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Ruggiero Romps In Rolling Wheels Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series Show

Mike Ruggiero
Mike Ruggiero

Elbridge, NYSeptember 1, 2008 – By Dave Medler, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast Series Correspondent

Recently crowned Orange County Fair Speedway Champion Mike Ruggiero made the long tow north pay off as he won the “Big Dog” 30-lap Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Championship Series event on Labor Day at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park. Downstate racer Ruggiero survived yellow flags and race-long pressure from Canadian invader James Friesen to come away with his first ever win at the ‘Fast Track’ on Monday night.

“I’m almost speechless,” said a smiling Ruggiero. “We came up here and the last time we were running second, third, before we got wrecked by a lapped car with a couple to go, this makes up for it.”

After a failed start went yellow for a slowing Chris Hile, the field went back to its original starting positions. When the green flew again Ruggiero got the jump on the field followed closely by front row partner Friesen. Yet when the leaders exited turn two Friesen pulled even with Ruggiero and as they raced down the back straight into turns three and four, Friesen was scored the leader at the line.

Third-generation chauffeur Friesen started to put some distance between himself and Ruggiero before he slid off the back straightaway allowing Ruggiero to blast by into the lead on the fifth go round. Friesen somehow regained control of his no. 52 machine and held onto the runner-up slot. Sammy Reakes IV, Jipp Ortiz and Steve Gray ran in the top-five early on.

On lap six the yellow came out for a slowing Eric Giguere, who soonafter refired and continued at the back of the pack.

Ruggiero fired first on the ensuing restart and Friesen stayed with him as the pair once again raced side-by-side for the top spot. Reakes had the best seat in the house running in third and staying within striking distance of the top two.

When the race had 10 laps in the book, Ruggiero held a three car-length advantage as Friesen and Reakes were fighting it out for second. Ortiz, Jeremy Pitcher and Steve Gray were some distance back running third through fifth.

At the halfway point, lap 15, Friesen once again started reeling back in Ruggiero for the lead when the caution came out for ’08 Fulton and Cayuga County Fair Speedway Champion Pitcher. After a quick trip to the pits, Pitcher returned.

Yellow flag fever continued as Steve Gray and Todd Town tangled in turn one as soon as the green lights came back on. And just when Ruggiero started to put some distance on Friesen, another caution came out one lap later, this time for a slowing Jim Johnstone.

On the following restart, Ruggiero was able to open up an eight car-length advantage as Friesen, Reakes and Ortiz ran single file trying to chase down the leader. With 10 laps to go, Friesen once again started to run down Ruggiero and got within a couple car-lengths. Reakes and Ortiz were still third and fourth but couldn’t gain on the top two.

A quick yellow came out late in the race setting up a three lap shootout to the finish. Over those final circuits Friesen tried every trick in the book to get by Ruggiero. Coming down to the checkers Friesen went high in turn three, diamonding off the corner and ducking under Ruggiero as the pair raced to the finish.

It was to no avail as Ruggiero was first across the line by three-quarters of a car ahead of Friesen. Ortiz, Justin Wright and Reakes rounded out the front-five ahead of Mike Bowman, who started 28th on the 33-car grid. Kevin Ridley, Brandon Easey, Tyler McPherson and Marcus Dinkins completed the top-ten.

“This win puts the icing on the cake right here,” said Ruggiero, after exiting his Alex Marine, No.33. “If it wasn’t for him ( Matt Hitchcock, car owner and OCFS driver) we wouldn’t be here.”

Sportsman Series action picks up next weekend with a big tripleheader slated for the Niagara frontier, leading off with Ransomville (NY) Speedway on Friday, September 5 and continuing over the border in the Canadian province of Ontario at Merrittville Speedway on Saturday and Humberstone Speedway on Sunday. Each 50-lap feature pays the winner $1,000.

Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series Race #7 – Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, September 1, 2008 ‘Big Dog Country FM 30’ Event Summary
Feature
FIN STR CAR# DRIVER
1 1 33 Mike Ruggiero/Newburgh,NY($1,000)
2 2 52 James Friesen/St.Catharines,ONT
3 5 0 Jipp Ortiz/Ransomville,NY
4 6 19w Justin Wright/Piffard,NY
5 10 17k Sammy Reakes IV/Palermo,NY
6 28 71 Mike Bowman/St.Catharines,ONT
7 15 20x Kevin Ridley/Geneva,NY
8 9 06 Brandon Easey/St.Catharines,ONT
9 24 777 Tyler McPherson/St.Catharines,ONT
10 7 17 Marcus Dinkins/Watkins Glen,NY
11 13 08 Mark D’Ilario/Smithville,ONT
12 3 11j Alan Fink/Pennellville,NY
13 21 01 Chris Raabe/Napanee,ONT
14 19 85 John Pietrowicz/Phoenix,NY
15 14 99p Greg Panunte/Port Colborne,ONT
16 22 2k Rob Knapp/St.Catharines,ONT
17 30 11 Ben Wheeler/Genoa,NY
18 27 12 Chad Chevalier/Port Colborne,ONT
19 12 1f Steve Gray/Rushville,NY
20 18 66 Dan Wiesner/Geneva,NY
21 17 6 Mat Williamson/St.Catharines,ONT
22 33 140 Mark Dixon/Durham,ONT
23 29 m1 David Marcuccilli/Cayuga,NY
24 8 25g Nick Guererri/Waterloo,NY
25 4 14 Jeremy Pitcher/Fulton,NY
26 32 10 Tim Currier/Auburn,NY
27 25 21jj Jim Johnstone/Niagara-o-t-Lake,ONT
28 20 06j Jordan Bennett/Pennellville,NY
29 23 17t Todd Town/Jordan,NY
30 31 2 Loren Lincoln/South Bristol,NY
31 26 8s Justin Sharp/St.Catharines,ONT
32 11 67g Eric Giguere/Waterloo,NY
33 16 2kh Chris Hile/Syracuse,NY
DID NOT QUALIFY(15)
1h-Jason Hallett/Byron,NY
jvs1-Jim Spano/Skaneateles,NY
2kk-Katelyn Kane/Syracuse,NY
3-Fran Hilton/Waterloo,NY
9g-Greg Gould/Watertown,NY
11-Dean Patterson/Philadelphia,NY
16-Earl Rudy/Phoenix,NY
17m-Mark Olmstead/Elbridge,NY
19-Bob Buono/Dundee,NY
22-Greg Cool/Geneva,NY
44v-John Venuto/Elba,NY
51-Josh Hefti/Elbridge,NY
51x-Cody McPherson/St.Catharines,ONT
74-Matt Billings/Brockville,ONT
81-Christine Martin/Wellesley Island,ONT
EVENT SUMMARY:
LAP LEADERS: Friesen (1), Ruggiero (2-30).
CAUTIONS: 5 (lap 1, lap 15, lap 16, lap 17, lap 27).
HEAT WINNERS: Reakes, Wright, Friesen, Ortiz, Guererri.
CONSI WINNERS: Raabe, Knapp.
SYRACUSE TOWN MECHANICAL 30 QUALIFIER: Mike Ruggiero.
HOLLEY HARD LUCK: Jeremy Pitcher.
CARS ENTERED: 48.
NEXT EVENT: Ransomville Speedway – September 5, 2008.

QUALIFYING
Heat Races (8 laps, top 4 finishers transferred to feature, top 2 went to re-draw)
#1: Reakes, Fink, Giguere, Hile, Raabe, Venuto, Buono, Hefti, Billings, Gould.
#2: Wright, Dinkins, Gray, Williamson, Lincoln, Martin, Cool, Currier, Spano, Kane (DNS).
#3: Friesen, Pitcher, D’Ilario, Wiesner, Chevalier, T.McPherson, Marcuccilli, Bowman, Dixon, C.McPherson.
#4: Ortiz, Ruggiero, Panunte, Pietrowicz, Knapp, Johnstone, Olmstead, Hallett, Patterson.
#5: Guererri, Easey, Ridley, Bennett, Town, Sharp, Rudy, Wheeler, Hilton.
Consolation Round (8 laps, top 5 finishers transferred to feature)
#1: Raabe, Town, Johnstone, Chevalier, Marcuccilli, Currier, Martin, Buono, Dixon, Billings, Rudy, C.McPherson, Hallett, Hilton (DNS).
#2: Knapp, T.McPherson, Sharp, Bowman, Wheeler, Hefti, Patterson, Olmstead, Venuto, Gould, Lincoln, Cool, Spano (DNS), Kane (DNS).
Guaranteed: Lincoln.
Provisionals: Currier, Dixon.

Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series Point Standings (Through Sept. 1, 2008)
Rank No Driver Total Series Bonus Diff Wins T-5 T-10 Sts
1 66 Dan Wiesner 449 449 0 0 1 4 4 7
2 01 Chris Raabe 429 429 0 -20 1 4 5 6
3 14 Jeremy Pitcher385 385 0 -64 0 1 4 7
4 777 Tyler McPherson378 378 0 -71 0 1 4 7
5 85 John Pietrowicz 374 374 0 -75 0 2 3 7
6 6 Mat Williamson 369 369 0 -80 0 2 3 7
7 71 Mike Bowman 368 368 0 -81 0 1 3 7
8 08 Mark D’Ilario 354 354 0 -95 1 2 2 7
9 99p Greg Panunte 350 350 0 -99 0 0 3 7
10 67g Eric Giguere 349 349 0 -100 0 2 2 7
11 19w Justin Wright 346 346 0 -103 0 1 1 7
12 2L Loren Lincoln 316 316 0 -133 0 2 3 6
13 10 Tim Currier 281 281 0 -168 0 0 0 7
14 2x Rob Knapp 244 244 0 -205 0 0 1 6
15 140 Mark Dixon 236 236 0 -213 0 0 1 6
16 20x Kevin Ridley 235 235 0 -214 0 0 2 5
17 17k Sam Reakes IV 228 228 0 -221 0 1 2 5
18 2K Chris Hile 225 225 0 -224 1 1 1 4
19 17T Todd Town 216 216 0 -233 1 2 3 4
20 12 Chad Chevalier 208 208 0 -241 0 0 1 5
21 4 Daryl Hilkert 204 204 0 -245 0 0 0 5
22 52 James Friesen 193 193 0 -256 0 1 1 3
23 38w Luke Whitteker 187 187 0 -262 0 0 1 4
24 21JJ Jim Johnstone 166 166 0 -283 0 0 1 3
25 vs1 Jim Spano 150 150 0 -299 0 1 1 3
26 24 Brandon Sweet 150 150 0 -299 0 0 1 2
27 58 Steve Gray 149 149 0 -300 0 0 1 4
28 M1 Dave Marcuccilli 145 145 0 -304 0 0 0 4
29 17 Marcus Dinkins 132 132 0 -317 0 0 1 2
30 0 Jipp Ortiz 130 130 0 -319 0 1 1 2
31 33 Mike Ruggiero 125 125 0 -324 1 1 1 2
32 25g Nick Guererri 122 122 0 -327 0 0 1 3
33 06 Jordan Bennett 120 120 0 -329 0 0 0 3
34 26h Luke Carleton 112 112 0 -337 0 0 0 3
35 70 Brady Fultz 109 109 0 -340 0 0 1 2
36 99 Larry Wight 100 100 0 -349 1 1 1 1
37 19J Tom Juhl 98 98 0 -351 0 0 1 1
38 8s Justin Sharp 90 90 0 -359 0 0 0 2
39 3k A.J. Kingley 90 90 0 -359 0 0 0 2
40 3a Fran Hilton 86 86 0 -363 0 0 0 2
41 74 Matt Billings 84 84 0 -365 0 0 0 1
42 12x Dan Sellen 83 83 0 -366 0 0 1 2
43 18h Todd Henderson 83 83 0 -366 0 0 0 2
44 21h Don Spatorico 80 80 0 -369 0 1 1 1
45 17b Scott Prentice 80 80 0 -369 0 1 1 1
46 51 Josh Hefti 76 76 0 -373 0 0 0 1
47 9R Tyler Rand 76 76 0 -373 0 0 0 1
48 38p Jason Parkhurst 72 72 0 -377 0 1 1 2
49 12z Ray Bliss 72 72 0 -377 0 0 1 1
50 06 Brandon Easey 68 68 0 -381 0 0 1 1
51 11 Ben Wheeler 68 68 0 -381 0 0 0 1
52 23 Chris Herbison 65 65 0 -384 0 0 1 1
53 00 Boyd MacTavish 65 65 0 -384 0 0 1 1
54 83x Tim Sears Jr. 64 64 0 -385 0 0 0 1
55 57s Beth Schneider 63 63 0 -386 0 0 0 1

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 EVENTS
Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series race chasers only get five days to rest up and restore equipment before the next scheduled tour appearance comes up Friday, September 5 at Ransomville Speedway. Three consecutive 50-lap features are capped off by stops in Ontario at Merrittville Speedway on Sept. 6 and Humberstone Speedway on Sept. 7, with valuable points awarded towards the overall Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship along with a guaranteed starting position 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 Chris Raabe
Mon-Sep 1 30 Rolling Wheels Raceway Mike Ruggiero
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
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.