Weedsport, NY — December 1, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
*Bill Moore Photo
All-time Super DIRTcar Series winner Brett Hearn continued to reign supreme over the Big-Block Modified world by capturing a record 7th overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship. The ‘Corporate Jet’ parked the Madsen Motorsports no. 20 Wentworth Custom Homes-Kruger-WLR/TEO mount in the winner’s circle on 3 occasions to extend his all-time high series count to 103, figuring in tour bests of 13 top-5 and 17 top-10 finishes in the 20-race title run. The Sussex, N.J. speedster finished the ’09 series campaign leading seven main events for 391 laps, posting 7 heat race wins and setting an Integra Shocks Fast Time en route to the $50,000 grand prize.
A career year for runner-up Matt Sheppard opened with a last-place finish in April yet culminated with a late-season flurry that put him just four points back in the bid for his first overall Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block crown. In between, the 2nd-generation chauffeur from Waterloo, N.Y. scored a Super DIRTcar Series-best seven victories, including the final three shows, with an exclamation point added in the Super DIRT Week ‘Rite Aid 200’ finale. While logging a dozen top-5 feature finishes aboard the potent JB Motorsports no. 9s XTreme Lubricants/Bicknell entry, ‘Super Matt’ led almost every other major category, with 6 Integra Shocks Fast Time awards, 8 qualifying heat race wins and 699 laps led during his first 20-win season on the demanding DIRTcar Northeast circuit that also netted him track titles at Canandaigua and Brewerton speedways.
Among the most consistent racers in the region, Jimmy Phelps followed suit behind the wheel of the H&H Motorsports no. 98H Wave Energy Drink-Mohawk Northeast-Joe Gibbs Racing Oil /Troyer machine, finishing in the front-four in points for the third straight year. In ’09 recording 14 Top-10 tallies in 20 extra-distance events, the Baldwinsville, N.Y. pilot posted a pair of Integra Shocks Fast Times and for the second successive season scored his lone series win north of the border — in 2009 at Cornwall Motor Speedway. In August a $17,500 payday was lost due to a blown rear-end with just four laps remaining at Lebanon Valley Speedway before Phelps fell 10 laps short of an elusive Rite Aid 200 victory at Syracuse when a soft tire foiled his best effort.
Fresh off his first overall Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block Championship in 10 years, Billy Decker settled for three spots lower in his attempt to defend, although the ‘Franklin Flyer’ still posted four wins in Super DIRTcar Series competition. Adding 10 top-5 finishes in the LJL Motorsports no. 91 Gypsum Wholesalers-Stadium Int’l-Quality Hardwoods/Bicknell ride, the open-wheel veteran from Unadilla, New York copped 8 heat wins, led six main events for 91 laps and posted a handful of Integra Shocks Fast Times — making him now the all-time quick qualifier with 42 in his colored career.
Jumping from 10th in points to 5th in the final Mr. DIRTcar standings made 2009 the most successful series for rising star Justin Haers in his sixth season on tour. Scoring 13 Top-10 finishes, with half of his 4 front-fives registered in the two of the last three events, the Phelps, N.Y. driver earned his lone Integra Shocks Fast Time award in record fashion at Merrittville Speedway. Strapped into the Haers Bros. Racing no. 3 Phelps Cement Products-SMV Motorsports-Jeff Jolly Masonry/Bicknell machine, T-Bone’ led two features for 22 laps and scored a pair of heat race wins while taking eight checkered flags in the DIRTcar Racing NE weekly wars at Can-Am Motorsports Park.
First-string driver in Doug Dulen’s Honeoye Auto Parts no. 84 Rochester Americans-National Guard/Bicknell entry, 2004 Mr. DIRTcar Champion Gary Tomkins salvaged sixth-place on the ’09 points chart with 11 Top-10 tour tallies to his credit. Retaining Canandaigua Speedway (2 wins) as his home track —site of his best finish of 2nd— the Clifton Springs, N.Y, chauffeur led two series races for 85 laps, including 49 in the Rite Aid 200 on the Syracuse Mile, notching three heat race victories along the way.
