Weedsport, NY — December 3, 2010 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
In a fitting finale that concluded a season-long rally to the top, Danny Johnson from Rochester, N.Y. vaulted from second to first on the points chart to capture his fourth overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship and kick off the new decade. With the initial five series shows staged on Canadian soil, American invader Johnson was hardly a foreigner at the host tracks in Ontario and Quebec, already racking up well over 30 DIRTcar Modified wins at a half-dozen ovals in both provinces and adding his first-ever at Autodrome Edelweiss in July. A late-race charge at Rolling Wheels during Super DIRT Week rewarded the ‘Doctor’ with his second tour triumph to put him in prime position for the last race heroics at Brockville. In his 10 tour starts Johnson registered eight Top-10 feature finishes, also posting a series-high half-dozen front-5s behind the wheel of owner Mike Payne’s Honeoye Auto Parts-Currier Plastics-Waste Management-Rochester Americans/Bicknell rides sporting the numbers 7Z and 27J. Including his two tour triumphs in 2010, D.J. ranks second all-time with 55 and also stands third among DIRTcar Northeast’s all-time winners with 150 (6 in 2010) checkered flags coming in 358-Modified action.
Three-time Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Champion Pete Bicknell from St. Catharines, Ont. was among the top-three point-getters throughout the season, advancing to second in the final standings after the last series stop. The popular Merritville (Ont.) Speedway owner and the track’s winningest driver led the tour with three Bilstein Shocks Fast Times and eight Top-10 feature finishes in the 10-race series, posting three front-5s behind the wheel of his self-designed Bicknell Racing Products no. 42 Lucas Oil Products entry. En route to his second straight runner-up in the overall points chase, ‘Mr. Small-Block’ extended his DIRTcar 358-Modified total to an all-time high 212 victories while adding a record 20th Modified track title at Merrittville.
On the brink of claiming his first overall Hoosier-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Small-Block Championship for yet another season, 2nd-generation chauffeur Danny O’Brien dropped from first to third in his latest bid after an 18th-place finish on home soil at Brockville Ontario Speedway in October. Behind the wheel of the stout Global Warranty no. 7-Star 1000 Islands RV-Stover Bus Lines/Bicknell ride, the Kingston, Ontario driver registered seven Top-10 feature finishes, four among the front-five including a big 100-lap win at Cornwall (Ont.) Motor Speedway. Increasing his career count to 132 DIRTcar 358-Mod wins —12 on tour— the ‘Pocket Rocket’ ended the 2010 campaign with five small-block victories in weekend wars and placed third in points at Cornwall.
Remaining the top traveling Frenchman for a fourth straight year, Mario Clair from St-Edmond, Que. finished fourth in the Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified title chase steering his potent Resist O no. 22 Batiments JDL-Motel Drummond/Bicknell mount on both sides of the border. Clair posted a pair of front-five finishes at Autodrome Edelweiss (2nd) in July and Cornwall (4th) in September, with the 2007 Mr. DIRTcar Champion adding three more Top-10 tour runs before the year was out. A weekly runner reaching victory lane six times during the summer at Drummond (3rd pts) and Autodrome Granby —where he garnered his first 358 track title— Clair owns two Mr. DIRTcar 358 Champ trail wins with his last coming in the inaugural Global Warranty DIRTcar Fall Nationals at Brockville in October of 2009.
Clair’s chief rival David Hebert from St. Damase, Que. was the next highest in 2010 points, marking the first time ever that two Frenchmen occupied Top-5 positions in the Mr. DIRTcar standings in one season. Hebert mirrored his fellow countryman’s success, copping the Drummond points crown while finishing third at Granby, although only chalking up three feature wins by season’s end. Hebert did however best his weekly counterpart by logging three series front-fives and a half-dozen Top-10s, crossing the line a 2nd-place best on tour at Granby buckled in the Mecanique Electrique CMPL no. 1 Coffrage Levesque/Bicknell ride.
