April 10, 2010 – By Tom Skibinski, Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
During the past four years Dale Planck had scored a total of five Super DIRTcar Series wins, but was shutout last season for the first time since making his maiden voyage to victory lane in 2006. Planck wasted little time jumping back on the tour bandwagon in 2010 as he staged a stellar performance to capture the headline ‘VP Racing Fuels Spring Fever 100’ held Saturday night at Fulton Speedway.
Workable track conditions and cool temperatures greeted 39 racers signed in for the Big-Block Modified opener in Central New York, and Planck regained his masterful form by racking up his 59th career Modified win at the storied Oswego County oval — one worth $6,000 plus guaranteed starting berths in October’s Super DIRT Week 200 on the Syracuse Mile and All-Star 100 Weekend Exemption Dash at Cayuga County Fair Speedway in July.
“It’s a big load off my shoulders finally winning a series race here at Fulton,” remarked Planck, 39, who has now registered his six tour triumphs at the same number of tracks. “Really, to win anywhere nowadays is a big accomplishment, the competition is just so high. To get a win like this certainly makes the year.”
Trying to make 2010 their own year to remember were Planck’s biggest chasers after 100 laps, runner-up Billy Decker and third-place finisher Matt Sheppard, for the second straight series show crossing under the checkered flag in that order. Decker won the season-opener at Hagerstown Speedway in March with Sheppard on his bumper the final 35 laps.
Decker’s teammate Pat Ward placed fourth at the stripe ahead of third-generation Canadian chauffeur Stewart Friesen, while reigning overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Champion Brett Hearn, hard charger Willy Decker, third-place Hagerstown finisher Michael Storms, north country racer Billy Dunn and local favorite Jimmy Phelps rounded out the top-10.
“I was doing good, wasn’t even tired until halfway through when I see the #91 (Decker) alongside me,” said Planck, who grabbed his first lead from Phelps on lap 40 before a dramatic duel with Decker kept scorers reeling as the final laps clicked off in rapid fashion. Seven caution periods slowed the action, yet the last yellow flag flew on lap 60 with Planck and Decker swapping the lead four more times in the 42-minute main.
“As soon as (Decker) took the lead I thought no more relaxing here. I’ve always talked with Kevin (Lamphere, long-time engine builder) about what to do at the end of these races and nine out of 10 times its roll the middle. The car wasn’t all that good on the top and wasn’t all that good on the bottom, so I just kept working the middle and it finally came around. This is just tremendous to finally come away with a win,” Planck said.
Planck cut to the chase as soon as the initial green flag waved, blasting from sixth to third to pressure front row starters Larry Wight and pole-sitter Jeff Brownell Jr. with 99 laps still to go. Rookie tour traveler Lance Willix II looped his mount between turns three and four to cause the first slowdown on lap four with Wight continuing to set the early pace ahead of Brownell.
Phelps was on the move in the HBR Motorsports no. 98H Wave Energy Drink-Mohawk Northeast/Troyer machine, darting past Planck 10 laps in and overtaking Brownell the ensuing circuit before forging the first lead change with 12 laps complete. By lap 20 the ‘B’ville Bullet’ had opened up a comfortable advantage over Wight, Planck and Brownell as Hearn, Decker and his Gypsum teammate Ward bided their time among the top-10.
Once Phelps reached the back of the pack a quarter way through, non-stop traffic around the wide 3/8-miler allowed his nearest pursuers to quickly close the gap. When Tim Currier slowed between the first and second turns to require a third yellow on lap 34, Planck proceeded to mirror his opening lap surge and charged from third to first to emerge as the newest leader with 40 laps in the books.
The end was near for two-time and defending Fulton series race winner Alan Johnson as just three laps later a left-rear tire went soft and DIRTcar Northeast’s all-time winningest Big-Block Modified driver called it a night in his own no. 14J Raymond’s Car Care-Pizza Logs Special to end up 28th on the final scoresheet.
Continuing to manhandle the RezX Racing no. 77X Twin Leaf Express/Bicknell entry at the halfway mark, the ‘Natural’ held a commanding lead over a charging Decker with Phelps, Wight, Ward, Hearn, Friesen, Brownell, Sheppard and Willy Decker running in order. Carburetor issues sidelined Brownell after running 58 laps while Dunn and Tom Sears Jr. checked up in turn four soonafter. The pair spun together with little room to maneuver to force on the caution lights for the seventh and final time as the lap counter clicked 60.
Planck out-gunned Decker on the last restart as Ward, Willy Decker and Phelps fought hard to shorten the distance. Runs by Decker and Ward proved successful yet Willy Decker and Phelps faded just as fast in the closing stages, opening the door for some late race theatrics by ‘Super Matt’ Sheppard in the potent JB Motorsports no. 9s Xtreme Lubricants/Bicknell ride.
Locked into a dramatic duel over the final 30 times around, Decker finally ducked under Planck for his first lead on lap 79. Weaving in and out of traffic, Planck returned to the points three laps later only to lose it the very next circuit as lapped cars cleared a path for Decker to regain the top spot. Failing to retreat against Decker, Planck made his final move to the front pay off on lap 86 just as new fifth-place runner Danny Johnson suddenly veered pitside under a cloud of smoke after suffering a blown motor in Mike Payne’s no. 7z Honeoye Auto Parts-Rochester Americans/Bicknell Big-Block.
