Weedsport, NY — July 1, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast PR Director
*Rick Young Photo
The spacious 5/8-mile clay oval at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park has been tabbed the ‘Fast Track’ for its long straightaways and wide sweeping turns that lend themselves to some of the highest speeds around the entire DIRTcar Racing NorthEast circuit
Over the past two seasons, no full-fender racer has been consistently faster at Rolling Wheels in the UMP Pro Stock ranks than 11-year veteran Louie Jackson.
“I definitely like the speed, when the track dries out and gets slick my car is at its best,” said Jackson, 39, who has finished no worse than second in the past three tour events held at Rolling Wheels, including his first career victory in Elbridge last September. “Unless there’s a lot of rain and it turns into a mud hole, I feel pretty confident coming back.”
Opening the 2008 Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series with a win at Can-Am Motorsports Park in April, early season points leader Jackson is the pre-race favorite to take another checkered flag at Rolling Wheels when tour competition resumes for round two on Thursday, July 3. His only other triumph in ’08 came in the season-opener at Mohawk Int’l Raceway in May.
“This is obviously the best start I’ve had in the Series but the rain has really hurt a lot, I’m looking forward to another tour show with drier conditions,” noted Jackson, who began racing Duke Stocks at Cornwall (Ont.) Motor Speedway and Mohawk in 1998 and captured the 2000 Cornwall crown before moving up in class the following year. The Hogansburg, New York pilot copped his only Pro Stock track title as a rookie teamed with Joey Ladouceur in 2001 at MIR before taking on the challenging Mr. DIRTcar Championship trail the past five seasons. “I thought I’d have a few more wins by now but the tracks have really been wet and its too early in the year to start wrecking equipment. So far I’ve been pretty much just riding around, finishing races and staying clean.”
While his garage harbors a handful of Dan Pogo-prepared engines, Jackson has just one car at his disposal although a back-up mount is currently under construction. His familiar no. 18 Native Cigarettes-Action Auto Parts-C&B Enterprises Chevrolet Monte Carlo/Stinger will be the main focus of attention by his peers as he looks to improve on his Series win total of four posted during the past four seasons.
“My biggest goal is to sit where Pete (Stefanski) was last year,” said Jackson, referring to the head table that all Mr. DIRTcar Champions help fill during the season-ending DIRTcar NorthEast ‘Night of Champions’ awards banquet held in November. Jipp Ortiz was named Mr. DIRTcar in 2005 and Jackson purchased two winning cars and both motors from the second-generation racer and has finished third in the past two tour championships. “But whatever happens the most important part is still having fun.”
“Winning a couple more Series races would be nice, too. Maybe at Orange County or Genesee, that’s Pete’s hometrack so it’s even more special. Before I used to be scared of slippery tracks, now I think they’re to my advantage. I’ve got a great engine program and have learned how to change to the right shocks and springs, so we’re ready to go every time out. Now I’m able to take my time and be patient knowing the car will come in for me later on when a lot of other guys start to fade,” Jackson added.
Expected to be in the hunt challenging Jackson for the coveted overall title throughout the upcoming campaign is two-time defending Mr. DIRTcar Champion Stefanski and fellow frontrunners Allen Peters, Don Barnes and Ladouceur. Peters secured runner-up Mr. DIRTcar honors in ’07, Western New Yorker Barnes settled for fifth while ’04 Mr. DIRTcar Champion Ladouceur placed 16th following a limited schedule. In the Can-Am lid-lifter, Stefanski was scored third, Ladouceur 8th and Barnes 16th while Peters failed to start the main.
“I like the schedule this year, last season was a little light on races but its close to perfect again,” figured Jackson, sole owner of Action Auto Parts, who has earned 27 DIRTcar Pro Stock victories to stand tied for 16th all-time. He currently ranks fifth on the UMP points chart for the New York State/Canada Region and is listed 42nd in the national UMP standings. Along with following the entire 13-race Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Series, he plans to run Cornwall (4th in pts) weekly and occasionally hit shows closer to home at Mohawk. “I’d like to run more but my business is really busy on Saturday and that’s a day I usually have to work. So when I do get to the track, that’s my time to have some fun.”
Racing at Rolling Wheels gets underway Thursday at 7 p.m. with grandstand admission beginning at 5 p.m. and pit gates swinging open at 4 o’clock. A top prize of $1,000 is on the line for the 25-lap tour winner with a huge fireworks extravaganza closing out the holiday special presented by Summit Buick Pontiac GMC Ford Dodge, Spano Companies and the Army National Guard.
