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Gray On Defense In DIRTcar Sportsman Series Doubleheader

Steve Gray
Steve Gray - Alex Bruce Photo

Weedsport, NYJuly 16, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director

The Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series is back in the spotlight with its last two extra-distance events of the month scheduled at DIRTcar Racing Northeast charter member tracks Cayuga County Fair Speedway and Canandaigua Speedway.

Steve Gray will be anchoring the defense when he joins in the DIRTcar All-Star Weekend activity at Cayuga County on Saturday, July 18 before competing closer to home at Canandaigua on Tuesday, July 21 as part of the 166th Ontario County Fair.

“The travelers definitely come prepared but I’m confident they’ll be chasing the 17, 19 and 29 cars when its all over at Weedsport,” remarked Gray, 33, the current Cayuga County points leader, referring to top challengers Tom Juhl (#17D), Justin Wright (#19W) and the no. 29G Fox’s Auto-Dar’s Auto-JSB Graphics-Beck’s Recycling/Bicknell machine that he steers weekly for owner Tom Fox. “If we don’t have any scrapes, the way we run there I’m really expecting to win on Saturday.”

“When I get to the track I don’t really worry too much about anyone else anyway. We just take every race one at a time and focus on our own program. Championships are nice to look back on when its all over but right now winning races is our biggest goal,” said Gray, who has already scored a pair of feature wins at CCFS and another checkered flag at Canandaigua has carried him to sixth in the track point standings.

Stiffer competition will face the Middlesex, New York chauffeur when he straps in for rounds five and six on the 2009 Sportsman champ trail. And most entries are almost guaranteed to have fresher equipment than the ’01 Cayuga County points champion.

“We’ve got a four year-old car and (GM Crate) motor and the oil pump pick-up even fell off last year,” noted Gray, now with 20 DIRTcar Sportsman wins to his credit, including 13 at Canandaigua and five at Cayuga County, aside from making his first trip to victory lane at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park last season. “Its basically all the same equipment when Scott (Schrader) used to drive for Tom, I’m just having fun this time around.”

“But after chasing the set-up we threw something really odd at it and now the car sticks just like glue on the black stuff. After running Street Stocks, my first ride was an ’88 Show Car so I went back to using a lot of those same ideas. I talked about the changes with the crew and guys like Steve (Paine) and Eldon (Payne Jr.) and they agreed they’re pretty much off the wall. The car looks the same as all the others, we’re just using some strange weight percentages, things you don’t normally see nowadays. But if we keep winning, we’ll keep going with it, just change the oil and plugs this week,” said Gray, who has won the last two shows at CCFS and captured the Fourth of July special at Canandaigua to carry a three-race win streak into All-Star Weekend at Weedsport.

Current Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series points leader and defending tour champion Chris Raabe from Napanee, Ontario won’t mind upsetting the American’s apple cart on Saturday, especially when there’s a first-place prize of $1,000 waiting for the winner of the 30-lap main event. Joining Raabe and Gray on the race day roster will be top-five tour point-getters Sammy Reakes IV, Greg Panunte, Brandon Sweet and Jipp Ortiz, along with Cayuga County kingpins Alan Fink, Dave Marcuccilli, Juhl and Wright.

Including a complete Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series points program and DIRTcar Pro Late Model debut at The Port, the Saturday special is highlighted by a $3,000-to-win, 50-lap Super DIRTcar Series preliminary event, with a dozen Big-Block qualifiers also contending in a unique ‘Exemption Dash.’ Pit gates open at 2 p.m., grandstand seating and Infield Park & Thrill begins at 3 p.m. and racing starts at 7 o’clock following practice and Big-Block time trials.

Joining the Sportsman at Canandaigua will be a Parts Plus Big Six Street Stock Series event with rare appearances made by the Midstate Vintage Stock Car Club and New York Modified Midgets. Pits open at 4pm, grandstands at 5pm with qualifying rounds beginning promptly at 7 o’clock.

Additional series information can be obtained by contacting DIRTcar Racing www.dirtcar.com Northeast Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed via cell (315/224-9009) or at the Weedsport office (315/834-6606 x227) during normal business hours. Please visit www.cayugacountyfairspeedway.com and www.canandaiguaspeedway.com for specific track information.

2009 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TRACK WINNER/LOCATION
Sun-Apr 5 Black Rock Speedway Sammy Reakes IV
Fri-Apr 17 Can-Am Motorsports Park Chris Raabe
Thr-Jul 2 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park -rain-
Fri-Jul 3 Brewerton Speedway Tim Sears Jr.
Sat-Jul 4 Brockville Ontario Speedway -rain-
Sun-Jul 5 Cornwall Motor Speedway Chris Raabe
Sat-Jul 18 Cayuga County Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY
Tue-Jul 21 Canandaigua Speedway Canandaigua,NY
Mon-Sep 7 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Fri-Sep 11 Ransomville Speedway Ransomville,NY
Sat-Sep 12 Merrittville Speedway Thorold,ONT
Sun-Sep 13 Humberstone Speedway Pt.Colborne,ONT
Fri-Sep 18 Canandaigua Speedway Canandaigua,NY
Sat-Sep 19 Genesee Speedway Batavia,NY
Sat-Sep 26 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Fri-Oct 2 Fulton Speedway Fulton,NY
Wed-Oct 7 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Fri-Oct 9 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Sat-Oct 10 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY
Sat-Oct 24 Black Rock Speedway Dundee,NY
NOTE:
Two worst finishes through the end of September will be dropped by each driver; all October events count.
-A driver must make six DIRTcar weekly event starts at a single track to earn maximum home track bonus points of 360.

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.