Weedsports, NY — December 5, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast PR Director
Enjoying his last overall Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship in 1994, 53 year-old Pete Bicknell is the oldest driver ever to wear the coveted crown since the nationally recognized organization was established during the United States’ Bicentennial. He continued an unlikely trend among champions, for the third straight year clinching the title without making a trip to victory lane, although the seasoned Small-Block veteran from St. Catharines, Ontario produced seven top-10 feature finishes and posted four front-5s behind the wheel of his self-designed Bicknell Racing Products no. 42 Lucas Oil Products-Merrittville Speedway entry. ‘Mr. Small-Block’ increased his all-time high DIRTcar career count to 197 victories in 358-Modified competition while adding a fifth track points title at Ransomville Speedway.
Second-generation chauffeur Danny O’Brien finished second for the second straight season in his bid for the elusive Mr. DIRTcar points crown, yet the Kingston, Ontario driver triumphed twice in tour competition. The ‘Pocket Rocket’ won at Cornwall Motor Speedway then held off older brother Pat O’Brien in his 1000 Islands RV Centres no. 17D Stover Bus Lines-Pat’s Radiator/Bicknell mount to collect a $15,000 payday at Autodrome Drummond. Despite missing one of 10 point races, 2008 Brockville Ontario Speedway champion O’Brien registered four Top-Five feature finishes to fall short by just 33 markers in the final standings.
Western New York traveler Chad Brachmann from Sanborn, New York made his best-ever Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified title run of third, logging four Top-10 tallies with third-place showings in the April opener at Merrittville Speedway and the Super DIRT Week showdown at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in October. The 2001 overall Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman champion captured the Merrittville season points crown steering his familiar Brachmann Racing no. 3B Original Pizza Logs/Bicknell machine.
Age was no factor for 15 year-old open-wheel upstart Larry Wight from Phoenix, New York as he climbed to fourth on the points chart to lock up the DIRTcar Northeast top rookie award in convincing fashion. Piloting the LJL Racing no. 99L Gypsum Express,Ltd.-Tracey Road Equipment/Bicknell ride, Wight scored two Top-10 tour finishes with his lone front-five posted at Mohawk Int’l Raceway. ‘Lightning’ Larry piled up track bonus points at Can-Am Motorsports Park, where he cracked the winner’s circle four times, and also earned first-year accolades following the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Blocks.
Fourth-year tour follower Carey Terrance rounded out the Top-Five in Mr. DIRTcar Series points, notching three Top-10s aboard the RezX Racing no. 66X Akwesasne Filter Manufacturing/TEO entry. Also placing among the Top-Five the previous two seasons, the ’05 DIRTcar 358 Rookie of the Year from Akwesasne, New York teamed with Dale Planck in 2008 and doubled up with two feature wins at Cornwall en route to the coveted track points crown.
Contending for a second-straight season in DIRTcar Northeast’s premier Small-Block division, Akwesasne, New York racer Mark Smoke settled into a solid sixth-place in the standings after qualifying for all 10 main events. Picking up his first career 358-Modified victory at Can-Am, Smoke also frequented Cornwall during the summer hauling around the Thompson Motorsports no. 9 Peters Motorsports/Bicknell machine from his north country home.
Another north country tour regular among the Top-10 point earners, Lance Willix II secured a number of rides although it was the Nor-Shir Construction no. 16 TRC-SUNY Canton/Bicknell entry that ultimately carried the Theresa, New York driver to seventh in the final standings. The 2006 DIRTcar 358-Modified rookie of the year led his first-ever tour feature laps on the Syracuse Mile during Super DIRT Week where the Can-Am regular wound up 18th in the 150-lapper.
Recognized this season in both the no. 89B & 5 Bashore Trucking-New York Pizzeria/Bicknell Small-Block machines, Todd Burley held on for an eighth-place finish in the 2008 standings. A pair of front-four feature finishes in the initial two events, including a thrilling win in the 24th Alex Friesen Summer Nationals at Ransomville Speedway, put the Spencerport, New York standout in prime position yet the 1992 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman titlist was unable to carry the momentum and was relegated to his eighth career Top-10 points finish in 358-Modified competition.
Claiming the 2006 overall Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Championship, Advance Auto Parts Series mainstay Brett Hearn posted two wins in his six tour starts this season to fall into ninth on the final points chart. The Sussex, New Jersey speedster parked the Four Star Transmissions no. 4 Kruger-Kosakowski Plumbing & Heating/TEO mount in victory lane at Rolling Wheels during Super DIRT Week then returned to capture the Eastern States 100 finale at Orange County Fair Speedway.
Formidable female foe Jessica Zemken from Sprakers, New York rounds out the Top-10 in points with her lone Top-Five finish of third scored at Mohawk Int’l Raceway in her rookie DIRTcar 358-Modified campaign. Opening the season aboard the LaSalle Motorsports ride and claiming her four feature wins by June, ‘Pumpkin’ buckled into the Thompson Motorsports no. 19Z Street Wise Fight Gear/TEO car for season-ending specials to continue her march through the Modified ranks.