No yellow was needed on this occasion and the top-three of Planck, Decker and Sheppard showed no signs of slowing up with just 10 laps remaining in round two of the Super DIRTcar Series. Although Sheppard had momentarily stole the second slot from Decker on lap 89, the ‘Franklin Flyer’ grabbed it back the next time around but could only creep to within three car-lengths of Planck when the final checkered flag flew.
“This Bicknell car worked just awesome, I can’t thank Carey (Terrance, owner) enough,” beamed Planck, who won his first series race at Cornwall Motor Speedway in 2006, followed up at Brewerton Speedway in ’07, before collected three more trophies at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, Cayuga County Fair Speedway and Autodrome Drummond in 2008. “I wasn’t sure what to do for decisions before the feature, not knowing what the track was going to do. It just ended up being super racy.”
“(Billy) laid in there pretty good in that one (turn) and I had to check up. Then a couple laps later the same thing happened by vice versa …I don’t know how that happened. Billy’s always awesome to race with, he’ll never hit you enough to take you out. He just kind of let me know he was there and its time to pick up the pace about 10 notches,” figured the second-generation pilot from Cortland, N.Y., who was battling a swollen left foot throughout the show after rolling his ankle exiting the trailer early in the afternoon,”
On the brink of claiming his second straight tour triumph at his car owner’s track where he garnered the 2009 season points championship, Decker settled for second through no choice of his own.
“It’s very important to win any tour race, you’ll see us dueling to the death out there,” stated Decker, 45, who posted five feature wins last year at Fulton including the season-ending 200-lapper worth a whopping $20,000. “I got into Dale down there, we were just racing our tails off I can tell you that.”
“We were trying to pinch one another behind a lapped car … actually just trying to get somebody hung up for a second. Dale seemed to be a little better than me for 4 or 5 laps and get away, then I put 2 good laps together and closed a little ground. We weren’t good enough to win but definitely a 2nd or 3rd-place car tonight.”
Still the second-place finish was good enough to give the Unadilla, N.Y. veteran the slimmest of leads over Sheppard by a count of 201-200 after two of 22 series stops.
“Its hard to complain about your worst finish being a second, we’re pretty happy right now,” added Decker, the overall Hoosier-VP Mr. DIRTcar titlist in both 1998 and 2008. “It takes consistency, we’re going to have to be right in there night in and night out. Nobody’s going to roll over, this is just a tough field of cars wherever you go. Its fun to be back here at Fulton, this place always puts on a good show. I’d like to thank all the fans here tonight for joining us, I know I had a good time.”
Starting 13th in the 31-car field on Saturday, bettering his finish by two more positions is the only thing that could’ve made Sheppard happier at the same track he was crowned 2001 points champion in the DIRTcar 358-Modified division.
“We’re happy to come home 3rd from where we started,” said Sheppard, the 2009 Canandaigua and Brewerton speedways points king, who hinted at moving his Saturday night home to Fulton to kick off the new decade of speed at John and Laura Wight’s spacious speedplant along the Oswego River. “If I could’ve got the car to turn a little better in the center I think we probably would’ve had something for them.”
“The car was good, just tough to get anywhere early. Seemed like you’d get bottled up in traffic and trapped. Finally we were able to get rolling near the end. Thought I was going to have something for them, pulled up, then I got real tight at the end.”
“We just have to keep finishing up front to have a chance. Doing things like setting fast time helps with 5 extra points for that. Tonight was tough, we drew a bad invert (4) after time trials then struggled in the heat. Just gotta keep plugging away and finish up front every night. Its going to take a lot of 2nds and 3rds to bring home a title,” said a calculating Sheppard, the defending Syracuse 200 Champion, who remains in search of his first overall Mr. DIRTcar title in the Big-Block Modified ranks.
Round three of the 2010 Super DIRTcar Series moves to the forefront during the first holiday of the race season with Cayuga County Fair Speedway bringing back the Hall of Fame Classic as part of the traveling tour on Sunday, May 30.
Super DIRTcar Series Race #2 – Fulton Speedway, April 10, 2010, ‘VP Racing Fuels Spring Fever 100′ Big-Block Modified Event Summary
FIN STR CAR# DRIVER
1 6 77x Dale Planck/Cortland,NY ($6,000)
2 7 91 Billy Decker/Unadilla,NY
3 13 9s Matt Sheppard/Waterloo,NY
4 9 42p Pat Ward/Genoa,NY
5 18 1f Stewart Friesen/Niagara-o-t-Lake,ONT
6 5 20 Brett Hearn/Sussex,NJ
7 23 10x Willy Decker/Vernon,NY
8 11 4* Michael Storms/Wantage,NJ
9 25 49 Billy Dunn/Watertown,NY
10 4 98h Jimmy Phelps/Baldwinsville,NY
11 3 99 Ryan Phelps/Fulton,NY
12 10 3 Justin Haers/Phelps,NY
13 21 3t Gary Tomkins/Clifton Springs,NY
14 17 85 Dan Vauter/Forest City,PA
15 24 66x Carey Terrance/Akwesasne,NY
16 28 X Chad Phelps/Mexico,NY
17 27 8 Rich Scagliotta/Bound Brook,NJ
18 8 7x Steve Paine/Waterloo,NY
19 26 10 Tim Currier/Auburn,NY
20 22 48too Dave Rauscher/Waterloo,NY
21 20 56 Vince Vitale/Phoenix,NY
22 2 99L Larry Wight/Phoenix,NY
23 15 7z Danny Johnson/Rochester,NY
24 19 62s Tom Sears Jr./Clay,NY
25 30 33 Mike Mahaney/King Ferry,NY
26 1 29 Jeff Brownell Jr./Waterloo,NY
27 29 22c Mario Clair/St-Edmond,QUE
28 12 14j Alan Johnson/Middlesex,NY
29 31 16w Lance Willix II/Theresa,NY
30 14 32c Vic Coffey/Caledonia,NY
31 16 24 Jim Witko Jr./Clarks Summit,PA
GATER RACING NEWS LAP LEADERS: Wight (1-11), J.Phelps (12-39), Planck (40-78), B.Decker (79-81), Planck (82), B.Decker (83-85), Planck (86-100).