A four-time Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified champion, Canadian veteran Pat O’Brien returned to the Small-Block circuit full-time in ‘10, improving from 11th to sixth on the overall 358 points chart. The Kingston, Ont. kingpin earned points in all 10 series shows aboard the 730 Truck Stop no. 6 Gypsum Logistics-Milestone Concrete/Bicknell car, posting a pair of Top-10 tour finishes with a runner-up to younger brother Danny the best of the bunch at Cornwall. Ending his sibling’s streak of four straight track titles at Brockville with a fourth of his own at the Kirkland family oval, Pat won once at the BOS yet has still taken 146 checkered flags (4th all-time) in DIRTcar’s 358 division.
Improving from a prominent rookie campaign the year prior, Mat Williamson from St. Catharines, Ont. enjoyed continued successful in the small-block ranks moving from ninth to seventh in the overall Hoosier-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified standings. The best of his trio of three Top-10 tour finishes was fifth-place at Granby in September, gaining hometrack bonus points for the series at Merrittville Speedway where he climbed to a career-best third in points with two feature wins. Son of Bicknell Racing Products VP and Merrittville co-owner Randy Williamson, the talented 20 year-old in the Optional Hose & Hydraulics no. 6 Jasen Enterprises-S&W Service Centre/Bicknell mount also placed sixth over the border at Ransomville (NY) Speedway and closer to home wound up 10th in points at Humberstone Speedway in Port Colborne.
Prior to tying the knot in November, car owner/driver Carey Terrance completed his sixth consecutive season following DIRTcar Racing Northeast’s premier Small-Block Modified Series which resulted in eighth position in points. The driver of the RezX Racing-Twin Leaf (Hogansburg)-Tomohawk Tobacco ride logged his lone Top-10 at Autodrome Granby, yet was far more successful on weekends. He took seven checkered flags en route to his first track title at Mohawk Int’l Raceway in his hometown of Akwesasne, N.Y., adding win no. 8 across the bridge at Cornwall Motor Speedway.
Making his touring debut in 2010 was the 9th-place finisher in overall Hoosier-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar standings Eric Gauvreau from Chelsea, Que. The Autodrome Edelweiss mainstay took advantage of his home soil to post his only tour Top-10 at the Cantley, Quebec oval piloting the Gauvreau Top Soil no. 22 Artic Glacier/Bicknell machine to a fifth-place finish in July. During the regular season Gauvreau cracked the winner’s circle twice at Edelweiss to reach third on the track points chart.
The Canadian trend continued as Luke Whitteker from Iroquois, Ont. made the most of his first season, reaching 10th-place in the final 2010 Mr. DIRTcar point standings to lock up Motorsports Safety Systems Rookie of the Year honors. Cutting his teeth weekly at Edelweiss, where he finished third in points with two feature wins, and Cornwall (5th pts/1 win), the 17 year-old Sportsman graduate traveled to every event fielding the Rust Check no. 38 Toy Storage Boat Transport/Bicknell entry. His best finishes recorded during the season were 13th at both Rolling Wheels Raceway and Mohawk, with a 14th-place tallied at Edelweiss.
One season after gaining Motorsports Safety Systems 358-Modified Rookie of the Year acclaim with an 8th-place position, Jeremy Wilder from Fort Plain, N.Y. could only climb as high as 11th on the final overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358 points chart in 2010. At 20 years young, Wilder was recognized aboard the James Edgar Company no. 22J Roosevelts/Bicknell mount, registering two Top-10 finishes (7th at Mohawk, 9th at Cornwall) on tour while running weekly against the Big-Blocks at Can-Am Motorsports Park where he ultimately wound up sixth in small-block points.
Returning the focus to his Big-Block program this season, 2009 overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Champion Dale Planck dropped to 12th in this year’s points chase after missing two tour events. In his eight series starts, the ‘Natural’ was still able to rack up four Top-10 feature finishes highlighted by runner-up at Drummond and 5th-place at Brewerton Speedway during Super DIRT Week. Once again teaming with car owner Carey Terrance in the RezX Racing no. 77x Twin Leaf Express(Ft. Covington)/Bicknell entry, the second-generation standout from Cortland, N.Y. netted three regular season victories at Mohawk Int’l to remain among DIRTcar Northeast’s all-time Top-20 358-Modified feature winners with 52 checkered flags including four in the Mr. DIRTcar Small-Block series.