Car and track owner John Lazore ended the season 11th in points with his 10th-place best feature finish registered at Cornwall. The division’s rookie of the year in’ 04, Moawk Int’l Raceway landlord Lazore qualified for seven events sporting his potent Street Wise Fight Gear-JL Motorsports-G&R Auto Parts/TEO machine. The Hogansburg, New York pilot chalked up all his three wins this year on home soil at Mohawk, where he went on to claim his first-ever points championship in 2008.
Gaining ground in his rookie season chasing Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship points, Holley Hard Luck award recipient Tommy Flannigan ended up 12th in the standings wheeling the Kane’s Vending no. 72 CMH Leasing/Bicknell entry around the Northeast. The St. Catharines, Ontario upstart logged a seventh-place best at Ransomville yet had better luck on the homefront with his first career Small-Block feature win scored at Merrittville Speedway.
Finishing 13th in the final standings was certainly unlucky for reigning Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Champion Mario Clair, with his only win in the grueling 100-lapper at Mohawk even marred by a carburetor infraction. Two more Top-10 finishes in the Batiments JDL no. 22 Motel Drummond-Freightliner Drummond/Bicknell mount was all the popular Frenchman from St-Edmond, Quebec could muster in his year of defense, although a career-high fourth-place at Syracuse in the ‘Salute To The Troops 150’ was the next best thing.
Opening the 2008 Mr. DIRTcar 358 Series with a dominating checkered flag performance at Merrittville helped carry second-generation driver Dale Planck to 14th in the final standings. Also following the entire Advance Series for Big-Blocks, the Cortland, New York star drove the RezX Racing no. 77X Grow It Hydroseeding-Action Race Parts/TEO team car to three more Top-Five feature finishes in seven Small-Block tour events.
Finishing in the front-five the previous year and among the Top-10 in the ’06 points hunt, veteran Small-Block racer Roy Tarbell from Hogansburg, New York made four starts on the 2008 Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship trail which was just enough to carry him to 15th and into the final point fund payoff position. The ‘Smokin’ Gun’ drove the Street Wise Fight Wear no. 007 Chiefs Tobacco Outlet/TEO machine at both Mohawk and Cornwall, with his best tour finish this summer 13th at Drummond.
Annually attracting a number of Small-Block competitors from the Northeast, Volusia Speedway Park launches the 2009 season as the 38th Alltel DIRTcar Nationals Presented by UNOH showcases the mighty DIRTcar Modifieds on February 11-14.
2008 Overall Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series
Point Standings (FINAL)
Rank No. Driver Points Series Track Diff. Wins T-5 T-10 Starts
1 42 Pete Bicknell 1,042 746 296 0 0 4 7 10
2 17d Danny O’Brien 1,009 709 300 -33 2 4 6 9
3 3b Chad Brachmann 978 702 276 -64 0 2 4 10
4 99L Larry Wight® 876 576 300 -166 0 1 2 10
5 66x Carey Terrance 862 578 284 -180 0 0 3 10
6 9s Mark Smoke 783 491 292 -259 0 0 0 10
7 16 Lance Willix II 766 490 276 -276 0 0 0 10
8 5 Todd Burley 759 459 300 -283 1 2 3 8
9 4* Brett Hearn 744 468 276 -298 2 2 3 6
10 19z Jessica Zemken® 738 458 280 -304 0 1 1 7
11 19L John Lazore 732 440 292 -310 0 0 1 7
12 72 Tommy Flannigan® 728 504 224 -314 0 0 1 10
13 22c Mario Clair 714 450 264 -328 1 2 3 8
14 66 Dale Planck 626 522 104 -416 1 4 5 7
15 007 Roy Tarbell 583 333 250 -459 0 0 0 4
16 124 Pierre Dagenais 550 270 280 -492 0 1 1 5
17 14 Mitchell Jock® 531 267 264 -511 0 0 1 4
18 26 Rick Richner 529 275 254 -513 0 0 2 4
19 15J Tim Jones 524 284 240 -518 0 0 0 5
20 22 Eric Gauvreau 524 236 288 -518 0 0 0 4
21 90 Martin Roy 498 210 288 -544 0 0 0 3
22 23L Larry Lampman Jr. 498 222 276 -544 0 0 1 3
23 38 Scott Wood 487 195 292 -555 0 0 1 4
24 23 Laurent Ladouceur 462 178 284 -580 0 1 1 3
25 96 Danny Johnson 441 371 70 -601 0 1 2 5
21 Yan Bussiere 441 185 256 -601 0 0 0 3
Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket retailer of parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United States, serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets As of April 19, 2008, the Company operated 3,291 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Additional information about the Company, employment opportunities, customer services, and on-line shopping for parts and accessories can be found on the Company’s web site at www.advanceautoparts.com.
The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire and Sunoco Race Fuels. Promotional partners include AMB i.t., Rite Aid Corporation and the University of Northwestern Ohio and the contingency sponsors are Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Crane Cams, Integra Shocks, MSD Ignitions, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks and Wrisco Industries.