CAUTIONS: 7 for 30 laps.
HEAT WINNERS: Wight, Paine, A.Johnson, J.Phelps.
CONSI WINNERS: Tomkins, Rauscher.
BICKNELL RACING PRODUCTS WINNER AWARD: Dale Planck.
MSD IGNITION WINNER AWARD: Dale Planck.
SYRACUSE 200 QUALIFIER: Dale Planck.
HALFWAY LEADER: Dale Planck.
BERT/KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER AWARD: Willy Decker.
XTREME LUBRICANTS SLICK MOVE OF THE RACE AWARD: Dale Planck.
PENSKE POWER POSITION AWARD (11th): Ryan Phelps.
MSD IGNITION FINAL PLACEMENT AWARD: Jim Witko Jr.
BILSTEIN SHOCKS FAST TIME AWARD: Matt Sheppard (15.549sec/86.822mph) *NEW TRACK RECORD.
TOTAL PURSE: $27,750.
CARS ENTERED: 39.
NEXT EVENT: Cayuga County Fair Speedway “DIRTcar Hall of Fame 100”- May 30, 2010.
DID NOT QUALIFY(8)
37x-Tommy Scheetz Jr./Boyertown,PA
TIME MPH CAR# DRIVER
*1 15.549 86.822 9s Matt Sheppard/Waterloo,NY
*NEW TRACK RECORD *$100 Bilstein Shocks Fast Qualifier Award
2 15.577 86.666 42p Pat Ward/Genoa,NY
3 15.648 86.273 3 Justin Haers/Phelps,NY
4 15.663 86.190 91 Billy Decker/Unadilla,NY
5 15.817 85.351 32c Vic Coffey/Caledonia,NY
6 15.835 85.254 99L Larry Wight/Phoenix,NY
7 15.884 84.991 99 Ryan Phelps/Fulton,NY
8 15.901 84.900 7z Danny Johnson/Rochester,NY
9 15.931 84.740 85 Dan Vauter/Forest City,PA
10 15.967 84.549 77x Dale Planck/Cortland,NY
11 15.983 84.465 4* Michael Storms/Wantage,NJ
12 16.012 84.312 24 Jim Witko Jr./Clarks Summit,PA
13 16.018 84.280 49 Billy Dunn/Watertown,NY
14 16.023 84.254 10x Willy Decker/Vernon,NY
15 16.044 84.144 20 Brett Hearn/Sussex,NJ
16 16.086 83.924 29 Jeff Brownell Jr./Waterloo,NY
17 16.104 83.830 7x Steve Paine/Waterloo,NY
18 16.107 83.814 14j Alan Johnson/Middlesex,NY
16.107 83.814 22c Mario Clair/St-Edmond,QUE
20 16.185 83.411 66w Wallace Stacey/Kahnawake,QUE
21 16.193 83.369 62s Tom Sears Jr./Clay,NY
22 16.217 83.246 3t Gary Tomkins/Clifton Springs,NY
23 16.238 83.138 16 Mike Bowman/Baldwinsville,NY
24 16.253 83.062 1f Stewart Friesen/Niagara-o-t-Lake,ONT
25 16.280 82.924 66x Carey Terrance/Akwesasne,NY
26 16.315 82.746 98h Jimmy Phelps/Baldwinsville,NY
27 16.339 82.624 8 Rich Scagliotta/Bound Brook,NJ
28 16.358 82.528 16w Lance Willix II/Theresa,NY
29 16.421 82.212 33 Mike Mahaney/King Ferry,NY
30 16.443 82.102 X Chad Phelps/Mexico,NY
31 16.447 82.082 13 Tony Steiner/Jamesville,NY
32 16.453 82.052 56 Vince Vitale/Phoenix,NY
33 16.480 81.917 10 Tim Currier/Auburn,NY
34 16.530 81.670 37x Tommy Scheetz Jr./Boyertown,PA
35 16.553 81.556 48too Dave Rauscher/Waterloo,NY
36 16.587 81.389 5h Chris Hile/Syracuse,NY
37 16.873 80.009 66 Dexter Stacey/Kahnawake,QUE
38 16.898 79.891 21k Randy Chrysler/Lewiston,NY
39 17.185 78.557 99b Chuck Bower/Lansing,NY
Heat Races (8 laps, top 5 finishers transferred to feature; top 3 redrew)
#1: Wight, Haers, Ward, Sheppard, Vauter, Dunn, W.Decker, Clair, W.Stacey, D.Stacey(DNS).
#2: Paine, B.Decker, Hearn, Coffey, Friesen, Tomkins, Bowman, Scagliotta, Willix, Bower(DNS).