Joining the holiday card will be Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series “Firecracker Twin 20s” along with the second Parts Plus Big 6 Street Stock Series race and a Midstate Vintage Modified special. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 seniors (65+), $5 for children (ages 10-14), and kids 9 and under are FREE. Pit admission will be $20 for DIRTcar members and $25 for non-members.
For additional tour information, please contact Pro Stock Series Director Brian Mulligan (613/938-6751) or Cory Reed, 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.
Track information can be found at www.rollingwheelsraceway.com or by contacting General Manager Jack Deery at 315/834-6606. Rolling Wheels Raceway Park (315/689-7809) is centrally located, sitting West of the village of Elbridge at NYS Route 5 just five minutes east of the city of Auburn; also 10 minutes from exit 40 of the New York State Thruway.
Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship Series Top-5s at Rolling Wheels
DATE LAPS FIRST – SECOND – THIRD – FOURTH – FIFTH
9/22/07 30 Louie Jackson – Dean Charbonneau – Pete Stefanski – Allen Peters – Denis Gauvreau
5/6/07 25 Allen Peters – Louie Jackson – Don Barnes – Bob Buono – Roch Aubin
9/23/06 30 Denis Gauvreau – Louie Jackson – Pete Stefanski – Clayton Benedict – Dave Schulz
9/18/05 30 Jipp Ortiz – James Henry – Mike Williams – Clayton Benedict – Allen Peters
5/15/05 25 Joe Stefanski,Jr. – Lee Burnett – Jipp Ortiz – Bob Buono – Clayton Benedict
9/19/04 30 Chad Homan – Joe Santoro – Don Carlson – Mike Williams – Bill Hallett
5/16/04 20 Joey Ladouceur – Daryl Hilkert – James Henry – Lee Burnett – Frank Guererri,Jr.
9/20/03 30 Jipp Ortiz – Joey Ladouceur – Pete Stefanski – Chad Homan – Lee Burnett
5/18/03 20 Tom Barron – Pete Stefanski – Phil Retter – Dave Schulz – Jipp Ortiz
9/22/02 30 Jon Miller – Dave Schulz – Joe Santoro – James Henry – Dave Conant,Jr.
7/25/02 20 Dave Schulz – Tom Barron – Pete Stefanski – Jeremy Clark – Phil Retter
9/22/01 30 Jason Boyle – Chad Homan – Tom Barron – Jipp Ortiz – Lee Burnett
5/20/01 20 Andy Dembek – Tom Barron – Jim Langenback – Mike Halachik – Wayne Ellison
9/23/00 20 Jipp Ortiz – Eric Gauvreau – Jason Boyle – T.J. Fitzgibbons – Mark Schulz
5/21/00 20 Jipp Ortiz – Joe Stefanski – T.J. Fitzgibbons – Bret Belden – Mark Schulz
9/25/99 25 Frank Twing – Dave Bissonnette – Tom Kuck – Rick Miller – Mike Watkins
5/16/99 20 Tom Kuck – T.J. Fitzgibbons – Randy Miller – Dave Schulz – Mike Watkins
9/26/98 20 Tom Kuck – Bill Hallett – Scott Fremouw – Jon Miller – Tom Barron
5/17/98 20 Andy Dembek – Tom Barron – Ricky Breed – Bill Hallett – Steve Pesarek
9/20/97 20 Kenny Martin – Kenny Gates – Tom Cannizzaro – Phlan Hart – Harry Marvin
5/18/97 20 Kenny Martin – Jim Burton – Phlan Hart – Rob Noviczski – Les Whyte
9/21/96 20 Tim Sears – Les Whyte – Dave Bissonnette – Kenny Martin – Dick Werner,Jr.
7/4/96 20 Ricky Breed – Tom Cannizzaro – Dick Werner,Jr. – Steve Pesarek – Ron Lawson,Jr.
9/23/95 20 Mike VanPelt – Jim Langenback – Steve Pesarek – Phlan Hart – Scott Govertsen
7/4/95 20 Mike Watkins – Jim Langenback – Ricky Breed – Billy Brown – Tim Sears
Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket retailer of parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United States, serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets As of April 19, 2008, the Company operated 3,291 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Additional information about the Company, employment opportunities, customer services, and on-line shopping for parts and accessories can be found on the Company’s web site at www.advanceautoparts.com.
The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts and Hoosier Racing Tire. Rite Aid Corporation is a promotional partner and the contingency sponsors are Bars Leaks, Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Crane Cams, Dig Safely New York, Holley HP Carburetors, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks, Rislone Oil Stabilizer and Wrisco Industries.