Weedsport, NY — December 3, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
The concept that consistency wins championships was reinforced once more by 2009 overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Champion Dale Planck as he surfaced as the fourth straight driver to finish up without a tour win. Placing 14th last year on the 358-Mod champ trail, Planck’s previous best finishes were 3rd in 2005 & 4th in ’03, the same year he scored two series wins. In his 10 tour starts this year, the ‘Natural’ registered eight top-10 feature finishes, also posting a series-high half-dozen front-5s behind the wheel of owner Carey Terrance’s RezX Racing no. 77x Grow It Hydroseeding/TEO entry. And despite going winless in ‘09, the second-generation standout from Cortland, N.Y. remains listed among DIRTcar Northeast’s all-time Top-20 358-Modified feature winners with 49 checkered flags —including 4 in the Mr. DIRTcar Small-Block series— with 4 track point titles earned over the past 10 years.
Reigning Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Champion Pete Bicknell never began his title defense until rain washed out the April opener at Can-Am Motorsports, yet once back-to-back Top-5s were scored on home soil in the Niagara Frontier the St. Catharines, Ont. veteran rekindled his travel plans. Merritville (Ont.) Speedway owner and the track’s winningest driver produced two Integra Shocks Fast Times and eight Top-10 feature finishes in the 11-race series, posting four front-5s behind the wheel of his self-designed Bicknell Racing Products no. 42 Lucas Oil Products entry. En route to runner-up in the overall points chase ‘Mr. Small-Block’ became the first driver in DIRTcar 358-Modified history to crack the 200-win barrier as he increased his all-time high count to 203 victories while adding a fifth Modified track title at Humberstone (Ont.) Speedway.
A recognized protégé of Mr. Small-Block himself, Larry Lampman Jr. embarked on his first all-out assault on the Hoosier-VP Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified champ trail and not only matched Bicknell’s track record of 4 Top-5s and 8 Top-10s, went 1-up with the opening round victory at Merrittville — site of 4 wins and his third track title of the new millennium. The personable Port Colborne, Ontario pilot landed 5th-place finishes in his maiden voyages to Mohawk Int’l Raceway and Autodrome Drummond, also parking owner Dan Miller’s no. 22 CMH Leasing-Turn 4 Collision-Garden City Auto Complex/Bicknell mount in the fifth slot at Syracuse to close out Super DIRT Week and climb to 3rd-place in the final overall standings.
A stalwart in the Mr. DIRTcar Small-Block championship series, 2nd-generation chauffeur Danny O’Brien settled for fourth on the points chart steering the Global Warranty no. 7-Star 1000 Islands RV-Stover Bus Lines/Bicknell machine. Still in search of that elusive high points crown on tour, the Kingston, Ontario driver netted a half-dozen Top-10 feature finishes, two among the front-five at Canadian favorites Brockville Ontario Speedway (3rd) and Cornwall Motor Speedway (4th). Despite missing one of the 11 point races, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ remained a solid contender throughout the season, ending the 2009 campaign with a division-high 9 victories in the weekend wars and his 4th straight 358-Modified title at Brockville.
Rounding out the Top-5 in 2009 Mr. DIRTcar points was Mario Clair, who scored the biggest win of his career as he closed out the inaugural DIRTcar Northeast Fall Nationals at Brockville in fitting fashion with his first tour victory on Canadian soil. The popular Frenchman from St-Edmond, Que. added two more front-five finishes in the Resist O no. 22 Batiments JDL-Motel Drummond/Bicknell mount at Autodrome Granby and Mohawk Int’l in September. A weekly runner during the summer at Granby and Autodrome Drummond —where he netted a 2nd track title over the past three years— Clair scored his first series win in ‘08 at Mohawk after clinching the overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358 Championship the previous year.