#3: A.Johnson, Storms, Planck, D.Johnson, Sears, Terrance, Mahaney, Currier, Steiner, Scheetz.
#4: J.Phelps, Brownell, R.Phelps, Witko, Vitale, Rauscher, C.Phelps, Hile, Chrysler.
Consolation Races: (10 laps, top 5 finishers transferred to feature)
#1: Tomkins, W.Decker, Dunn, Scagliotta, Clair, Bowman, Willix, Bower, W.Stacey(DNS), D.Stacey(DNS).
#2: Rauscher, Terrance, Currier, C.Phelps, Mahaney, Steiner, Hile, Chrysler, Scheetz.
Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified Point Standings (Thru April 10, 2010)
Rank No. Driver Total Series Bonus Diff Wins Top-5 Top-10 Starts
1 91 Billy Decker 201 201 0 0 1 2 2 2
2 9s Matt Sheppard 200 200 0 -1 0 2 2 2
3 4 Michael Storms 162 162 0 -39 0 1 2 2
4 77x Dale Planck 159 159 0 -42 1 1 1 2
5 42P Pat Ward 159 159 0 -42 0 1 2 2
6 20 Brett Hearn 158 158 0 -43 0 0 2 2
7 49 Billy Dunn 145 145 0 -56 0 1 2 2
8 7z Danny Johnson 131 131 0 -70 0 1 1 2
9 3H Justin Haers 130 130 0 -71 0 0 1 2
10 98H Jimmy Phelps 129 129 0 -72 0 0 2 2
11 1F Stewart Friesen 121 121 0 -80 0 1 1 2
12 99 Ryan Phelps 121 121 0 -80 0 0 0 2
13 99L Larry Wight 117 117 0 -84 0 0 1 2
14 7x Steve Paine 110 110 0 -91 0 0 0 2
15 3T Gary Tomkins 104 104 0 -97 0 0 0 2
16 32c Vic Coffey 97 97 0 -104 0 0 0 2
17 14J Alan Johnson 97 97 0 -104 0 0 0 2
18 85v Dan Vauter 94 94 0 -107 0 0 0 2
19 8 Rich Scagliotta 90 90 0 -111 0 0 0 2
20 62s Tom Sears Jr. 90 90 0 -111 0 0 0 2
21 16 Lance Willix II 83 83 0 -118 0 0 0 2
22 10x Willy Decker 72 72 0 -129 0 0 1 1
23 10 Tim Currier 55 55 0 -146 0 0 0 1
24 48T Dave Rauscher 54 54 0 -147 0 0 0 1
25 66x Carey Terrance 52 52 0 -149 0 0 0 1
26 X Chad Phelps 50 50 0 -151 0 0 0 1
27 21K Randy Chrysler 50 50 0 -151 0 0 0 1
28 57 Donnie Corellis 46 46 0 -155 0 0 0 1
29 71 David Van Horn Jr. 45 45 0 -156 0 0 0 1
30 7 Rick Laubach 44 44 0 -157 0 0 0 1
31 56 Vince Vitale 43 43 0 -158 0 0 0 1
32 29 Jeff Brownell Jr. 43 43 0 -158 0 0 0 1
33 12a Ronnie Johnson 43 43 0 -158 0 0 0 1
34 37md Jer. Shingledecker 41 41 0 -160 0 0 0 1
35 22c Mario Clair 40 40 0 -161 0 0 0 1
36 33 Mike Mahaney 40 40 0 -161 0 0 0 1
37 24 Jim Witko Jr. 40 40 0 -161 0 0 0 1
38 65 Rex King 40 40 0 -161 0 0 0 1
39 88c Billy Pauch Jr. 40 40 0 -161 0 0 0 1
40 44 Frank Cozze 40 40 0 -161 0 0 0 1
41 14 Jimmy Horton 40 40 0 -161 0 0 0 1
42 37x Tom Sheetz Jr. 20 20 0 -181 0 0 0 0
43 66w Wallace Stacey 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
44 66 Dexter Stacey 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
45 13 Tony Steiner 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
46 16 Mike Bowman 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
47 99B Chuck Bower 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
48 5H Chris Hile 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
49 19h Chris Higgins 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
50 1 Darwin Greene 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
51 23 Billy VanInwegen 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
52 49e Billy Pauch 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
53 84 Rick Wegner Jr. 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
54 10v Bobby Varin 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
55 10s Kyle Strickler 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
56 85 Ted Lamb Jr. 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
57 165 Rex King Jr. 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
58 26 Ryan Godown 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
59 83 Brian Swartzlander 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
60 7a Chic Cossaboone 10 10 0 -191 0 0 0 0
2010 Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified Roster (39)
Car# Driver/Hometown Team (Sponsor / Chassis / Engine)
X Chad Phelps/Mexico,NY Haun Welding Supply-Ashley Winery-Midstate Tree Service/Troyer/Morrison
1f Stewart Friesen/Niagara-o-t-Lake,ONT Pizza Logs-Jeff Daley & Sons Oil Service-Westmoreland Golf Club/TEO/Enders
3 Justin Haers/Phelps,NY Phelps Cement Products-SMV Motorsports-Jeff Jolly Masonry/Bicknell/Finger Lakes
