Weedsport, NY — September 4, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
The arrival of September marks the customary beginning of the ‘second season’ on the DIRTcar Racing Northeast circuit, and for Modified tour star Dale Planck it also means the start of an all-out assault on his first overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship.
Still clinging to a top-10 position in the Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds, Planck sits highest in the 358-Modified standings after a pair of top-three finishes in Small-Block tour competition and is banking on further success in the weeks ahead.
“By no means am I giving up on the Big-Block program, just focusing more on our 358 schedule the final two months,” stated Planck, 39, who’s only conflicts between both premier open-wheel series are found over the next two weekends. “I’m already working on a Big-Block package for 2010 so we’re still committed for the long run.”
“I think I have as good a shot as anybody winning the 358 Series with the next two races coming up at Cornwall and Mohawk, places I feel are kinda like hometracks. Just like last year we played both series by ear from the start and this time we happened to be better with the Small-Block, certainly something I can’t explain and at this point I really don’t have any more expectations either way. We’re just so far back in Big-Block points, just trying to get some type of salvation from this year,” remarked Planck, who finished third in Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block points just one year ago and last followed the Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series in 2005 when he climbed to third on the final points chart.
Round three of the Hoosier-VP Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified champ trail picks up at Cornwall (Ont.) Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 6 and Planck will have owner Carey Terrance’s RezX Racing no. 77x Grow It Hydroseeding-Action Race Parts/TEO Pro car ready to take on the international field in the Labor Day Weekend special. Planck has already taken 15 Small-Block checkered flags at Ron Morin’s racy quarter-miler, yet none have come in the Jiffy Auto Service 100-lap track finale.
“This whole year has really been mixed up and jumbled around a lot,” figured Planck, who designated Fulton Speedway as his home track for Big-Block bonus points last season and strangely enough will use John & Laura Wight’s Central New York oval for Small-Block points this time around. “Last year we ran really well with the Big-Block and just decent with the 358-Mod, now its pretty much the opposite. Don’t ask me why.”
“I guess this is one of those racing cycles, sometimes on and sometimes off. We had a great (BB) car last year until we crashed at the end at Rolling Wheels and we finally brought out a new car a couple weeks back. Chassis manufacturers are trying out new things too. As a driver, I’ve been asking myself ‘is it me, am I that bad?’ but I look around and see a bunch of other guys in the same boat. Even the best driver in the world can’t make up for everything. Every series is so competitive nowadays, if you’re a little bit off at the start of the race by the end of the night you’re usually way off,” noted Planck, who has managed just a handful of top-five finishes in 15 Super DIRTcar Series shows, although he took runner-up honors at Can-Am Motorsports on Aug. 21 in the new car.
The 358-Modified Championship series is another deal for the second-generation standout from Cortland, N.Y. after opening the ’09 tour with a third-place finish at Merrittville (Ont.) Speedway in May then chasing Danny Johnson across the line at Ransomville (NY) Speedway in July. Three-time and defending Mr. DIRTcar 358 points champion Pete Bicknell (Mer-5th, 3rd-Ran) ranks second on the points chart followed by Merrittville winner Larry Lampman Jr., Canadian stars Stewart Friesen and Danny O’Brien, also in search of his first crown following two straight years as the bridesmaid.
“Maybe the biggest challenge this year has been trying to keep team spirit high, we really expect to run up front so its tough when we’re not there,” said Planck, who works out of the Hogansburg, N.Y. shop with crew chief Taylor Hill and Terrance, himself a four-time winner in ’09 on the brink of locking up the points title at Mohawk Int’l Raceway and lurking seventh in the current Mr. DIRTcar 358 chase. “Its hard keeping a positive attitude when you don’t have a single win. All the guys on the team have been great, I usually put all the pressure on myself .. I really want a win.”
“Everybody is constantly trying to go faster, constantly trying new things and sometimes you get too far away from where you started. We’ve been consistent so far with the 358 but the big question is whether I’ll be in the right place at the right time when it counts. There are a lot of races coming up and just as many variables that can change the outcome very quickly. There’s just so much behind the scenes stuff that has to carry over to the track to be successful. Once you run good and slip its even tougher to get back to where you think you should be. I guess if this whole (racing) thing was easy everybody would be doing it,” added Planck, a winner of 61 (49 Small-Block) DIRTcar Modified features, including nine (5 Big-Block) in the Northeast’s top traveling series.
The ‘Natural’ will get two more chances to raise his totals this weekend, crossing the border into Cornwall on Sunday before returning stateside Monday to contend at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in the second half of the Labor Day Big-Block doubleheader. A Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series event and DIRTcar Street Stock special highlight the Wheels’ show as the DIRTcar Northeast circuit switches into full gear.
For additional information, contact DIRTcar Racing Northeast Competition Directors Cory Reed (cell 315/224-9009) and Joe Skotnicki (cell 716/880-0110), or the DIRTcar Northeast Office (315/834-6606) in Weedsport. Also log into www.superdirtcarseries.com and www.dirtcar.com anytime for updated news and notes.
Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Point Standings (July 31)
Rank No. Driver Points Diff Wins Top-5 Top-10 Starts
1 77x Dale Planck 185 0 0 2 2 2
2 42 Pete Bicknell 170 -15 0 2 2 2
3 22 Larry Lampman Jr. 165 -20 1 1 2 2
4 55 Stewart Friesen 161 -24 0 1 2 2
5 7* Danny O’Brien 148 -37 0 0 2 2
6 3b Chad Brachmann 125 -60 0 1 1 2
7 66x Carey Terrance 122 -63 0 0 1 2
8 80x Chris Steele 110 -75 0 0 1 2
9 28 Scott Kerwin 108 -77 0 0 1 2
10 6m Mat Williamson 106 -79 0 0 0 2
11 25 Bobby Herrington 102 -83 0 0 0 2
12 FX1 Danny Johnson 100 -85 1 1 1 1
13 5* Tim Jones 100 -85 0 0 0 2
14 123 Robbie Krull 96 -89 0 0 0 2
15 76 Travis Braun 96 -89 0 0 0 2
16 99J Jimmy Phelps 95 -90 0 1 1 1
17 26R Rick Richner 92 -93 0 0 0 2
18 08 Mark D’Ilario 86 -99 0 0 0 2
19 8 Rich Scagliotta 85 -100 0 0 0 2
20 16w Lance Willix II 84 -101 0 0 0 2
21 52 James M. Friesen 84 -101 0 0 0 2
22 89b Todd Burley 80 -105 0 1 1 1
23 1 David Hebert 72 -113 0 0 1 1
24 20 Jeff McGinnis 68 -117 0 0 1 1
25 XXX Todd Gordon 68 -117 0 0 0 1
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 Cornwall,ONT
Fri-Sep 11 Mohawk International Raceway Akwesasne,NY
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.