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Hile Romps To July 4th Sportsman Series Win At Brewerton

Chris Hile
Chris Hile - Mike Johnson Photo

Brewerton, NYJuly 4, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast PR Director

Chris Hile opened the 2008 DIRTcar Racing NorthEast campaign behind the wheel of his familiar blue no. 5J Bicknell Modified machine, only with a four-barrel carburetor bolted onto his Sportsman motor from a year ago.

Friday night he was back in a full-fledge Sportsman ride, this time buckled into the pink no. 2K Kreis Motorsports crate-powered entry, and the result was a flawless flag-to-flag victory in the 30-lap Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series at Brewerton Speedway to kick off the festive Fourth of July celebration.

“She’s fast, color doesn’t matter and it looks real good anyway …. I like the pink and it works good for me,” beamed Hile, 21, after his first finish in three attempts on tour brought the $1,000 lion’s share to team owner Ernie Kreis. “This is a brand new car, built for Ernie Sr.’s granddaughter Katelyn Kane and I kinda just fell into the deal. We had a couple issues in our first race at Rolling Wheels but now I think we’re ready to go.”

Hile hit the go button at the start on Friday and endured a rash of eight caution periods to cruise home for his second career Sportsman Series triumph. Talented teen traveler Chris Raabe secured second-place ahead of another Canadian tour standout Mark D’Ilario, with current points leader Dan Wiesner and Central New York circuit regular John Pietrowicz filling out the front-five.

After a season long battle for the overall 2007 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman crown, it took a record-setting performance by eventual champion Joe Williams to edge runner-up Hile by just 25 points in the final tally. Williams netted an all-time tour best total of seven —including four straight— wins while Hile, who had a Series-high 10 top-five finishes in 14 races, scored his lone victory at Black Rock Speedway in October.

“After going at it every week last year, there’s a lot less pressure this time around,” said Hile, who plans to follow select Sportsman Series shows steering the Ernie Kreis & Sons Heating Co.-Leaf Racewear-LJL Racing-CME, Inc./Bicknell mount, with weekly events penciled in at Fulton Speedway. “We’ll take it easy over the summer and when the end of the season gets closer I’ll hit more of the higher paying Sportsman and 358-Modified events.”

Luck of the draw among the top-two qualifiers from five heat races positioned Hile on the pole and it was nothing but patience and experience that kept the Syracuse driver out front of 30 more chasers for the duration.

“Oh man, I didn’t think that (race) was ever gonna end. We had so many cautions there it was worrying me because you don’t know where the guys are running behind you. Luckily, we just hung on, held the bottom and we’re here at the end. I’ve watched Alan (Johnson, Modified veteran) run the bottom so many times nice and slow so I figured if I just did that I’d be okay,” noted Hile, who ran Mike Fowler’s no. 410 car in the ’08 Sportsman Series opener at Black Rock in April.

Tenth-place starter Beth Schneider looped in the first turn to test out the yellow lights early and on the second try Hile had no trouble out-dragging front row partner Jimmy Johnstone to assume command. Third-place runner D’Ilario and Raabe sandwiched Mike Bowman in the top-five during the early stages and with a dozen laps complete Bowman was scored fifth as Hile reached traffic.

Eric Giguere spun by himself in the second corner to slow the action on lap 16 and set off a chain of five yellow flags that unfurled over the next 10 laps. Luke Carleton mirrored Giguere’s mishap in turn two on the ensuing restart, Loren Lincoln was turned around in the first corner (lap 21), Tyler McPherson went around in turn one after contact with A.J. Kingsley (lap 22), and Rob Knapp suffered a flat tire to incur the sixth caution period on lap 24.

As the green lights appeared every time after, Hile resumed his comfortable advantage on each restart although Raabe was finally able to overtake D’Ilario for second by the halfway mark. Johnstone faded to fourth at the same juncture with Pietrowicz cracking the front-five with 20 laps complete.

With the white flag about to be thrown, yellow lights flashed on for the eighth and final time after some of the water that had settled low inside turns one and two was splashed on to the racing surface by some wayward racers. Fourth-place runner Johnstone was an unlikely victim from the suddenly slick track conditions and was reluctantly granted the Holley Hard Luck Award after being forced pit side for the final two circuits.

Hile showed no effects from the constant setbacks and was up to task as he went on to open up a five car-length margin ahead of Raabe under the checkered flag. Fourteen year-old Luke Whitteker (23rd) was the last driver scored on the lead lap with just five cars parked in the pits by the end. Wiesner, who slid into fourth at the line, now leads ninth-place finisher Mat Williamson by 27 markers in the Sportsman Series point standings followed by Jeremy Pitcher (7th), Raabe and Pietrowicz.