3t Gary Tomkins/Clifton Springs,NY Mighty Taco-Power Trip Energy Drink-Brachmann Racing/Bicknell/Honest Abe’s
4* Michael Storms/Wantage,NJ Keizer Aluminum Wheels-Four Star Transmissions/TEO/Morrison
5h Chris Hile/Syracuse,NY Ernie Kreis Heating Co.-Bradco Supply/Bicknell/Morrison
7x Steve Paine/Waterloo,NY Swarthout Recycling-Tallmadge Tire-Terrell’s Potato Chips/Bicknell/Finger Lakes
7z Danny Johnson/Rochester,NY Honeoye Auto Parts-Amerks-Currier Plastics-Waste Management/Bicknell/Mastin
8 Rich Scagliotta/Bound Brook,NJ Central Jersey Trailer & Hitch Depot-Adamsville Maintenance/Troyer/Feil
9s Matt Sheppard/Waterloo,NY Xtreme Lubricants/Bicknell/C.C. Performance
10 Tim Currier/Auburn,NY Currier Plastics-NorthStar Business Center/Bicknell/Mastin Engineering
10x Willy Decker/Vernon,NY Commercial Roofing & Sheetmetal-JWJ Container-Gypsum/Bicknell/Morrison
13 Tony Steiner/Jamesville,NY NY Tech Supply-Tech Tire Repairs/Bicknell/Donath
14j Alan Johnson/Middlesex,NY Raymond’s Car Care-RE Nolan Assoc.-Pizza Logs/Bicknell/Chevrolet
16 Mike Bowman/Baldwinsville,NY Klaben Nursery-Premiere Yankee Windows & Siding/Bicknell/Finger Lakes-Bowman
16w Lance Willix II/Theresa,NY SUNY Canton-Nor-Shir Construction/Bicknell/Morrison
20 Brett Hearn/Sussex,NJ Madsen Mtrsprts-Wentworth Custom Homes-Benjamin Moore Paints/TEO/Enders
21k Randy Chrysler/Lewiston,NY TIBchurch.org-Signal Cigarettes-Randy’s Smoke Shop/Bicknell/Jeff Nicholson
22c Mario Clair/St-Edmond,QUE ResistO-Batiments JDL-GMCI Express/Bicknell/Morrison
24 Jim Witko Jr./Clarks Summit,PA Brenzel Construction-Bruce’s Speed Shop/Bicknell/Morrison
29 Jeff Brownell Jr./Waterloo,NY Xtreme Lubricants/Bicknell /C.C. Performance
32c Vic Coffey/Caledonia,NY Sweeteners Plus-Integra Shocks-CME,Inc./Troyer/C.C. Performance
33 Mike Mahaney/King Ferry,NY Aloi Materials Handling-Mahaney Farms & Trucking/Bicknell/Enders
37x Tommy Scheetz Jr./Boyertown,PA TNT Repairs-Jeff D’Ambrosio Dodge/Bicknell/Enders
42p Pat Ward/Genoa,NY Gypsum Express,Ltd./Bicknell/Kevlar
48too Dave Rauscher/Waterloo,NY Magee Transportation Services-Monadnock Disposal Service/Bicknell/Morrison
49 Billy Dunn/Watertown,NY Number One Speed-Pemco Contracting-SUNY Canton/Bicknell/Finger Lakes
56 Vince Vitale/Phoenix,NY Affordable Landscaping-V & V Racing/Troyer/Enders
62s Tom Sears Jr./Clay,NY Summit Auto Group-Mullen Industrial-Trackman Equipment/Bicknell/Morrison
66 Dexter Stacey/Kahnawake,QUE Bully’s Truck Stop-CFF,Inc.-Unicast Crusher Parts/Bicknell/Morrison
66w Wallace Stacey/Kahnawake,QUE Bully’s Truck Stop-CFF,Inc.-Unicast Crusher Parts/Bicknell/Morrison
66x Carey Terrance/Akwesasne,NY RezX Racing-Twin Leaf (Hogansburg)-Tomohawk Tobacco/Bicknell/Kevlar
77x Dale Planck/Cortland,NY RezX Racing-Twin Leaf Express(Ft. Covington)/Bicknell/Kevlar
85 Dan Vauter/Forest City,PA Vauter Racing/Bicknell/Enders
91 Billy Decker/Unadilla,NY Gypsum Wholesalers-Stadium Int’l-Quality Hardwoods/Bicknell/Kevlar
98h Jimmy Phelps/Baldwinsville,NY HBR Motorsports-Wave Energy Drink-Mohawk Northeast/Troyer/Bruneau
99 Ryan Phelps/Fulton,NY Big Red Towing-Dave Miller Auto Body/Bicknell/Enders
99b Chuck Bower/Lansing,NY Ingles Performance-Daggat Insurance-Bradco Supply/Bicknell/Finger Lakes
99L Larry Wight/Phoenix,NY Gypsum Express,Ltd./Bicknell/Kevlar
*Early Opener: It was a hot summer night when Fulton Speedway staged its last Super DIRTcar Series show on July 4, 2009. This year’s tour event marked the Big-Block Modified lid-lifter in Central New York and spring conditions were seasonably cool, but more important, the skies remained cloudless for much of the day and that meant no rain in sight for both the racers and fans that turned out in force on Saturday. Four companion classes joined the card, including two Sportsman divisions, Pro Late Models and Gladiators, with the 100-lap Modified main event checker flagged at 9:15pm. While the win was Dale Planck’s 59th recorded at Fulton, it was just his fifth steering a Big-Block, with four track titles (1993-95, 1997) collected in the Small-Block ranks.
