Weedsport, NY — August 18, 2010 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
Nearly two months have passed since the last Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship Series event was held. Far too long for veteran Dave Bissonnette, who at age 43 is now more eager than ever to run DIRTcar Racing Northeast’s premier full-fender tour.
“I just love it, running a lot of different tracks against some top-notch drivers,” remarked Bissonnette, who currently ranks eighth on the Series points chart, just 42 markers behind first-place after three extra-distance events. “I really like the heads-up format and they’re all big races. You can really pace yourself and the competition gives you a lot of respect. They all know what’s at stake and don’t try to win on the first lap.”
The popular Apple Hill, Ont. pilot will be among the track regulars demanding the most respect when Mohawk Int’l Raceway hosts round four of the Mr. DIRTcar champ trail on Sat., Aug. 21. Fresh off his third victory of the season last Friday at the refurbished 4/10-mile Akwesasne, N.Y. oval, Bissonnette will be in search of his first-ever tour triumph in the headline 50-lapper paying $1,000 to win.
“For a lot of years my only real care was going after the local track titles,” admitted Bissonnette, a lifer at Mohawk since it first opened in 1988, with a pair of track championships earned under the DIRTcar banner in 2002-2003 and today standing second in points. “Winning Syracuse and Mr. DIRT are my biggest goals right now.”
“But I know just getting a series win will be tough to do. The level of competition is so high and a lot of guys are just as capable wherever we run. I’m confident everytime out nowadays but so are all the other guys following the tour. I’m sure I’ll be alright this week at Mohawk, hopefully we’ll have another good night before its all over,” said Bissonnette, ready to buckle in behind the wheel of his familiar Totem Pole Novelties no. 47 Sweet Dreams Chevrolet Monte Carlo sporting a Cannizzarro chassis.
A veteran of more than 20 years in the stock car ranks, 2010 marks the first time that Bissonnette is chasing Mr. DIRTcar points in two successive seasons. After reaching a career-high of fourth-place on the overall points chart in 2007, ‘Bulldog’ jumped off the tour bandwagon the following season before climbing back aboard last year to place eighth.
“Most of the time I just wanted to take a break from racing, for a lot of years I ran three nights a week and things got pretty busy,” said Bissonnette, who enjoyed his best season in 1996, capturing track crowns at every stop —Autodrome Edelweiss-Fri, Mohawk (then known as Frogtown Int’l Speedway on Saturday) and Cornwall Motor Speedway-Sun— and racking up 30 feature before turning 30 years old in December. “I’ve got boxes and boxes of trophies, some I’ve never even taken out. I try to give them out to the kids nowadays.”
“Meeting new drivers and all the people at the different tracks is probably my favorite part of the whole deal. I’m happy to have my health and be around to help out the younger guys when they ask a question. Being able to share my experience is something I consider among my biggest accomplishments,” Bissonnette noted.
Physical health is a commodity that Bissonnette never takes for granted, especially after the 1996 season that was shortened due to a work-related accident and gave him a new outlook on his weekend hobby.
“I got pinned between two machines at work and the doctors said I might never race again,” reluctantly recalled Bissonnette, a self-employed mechanic, as he conjured up bad memories from the 1996 incident that knocked him out of commission for six months. “I used to be a lot more cocky, now I’m a little older and wiser, and more calm with everything I do.”
“But I still get excited going to Syracuse, that’s a real big race and I’ve probably had a few chances to win it. Taking the trophy there would certainly satisfy me, its been a goal of mine for so long and would be a great way to make a career,” added Bissonnette, who has qualified for the Super DIRT Week Pro Stock main event on five occasions, finishing as high as ninth in 2007 while rallying from 28th to 11th in 2002 to claim the ‘Hard Charger’ award.
Before Super DIRT Week arrives at the Syracuse Mile in October, Bissonnette still needs to take care of some business closer to home. Mohawk sets the stage this Saturday and some of his biggest weekly rivals are also among the Mr. DIRTcar Series faithful.
Mohawk mainstay Louie Jackson leads the current Mr. DIRTcar point standings followed by Frenchman Jocelyn Roy, Chip Smith, Corey Wheeler, 2004 champ Joey Ladouceur and four-time reigning points king Pete Stefanski. While Ricky Thompson (3 MIR wins) holds down 15th position on the overall chart, he leads Bissonnette, Jackson (4 wins), Dion Oakes, Stephane Lebrun, David Papineau, Rod Tarbell and Wheeler in the MIR standings heading into Saturday’s shootout.
Racing gets underway Saturday at 7 p.m. at Mohawk Int’l Raceway (518/358-9017; office 518/358-3225) http://www.mohawkinternationalraceway.com, located on Frogtown Road, one mile south of State Route 37 in the village of Hogansburg, New York, which is the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation.
*NOTE: Originally listed on Sun., Oct 17, the 2010 Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series finale at Brockville Ontario Speedway will be run Fri., Oct. 15 while the tour stop at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park on Sun., Sept. 12 has been dropped from the schedule.
For additional tour information, please contact Interim Pro Stock Series Director Denis Moquin (613/978-3475, email@example.com) or DIRTcar Racing Northeast Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Joe Skotnicki (704/796-4566) during normal business hours. More about the entire circuit is posted on the DIRTcar homepage at www.dirtcar.com, with complete results and race reports listed in the ‘News’ section and also linked to ‘Schedules’ at the top.
2010 Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship Series
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TRACK LOCATION
Sun-May 23 Cornwall Motor Speedway Joey Ladouceur
Fri-Jun 25 Autodrome Granby *Rob Yetman
Sat-Jun 26 Autodrome Drummond Jocelyn Roy
Sat-Aug 21 Mohawk International Raceway Akwesasne,NY
Sat-Sep 11 Lebanon Valley Speedway West Lebanon,NY
Sun-Sep 12 Glen Ridge Motorsports Park -cancelled-
Sat-Sep 18 Canandaigua Speedway Canandaigua,NY
Sat-Sep 25 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Sun-Oct 10 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY
Fri-Oct 15 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.