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Pat O’Brien Wins Mr. DIRTcar 358-Mod Series 100 At Mohawk Int’l Raceway

Pat O'Brien
Pat O'Brien - Rick Young Photo

Akwesasne, NYSeptember 11, 2009 – By Bill Smith, DIRTcar Racing Northeast Series Correspondent

Pat O’Brien made his triumphant return to Mohawk International Raceway (MIR), charging to the lead on lap 88 and holding off the late race charges of Dale Planck to win the A&M Beverage & Tarbell Management Group (Bear’s Den, Eastern Door, Western Door, Jen Tobacco) 100. This was O’Brien’s first win of the 2009 Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series and his first win at MIR in several seasons.

Planck, after starting in the last row for the second straight series race, was again forced to settle for the runner-up spot, while Mohawk Raceway star Carey Terrance, after leading much of the race, finished third.

Pat O’Brien standing in victory lane on a Friday night at Mohawk Int’l Raceway–it’s a story straight from the late 1980s, as MIR (then Frogtown Speedway) was originally a Friday night track and O’Brien was one of the dominant drivers at the fast dirt oval located on the St. Regis Mohawk Akwesasne reservation. As the 1990s began, Frogtown switched to Saturday night racing and O’Brien went off to other tracks to continue his tremendous success. 2009 found Mohawk Raceway returning to its Friday night origins and Pat O’Brien, making his first start in several seasons at MIR, patiently waited until the race’s final laps to charge to the front in the Gypsum Logistics #6.

O’Brien, scoring his third win of the season and his first tour win, was pleased to find his way back to victory lane. “It feels great. I haven’t been here in so long. I think the last time I came back was mid-90s. I came for a series race and I was hoping for the success we used to have and it was terrible (then) so I wasn’t sure what we were going to get tonight…I’ve got to thank all my guys tonight, we’ve had a rotten year and we’ve haven’t been going very good. I’m making them do a lot of work and this is, I think, our third chassis so far this year. Thanks to John and Laura Wight at Gypsum, and all the great people at Mohawk, what a great place to race,” O’Brien remarked.

O’Brien has had a difficult season, losing nearly two months due to injuries after a hard flip at Big Diamond Raceway in a Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block event back in April. “It’s tough, I mean I’m still not 100%. I work hard for everything we get. When you start out the season, everybody’s rusty. We start the season and then we’re off for two months pretty much, so I come back and everyone’s on top of their game, so it’s been tough.”

Planck had a tremendous run. He was forced to start in the last row after breaking an axle in the heat and charged to his second straight series runner-up finish. The finish also helped him extend his point lead in the 358 series point standings. “It seems like I can’t start up towards the front here anymore. I can’t thank Carey (Terrance) enough for this whole deal. To have our cars two and three, we would have liked to have won it, too, but two and three is good. Especially from the back, he started ninth, we’re both on the podium, so it doesn’t get much better than that.”

The race found two of MIR’s youngest stars, Mitch Jock and Gage Morin, bringing the field around for green, with Jock jumping into the early lead and Morin right on his back bumper. The first yellow flag waved on lap 5 as Brian McDonald slid over the turn two banking.

The restart gave 2009 MIR champion Roy Tarbell an opportunity as he roared to the high lane to take second, but a lap later Morin returned the favor, sweeping low and back into the runner-up spot. Morin and Tarbell both applied the pressure to Jock, with Morin moving to the lead on lap 8, while Todd Stewart darted low a lap later to move past Jock for the runner-up spot.

The second caution flag waved on lap 12 as Billy Cook could not clear the speedway. The restart found Morin still up front but Tarbell and Stewart staged a great battle for second, with Carey Terrance moving into the battle and moving to the second spot on lap 15.

Terrance roared past Morin to grab the lead on lap 17 and began pulling away, while Stewart swung past Morin while the two fought heavy lapped traffic. Terrance and Stewart began to string out the field in an extended green flag run until the caution waved again on lap 37 as a car clipped a uke tire coming out of turn four, sending the tire out onto the speedway.

The race’s major incident occurred on the restart as Mat Williamson clipped the front stretch wall, crippling his racer. A wild scramble ensued behind him, with cars spinning and bouncing off each other to try to get clear. Casey Swamp took evasive action, diving into the turn one infield but got sideways and rolled twice, bringing out the red flag. No one was injured in the multi-car incident.

Terrance and Stewart showed the way for the next twenty laps, but Stewart grabbed the top spot on lap 67 as he dived low going into turn three, while Terrance was pinned behind lapped traffic. Terrance and Stewart continued their back and forth battle, weaving around lapped cars, Stewart running low and Terrance high until the caution waved again on lap 73.

Terrance used the restart to retake the top spot, with Stewart right behind, but now the fans were paying attention to the #6 of Pat O’Brien, coming from 13th starting spot to challenge Tarbell for third, while Dale Planck, after starting 30th on the field, had tenaciously fought his way to break into the top five with twenty laps to go.