Car owner/driver Carey Terrance made his fifth straight year following DIRTcar Racing Northeast’s premier Small-Block Modified Series the most rewarding as he scored his first career tour victory wheeling his potent RezX Racing no. 66X Tomohawk Tobacco-Brass Horse Grill/TEO ride. The memorable triumph at Cornwall Motor Speedway was earned by .002-second over teammate Dale Planck, who had rallied from a last-place start, providing a double payoff for the winner hailing from Akwesasne, N.Y. Placing fifth a year ago in the overall points hunt, Terrance finished 6th in the ’09 edition with four Top-10s, adding five feature wins during the regular season at Cornwall and Mohawk.
A past Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman titlist (2001), open-wheel traveler Chad Brachmann from Sanborn, N.Y. remained a steady series contender finishing 7th overall aboard his no. 3 Mighty Taco/Bicknell entry. He logged his two tour Top-5s on home soil at Ransomville Speedway in July and Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in September, ultimately using Merrittville as his home track for bonus points after winding up third in the weekly standings.
Among a handful of prominent first-year pilots in the DIRTcar Small-Block ranks, 2009 Motorsports Safety Systems Rookie of the Year Jeremy Wilder checked into 8th-place on the final Hoosier-VP Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship points chart. The talented 19 year-old from Fort Plain, N.Y. was recognized buckled into the James Edgar Company no. 22J Roosevelts/Bicknell entry, registering three Top-10 tour finishes in 10 events while running weekly against the Big-Blocks at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park where he netted a pair of front-five feature finishes.
Locked into a season-long points battle for top rookie honors, successful Sportsman graduate Mat Williamson from St. Catharines, Ont. was edged out by just 45 markers in the final rundown yet still figured into 9th-place in the overall Mr. DIRTcar standings. Qualifying for all 11 tour shows, the driver of the Optional Hose & Hydraulics no. 6 Jasen Enterprises/Bicknell mount recorded his lone Top-10 at the Syracuse Mile during Super DIRT Week, missing out on race rookie by just one position. Son of Bicknell Racing Products VP and Merrittville Speedway co-owner Randy Williamson, 19 year-old Mat finished 8th in points at Humberstone and tied for 10th at Merrittville where he grabbed his first checkered flag.
North country mainstay Lance Willix II from Theresa, N.Y. reached 10th-place in the final 2009 Mr. DIRTcar point standings, for the 4th straight season finishing among the Top-10. Entering the Nor-Shir Construction no. 16 TRC-SUNY Canton/Bicknell ride in all 11 extra-distance events, he scored a 10th-place best at Autodrome Drummond. The 2006 DIRTcar 358-Modified rookie of the year competed regularly at Can-Am Motorsports Park with his lone DIRTcar 358-Modified feature win logged in ’07 at Cornwall Motor Speedway.
A four-time Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified champion, Canadian veteran Pat O’Brien spent the ’09 season on both Big-Block and Small-Block tours, hitting 11th on the overall 358 points chart by October’s end. While making seven of the 11 Small-Block Series shows, the Kingston, Ont. kingpin earned a pair of Integra Shocks Fast Time awards and netted back-to-back wins at Mohawk and Brockville, crossing the line 4th in the first-ever Fall Nationals at the BOS in October steering the 730 Truck Stop no. 6 Gypsum Logistics-Milestone Concrete/Bicknell car.
Another in the handful of fast first-year campaigners registered for competition on the DIRTcar Small-Block circuit, hard-charging Mark D’Ilario from Smithville, Ont. qualified for eight main events to reach 12th in the final overall Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship point standings. The Niagara Frontier favorite put his Pioneer Fuels no. 08 Turn 4 Collision-Chevron/Bicknell machine in the winner’s circle at Merrittville for the first time in August, following up on a successful Sportsman career that included two feature wins on both sides of the border.
Filling in 13th in the season-long points chase, formidable Frenchman David Hebert joins weekly rival Mario Clair in the top echelon of Modified racers from Quebec, adding third-place bests in the province of Ontario at both Cornwall and Brockville. Matching Danny O’Brien’s DIRTcar Northeast leading Small-Block win total of 9, the St. Damase, Que. standout was crowned the 358-Modified track champion at Granby for a second year behind the wheel of the familiar Mecanique Electrique CMPL no. 1 Coffrage Levesque/Bicknell ride.
