcar champ trail combined with bonus points issued after Labor Day from a driver’s hometrack will determine the overall titlist. Each licensed track champion will receive 1,000 points, with the 25th-place driver earning 900 at his best track during the year.
Can-Am pit gates are scheduled to open at 12noon., grandstand seating begins at 1 o’clock with races starting at 4:00 p.m. Adult General Admission is $20, Students 10-14 yrs. are $5 each, while 9 and under are free (Canadian money at par). The pit pass fee is $25 for those holding a valid 2010 DIRTcar License and $30 without.
A Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series event joins the Saturday program while the season-opening tour stop for Pro Stock point chasers headlines the Sunday afternoon card at Can-Am.
More track details can be found at www.canammotorsports.com or by contacting General Manager Chip Burdick at 315/778-3407. Can-Am Motorsports Park is located off NYS Route 411 and can be reached from the east or west by traveling the NYS Thruway to I-81 (Exit 36). Take I-81 North or South to Rt. 411 (Exit 49), then head west four miles.
For additional information, please contact DIRTcar Northeast Director of Competition Joe Skotnicki (704/796-4566, e-mail email@example.com) during normal business hours. In the meantime, log into the homepage at www.dirtcar.com to find out more about the Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series as well as the entire circuit.
2010 Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE LAPS TRACK LOCATION/WINNER
Sat-Apr 17 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Mon-May 24 Merrittville Speedway Thorold,ONT
Thr-Jul 1 Autodrome Edelweiss Hull,QUE
Sun-Sep 5 Cornwall Motor Speedway Cornwall,ONT
Fri-Sep 10 Autodrome Granby Granby,QUE ($10,000 to win)
Sat-Sep 11 Autodrome Drummond Drummondville,QUE ($10,000 to win)
Fri-Sep 17 Mohawk International Raceway Akwesasne,NY
Sun-Sep 26 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Wed-Oct 6 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Thr-Oct 7 Brewerton Speedway Brewerton,NY
Fri-Oct 8 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Sat-Oct 9 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY ($20,000 to win)
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.