*Full Field: A banner field of 39 racers helped fill Fulton’s spacious riverside pit area, featuring 18 registered tour travelers plus nearly a dozen track regulars. The series stalwarts currently slated to run throughout 2010 include 17 of the top-20 point chasers from last season plus first-year Big-Block tour regular Lance Willix II. Among this elite group are reigning overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar points king Brett Hearn, Matt Sheppard, Jimmy Phelps Billy Decker, Justin Haers, Gary Tomkins, Ryan Phelps, Danny Johnson, Alan Johnson, Michael Storms, Dale Planck, Larry Wight, Jeff Brownell Jr., Billy Dunn, Steve Paine, Rich Scagliotta and Tom Sears Jr.
*Sad Start, Happy Ending: Dale Planck struggled with a self-proclaimed bad car in the series opener at Hagerstown Speedway (finished 12th) in March and was even bogged down by a bad leg when Fulton’s feature came to a conclusion on Saturday. Nothing but good things came his way later that night as he returned home $6,000 richer with series win number six tucked neatly under his belt. “I had the good car at Volusia in February, this one felt anything but comfortable at Hagerstown,” said Planck, noting that car owner Carey Terrance had re-skinned the Florida car with his own no. 66x appearing on the sheet metal en route to a 15th-place finish in his first race of the year at Fulton. “We did a lot of work in between but I still can’t say I’m comfortable right now. I was all happy to be back at Fulton today and then I got out of the trailer and rolled my ankle. Its about the size of my thigh right now and killing me, but you don’t feel anything once that green flag flies,” stated Planck in victory lane. Once again an avid Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series campaigner, Terrance expects to make a half-dozen Big-Block races in 2010 at Cornwall, Brockville, Granby, Drummond and closer to home at Mohawk Int’l Raceway.
*Record Watch: The Super DIRTcar Series single-lap record for Big-Blocks at Fulton lasted less than a year after ‘Super Matt’ Sheppard stopped the clocks in a time of 15.549 sec., shattering the previous mark of 16.408 sec. set by Larry Wight last July. Sheppard’s second straight Bilstein Shocks Fast Time gives him 17 in his budding career, tying him for fifth with fellow Waterloo, New Yorker Steve Paine on the all-time list. The second-generation pilot also established his fourth track record —2 set in 2009— alongside those already logged at Cornwall, Lernerville and Orange County.
*Television Test: The Super DIRTcar Series shootout at Fulton was filmed as a pilot for the new ‘Trackwide Thunder’ television program set to air Thursdays on Time Warner Cable Sports from April through November. Co-produced primarily by the father/son tandem of Mel & Matt Thomas, the tape-delayed shows will feature familiar voices of DIRTcar veteran announcers Joe Marotta, Doug Elkins and Shane Andrews, with former Ms. DIRT Chelsea Miller serving as hostess during the hour-long episodes. Created to focus on coverage of marquee motorsports events staged throughout the Northeast United States and Canada, Trackwide Thunder is slated to include action from a number of DIRTcar member tracks including Brewerton Speedway, Brockville Ontario Speedway, Can-Am Motorsports Park, Autodrome Edelweiss, Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, Mohawk Int’l Raceway, Ransomville Speedway, Rolling Wheels Raceway Park and Cayuga County Fair Speedway — home of the DIRTcar All-Star Weekend, July 16-17. More information is available at www.trackwidethunder.com.
*Dunn Right: Still nursing the remnants of a broken left hand suffered just three weeks before Hagerstown, Billy Dunn was back in action fresh off a solid top-five tally in the recent trip to Maryland in March. A victim of misfortune at Fulton in the feature, the Watertown warrior climbed back to crack the Top-10 and salvage 7th in the points chase after two extra-distance events. “At Hagerstown we finally got the finish we were capable of, just couldn’t finish last season and the year before wasn’t much better,” noted Dunn, who made his Series debut at Virginia Motor Speedway in May of 2007, and later that summer chased fellow north country contender Tim Fuller across the line to finish a tour-best 2nd at Cayuga County Fair Speedway. Last year the ’09 Can-Am points champion registered his lone front-five (4th-place) at Brockville Ontario Speedway in July. “We needed a good finish desperately. If I didn’t start so far back (13th) I think we could’ve placed even higher, just didn’t want to take a chance and over-drive. We’ve got a little more confidence now but we always expect to do well coming to Fulton, nothing’s changed there,” stated Dunn prior to feature time.
*Practice Day: Just one week ago Jimmy Phelps, Chuck Bower, Rob Hile, Tony Steiner and Lance Willix were among the Modified regulars taking advantage of a special pre-season practice session held at Fulton Speedway. If anything, that may have helped only Phelps on Saturday as he was the lone driver out of the bunch to qualify and he eventually won his heat before leading 28 laps in the feature go. “I’ve been coming to Fulton every Saturday since I was 6 months old and ran my first Modified race here. Winning a series show would definitely be something special, especially living just 15 minutes from the speedway,” remarked Phelps, who finished 10th and will now have to wait nearly six more months before Fulton hosts its second tour stop —Fulton 200— on Oct. 2 in a show-up points event worth $20,000 to the winner.