With his name forever etched in the history book as the inaugural winner of the ‘DIRTcar All-Star 100’ at Cayuga County Fair Speedway, young talent Ryan Phelps from Fulton, N.Y. scored eight more Top-10 tour finishes to climb to a career-best 7th-place in the final Mr. DIRTcar points chase. The ‘Rocket’ doubled up with his 1st career series win the day before at Cayuga Cayuga, leading 80 feature laps in the two mid-July main events and adding three qualifying heat wins during the summer. The Big Red Towing no. 99 Dave Miller Auto Body/Bicknell team added a third win in weekly action at Brewerton Speedway while enjoying his second full-season following the Northeast’s premier Big-Block series.
Five-time DIRTcar Northeast Driver of the Year Danny Johnson settled for eighth in the standings with a runner-up finish at Orange County and 3rd-place tally at Cornwall his best on his list of 10 Top-10s logged in 2009. The Rochester, N.Y. native began the season buckled into Mike Petruska’s no. 66 Atlas Paving-Behrent’s Performance Warehouse/TEO hotrod, entering his own no. 27J Troyer machine midway through before reuniting with owner Dave Thompson down the stretch. A trio of heat race victories and a Sunday night feature win at Cayuga County marked the only checkered flags of the season for the ‘Doctor,’ who ranks second all-time with 66 tour triumphs.
Aside from scoring a decisive victory on the ‘Fourth of July’ at Fulton Speedway, Alan Johnson’s 9th-place finish in the final Mr. DIRTcar standings was just as mediocre as that of his younger brother. Only three more Top-5 finishes were added in the no. 14J Bully’s Truck Stop-CFF,Inc.-Raymond’s Car Care/Bicknell car, along with heat wins in the Big Diamond Raceway opener and during Fulton’s command performance for the Middlesex, N.Y. ace. ‘A.J. Slideways’ remains DIRTcar Northeast’s winningest Big-Block driver now with 364 —51 in the Super DIRTcar Series— since the organization was formed in 1976.
Making his first full-fledged run on tour with the mighty Big-Block Modifieds, Wantage, N.J. traveler Michael Storms rounds out the Top-10 in points despite a catastrophic experience shared with car owner Vinny Salerno near season’s end. Just prior to competing at Autodrome Drummond in September, a pair of Four Star Motorsports no. 4 TEO machines were stolen in the early morning hours leaving the team rideless and forced to borrow cars for the final events. Using Fulton as his home track on weekends, Storms posted his two Top-10 tour finishes at Lebanon Valley and Granby while making all 20 events in his maiden voyage.
After improving the past three years from his 11th-place tally in the 2006 Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block Championship standings, second-generation standout Dale Planck from Cortland, N.Y. was back to square one after dropping to 11th in the ’09 edition. While adding three Super DIRTcar Series wins en route to third on the points chart last season, the ‘Natural’ could only muster three heat race wins this time around for owner Carey Terrance with a runner-up finish his best effort in a new RezX Racing no. 77X Grow It Hydroseeding-Action Race Parts/TEO car that debuted at Can-Am. Despite going winless for the first time in his career, the season ended on a positive note as Planck was officially crowned overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Champion in November.
Sophomore sensation Larry Wight from Phoenix, N.Y. found his second season much tougher as he moved up just two positions on the points ladder to rank 12th in the final Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block Modified standings. Yet before turning 17 years old in late October, the talented driver of the LJL Racing no. 99L Gypsum Express-Stadium International/Bicknell car was able to pick up a heat race victory and secure his first career Integra Shocks Fast Time award — earned after establishing a new single lap standard at Fulton Speedway on July 4. The DIRTcar Northeast rookie of the year in both Big-Block and Small-Block classes last season, Wight led seven laps in the ’09 Wilkens Memorial at Merrittville to kick off the month of August.
Enjoying his most productive season in the Super DIRTcar Series alongside teammate Matt Sheppard, Jeff Brownell Jr. from Waterloo, N.Y. missed five shows yet used three top-5 finishes to reach 13th in the final Mr. DIRTcar Modified Championship. Opening with a career-best second-place series finish at Big Diamond, the recently recognized Glen Ridge Motorsports Park (5 wins) Big-Block points king added two more front-fives at Lebanon Valley and Rolling Wheels Raceway to put his father’s JB Motorsports no. 29 XTreme Lubricants/Bicknell ride into a points fund payoff position. Also picking up his first-ever feature win at Canandaigua speedway during the regular season, Brownell garnered four heats on tour to highlight his best year to date.
