Home | Series | DIRTcar Northeast Series | Panunte Cops Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Wilkens Memorial At Humberstone

Panunte Cops Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Wilkens Memorial At Humberstone

Greg Panunte
Greg Panunte - Rick Wellman Photo

Port Colborne, ONTSeptember 19, 2008 – By John Steckley, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast Series Correspondent

Port Colborne veteran Greg Panunte drove under Mike Bowman on lap 11 to grab the lead and then zealously protected the top spot against a determined James Michael Friesen to win the 3rd Annual Trevor Wilkens Memorial on Friday evening at the new Humberstone Speedway.

Starting from the pole, Friesen led the first circuit before Bowman claimed the position a lap later. After going away in eighth place, Panunte raced into second on lap 5 before claiming the lead a handful of circuits later.

Seventeen year-old Chris Raabe rocketed from fourth to second place on lap
13 and set his sights on the front-running Panunte. That top pair opened up a considerable gap on the rest of the field as the last 35 circuits ran caution-free.

After slipping back to fourth, Friesen reclaimed third place from Bowman on lap 32 and ran down the top pair in heavy lapped traffic three circuits later. The third generation racer quickly drove into second and actually passed Panunte before a lapped car slowed his momentum in turn 2.

Bowman, who won this event a year ago, drove by Raabe with ten laps remaining and quickly joined the lead battle. He got together with the No. 31 of fellow St. Catharines runner Friesen with just a pair of circuits left, as both cars got slightly out of shape. By the time they recovered, Panunte had slipped out to a 10-car advantage that he wouldn’t relinquish. Friesen bested Bowman for second, while Raabe and Nick Cupolo completed the top-five.

Chad Chevalier, Brad Rouse, John Pietrowicz, Mark D’Ilario and Tyler McPherson rounded out the top-10.

Dan Wiesner entered Friday’s event with a slim series point edge over Raabe, but the Geneva, NY driver struggled to an 18th-place finish, dealing a huge blow to his championship aspirations as Raabe moved to the top for the first time.

After the race, Panunte discussed his frantic battle with Friesen in lapped traffic. “I saw James go by me for an instant, but I wasn’t going to block him or chop him,” the race winner noted. “I’ve raced him a lot and it’s always been clean.
Sometimes I’ve beat him and sometimes he’s beat me but it’s always been clean racing. You can’t say that about a lot of guys out there.”

SPORTSMAN SHORTS: The returning DIRTcar Sportsman Modified teams were greeted with Chamber of Commerce weather on Friday as sunny skies and pleasant temperatures ruled the day in Port Colborne. That was a far cry from September 7 when all day showers scuttled the first attempt to run the Wilkens Memorial…The Sportsman feature was named in honour of Trevor Wilkens. Humberstone owner Pete Cosco was the car owner for Wilkens, an up and coming racer, who competed in the Sportsman and 358-Modified divisions at Merrittville Speedway. Tragically, Wilkens fell ill and died much too young in the early 1990’s. Cosco also honors the memory of his young protege by sponsoring the annual Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series event for Big-Blocks in early August at Merrittville.

Round number 10 of the Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series is slated for Canandaigua Speedway as the tour swings back into the states for a big 45-lap main event scheduled as part of the tracks’ 2008 season finale Labatt Blue RaceFest Weekend on Saturday, September 20.

Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Race #9 – Humberstone Speedway, September 19, 2008 ‘Trevor Wilkens Memorial 50’ Event Summary
FIN STR CAR# DRIVER
1 99p Greg Panunte/Port Colborne,ONT ($1,000)
2 31 James Friesen/St.Catharines,ONT
3 71 Mike Bowman/St.Catharines,ONT
4 01 Chris Raabe/Napanee,ONT
5 99c Nick Cupolo/Thorold,ONT
6 12 Chad Chevalier/Port Colborne,ONT
7 18r Brad Rouse/St.Catharines,ONT
8 85 John Pietrowicz/Phoenix,NY
9 08 Mark D’Ilario/Smithville,ONT
10 777 Tyler McPherson/St.Catharines,ONT
11 6 Mat Williamson/St.Catharines,ONT
12 19w Justin Wright/Piffard,NY
13 9 Paul Gaboury/Welland,ONT
14 62 Rick Bellante/St.Catharines,ONT
15 26h Luke Carleton/Port Colborne,ONT
16 77 B.J. Willard/St.Catharines,ONT
17 67g Eric Giguere/Waterloo,NY
18 66 Dan Wiesner/Geneva,NY
19 20k Tom Huppenen/Fenwick,ONT
20 88 Doug Spiece/Welland,ONT
21 38 Ryan Susice/Ransomville,NY
22 18 Ryan Weese/Milton, ONT
23 12A Jeff Armstrong/Port Colborne, ONT
24 43t Jay Doerr/London,ONT
25 1M Norm Mark/Fort Erie, ONT
26 140 Mark Dixon/Durham,ONT
27 20J Tony Cowell/Woodstock, ONT
28 51x Cody McPherson/St.Catharines,ONT
29 06 Brandon Easey/St.Catharines,ONT
30 00 Don Spiece/Welland, ONT
31 5s Kevin Sharpe/Port Colborne,ONT