Continuing to call Autodrome Edelweiss his hometrack on Fridays during the season, Pierre Dagenais from Gatineau, Que. qualified for six of the 10 small-block series point races to fall in 13th on the overall Hoosier-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar chart. Recognized throughout the DIRTcar Racing Northeastern region in 2010 accompanied by the legendary ‘Barefoot’ Bob McCreadie, Dagenais could only muster series bests of 11th-place at Mohawk and 15th at Brockville entered in his self-owned no. 124 Carriere Sabliere Dagenais/Bicknell mount. Ranking among the Top-15 on DIRTcar’s all-time 358-Mod win list, the five-time Edelweiss points king went winless for the first time during the new millennium.
The fifth and final Frenchman to finish in the first 15 slots, Kayle Robidoux from St-Constant, Que. reached 14th on the overall Mr. DIRTcar points chart with half his four series starts ending in the Top-5. The Bert Transmission no. 46 Genesis Racing Shocks-Rube Restaurant/TEO entry was at the front of the pack at both Granby (4th) and Mohawk (3rd), each time running out of laps before being able to match his lone tour triumph at Granby in 2007. Concluding the season second in points at both Granby (3 wins) and Drummond, Robidoux also added his 2nd career small-block victory at Cornwall to give him 29 overall since the year 2000.
Managing to make six series shows from his home in St. Catharines, Ont., second-generation chauffeur Tommy Flannigan filled in 15th to round out the final point fund payout positions in the overall Mr. DIRTcar 358-Mod standings. Strapped in behind the wheel of the Kane’s Vending no. 72 CMH Leasing/Bicknell machine during his third small-block season, Flannigan kicked off the 2010 campaign with his best tour finish of 12th at his Saturday night hangout of Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, Ont. Posting a feature win at both Merrittville (14th pts) and Ransomville (13th pts.), he also climbed to 12th in the final standings at Humberstone folowing the track’s special 358-Mod format.
Annually attracting a number of Small-Block competitors from the Northeast, Volusia Speedway Park launches the 2011 season as the 40th Florida DIRTcar Nationals By University of Northwestern showcases the mighty DIRTcar Modifieds on Feb. 16-19.
2010 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 27J Danny Johnson 1,790 866 924 0 2 6 8 10
2 42 Pete Bicknell 1,752 752 1000 -38 0 3 8 10
3 7* Danny O’Brien 1,751 766 985 -39 1 4 7 9
4 22c Mario Clair 1,666 666 1000 -124 0 2 5 10
5 1H David Hebert 1,654 679 975 -136 0 3 6 10
6 6 Pat O’Brien 1,599 599 1000 -191 0 1 2 9
7 6m Mat Williamson 1,533 548 985 -257 0 1 3 9
8 66x Carey Terrance 1,512 512 1000 -278 0 0 1 9
9 22g Eric Gauverau 1,511 526 985 -279 0 1 1 9
10 38L Luke Whitteker® 1,508 533 975 -282 0 0 0 9
11 22J Jeremy Wilder 1,457 512 945 -333 0 0 2 9
12 77x Dale Planck 1,453 537 916 -337 0 2 3 8
13 124 Pierre Dagenais 1,351 406 945 -439 0 0 0 6
14 46 Kayle Robidoux 1,322 337 985 -468 0 2 2 4
15 72 Tommy Flannigan 1,312 386 926 -478 0 0 0 6
16 21 Yan Bussiere 1,311 311 1000 -479 0 1 3 5
17 26 Rick Richner 1,285 340 945 -505 0 0 1 7
18 19 John Lazore 1,275 310 965 -515 0 0 0 5
19 74 Matt Billings 1,274 299 975 -516 0 0 1 5
20 1x Todd Stone 1,262 317 945 -528 0 0 1 5
21 72 Denis Gauvreau 1,240 275 965 -550 0 0 0 3
22 99L Larry Wight 1,217 282 935 -573 0 0 0 4
23 3b Chad Brachmann 1,209 224 985 -581 0 0 1 4
24 23 Laurent Ladouceur 1,160 160 1000 -630 0 0 0 3
25 115 Stephane LaFrance 1,141 141 1000 -649 0 0 0 3
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, VP Racing Fuels www.vpracingfuels.com and GM Performance Parts www.gmperformanceparts.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.