Weedsport, NY — July 1, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
Already reaching the pinnacle of his profession with the most series victories and feature wins scored around the entire DIRTcar Northeast circuit, what’s next for three-time reigning Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock points king Pete Stefanski?
“I’m still in this whole deal just to have fun,” remarked Stefanski, 38, matter-of-factly as he looked back upon a superlative career that has vaulted him to the top of DIRTcar NE’s premier full-fender traveling tour. The Wheatfield, New York standout has racked up all of his record-setting wins during the new millennium, celebrating 20 triumphs on tour among his 82 wins registered through June.
“I always get asked but never had any plans to go run the BRP Can-Am Series or follow any of the Late Model stuff. I don’t need to move up anywhere, there’s really nothing to prove. Racing against these guys is what I like doing best, they’re a good caliber of driver and they all know how to win. They’re also a great group to hang around with a lot of comradery, and having fun is still what this game is all about,” Stefanski said.
Flanked by a solid core of returning veterans and talented mix of first-time entries, Stefanski opens defense of his crown July 4 on home soil at Genesee Speedway. The ’09 Series lid-lifter gets underway Saturday at 6 p.m. with grandstand admission beginning at 4 o’clock and pit gates swinging open at 3 p.m. A top prize of $1,000 is on the line for the 40-lap Jack Veach Memorial winner and Stefanski likes his chances of taking the checkered flag first for a second straight summer.
“It certainly helps starting out at a place that you’re familiar with, but everything still defends on track conditions,” noted Stefanski, who won his only series opener in 2006 —the same year Genesee hosted its only other lead-off event— en route to capturing his initial Mr. DIRTcar Championship. Stefanski pulled off a dramatic last lap pass to steal victory away from Mike Martin in the ’08 edition staged last August at the popular Route 5 raceway.
“I’m not a bumpy track racer. That makes it too tough to pass when you’re moving around so much instead of being able to run clean side-by-side. Everybody else on tour probably feels the same, we’ve got some top-notch racers with the ability to put on a great show given the chance,” stated Stefanski, a two-time track champion at Genesee, where he has cracked the winner’s circle 19 times since 2004.
Stefanski will be looking to put his familiar Sunrise Racing no. 2 San Ter Sewing-PJ NFB Auto Sales Chevrolet Monte Carlo entry in victory lane for a second time this season at the Batavia, New York oval when he signs in for the Independence Day special. He remains the odds-on favorite to repeat at the third-miler, winning exactly 50% (12 of 24) of the Series shows run from 2006-08.
The overall championship will be hotly contested as valuable points are also on the minds of Stefanski’s most formidable foes, with Don Carlson, Joey Ladouceur, P.J. Peters, Dion Oakes, Jocelyn Roy, Louie Jackson and Roch Aubin focused clearly on the top prize. Also expected to return for a shot at the elusive title are Dave ‘Bulldog’ Bissonnette, Stephane Lebrun and ’08 Motorsports Safety Systems/G-FORCE Rookie of the Year Bruno Cyr, while William Chubb and Richard Bertrand headline the crop of ’09 rookie contenders.
“The series gets a little tougher every year and I’ve talked to a lot of racers so there should be a full field to start things off at Genesee,” said Stefanski, on the verge of helping kick off the 15th Mr. DIRTcar Championship trail in Western New York. “We used to have a few more guys travel, its just that a lot of them aren’t leaving their home tracks as much anymore.”
“I think there’s a lot more drivers that can move up, the Street Stocks are so close (rules) right now they should be racing with us. Open motors are going for around $9,000 nowadays and I’ve been winning with a crate block that cost $2,900. I remember starting out when guys like Tom Kuck and Tom Barron were at the top of their game and just to run with them was a thrill. Things aren’t going to turn around here overnight with the economy still recovering but keeping the class moving forward should be something all the racers can continue to work towards,” Stefanski added.
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.
Genesee Speedway (585/343-1076) can be reached by taking Exit 48 (Route 98 exit) off the New York State Thruway. Turn left on to Route 98 driving south 1.1 mile towards Batavia. Turn left at the main traffic light onto Route 5 (East Main Street Road). The track www.geneseespeedway.com is located at the Fairgrounds one mile east of Batavia.
2009 Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TRACK LOCATION
Sat-Jul 4 Genesee Speedway Batavia,NY
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.