“I had a really good car tonight so I think I still could’ve got up front even starting farther back,” said Hile, who ran the first three weeks at Brewerton and was initially harboring thoughts to follow a 358-Modified schedule in 2008. “We were having a tough time being underpowered at the start of the season and I talked with Ernie about driving his car. He gave me a great opportunity so why pass up a chance to use some real good equipment.”

Runner-up Raabe continues to take advantage of the top-notch team that owner Gary McColman has assembled for an all-out assault on the coveted Mr. DIRTcar Championship. The potent black no. 01 Scott Industrial Services-Tyroute Communications/TEO entry has carried the 17 year-old pilot to the top of DIRTcar NorthEast’s Sportsman feature win chart with nine checkered flags.

“It was about survival out there tonight,” said Raabe, who competes regularly at Brockville Ontario Speedway (Sat.) and Thunder Alley Speedpark (Fri.), sprinkling Sportsman Series events in between. “We set up to run the low line here and that was pretty much the place to be all race. We’re happy with second and being able to gain a few more points before heading home.”

While Raabe is still in search of his first career DIRTcar Sportsman Modified tour victory, third-place finisher D’Ilario captured his first Series checkered flag the night before in the first of the twin 20-lap features held at Rolling Wheels.

“After this week we feel really good about where we stand,” said D’Ilario, who was docked half his points and earnings after a minor engine infraction was determined post-race Thursday night at The Wheels. “There’s a lot of racing still to go but I think we’re getting better with every show. We’re looking forward to keeping up the pace and now being familiar with most of the tracks we’ll be a lot more confident going back.”

Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Race #5 – Brewerton Speedway, July 4, 2008 ‘WHF Racing 30’ Event Summary
FIN STR CAR# DRIVER
1 1 2kh Chris Hile/Syracuse,NY($1,000)
2 5 01 Chris Raabe/Napanee,ONT
3 7 08 Mark D’Ilario/Smithville,ONT
4 4 66 Dan Wiesner/Geneva,NY
5 12 85 John Pietrowicz/Phoenix,NY
6 3 71 Mike Bowman/St.Catharines,ONT
7 13 14 Jeremy Pitcher/Fulton,NY
8 25 17d Tom Juhl/Weedsport,NY
9 17 6 Mat Williamson/St.Catharines,ONT
10 8 17k Sammy Reakes IV/Palermo,NY
11 19 jvs1 Jim Spano/Skaneateles,NY
12 18 20x Kevin Ridley/Geneva,NY
13 23 777 Tyler McPherson/St.Catharines,ONT
14 20 83x Tim Sears Jr./Central Square,NY
15 27 19w Justin Wright/Piffard,NY
16 22 m1 David Marcuccilli/Cayuga,NY
17 11 2 Loren Lincoln/South Bristol,NY
18 14 99p Greg Panunte/Port Colborne,ONT
19 16 26h Luke Carleton/Port Colborne,ONT
20 26 10 Tim Currier/Auburn,NY
21 10 57s Beth Schneider/Cicero,NY
22 29 67g Eric Giguere/Waterloo,NY
23 15 38w Luke Whitteker/Iroquois,ONT
24 24 410 Mike Fowler/Hannibal,NY
25 21 06j Jordan Bennett/Pennellville,NY
26 31 2k Rob Knapp/St.Catharines,ONT
27 2 21jj Jim Johnstone/Niagara-o-t-Lake,ONT
28 6 55 Matt Hulsizer/Bridgeport,NY
29 30 4 Daryl Hilkert/Potter,NY
30 28 17 Marcus Dinkins/Watkins Glen,NY
31 9 3k A.J. Kingsley/Fulton,NY
DID NOT QUALIFY(15)
2m-Stewart Garrison/Fulton,NY
3-Fran Hilton/Waterloo,NY
9r-Tyler Rand/Ottawa,ONT
11-Ben Wheeler/Genoa,NY
12-Chad Chevalier/Port Colborne,ONT
12x-Dan Sellen/Genoa,NY
17b-Sam Reakes III/Palermo,NY
24-Brandon Sweet/Watertown,NY
33-Matt Hitchcock/Stony Point,NY
44c-Geoff Carner/Baldwinsville,NY
51-Josh Hefti/Elbridge,NY
84-Rick Quick/Scotia,NY
92-Adam Turner/Picton,ONT
140-Mark Dixon/Durham,ONT
172-Brian Davis/Voorheesville,NY
LAP LEADER: Hile (1-30).
CAUTIONS: 8 (lap 1, lap 16, lap 16, lap 21, lap 22, lap 24, lap 27, lap 29).
HEAT WINNERS: Raabe, Bowman, D’Ilario, Reakes IV, Wiesner.
CONSI WINNERS: Bennett, Marcuccilli.
SYRACUSE TOWN MECHANICAL 30 QUALIFIER: Chris Hile.
HOLLEY HARD LUCK: Jim Johnstone.
CARS ENTERED: 46.
NEXT EVENT: Brockville Ontario Speedway – July 10, 2008.