O’Brien got past Stewart for the runner-up sot on lap 81 and set his sights on Terrance, while Planck picked off Gino Clair, Roy Tarbell and Stewart to move into third by lap 86.

O’Brien made the pass to grab the lead on lap 88 and began to open up a lead, but Planck was not about to let him get away. Planck got past Terrance on lap 92 and closed in on O’Brien, at times running right up to his back bumper as the two worked through heavy lapped traffic in the closing laps.

The fans were expecting a showdown, but Planck seemed to lose a little bit of momentum coming out of turn two on the final lap and O’Brien sped on to grab the win by two car-lengths. Planck finished second, his teammate and car owner Carey Terrance came home third, while former Mr. DIRTcar Mario Clair and recently crowned Merrittville Speedway points champion Larry Lampman Jr. rounded out the top-five.

The Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified champ trail returns to action on Saturday, September 12 with the Jack May Pontiac 100 at the Brockville Ontario Speedway. The series rounds out the weekend on Sunday, September 13 at Autodrome Granby with $10,000 up for grabs to the 150-lap winner.

Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Race #4 – Mohawk Int’l Raceway, September 11, 2009 Event Summary
A&M BEVERAGE & TARBELL MANAGEMENT GROUP (BEAR’S DEN, EASTERN DOOR, WESTERN DOOR, JEN TOBACCO) 100
:
FIN STR CAR# DRIVER
1 13 6 Pat O’Brien/Kingston, ONT
2 30 77x Dale Planck/Cortland, NY
3 9 66x Carey Terrance/Akwesasne, NY
4 21 22c Mario Clair/St-Edmond, QUE
5 14 22r Larry Lampman, Jr./Port Colborne, ONT
6 18 22j Jeremy Wilder/Fort Plain, NY
7 7 007 Roy Tarbell/Akwesasne, NY
8 5 FX1 Clayton Benedict/Akwesasne, NY
9 11 42 Pete Bicknell/St. Catherines, ONT
10 15 3 Chad Brachmann/Sanborn, NY
11 19 08 Mark D’Ilario/Smithville, ONT
12 20 22 Eric Gauvreau/Chelsea, QUE
13 17 7* Dan O’Brien/Kingston, ONT
14 29 25 Bobby Harrington/Elginburg, ONT
15 8 M96 Brian McDonald/Cornwall, ONT
16 26 72 Tommy Flannigan/St. Catherines, ONT
17 12 55 Perry Francis/Akwesasne, NY
18 4 23 Laurent Ladouceur/Alexandria, ONT
19 25 9 Mark Smoke/Akwesasne, NY
20 24 31 Tom Jock, Jr./Snye, QUE
21 16 22d Roy Delormier/Cornwall Island, ONT
22 28 79 Casey Swamp/Akwesasne, NY
23 27 55x Billy Cook/Akwesasne, NY
24 6 72s Todd Stewart/Kingston, ONT
25 10 84 Dave Heaslip/Smith Falls, ONT
26 1 16 Gage Morin/St. Andrews West, ONT
27 22 16w Lance Willix/Theresa, NY
28 2 14 Mitch Jock/Akwesasne, NY
29 3 6m Mat Williamson/St. Catherines, ONT
30 31 x70 Ryan Helm/Chateaugay, NY
31 23 4 Brad Shova/North Bangor, NY
DID NOT START:
33-Mike Mahaney/King Ferry, NY
55-Matt Woodruff/Bloomingdale, NY
LAP LEADERS: Jock (1-7), Morin (8-16), Terrance (17-66), Stewart (67-78), Terrance (79-87), Pat O’Brien (88-100).
CAUTIONS: 5; 1 RED FLAG (lap 42)
HEAT WINNERS: Heaslip, Terrance, Bicknell, McDonald
HALFWAY LEADER: Carey Terrance.
HARD CHARGER AWARD: Dale Planck
CARS ENTERED: 33.
NEXT EVENT: Brockville Ontario Speedway, Jack May Pontiac 100–Saturday, September 12.

2009 Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE LAPS TRACK LOCATION/WINNER
Mon-May 18 Merrittville Speedway Larry Lampman Jr.
Fri-Jul 31 Ransomville Speedway Danny Johnson
Sun-Sep 6 Cornwall Motor Speedway Carey Terrance
Fri-Sep 11 Mohawk International Raceway Pat O’Brien
Sat-Sep 12 Brockville Ontario Speedway Brockville,ONT
Sun-Sep 13 Autodrome Granby Granby,QUE ($10,000 to win)
Sat-Sep 19 Autodrome Drummond Drummondville,QUE ($10,000 to win)
Fri-Sep 25 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Wed-Oct 7 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Thr-Oct 8 Brewerton Speedway Brewerton,NY
Fri-Oct 9 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Sat-Oct 10 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY ($20,000 to win)
Sat-Oct 17 Brockville Ontario Speedway Brockville,ONT
Sun-Oct 18 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 October 7-11, 2009 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 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.