Weedsport, NY — May 23, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast PR Director
Jeremy Pitcher hopes that 2008 will be a year of firsts. Recently beginning his 12th season in the highly competitive Northeast Sportsman Modified division, the new year marks Pitcher’s first-ever attempt at following the entire Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship Series.
The Fulton, New York chauffeur is already preparing to make his maiden voyage to victory lane at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park on Monday, May 26 in round two of the ’08 Mr. DIRTcar Championship trail.
“I’m pretty excited about going back to Rolling Wheels, it’s like we’ve got a brand new car now,” said Pitcher, 38, who finished 15th in Rolling Wheels’ 2008 season-opener on May 4. He opened the 17-event Mr. DIRTcar trail one month earlier with a fourth-place tally at Black Rock Speedway.
“We’ve been struggling so far this year but everything is really good right now. We finally figured out the problem …. the chassis had a bind in the front of the frame. All I can say now is look out, we’re ready for a win,” declared Pitcher, who also placed second twice this month at Fulton Speedway aboard his potent no. 14 MDV Construction-Empire State Container/Troyer machine, posting a pair of top-10s at Cayuga County Fair Speedway in April to kick off his ’08 campaign.
Pitcher will have his hands full as a dozen of the drivers signed up for Black Rock’s April tour lid-lifter have already scored feature wins this season. Rolling Wheels is expected to boast the same caliber of race teams. Heat races are slated to get underway at 7:00 p.m. sharp with pit gates unlocking at 1 and grandstands opening at 4 o’clock.
“Rolling Wheels has always been our nemesis, sometimes we have a good car but never quite good enough. But this new car finally feels just like the old one. The forward bite was lacking but now we’ve got things back where they should be,” noted Pitcher, the reigning points king at both Cayuga County and Fulton. He qualified for three of Rolling Wheels’ four Sportsman shows staged last year with a fourth-place best registered in the July shootout.
Currently mandatory for use in all Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series events, Pitcher got a head start by switching over to a crate motor in mid-June last season and won six of his seven feature races with the new powerplant to finish out the year. One of his goals this year is a double-digit win count and a first-place trophy at Rolling Wheels heads the list of things to do.
“The draw and track position are so important at the Wheels but we’re still pretty confident wherever we start. Rolling Wheels always gets slippery and you need to carry the momentum off the turns to do well. Last year we had a set-up that was usually right on the money at any track when it got slick. We’re normally able to move forward from where we start and maybe stay around the same spot even when we’re running bad. When we dropped back in the opener at Rolling Wheels that was the signal to take the car a part and see what was really going on,” said Pitcher, who will be steering a copy of last year’s successful car that he flipped at Can-Am in September to all but end his season.
“We’d love to win the Mr. DIRT Championship but track titles are just as important to us. We race to have fun and be as competitive as possible. Right now the move to Big-Blocks isn’t in the plans, I always want a chance to win and just don’t like running in the back of the pack,” added Pitcher, with his 15 career Sportsman wins spread out among Cayuga County (10), Fulton (4) and Can-Am Motorsports Park.
“We’ve got high expectations this whole weekend and a tour win at Rolling Wheels would be a great ending,” figured Pitcher, who plans to open the holiday with starts at Fulton on Saturday and Cayuga County on Sunday before closing out with the Aramark 30 at RWR on Memorial Day. “We probably had a 7th or 8th-place car at Black Rock and just stayed out of trouble. I’m confident with having a good one now that we’ll be right up in the hunt.”
Pitcher will have to fend off the top Sportsman tour campaigners on the DIRTcar NorthEast circit, led by opening day Rolling Wheels winner James Michael Friesen and his closest Canadian friends Mark D’Ilario (4th), Tyler McPherson (5th) and Greg Panunte (7th), each of whom finished among the top-10 in overall points last season. Third-generation pilot Friesen tops the current NE win list with three triumphs while Todd Henderson, Rob Pratt, Chris Raabe and Mike Ruggiero are the only other repeaters among 25 winners at 13 sanctioned tracks.
With the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series making up the holiday special, reserved tickets are set at $32, while adult general admission is $30, Seniors (Age 65+) $28, $12 for children (Ages 10-14) and those under the age of 9 are FREE. Tickets for this once a year event can be reserved by calling the DIRTcar NorthEast office (315/834-6606) while general admission tickets are always available at the gate.
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).
Be sure to log into the homepage at www.dirtcar.com to find out more about the entire circuit. For specific track information please contact the Rolling Wheels office on raceday at 315/689-7809 or visit www.rollingwheelsraceway.com.
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 Elbridge,NY
Thr-Jul 3 2-20 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Fri-Jul 4 30 Brewerton Speedway Brewerton,NY
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.