QUALIFYING
Heat Races (8 laps, top 4 finishers transferred to feature, top 2 went to re-draw)
#1: Raabe, Johnstone, Lincoln, Carleton, Carner, Dinkins, Turner, Knapp, Sellen.
#2: Bowman, Schneider, Pietrowicz, Williamson, Hilkert, Garrison, Currier, Hefti, Rand.
#3: D’Ilario, Hulsizer, Pitcher, Ridley, Bennett, Fowler, Juhl, Quick, Wheeler.
#4: Reakes IV, Hile, Panunte, Spano, Marcuccilli, Wright, Hilton, Hitchcock, Dixon.
#5: Wiesner, Kingsley, Whitteker, Sears, McPherson, Reakes III, Chevalier, Davis, Giguere, Sweet.
Consolation Round (10 laps, top 4 finishers transferred to feature)
#1: Bennett, McPherson, Juhl, Wright, Turner, Garrison, Hitchcock, Hefti, Sellen, Dixon, Chevalier, Rand, Carner.
#2: Marcuccilli, Fowler, Currier, Dinkins, Knapp, Davis, Hilton, Giguere, Quick, Reakes III, Hilkert, Wheeler, Sweet.
Guarantees: Giguere, Hilkert.
Provisional: Knapp.

Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series Point Standings (Through July 4, 2008)
Rank No Driver Total Series Diff Wins Top 5 Top 10 Starts
1 66 Dan Wiesner 310 310 0 1 3 3 5
2 6 Mat Williamson 283 283 -27 0 2 3 5
3 14 Jeremy Pitcher 277 277 -33 0 1 3 5
4 01 Chris Raabe 273 273 -37 0 3 4 4
5 85 John Pietrowicz 268 268 -42 0 2 3 5
6 71 Mike Bowman 252 252 -58 0 1 2 5
7 08 Mark D’Ilario 249 249 -61 1 2 2 5
8 99p Greg Panunte 236 236 -74 0 0 2 5
9 67g Eric Giguere 229 229 -81 0 1 1 5
10 777 Tyler McPherson 223 223 -87 0 0 2 5
11 19w Justin Wright 213 213 -97 0 0 0 5
12 4 Daryl Hilkert 204 204 -106 0 0 0 5
13 10 Tim Currier 197 197 -113 0 0 0 5
14 2x Rob Knapp 194 194 -116 0 0 1 5
15 2L Loren Lincoln 191 191 -119 0 1 2 4
16 410 Chris Hile 185 185 -125 1 1 1 3
17 17T Todd Town 176 176 -134 1 2 3 3
18 20x Kevin Ridley 163 163 -147 0 0 1 4
19 12 Chad Chevalier 162 162 -148 0 0 1 4
20 140 Mark Dixon 152 152 -158 0 0 1 4
21 17k Sammy Reakes IV 148 148 -162 0 0 1 4
22 vs1 Jim Spano 140 140 -170 0 1 1 3
23 21JJ Jimmy Johnstone 126 126 -184 0 0 1 2
24 26h Luke Carleton 112 112 -198 0 0 0 3
25 38w Luke Whitteker 111 111 -199 0 0 0 3
26 70 Brady Fultz 109 109 -201 0 0 1 2
27 M1 Dave Marcuccilli 104 104 -206 0 0 0 3
28 58 Steve Gray 104 104 -206 0 0 1 3
29 99 Larry Wight 100 100 -210 1 1 1 1
30 19J Tom Juhl 98 98 -212 0 0 1 1
31 52 James Friesen 98 98 -212 0 0 0 2
32 3k A.J. Kingsley 90 90 -220 0 0 0 2
33 12x Dan Sellen 83 83 -227 0 0 1 2
34 18h Todd Henderson 83 83 -227 0 0 0 2
35 25g Nick Guererri 82 82 -228 0 0 1 2
36 06 Jordan Bennett 80 80 -230 0 0 0 2
37 21h Don Spatorico 80 80 -230 0 1 1 1
38 17b Scott Prentice 80 80 -230 0 1 1 1
39 24 Brandon Sweet 78 78 -232 0 0 0 1
40 3a Fran Hilton 76 76 -234 0 0 0 2
41 38p Jason Parkhurst 72 72 -238 0 1 1 2
42 12z Ray Bliss 72 72 -238 0 0 1 1
43 17 Marcus Dinkins 70 70 -240 0 0 0 1
44 51 Josh Hefti 66 66 -244 0 0 0 1
45 00 Boyd MacTavish 65 65 -245 0 0 1 1
46 83x Tim Sears Jr. 64 64 -246 0 0 0 1
47 57s Beth Schneider 63 63 -247 0 0 0 1
48 p38 Rob Pratt 60 60 -250 0 0 0 1
49 84 Rick Quick 55 55 -255 0 0 0 1
50 55 Matt Hulsizer 50 50 -260 0 0 0 1
51 8s Justin Sharp 50 50 -260 0 0 0 1
52 11 Mike Mandigo 50 50 -260 0 0 0 1
53 62 Rick Bellante 50 50 -260 0 0 0 1
54 16 Earl Rudy 46 46 -264 0 0 0 2
55 1H Bill Hallett 43 43 -267 0 0 0 1
56 77x Brandon Planck 42 42 -268 0 0 0 1
57 11x Donnie Lawson 42 42 -268 0 0 0 1
58 410 Mike Fowler 40 40 -270 0 0 0 1
59 m93 Mike Entwistle 40 40 -270 0 0 0 1
60 0 Jipp Ortiz 40 40 -270 0 0 0 1
61 14s Brian Swarthout 40 40 -270 0 0 0 1
62 1 Matt Smith 30 30 -280 0 0 0 0
63 33 Mike Ruggiero 25 25 -285 0 0 0 1
64 54x Stewart Garrison 20 20 -290 0 0 0 0
65 11 Ben Wheeler 20 20 -290 0 0 0 0
66 9R Tyler Rand 20 20 -290 0 0 0 0
67 92 Adam Turner 20 20 -290 0 0 0 0
68 172 Brian Davis 20 20 -290 0 0 0 0
69 74 Matt Billings 20 20 -290 0 0 0 0
70 38 Ryan Susice 20 20 -290 0 0 0 0