EVENT SUMMARY:
LAP LEADERS: Friesen (1), Bowman (2-11), Panunte (12-50)
CAUTIONS: 4 (lap 3, lap 5, lap 13, lap 15)
QUALIFYING
Heat Races (8 laps, all transferred to feature, top 3 went to re-draw)
#1: M. Bowman, N. Mark, G. Panunte, L. Carleton, B.J. Willard, C.
McPherson, R.
Weese, J. Armstrong.
#2: B. Rouse, C. Chevalier, D. Wiesner, R. Susice, E. Giguere, J. Doerr, Doug Spiece, P. Gaboury.
#3: R. Bellante, Don Spiece, J. Friesen, B. Easey, M. D’Ilario, M.
Dixon, K. Sharpe, T.
Cowell.
#4: N. Cupolo, J. Pietrowicz, C. Raabe, T. McPherson, M. Williamson, J.
Wright, T.
Huppenen.

Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series Point Standings (Through Sept. 19, 2008)
Rank No Driver Total Series Bonus Diff Wins T-5 T-10 Sts
1 01 Chris Raabe 868 568 300 0 1 5 6 8
2 66 Dan Wiesner 837 557 280 -31 1 4 4 9
3 71 Mike Bowman 832 548 284 -36 0 3 5 9
4 99p Greg Panunte 830 550 280 -38 1 2 5 9
5 777 Ty. McPherson 813 535 278 -55 0 2 6 9
6 85 John Pietrowicz 784 502 282 -84 0 2 4 9
7 08 Mark D’Ilario 772 524 248 -96 1 3 4 9
8 6 Mat Williamson 755 499 256 -113 0 2 3 9
9 19w Justin Wright 736 462 274 -132 0 1 1 9
10 14 Jeremy Pitcher 733 449 284 -135 0 1 4 8
11 67g Eric Giguere 717 447 270 -151 0 2 2 9
12 52 James Friesen 658 366 292 -210 0 2 3 5
13 12 Chad Chevalier 630 366 264 -238 0 0 3 7
14 2L Loren Lincoln 558 316 242 -310 0 2 3 6
15 2x Rob Knapp 555 297 258 -313 0 0 1 7
16 10 Tim Currier 549 281 268 -319 0 0 0 7
17 20x Kevin Ridley 513 235 278 -355 0 0 2 5
18 140 Mark Dixon 511 331 180 -357 0 0 1 8
19 17k Sam Reakes IV 508 228 280 -360 0 1 2 5
20 2K Chris Hile 475 225 250 -393 1 1 1 4
21 21JJ Jimmy Johnstone 471 231 240 -397 0 0 2 4
22 18R Brad Rouse 462 172 290 -406 1 1 2 2
23 17T Todd Town 460 216 244 -408 1 2 3 4
24 4 Daryl Hilkert 458 204 254 -410 0 0 0 5
25 06 Brandon Easey 454 184 270 -414 0 0 2 3
26 29g Steve Gray 443 159 284 -425 0 0 1 4
27 24 Brandon Sweet 442 150 292 -426 0 0 1 2
28 38w Luke Whitteker® 439 187 252 -429 0 0 1 4
29 8s Justin Sharp 420 146 274 -448 0 0 0 3
30 26h Luke Carleton 418 174 244 -450 0 0 0 4
31 33 Mike Ruggiero 417 125 292 -451 1 1 1 2
32 M1 Dave Marcuccilli® 417 145 272 -451 0 0 0 4
33 0 Jipp Ortiz 410 140 270 -458 0 1 1 2
34 vs1 Jim Spano 406 150 256 -462 0 1 1 3
35 70 Brady Fultz 405 109 296 -463 0 0 1 2
36 25g Nick Guererri 402 122 280 -466 0 0 1 3
37 99c Nick Cupolo 390 136 254 -478 0 1 1 2
38 06 Jordan Bennett 388 120 268 -480 0 0 0 3
39 17 Marcus Dinkins 384 132 252 -484 0 0 1 2
40 18h Todd Henderson 383 83 300 -485 0 0 0 2
41 38 Ryan Susice 375 115 260 -493 0 0 0 2
42 5 Don Spatorico 374 90 284 -494 0 1 1 1
43 17d Tom Juhl 370 98 272 -498 0 0 1 1
44 74 Matt Billings® 354 84 270 -514 0 0 0 1
45 3k A.J. Kingley 352 90 262 -516 0 0 0 2
46 62 Rick Bellante 345 155 190 -523 0 0 0 3
47 12x Dan Sellen 343 83 260 -525 0 0 1 2
48 p38 Rob Pratt 342 60 282 -526 0 0 0 1
49 3a Fran Hilton 336 86 250 -532 0 0 0 2
50 11 Mike Mandigo 334 50 284 -534 0 0 0 1
51 96 Cole Dingwall 334 50 284 -534 0 0 0 1
52 38p Jason Parkhurst® 328 72 256 -540 0 1 1 2
53 9R Tyler Rand 328 76 252 -540 0 0 0 1
54 32 Randy Gaudet 326 46 280 -542 0 0 0 1
55 83 Dylan Evoy® 324 60 264 -544 0 0 0 1
56 9 Paul Gaboury 320 56 264 -548 0 0 0 1
57 83x Tim Sears Jr.® 306 64 242 -562 0 0 0 1
58 92 Adam Turner 303 61 242 -565 0 0 0 1
59 15x Shane Pecore 302 58 244 -566 0 0 0 1
60 77 B.J. Willard 298 50 248 -570 0 0 0 1
61 55 Matt Hulsizer 296 50 246 -572 0 0 0 1
62 57s Beith Scheinder 289 63 226 -579 0 0 0 1
63 95 Joe Middlemiss 288 40 248 -580 0 0 0 1
64 12 Brian Sage 288 0 288 -580 0 0 0 0
65 12 Brandon Hagen 288 10 278 -580 0 0 0 0
66 27 Rich Coons 284 0 284 -584 0 0 0 0
67 54 Mark Chiddy 284 72 212 -584 0 0 1 1
68 28 Jeff Stevenson 280 0 280 -588 0 0 0 0
69 56 St.Schumacher 278 0 278 -590 0 0 0 0
70 44v John Venuto 278 10 268 -590 0 0 0 0
71 37J Jake Schlagel 276 0 276 -592 0 0 0 0
72 36c Mark Webb 276 0 276 -592 0 0 0 0
73 5s Kevin Sharpe 274 80 194 -594 0 0 0 2
74 3 Erik Holmgren 274 0 274 -594 0 0 0 0
75 11 Ben Wheeler® 274 68 206 -594 0 0 0 1
76 73 John Lieto 272 0 272 -596 0 0 0 0
77 93Jr Rob Richmod Jr. 272 0 272 -596 0 0 0 0
78 76 Rob Bussey 272 10 262 -596 0 0 0 0
79 88 Don Spiece 270 40 230 -598 0 0 0 1
80 0 Stubby Pangrazio 270 0 270 -598 0 0 0 0