*The Other Phelps: Super DIRTcar Series point chasers Jimmy Phelps and Ryan Phelps are among the more recognized Big-Block pilots in the car racing clan, yet a regular on the Central New York roster in the open-wheel ranks throughout the millennium has been another cousin … Chad Phelps. After majoring in Metallurgy at Utica (NY) College, Chad continued to help his uncle John Phelps pitside prior to making his Sportsman debut in 2000 and then buckling into a Big-Block in ’05. Unable to match his uncle’s ‘1x’ car number as it was already registered by a fellow competitor, Chad’s own Haun Welding Supply/Troyer entries continue to be identified with the letter ‘X’ on their side. “Would certainly like to give the tour a shot full-time but getting the needed sponsorship has never materialized,” said Phelps, now 35, and employed as a machine operator for the Novelis aluminum plant in Oswego, near his home in Mexico, N.Y. “We’ll still be at Rolling Wheels, Brewerton, Fulton and Cayuga County, but hit only the locals series shows in between,” divulged Phelps, who owns four DIRTcar Big-Block feature wins and 10 in Sportsman competition.
*Back On Track: Jeff Brownell Jr. was the final tour regular to make his maiden voyage of ’10 on Saturday at Fulton after a serious intestinal infection forced the two-time defending Glen Ridge Motorsports Park points champion to miss the Hagerstown opener. Gaining instant notoriety after his backstretch barrel-roll at Volusia Speedway Park during the Florida DIRTcar Nationals in February was posted on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/DIRTcarRacing, Brownell has been hibernating for the most part of the last two months as his team helped prepare the blue and green JB Motorsports no. 29 Xtreme Lubricants/Bicknell machines. “Still not 100% but I’m a lot better than before,” remarked Brownell, whose father Jeff Sr. will receive the Gene DeWitt Outstanding Car Owner award in a special presentation during the Northeast Modified Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on May 30 at the Cayuga County Fairgrounds in Weedsport, N.Y. “It was pretty scary there for awhile, coughing up blood at times, but I’m taking some antibiotics now and things are under control.” Brownell time trialed 16th on Saturday before his daughter Abby drew the pole to start the feature. He jockeyed among the Top-10 before carburetor trouble curtailed his best effort just past the halfway mark in century grind.
*Two Scheetz To The Wind: For the second straight show, Pennsylvanian Tommy Scheetz Jr. failed to make the starting grid in a Super DIRTcar Series event. With a new Enders powerplant under the hood of the family-owned no. 37X TNT Repairs-Jeff D’Ambrosio Dodge/Bicknell mount, the second-generation pilot from Boyertown, Pa. was still sent packing early on Saturday after just his second-ever visit to the Oswego County oval. “People ask why I pass up a track just 10 minutes from my house to race 5 hours away,” began Scheetz, 23, who finished 14th in his initial trip to Fulton in May of 2007 before returning for the ’10 April opener. “I just want to get better and these are the best guys around right now to race against and learn from. I want to make as many of the series shows as my wallet allows, it’s the only way to get better and not use up all my equipment along the way,” figured Scheetz, who maintains an automotive repair shop alongside his father, Tom Sr., during the work week.
*Exemption Dash Qualifier: Along with all perks coming in the aftermath of his dramatic triumph at Fulton, Dale Planck also secured the first guaranteed spot in the ‘All-Star Exemption Dash’ during the 2nd Annual DIRTcar All-Star Weekend, once again scheduled on the first day of activity at Cayuga County Fair Speedway. A special qualifying series is now underway for the July 16 event that provides a full purse in the 15-lap preliminary event, one that locks the top-two finishers into the pre-race draw for the first segment of the revamped ‘DIRTcar All-Star 100’ on Saturday, July 17. Continuing to shine the spotlight on those DIRTcar Racing Northeast circuit tracks hosting the Big-Block Modifieds on a regular basis, along with a select group of sites hosting a Super DIRTcar Series event prior to All-Star Weekend, the winner —or next in line without a spot— of each Exemption Dash Qualifier will earn a guaranteed starting berth in the $500-to-win Friday night showdown.
*Sensational Super Series Stops: Destination events will once again jam DIRTcar Racing Northeast’s top tour in 2010 with the Big-Block Modifieds contending in the 2nd Annual All-Star 100 Weekend, this year featuring three straight days of racing at both Cayuga County Fair Speedway and Brewerton Speedway, July 15-17. The ‘Great Canadian’ tour in Quebec hits autodromes Drummond and Granby, July 19-20, with Super DIRT Week XXXIX on the Syracuse Mile, Oct. 6-10, and DIRTcar Fall Nationals at Brockville Ontario Speedway, Oct. 16-17, two of the biggest autumn attractions. The Hoosier Tire-VP Race Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship concludes competition for the first time ever as a major part of the World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (NC), Nov. 4-6, joining the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and the World of Outlaws Late Models as all three series wrap up their seasons with nationally recognized championship-deciding point events.
*Twitter Keeps Series Connection: Fans were once kept abreast of all the activity throughout the Super DIRTcar Series show at Fulton with their ‘Twitter’ connection providing Big-Block updates both on-line and through text messages on cell phones. Along with the brief bulletins offered Twitter ‘followers’ of the SDS during each race night, fans can also expect to receive breaking news and interesting notes between tour stops. To sign-up as a SDS Big-Block ‘follower’ on Twitter and receive updates anywhere at anytime, visit http://www.twitter.com/SuperDIRTcar.