Making the starting grid at five series stops, sophomore Small-Block pilot Tommy Flannigan ended up 14th in the overall Mr. DIRTcar 358 standings strapped in the Kane’s Vending no. 72 CMH Leasing/Bicknell car. The St. Catharines, Ont. chauffeur competed weekly throughout the summer at Ransomville (10th pts.) and Merrittville (16th), then every other Sunday in specials at Humberstone Speedway (6th), adding a second career 358 victory at Humberstone in mid-season.
Taking on the tough 358-Modified tour for the first time this season, Elginburg, Ont. hotshoe Bobby Herrington climbed to 15th to round out the final 2009 point fund payout positions. Steering the Stover Bus Lines no. 25 Osprey Stables-Kingston Paint/Bicknell entry over the summer, the 3rd year DIRTcar 358-Modified racer earned his first career Small-Block win at Autodrome Edelweiss where he finishing fourth in the final 358-Mod points standings.
Annually attracting a number of Small-Block competitors from the Northeast, Volusia Speedway Park launches the 2010 season as the 39th Florida DIRTcar Nationals Presented by UNOH showcases the mighty DIRTcar Modifieds on February 10-13.
2009 Overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Point Standings (FINAL)
Rank No. Driver Total Series Bonus Diff Wins Top-5 Top-10 Starts
1 77x Dale Planck 1262 902 360 0 0 6 8 10
2 42 Pete Bicknell 1180 820 360 -82 0 4 8 11
3 22 Larry Lampman Jr. 1143 783 360 -119 1 4 8 11
4 7* Danny O’Brien 1118 758 360 -144 0 2 6 10
5 22c Mario Clair 1042 682 360 -220 1 3 5 10
6 66x Carey Terrance 1028 668 360 -234 0 2 4 9
7 3b Chad Brachmann 1023 663 360 -239 0 2 5 10
8 22J Jeremy Wilder® 983 623 360 -279 0 0 3 10
9 6m Mat Williamson® 938 578 360 -324 0 0 1 11
10 16w Lance Willix II 930 570 360 -332 0 0 1 11
11 6 Pat O’Brien 895 535 360 -367 2 3 5 7
12 08 Mark D’Ilario® 791 431 360 -471 0 0 0 8
13 1 David Hebert 735 375 360 -527 0 3 4 5
14 72 Tommy Flannigan 703 343 360 -559 0 0 0 5
15 25 Bobby Herrington 650 290 360 -612 0 0 0 6
16 23 Laurent Ladouceur 649 289 360 -613 0 0 1 6
17 007 Roy Tarbell 630 270 360 -632 0 0 1 4
18 8 Rich Scagliotta® 601 361 240 -661 0 0 1 7
19 55 Stewart Friesen 598 238 360 -664 0 2 5 5
20 88 Tim O’Brien 592 232 360 -670 0 0 2 4
21 m96 Brian McDonald 592 232 360 -670 0 0 0 4
22 14 Mitchell Jock 590 230 360 -672 0 0 0 2
23 97 Michel Chicoine® 568 208 360 -694 0 0 0 3
24 124 Pierre Dagenais 564 204 360 -698 0 0 0 4
25 21 Yan Bussière 560 200 360 -702 0 1 1 4
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.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 Rite Aid Corporation www.riteaid.com, Dig Safely New York www.digsafelynewyork.com and the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and the contingency sponsors are Bars Leaks www.barsproducts.com, Bert Transmission www.berttransmission.com, Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, Brodix Cylinder Heads www.brodix.com, Ferris Industries www.ferrisindustries.com, Integra Shocks www.integrashocksandsprings.com, Intercomp www.intercomp-racing.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Rislone Oil Stabilizer www.barsproducts.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com.