Pot Holes: Matching the total of entries signed in the previous night at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, a stellar field of 46 DIRTcar Sportsman Modified cars jammed the Brewerton pits for the Friday special with the overflow carried to the infield to accommodate excess cars and haulers…..Included in the all-star line-up were 18 of the top-20 point-getters, with only Rolling Wheels July 3 winner Todd Town (8th) and college student Brady Fultz (19th) failing to make the show…..Headed by Director of Technical Operations Bob Dini, along with close associates Scott Fremouw (Central Region) and Lloyd Larmon (North), the DIRTcar Racing NorthEast tech team conducted thorough inspection of the top-five finishers with all cars passing tests involving distributors, carburetors, cubic inches and rev limiters.

Get Out The Word First: RACEceiver is the Official Driver Communicator of DIRTcar Racing NorthEast. A compact radio receiver that conveniently fits into a driver’s pocket, a RACEceiver allows each driver to hear directions from series officials, which greatly enhances the safety and timeliness of events. A similar version available to fans will allow RACEceiver users to hear what information series officials are relaying to the drivers. For more information about RACEceiver, visit www.raceceiver.com, call 866-301-7223, or look for their sales trailers at various events.

Tracks Know The Score: In DIRTcar Racing’s ongoing effort to assist every member track affiliate with presenting the best possible race programs, World Racing Group has teamed with AMB i.t. which continues to be recognized as the Official Timing System of DIRTcar NorthEast. AMB i.t. is the world’s leader in automatic race timing and scoring systems and WRG is proud to retain the company as a valued partner in the timing and scoring of all sanctioned events.

UPCOMING EVENT
The 19th Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series makes the first of three scheduled appearances in Canada when traveling teams cross the border on July 10 to tackle Brockville Ontario Speedway in search of valuable points towards the overall Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship as well as guaranteed starter status for the Super DIRT Week main event 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 Brockville,ONT
Mon-Sep 1 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Fri-Sep 5 50 Ransomville Speedway Ransomville,NY
Sat-Sep 6 50 Merrittville Speedway Thorold,ONT
Sun-Sep 7 50 Humberstone Speedway Pt.Colborne,ONT
Sat-Sep 13 30 Genesee Speedway Batavia,NY
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
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.