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‘Mr. Small-Block’ Pete Bicknell Last Veteran Riding Mr. DIRTcar Train

Pete Bicknell
Pete Bicknell - Alex Bruce Photo

Weedsport, NYOctober 22, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast PR Director

The 2008 Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series point chases come to a close this weekend with the final three titlists determined in 358-Modified, Sportsman Modified and UMP Street Stock competition.

Two of the five point battles concluded last weekend at Orange County Fair Speedway with Billy Decker capturing his second career championship in the Advance Auto Parts Big-Block Modified ranks and Pete Stefanski establishing a new standard in DIRTcar Racing NorthEast by claiming an unprecedented third straight overall crown in the UMP Pro Stock class.

Can-Am Motorsports Park stages the final 358-Modified and Sportsman Series shows on Saturday, October 25 with top Small-Block teams contending for a spot in the headline F.X. Caprara Car Companies 75 while Sportsman racers will be staging a 30-lap main event. Also on tap Saturday, Black Rock Speedway hosts the fifth and final points show as Hoosier Racing Tire presents the 4th Annual Street Stock World 100.

With a trio of titles up for grabs this weekend, two-time Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Champion Pete Bicknell is the only driver with a chance to return atop the standings while first-time winners will be recognized in the Sportsman and Street Stock classes.

“Its certainly been quite a drought, I guess I’ll just try and get my last one in while I can,” said Bicknell, 53, who garnered his first Mr. DIRTcar Championship in 1991 and repeated the title run in ’94. When the Small-Block tour debuted in 1983, Bicknell led the pack with three extra-distance wins during the fall season aboard his familiar no. 42 entry. “The business takes up more time every year so I don’t think I’ll be able to travel as much next season.”

“This year I made sure we got out to all the tracks again. I always enjoy racing but just as important was being able to see what I could find out that can help our customers. Its good to have a chance for another title and just as nice that Danny (O’Brien, 2nd points) and Chad (Brachmann, 3rd) drive BRP cars. Keeping Danny in my sights and not doing anything really stupid will be the focus at Can-Am. I’m looking forward to going back there, both times I was Mr. DIRT I won at Can-Am that same year,” added Bicknell, proprietor of Bicknell Racing Products, which has grown from its roots in St. Catharines, Ontario to gain international acclaim overseas as a parts distributor to Australia, England and Japan.

Bicknell is currently chased by second-generation driver and fellow Canadian O’Brien from Kingston, Ontario and Brachmann, who was recently crowned track champion at Merrittville Speedway, which Bicknell maintains ownership. In search of his first-ever Mr. DIRTcar title, O’Brien scored tour wins this season at Cornwall Motor Speedway and Autodrome Drummond and stands just 33 points back heading to Can-Am.

Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Point Standings
Rank No. Driver Total Series Bonus Diff Wins T-5 T-10 Starts
1 42 Pete Bicknell 1,042 746 296 0 0 4 7 10
2 17d Danny O’Brien 1,009 709 300 -33 2 4 6 9
3 3b Chad Brachmann 978 702 276 -64 0 2 4 10
4 99L Larry Wight® 876 576 300 -166 0 1 2 10
5 66x Carey Terrance 862 578 284 -180 0 0 3 10

Two more Canadian standouts will be contending for the elusive title Saturday at Can-Am as 46 points separate teenage sensation Chris Raabe and veteran Greg Panunte. Raabe is the winningest driver on the ’08 DIRTcar NE Sportsman circuit with 20 checkered flags although Panunte is the only driver to capture more than one victory this year in 15 tour events.

Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Championship Series Point Standings
Rank No. Driver Total Series Bonus Diff Wins T-5 T-10 Starts
1 01 Chris Raabe 1,304 1,004 300 0 1 7 9 14
2 99p Greg Panunte 1,258 978 280 -46 2 4 7 15
3 08 Mark D’Ilario 1,232 984 248 -72 1 7 8 15
4 14 Jeremy Pitcher 1,188 904 284 -116 0 2 8 14
5 777 Tyler McPherson 1,158 880 278 -146 0 2 6 15

With a division championship offered for just the second time, no less than seven drivers have a shot at dethroning Scott Smith, who has qualified for just half of the four Mr. DIRTcar Street Stock Series shows to sit 13th on the points chart. Still in search of his first tour win this season, Nathan Peckham has used a pair of runner-up finishes to reach the top and needs to place fourth or higher at Black Rock to secure the title.

Mr. DIRTcar UMP Street Stock Championship Series Point Standings
Rank No. Driver Points Bonus Diff Wins T-5 T-10 Starts
1 90 Nate Peckham 622 282 0 0 3 4 4
2 00 Mike Welch 604 300 -18 1 1 3 4
3 14 Ron Hawker 600 288 -22 0 3 3 4
4 33 Andy Fisk 599 292 -23 0 3 3 4
5 115 Nick Rizzo 596 284 -26 2 2 3 4
6 99 Adam DePuy 591 288 -31 0 2 4 4
7 37 Chris Fisher 566 292 -56 0 0 3 4
8 57B Frank Burnell 546 292 -76 0 1 2 4
9 8 Dave Mannise 481 300 -141 0 0 1 3
10 11 Mike Vaughn 441 224 -181 0 0 2 4

Further information about Can-Am can be found at www.canammotorsports.com or by contacting Race Director Chip Burdick at 315/778-3407. Can-Am Motorsports Park is located off of NYS Route 411 in LaFargeville, New York and can be reached from the east or west by traveling the NYS Thruway to I-81 (Exit 36). Take I-81 North or South to Rt. 411 (Exit 49), then head west four miles. For specific track information regarding Black Rock, please contact the speedway office at 607/243-8686 or visit www.blackrockspeedway.com. The track is located on Route 14A just two blocks south of the main intersection in Dundee, New York.

Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket retailer of parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United States, serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets As of April 19, 2008, the Company operated 3,291 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Additional information about the Company, employment opportunities, customer services, and on-line shopping for parts and accessories can be found on the Company’s web site at www.advanceautoparts.com.

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, Hoosier Racing Tire and Sunoco Race Fuels. Promotional partners include AMB i.t., Rite Aid Corporation and the University of Northwestern Ohio and the contingency sponsors are Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Crane Cams, Integra Shocks, MSD Ignitions, Motorsports Safety Systems, Penske Shocks and Wrisco Industries.