UPCOMING EVENT
Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series race chasers have little time to rest as the very next night they cross the border back into the United States for a big 45-lapper at Canandaigua Speedway on Saturday, September 20. Valuable points towards the overall Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Championship will be awarded along with a guaranteed starting position in the ‘Town Mechanical 30’ Sportsman Modified main event during Super DIRT Week in October.

2008 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE LAPS TRACK LOCATION/WINNER
Sat-Apr 5 50 Black Rock Speedway Larry Wight
Mon-May 26 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Dan Wiesner
Thr-Jul 3 20 Rolling Wheels Raceway Mark D’Ilario
Thr-Jul 3 20 Rolling Wheels Raceway Todd Town
Fri-Jul 4 30 Brewerton Speedway Chris Hile
Thr-Jul 10 30 Brockville Ont. Speedway Chris Raabe
Mon-Sep 1 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Mike Ruggiero
Sat-Sep 6 50 Merrittville Speedway Brad Rouse
Fri-Sep 12 50 Ransomville Speedway Rain-Cancelled
Sat-Sep 13 30 Genesee Speedway Rain-Cancelled
Fri-Sep 19 50 Humberstone Speedway Greg Panunte
Sat-Sep 20 45 Canandaigua Speedway Canandaigua,NY
Sat-Sep 27 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Fri-Oct 3 30 Fulton Speedway Fulton,NY
Wed-Oct 8 30 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Fri-Oct 10 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Sat-Oct 11 30 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY
Fri-Oct 17 40 Thunder Mountain Speedway Center Lisle,NY
Sat-Oct 18 50 Orange Co. Fair Speedway Middletown,NY

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.