Weedsport, NY — March 26, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast PR Director
The door has been left ajar once more and in less than two weeks the first driver to fill the opening will lay claim to an early advantage as the chase for the 2008 Hoosier Tire-Sunoco Race Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship gets underway at Black Rock Speedway on April 5.
Track owner Dean Hoag and General Manager Alex Hoag welcome the top DIRTcar Sportsman teams back to wine country in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region for round one of the 17-event Championship tour at the popular Yates County 4/10-mile clay oval located on Route 14A just outside the village of Dundee, New York.
History is certain to be made the first Saturday in April as the 50-lap event not only kicks off the 50th Anniversary celebration of racing at Black Rock, it marks the first-ever crate-only show in Sportsman Series history. Last October at Black Rock, ’07 Series runner-up Chris Hile made a late-race pass on eventual third-place tour finisher Chris Higgins to capture the biggest win of his young career in the track’s only other tour stop.
“We got froze out last spring so coming back with such a significant event makes it even more exciting this time around,” said Alex, 24 —Dean’s son and grandson of legendary Modified driver Dutch Hoag— who fell short last year in his attempt to host the first Sportsman event due to unseasonably cold temperatures. “A lot of teams are anxious to get out on the track and we’re looking forward just as much to getting the season off with another memorable event.”
Just as 2007 Mr. DIRTcar Champion Joe Williams filled the top spot vacated by two-time overall Sportsman points king Russ Hefti last spring, Williams’ recent graduation into the Small-Block ranks leaves plenty of room for a newest successor. The gap was further widened during the off-season when Hile (358-Mod) and Higgins (Big-Block) also solidified their own plans to move up.
“We had the most competitive series in tour history last year so 2008 will definitely be a challenge to match the competition,” said Cory Reed, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning, alluding to the fact that there were eight different winners with all but one making their first-ever trips to victory lane in the Series. “The Crate engine program has been a big reason for the increased participation and we expect it to be at an all-time high with Crates’ being the only Series option this season.”
Pre-season tour entries include Central New York standouts Dan Wiesner and Jeremy Pitcher along with a great influx of Canadian chauffeurs led by top 2007 returnees Mark D’Ilario (4th Mr. DIRTcar points), Tyler McPherson (5th), Greg Panunte (7th) and Mike Bowman (12th). Other drivers holding high aspirations in the Series are Mat Williamson, Chad Chevalier, Rob Knapp and James Friesen — who recently purchased the former Bicknell ride of Big-Block Series star Justin Haers— while defending Black Rock points champion Brady Fultz and Western New York traveler Jipp Ortiz will also be signed in for the ’08 opener.
In preparation for this highly anticipated event, there will be an open practice session at Black Rock on Friday, April 4 beginning at 6:00 p.m. Heat races will get underway the following afternoon at 4:00 p.m. sharp with gates for both the pits and grandstands slated to open at 1 p.m.
For additional information, please contact Sportsman Series Competition Director Michael Sanchelli (cell 862/432-3597; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) or DIRTcar NE Competition Director Cory Reed at the Weedsport office (315/834-6606) during normal business hours. In the meantime log into the homepage at www.dirtcar.com to find out more about the entire circuit. For specific track information please contact the Black Rock Speedway office at 607/243-8686 or visit www.blackrockspeedway.com.
2008 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TRACK LOCATION
Sat-Apr 5 Black Rock Speedway Dundee,NY
Mon-May 26 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Thr-Jul 3 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Fri-Jul 4 Brewerton Speedway Brewerton,NY
Thr-Jul 10 Brockville Ontario Speedway Brockville,ONT
Mon-Sep 1 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Fri-Sep 5 Ransomville Speedway Ransomville,NY
Sat-Sep 6 Merrittville Speedway Thorold,ONT
Sun-Sep 7 Humberstone Speedway Pt.Colborne,ONT
Sat-Sep 13 Genesee Speedway Batavia,NY
Sat-Sep 20 Canandaigua Speedway Canandaigua,NY
Sat-Sep 27 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Fri-Oct 3 Fulton Speedway Fulton,NY
Wed-Oct 8 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Fri-Oct 10 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Sat-Oct 11 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY
Sat-Oct 18 Orange County 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.