Weedsport, NY — July 15, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
The 2009 Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship Series returns to action this week with the completely revamped Mohawk International Raceway returning to the tour in a big way.
And MIR staple Louie Jackson would like nothing better than to take home —be it a two-minute drive— the $1,500 top prize Friday, July 17 in the headline 50-lap ‘Full Fender Frenzy’ presented by SUNY Canton at the hallowed Hogansburg, New York layout.
“There’s certainly a little more pressure racing close to home, but mostly I’ve just had some bad luck,” figured Jackson, 40, who owns a DIRTcar-high 17 feature wins at Mohawk since the start of the new millennium, yet his best finish in five series races was sixth-place in 2005. “It just seems like there’s always a monkey on my back when its tour time around here.”
On the heels of rain forcing cancellation last summer of the almost annual tour stop at Mohawk, Jackson is ready to get back on track in the highest paying Pro Stock program presented in two decades of full-fender competition at the storied Akwesasne Reservation site. The hometown favorite will have his Adams Marina no. 18 Action Race Parts-C&B Enterprises/Chevrolet Monte Carlo/Stinger primed for his fourth victory of the season at MIR.
“It would be very satisfying to finally get a (series) win here in front of a lot of my friends,” remarked Jackson, who returned full-time this year to MIR attempting to recapture the coveted points title that he earned in 2001 — his rookie season teamed with ’04 Mr. DIRTcar Champion Joey Ladouceur. Despite a string of three straight wins to open the season at MIR recently coming to an end at the hands of long-time rival Jody Swamp, he’s off to the best start of his career and is anxious to begin a new streak. “But I’ll really have to be on top of my game.”
“To win you pretty much have to beat Pete (Stefanski), and that’s something hard to do. He’s been the top guy for awhile now, and always good at every place we run. Hopefully, I can find some kind of edge and catch a break when it counts,” said Jackson, who has scored one series win each of the past four seasons and finished third on the Mr. DIRTcar points chart in both 2006 and ’07; 10th-place last season.
To no one’s surprise, three-time reigning overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar points king Stefanski opened the 2009 Series with a win on the Fourth of July at Genesee Speedway where Jackson settled for eighth after starting second from last in the 24-car field. Another win by Jackson on home soil would certainly not be out of the question for the driver that still holds the single-lap record for Pro Stocks on the Syracuse Mile when he became the first driver to break the 100mph barrier during Super DIRT Week ’06.
“I never expected to win three straight at Mohawk this year, especially this early right out of the box,” admitted Jackson, who does expect a brand new ride built by Don Barnes just to harness a fresh GM crate powerplant to be ready in less than two weeks. “I actually thought about it more when I lost.”
“I returned to Mohawk this year because the whole program has been stepped up and every aspect of the place has improved. Everything has been addressed and being able to win makes it even more enjoyable,” said Jackson, acknowledging many of the new additions at the track that have marked the dawning of a new era of racing and entertainment at the revamped 3/8-miler.
The former Frogtown Int’l Speedway emerged as the new Mohawk Int’l Raceway in the Spring of 2008, with last season marking the beginning of a three-year plan to completely renovate the facility that first opened to the public in August of 1987. Now under the guidance of MIR Board of Directors members Don Thompson, John Lazore and Swamp, the popular Hogansburg hangout has been affiliated with DIRTcar Racing since 1988.
The process of tearing down the main grandstands began last autumn and the old boards were immediately replaced with aluminum seating. The pits have been extended a couple hundred feet back and raised 2-3 feet from the ground up with new drainage installed. A two-stall tech building in the pits and new stadium (Musco) lighting around the track are also in place to give everyone the best view possible while improvements to the parking lot including space for RVs were among the final projects on the drawing board.
“Things are much better everywhere you look, and now I even get invited to some of the meetings to give input on what can be done,” added Jackson, whose crew chief is none other than MIR General Manager Elliot Lazore. “Its just a great place to race and call my home track for another season. All I have to do now is win on Friday to make it truly special year.”
Current Pro Stock Series points leader Stefanski will be topping the tour contingent that includes top travelers Don Carlson, Roch Aubin, Buddy Hencke, Rob Yetman, P.J. Peters (’04 winner) and two-time MIR race winner Joey Ladouceur, while heading the list of Mohawk regulars expected to be in contention are defending MIR champion Stephane LeBrun, Dave “Bulldog” Bissonnette, David Papineau, Dion Oakes, Ricky Thompson, Rod Tarbell and Billy Woodward Jr.
Joining round two of the Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock champ trail will be a complete show of SUNY Canton Street Stocks in a 25-lap feature paying a cool $1,000 to win, plus a 15-lap main for the Bandits offering $200 to the winner. Race time is 7:45 pm. Grandstand admission is $10 for adults, seniors and students with ID just $7. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.
For additional tour information, please contact Pro Stock Series Director Brian Mulligan (613/938-6751) or Cory Reed (cell 315/224-9009), DIRTcar Racing Northeast Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning, at the Weedsport office (315/834-6606) during normal business hours. More about the entire circuit is posted on the DIRTcar homepage at www.dirtcar.com.
Mohawk Int’l Raceway www.mohawkintraceway.com is located on Frogtown Road just off State Route 37 in Hogansburg, N.Y. —turn at the Mohawk Bingo Palace— only minutes from the recently re-opened International Bridge to Cornwall, Ontario and just a short drive from Malone and Massena in New York. The track can be reached by calling 518/358-9017 and the office phone is 518/358-3225.
2009 Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TRACK WINNER/LOCATION
Sat-Jul 4 Genesee Speedway Pete Stefanski
Fri-Jul 17 Mohawk Int’l Raceway Akwesasne,NY ($1,500-to-win)
Sat-Aug 22 Autodrome Drummond Drummondville,QUE
Sun-Aug 23 Cornwall Motor Speedway Cornwall,ONT
Fri-Sep 11 Autodrome Edelweiss Hull,QUE ($1,500-to-win)
Sat-Sep 12 Lebanon Valley Speedway West Lebanon,NY
Sat-Sep 19 Canandaigua Speedway Canandaigua,NY
Sat-Sep 26 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Sun-Oct 11 New York State Fairgrds Syracuse,NY
DIRTcar Racing Northeast main office is located in Weedsport, New York on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds www.cayugacountyfairspeedway.com, home of the 2009 DIRTcar All-Star Weekend, July 17-19, featuring Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series events for Sportsman and Big-Block Modifieds in the richest short-track show of its kind in the nation — the $20,000-to-win Super DIRTcar Series “DIRTcar All-Star 100” on Sunday, July 19.
The Big-Block Modified 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.