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Raabe Leads Sportsman Trail Into Home Territory at Cornwall

*Kim Jennejohn Photo: #01 Chris Raabe battles #67G Eric Giguere
*Kim Jennejohn Photo: #01 Chris Raabe battles #67G Eric Giguere

Weedsport, NYJune 11, 2010 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director

The Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series picks up in Canada on June 13 with round two for Sportsman at Cornwall Motor Speedway.

Location alone puts American point chasers crossing the border in a most precarious position as they hit the home turf of the hottest driver on the entire circuit, two-time defending Mr. DIRTcar titlist Chris Raabe from Napanee, Ont.

“Like to think I haven’t lost anything as a driver, but against Chris on Sunday I’ll still need a lot of luck,” remarked top tour challenger Ryan Susice, 19, who secured runner-up laurels in last year’s internationally contended Mr. DIRTcar points battle. Raabe scored a series best five feature wins while Susice captured three checkered flags, with just 45 markers separating the teenage hot shots come banquet time.

“Probably not going to happen (beat Raabe) at one of his tracks, although we’re ready to give him our best shot all night. Just have to worry about our own program. We have enough experience now and the best equipment ever, hopefully nothing stupid will cost us and we can avoid the early wrecks,” figured Susice, who will be towing into Cornwall with the familiar no. 38 Investor’s Service Company-Philpac Packaging/Bicknell mount that carried the Ransomville, N.Y. regular to an eighth-place finish last July.

Fresh off his best season-opening series run (2nd) at Black Rock Speedway in April, Raabe faces a much shorter trip to Cornwall and is banking on matching his first-place finish from a year ago in the headline Benson Auto Parts 30-lapper at promoter Ron Morin’s ultra-quick quarter-miler.

“Cornwall is probably my favorite track right now, high-banked and always fast with two grooves, just an intense bullring,” remarked Raabe, who has already grabbed one of his DIRTcar NE-best 10 checkered flags at Cornwall in 2010, also taking home trophies from Mohawk Int’l Raceway (5), Brockville Ontario Speedway (3) and Can-Am Motorsports Park along the way. “So far we’re obviously off to a real good start, hopefully we can keep the ball rolling.”

“Our goal every year is to try and duplicate what we did the previous season. On tour, we’re always looking to improve at the tracks we’ve struggled on in the past. Its not always the wins that get you titles, it’s those top-10s that can turn into top-fives that are the most important. Would definitely be nice to score a series win for Perry (Francis, primary backer), you always like to get that first big win with a new team,” added Raabe, the 19 year-old honor student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., who will be buckled in behind the wheel of Francis’ two-tone C&B Enterprises #01 Teo Pro Car with backing also coming from Sunrise Racing and Genesis Racing Shocks.

Joining Susice among the U.S. contingent ready to challenge Raabe on foreign soil will be a legion of Empire State travelers, including opening round Black Rock winner Steve Gray from Middlesex and 2009 DIRTcar All-Star Weekend winner at Cayuga County Fair Speedway, Justin Wright from Piffard.

“We’ve never been to Cornwall before, we’re just hoping for some good weather to take the trip Sunday and follow the whole tour after that,” said Gray, 34, whose best finish in the Mr. DIRTcar Championship was fifth in 2000. A limited schedule relegated him to 15th last season steering the Fox’s Auto-Dar’s Auto no. 29G Beck’s Recycling-Proctor Roofing/Bicknell entry. “Our sponsors want us to go, but we won’t make that decision until Saturday, it’s a long way to haul for us.”

“We’ve always been fast and had a good set-up at Black Rock yet suffered through some bad breaks. We knew exactly what gears and tires to use and this time we were a rocket. Right now there are parts scattered all over the floor and we’ll probably have a brand new car out in another month. There are still a few financial issues to take care of but right now everything is looking good for making a run at the title,” noted Gray, a weekly campaigner at both Canandaigua (Sat.) and Cayuga County (Sun.), mixing specials in between at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.

Competing against Gray on the weekends in Canandaigua and Weedsport after dicing with Susice every Friday at Ransomville Speedway, Wright is back on the Mr. DIRTcar bandwagon full-time looking to improve on his fourth-place finish in the 2009 overall standings

“Chris definitely has his A-game going, just need a little luck to get the job done,” said Wright, 23, mirroring Gray with three feature wins at three different tracks this season while Susice has reached victory lane twice. “We’ve run hard with him before so we know we’ll have to come prepared and give him everything we’ve got to stand a chance. To be the best you’ve got to beat the best.”

“Right now I’m just looking forward to getting back out on the road, that’s everybody’s aspiration in racing. Would like to win a track championship sometime, and if we can keep running in the top-five I know more wins will come. Last year at Cornwall we qualified through the consi and then got caught up in traffic late in the feature. It’s such a fast track for its size, a good finish is all we’re really after going back,” figured Wright, who continues to be recognized aboard the Mercer Milling Co. no. 19W Yager Bros. Trucking/Bicknell ride on tour in ’10.
Holding ground against the annual American invasion will be current Cornwall points leader and opening day winner Chris Herbsion and his closest pursuer veteran Randy Earl. Raabe ranks dead-locked in third with top locals Shane Pecore and Bruno Lapage after just two events.

Practice starts at 5 p.m. and racing gets underway at 6 o’clock Sunday at Cornwall Motor Speedway (613/938-3945) http://www.cornwallspeedway.com, located off Highway 401, Eastbound using exit 786 to Power Dam Drive and West bound taking exit 789 to Brookdale Avenue, then following the posted signs from both directions.

For additional information, please contact Sportsman Series Race Director Chip Burdick (315/778-3407; e-mail chip_burdick@yahoo.com) or DIRTcar NE Competition Director Joe Skotnicki (704/796-4566; jskotnicki@dirtcar.com) during normal business hours. In the meantime log into the homepage at www.dirtcar.com to find out more about the entire circuit, including complete race results and series point standings

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
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
Wed-Oct 6 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,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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