McPherson Hoping to Hold on to the Sportsman Championship as Drivers like Ladouceur and Power Rise in the Ranks
WEEDSPORT, N. Y. – Both the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified and DIRTcar Pro Stock Series are set to open Sunday, June 2, at Cornwall Motor Speedway with some significant changes to driver rosters set to shake up standings in 2013. The Sportsman Modified Series will continue its busy schedule soon thereafter with the DIRTcar Hall of Fame 60 race night Wednesday, June 5, at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park.
After battling his brother Tyler in several races, Cody McPherson rose to the top of the Sportsman Modified Series to claim last year’s championship. His third-place finish during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLI boosted his ranking in points, and at the end of the series he wound up tied with Martin Pelletier for the top spot. However, it was his win during Brighton Speedway’s fall Applefest that helped clinched the title for him.
This year, McPherson wants to do one better.
“I want to win it by points, not by tie,” he said. “We just have to experiment at the home tracks, try to get prepared.”
McPherson faces a challenge defending the title with talented drivers entering the field. Defending DIRTcar Pro Stock Series champion Joey Ladouceur, of Alexandria, Ontario, is trading in his full-fender rid for a Sportsman Modified, and he’s already getting the hang of things.
“I find that the driving style is definitely different, but I don’t find it any harder to drive, it’s just a different style,” Ladouceur said of learning to drive the Sportsman Modified. “For me, in the Pro Stock, I did it for so many years that it was almost second-nature. Now I’m having to relearn what this kind of car needs and it’s tough to learn when and what types of adjustments to make.”
Although Ladouceur has had the opportunity to try the Sportsman, he has not yet raced in the division at his home track, Cornwall Motor Speedway. Their opener, scheduled for Sunday, May 19, was rescheduled due to inclement weather, making Sunday, May 26, Ladouceur’s first chance at the quarter-mile clay oval in his new ride.
“I’m going to have a better idea of what I’m expecting of myself after next week,” Ladouceur said. “My goal is to be in the top ten and try and get myself into the top twelve in points so that we can be even better in the next event at Rolling Wheels.”
Ladouceur’s record in a Pro Stock speaks for itself – in addition to claiming several DIRTcar Pro Stock Series titles, he also raced his way to his hundredth Pro Stock win before switching divisions. However, the challenge of getting to know the car may present a learning curve as the DIRTcar Sportsman Modifed Series starts to heat up for the 50-lap series opener at his home track.
“There’s a little more trial and error,” Ladouceur said. “When I drove my Pro Stock, I could drive half a lap and I’d have an idea of what I was feeling and what I would have to adjust to make it better, whereas now I have to think about it.”
This year, Ladouceur plans to watch the Pro Stock races from the stands rather than from behind the wheel. He said a driver to look out for in 2013 is Rob Yetman, but that the stout competition in the series could have it go in a number of directions. The Pro Stock Series opens with the Sportsman Modified Series Sunday, June 2, at Cornwall Speedway.
“He’s got the most experience and he’s always running well at Lebanon Valley,” Ladouceur said of former rival Yetman. “Other than that, we’ll have to see after our first race who comes down from out of town.”
Another Sportsman Modified racer is making an extra effort to get to know her car, and she hopes it will help her in the series. Jessica Power, of Kingston, Ontario, is looking forward to applying some of the concepts she has been learning in a RACE 101 course.
“They don’t so much teach you how to drive, but they teach you about marketing, PR, and shocks and setup – just anything to do with racing except the actual getting in the car part,” Power said of the class. “The biggest takeaway for me has been shocks. Up until this year, everybody said ‘here’s your shocks,’ you know, standard shocks, and I just put it on the car. Now I’m starting to understand the car and how they work and how they’re put together, so it’s really helping me.”
After racing at the 5/8-mile track just once in 2011, Power said she is especially interested in returning to Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Wednesday, June 5, for the 50-lap Sportsman Modified Series feature during the DIRTcar Hall of Fame 60.
“I’m really looking forward to that race,” Power said. “We didn’t have a really great run, but I learned a lot, and ever since that night I’ve been itching to get back there and apply some of the things I think I learned and some of the things I want to try. I’m really looking forward to that race.”
For more information about the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series and DIRTcar Pro Stock Series openers Sunday, June 2, at Cornwall Motor Speedway, visit www.cornwallspeedway.com . For more information about Round 2 of the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, visit www.rollingwheelsraceway.com. Follow @DIRTcarNE on Twitter or the DIRTcar Racing Facebook page for the latest news about both series.
AT A GLANCE:
DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series/DIRTcar Pro Stock Series Openers
WHAT: Jiffy Auto Service sponsors the DIRTcar Series Doubleheader
WHO: DIRTcar Sportsman Series, DIRTcar Pro Stock Series, Modifieds, Semi Pro, Mini Stock
WHEN: Sunday, June 2. Grandstand gates open at 5:30 p.m., racing starts at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Cornwall Motor Speedway, Civic #16981, Cornwall Centre Rd, Long Sault, Ontario
ABOUT THE TRACK: 1/4-mile high-banked oval
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.cornwallspeedway.com or (613) 938-3945
DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series, Round 2
WHAT: DIRTcar Hall of Fame 60
WHO: DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series, Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series, Midstate Vintage Stock Car Club
WHEN: Wednesday, June 5. Grandstand gates open at 5 p.m., racing starts at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, 8310 Grant Avenue Rd., Elbridge, N. Y.
ABOUT THE TRACK: 5/8-mile clay oval
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.rollingwheelsraceway.com or (315) 834-6606
The Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast Region are brought to fans by several sponsors and partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Chevy Performance Parts, NAPA Auto Parts, and Safety-Kleen. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio. Contingency sponsors are ASI, Beyea Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD Performance, Penske Shocks, Racing Electronics, Superflow, TNT Rescue, and Wrisco Industries.