*Pot Holes: Jimmy won the 4th heat followed by Ryan (3rd) and Chad (7th) in what was certainly a Phelps family qualifier … Larry Wight is the only driver with a perfect qualifying record to date, copping heats at both Fulton and Hagerstown … Wight’s Gypsum teammate Billy Decker is the only one to lead laps in both series shows, pacing the field over the final 36 en route to victory at Hagerstown before leading a half-dozen more at Fulton. Wight led the initial 11 times around at Fulton … After the Hagerstown lid-lifter in which they finished 1-2, and Matt led Billy by 2 points, Decker and Sheppard swapped positions in the current Super DIRTcar Series standings with just a single marker separating the pair still followed by upstart Michael Storms. Planck’s recent victory vaulted him into 4th (from 13th) and Pat Ward (7th) advanced to 5th, replacing front-five runners Danny Johnson (now 8th) and Brett Hearn (6th) … Making his second appearance in the Brachmann Racing no. 3T Bicknell machine, Gary Tomkins won the first consi and improved to 13th after starting 21st in the 100-lapper and was scored as the last driver to complete the entire distance. Prepping for the Mr. DIRTcar 358-Mod opener at Can-Am Motorsports park on April 17, first-string driver Chad Brachmann was at his Western New York home tending to wife Louise, who had just given birth to a 2nd daughter, Sophia Rose, on Thursday morning … Tony Steiner, who made his first tour attempt of the season on Saturday with little success, will team with Shawn Donath this season in a pair of no. 13 NY Tech Supply Modifieds, one sporting a Big-Block power plant and the other a Small-Block, both prepared by Donath himself … While Chris Hile was entered in the Fulton series event, brother Rob Hile will be in the same car throughout the season at sister track Brewerton Speedway. The pair will split driving duties aboard the white no. 5h Ernie Kreis Heating-Bradco Supply/Bicknell ride that will be stationed at every special show at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park along with local tour races around the Central New York circuit … Kenny Saya’s no. 10x Commercial Roofing & Sheetmetal-JWJ Container/Bicknell car was back on tour at Fulton with one exception — his driver. Willy Decker was strapped in place of Bobby Varin, a late arrival two weeks ago due to hauler problems on the way to Hagerstown. Decker chased Tomkins across the stripe in the consolation round, then charged from 23rd to 4th in 60 laps before fading to 7th at the end to earn the Bert/KSE Racing Products Hard Charger award.
Super DIRTcar Series action takes a month off before returning to Central New York at the end of May when Cayuga County Fair Speedway hosts the Hall of Fame Classic. The DIRTcar Hall of Fame 100 returns to the home of World Racing Group’s Northeast headquarters on May 30 with all the top Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar point chasers traveling to Weedsport, N.Y. for the Sunday shootout worth a cool $6-grand to the victor.
2010 Super DIRTcar Series Schedule
NP=Non-Point event; SP=Show-Up point event;
DAY-DATE TRACK WINNER/LOCATION
*** FLORIDA DIRTcar NATIONALS ***
Wed-Feb 10 Volusia Speedway Park-np Stewart Friesen
Thr-Feb 11 Volusia Speedway Park-np Matt Sheppard
Fri-Feb 12 Volusia Speedway Park-np cancelled
Sat-Feb 13 Volusia Speedway Park-np Matt Sheppard
Sat-Mar 27 Hagerstown Speedway Billy Decker
Sat-Apr 10 Fulton Speedway Dale Planck
Sun-May 30 Cayuga County Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY
Tue-Jun 15 Grandview Speedway Bechtelsville,PA
Wed-Jun 16 Orange County Fair Speedway Middletown,NY
Wed-Jun 23 Mohawk Int’l Raceway Akwesasne,NY
Sun-Jul 4 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Sun-Jul 11 Cornwall Motor Speedway Cornwall,ONT
*** ALL-STAR WEEKEND ***
Thr-Jul 15 Brewerton Speedway Brewerton,NY
Fri-Jul 16 Cayuga County Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY
Sat-Jul 17 Cayuga County Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY
*** GREAT CANADIAN TOUR ***
Mon-Jul 19 Autodrome Granby Granby,QUE
Tue-Jul 20 Autodrome Drummond Drummondville,QUE
Mon-Aug 2 Merrittville Speedway Thorold,ONT
Thr-Aug 26 Lebanon Valley Speedway West Lebanon,NY
Sun-Sep 5 Cayuga County Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY
Sat-Sep 18 Mohawk Int’l Raceway Akwesasne,NY
Sat-Oct 2 Fulton Speedway-sp Fulton,NY
*** SUPER DIRT WEEK ***
Sun-Oct 10 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY
*** DIRTcar FALL NATIONALS ***
Sun-Oct 17 Brockville Ontario Speedway Brockville,ONT
*** WORLD FINALS ***
Thr-Nov 4 The Dirt Track at Charlotte(qual.) Concord,NC
Fri-Nov 5 The Dirt Track at Charlotte Concord,NC
Sat-Nov 6 The Dirt Track at Charlotte Concord,NC
DIRTcar Racing Northeast main office is located in Weedsport, New York on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds, home of DIRTcar All-Star Weekend in July. DIRTcar Northeast’s crown jewel event —Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse runs annually in October featuring Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series events for Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman and Pro Stock divisions. Ticket and schedule information is available by contacting the Weedsport office (315/834-6606) during the day or logging into www.allstar100weekend.com and www.superdirtweekonline.com anytime.
The Big-Block 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 the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and Chizmark & Larson Insurance www.chizmarklarson.com, and contingency sponsors are Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, MSD Ignition www.msdignition.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Vicci Racing Apparel www.vicci.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com.