Weedsport, NY — Weedsport, NY – February 21, 2008 – By Dan Kapuscinski, DIRTcar NorthEast PR and Promotions Coordinator
Rob Bellinger may only be an 18-year old SUNY Potsdam student, but he is already embarking on his second full season behind the wheel of a powerful DIRTcar Big-Block Modified.
After an 8th place finish in the Cayuga County Fair Speedway point standings in 2007 in his no. 8 machine, Bellinger and team have purchased a potent H&H Motorsports Troyer mount and are poised to make 2008 a breakout season.
“We sold last year’s equipment in order to purchase one of H&H’s rollers that Jimmy Phelps drove last season,” said Bellinger. “With the new car and updated engine program we are hoping to be able to pick up a couple wins this season and improve upon our record from last year. Ideally, we would like to be able to be a top5 contender for the point championship.”
More important than his new ride may be the updates made to his two Big-Block power plants. Last season Bellinger lost three engines to start the year before they hit on a setup that worked. Unfortunately, engine woes again haunted the team in their first trip to Volusia Speedway Park for the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals.
“We ended up blowing both of the engines that we brought down to Florida, so we ran H&H’s backup the last two nights we were down there,” Bellinger said. “In the end I think we did alright for the first time there. We really just wanted to make every show and get some seat time.”
After four nights of racing, the future Law student qualified for three of the four feature events with a high finish of 16th against some of the best in DIRTcar racing. The Dexter, NY native even managed a 2nd place finish in his heat race on the last night of competition behind Andy Bachetti.
The question is, are the motor problems cured for the rest of the season?
“We thought we had them fixed before Volusia, but they didn’t last too long. My dad will be back from Florida in the next week, so once he gets back he’s going to start getting in touch with some people to try and get them back together again.”
When the regular season gets underway in less than two months Bellinger will find himself running weekly at the Cayuga County Fair Speedway, as well as the Can-Am Motorsports Park. The team also plans to hit the special events at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, and select Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series events.
While Can-Am is a short 30 minute drive from home, Cayuga County is nearly three times the distance. But that doesn’t stop the Bellinger team from making the Sunday trek.
“We started out at Weedsport in the Sportsman after we got out of go-karts,” Bellinger said. “The racing there is always really good, and we just have a lot of fun running at that facility.”
With the fun and excitement that comes with racing at Cayuga County, also comes the tremendous weekly competition that Bellinger has tried to grow accustom to. The second year competitor says that it has taken some getting used to running with the likes of Steve Paine, Justin Haers, Danny Johnson, and his mentor Jimmy Phelps.
“It took some time to get used to running with those guys and realizing that you are running with the best of the best out there. But you know, once you get out there and get running it starts to come to you. By about halfway through the season it wasn’t as big of a deal anymore, and I started to get used to it. Plus, we always park next to Jimmy (Phelps) and he tries to help me out whenever possible.”
The main priority for the Bellinger team is to make 2008 a success, but Rob is not afraid to take a modest look into the future of his motorsports career.
“I want to go as far as I can in this sport, but I don’t know what we are going to wind up doing. We will run the Big-Blocks for as long as we can, and then see what happens.”
In the meantime, look for Rob Bellinger and his Mini-Storage of Watertown, Westward Painting, Lake Ontario Realty no.8 Troyer machine flying around the Cayuga County Fair banks each and every Sunday night.