Making all but three tour appearances in his third year following the Super DIRTcar Series, 14th-place finisher Billy Dunn parked the family-owned Number One Speed no. 49 American Traditions-Fast Lube of Watertown/Bicknell machine in the Top-10 three times with his lone front-five (4th-place) posted at Brockville Ontario Speedway in July. While Dunn managed two qualifying heat race wins on the trail, the Watertown, N.Y. racer was more successful on weekends with three victories elevating him to the top of the Big-Block Modified point standings by season’s end at Can-Am Motorsports Park.
A solid Top-10 contender during the new millennium and front-runner on the Central New York DIRTcar circuit over the past three decades, 2000 Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block champion Steve Paine from Waterloo, N.Y. finished 15th with four Top-5s scored in 12 events. Steering the popular Paine Motorsports no. 7X Tallmadge Tire-Swarthout Recycling-Instant Heat Wood Pellets/Bicknell ride, two of the front-five finishes came at Rolling Wheels beginning on Labor Day, with the ‘Hurricane’ taking five checkered flags in heat race qualifiers and leading 36 circuits in the Canandaigua 100-lapper in August.
Volusia Speedway Park launches the 2010 season as the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals Presented by UNOH showcases four non-point events in the Super DIRTcar Series on February 10-13.
2009 Overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Modified/
Super DIRTcar Series Point Standings (FINAL)
Rank No. Driver Total Series Bonus Diff Wins Top-5 Top-10 Starts
1 20 Brett Hearn 2,044 1,684 360 0 3 13 17 20
2 9s Matt Sheppard 2,040 1,680 360 -4 7 12 14 20
3 98H Jimmy Phelps 1,887 1,527 360 -157 1 8 14 20
4 91 Billy Decker 1,881 1,521 360 -163 4 10 10 20
5 3 Justin Haers 1,751 1,391 360 -293 0 4 13 20
6 84 Gary Tomkins 1,686 1,326 360 -358 0 5 11 20
7 99 Ryan Phelps 1,634 1,274 360 -410 2 5 9 20
8 27J Danny Johnson 1,559 1,199 360 -485 0 2 10 20
9 14J Alan Johnson 1,341 981 360 -703 1 4 9 15
10 4 Mike Storms 1,318 958 360 -726 0 0 2 20
11 77x Dale Planck 1,290 1,110 180 -754 0 2 6 19
12 99L Larry Wight 1,282 922 360 -762 0 0 0 20
13 29 Jeff Brownell Jr. 1,278 918 360 -766 0 3 7 15
14 49 Billy Dunn 1,250 890 360 -794 0 1 3 17
15 7x Steve Paine 1,201 841 360 -843 0 4 9 12
16 74 Tim Fuller 913 793 120 -1,131 1 5 6 10
17 8 Rich Scagliotta® 882 582 300 -1,162 0 0 1 10
18 18 Sean Beardsley 689 329 360 -1,355 0 0 0 7
19 62 Tom Sears Jr. 677 317 360 -1,367 0 0 0 6
20 99B Chuck Bower 672 312 360 -1,372 0 0 0 7
21 02 Roy Bresnahan 671 311 360 -1,373 0 0 1 6
22 FX1 Frankie Caprara 643 283 360 -1,401 0 0 2 5
23 6 Pat O’Brien 637 337 300 -1,407 0 1 2 6
24 43 Keith Flach 601 241 360 -1,443 0 0 0 4
25 21 Derrick Podsiadlo593 233 360 -1,451 0 0 1 5
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.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 Rite Aid Corporation www.riteaid.com, Dig Safely New York www.digsafelynewyork.com and the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and the contingency sponsors are Bars Leaks www.barsproducts.com, Bert Transmission www.berttransmission.com, Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, Brodix Cylinder Heads www.brodix.com, Ferris Industries www.ferrisindustries.com, Integra Shocks www.integrashocksandsprings.com, Intercomp www.intercomp-racing.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Rislone Oil Stabilizer www.barsproducts.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com.