Weedsport, NY — March 3, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
The tradition continues across the Mason-Dixon Line as for the 10th consecutive year Hagerstown Speedway is scheduled to kick off the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series in Maryland.
Launching the 11th straight season of active involvement by Roanoke, Virginia-based Advance Auto Parts, the 2009 edition begins on Saturday, March 28 with the ‘North-South Shootout’ highlighted by a 100-lap feature rewarding $6,000 to the winner.
“The Big-Blocks only come to town a couple times all year and the Advance Series show is always a top draw in this area,” remarked legendary promoter Frank Plessinger, who is still anticipating Hagerstown’s 62nd season-opener after cold and wet conditions forced early cancellation the past two weekends. Dating back to 2000, last March marked the third time in nine years that the ‘North-South Shootout’ fell victim to inclement weather. “We always anticipate one of the best Big-Block fields of the year for the Series opener and the fans are in for a real treat with the biggest stars in the business running here under the lights.”
Reigning overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar points king Billy Decker will lead the mighty Big-Block Modifieds in their march south, with the likes of all-time Advance Series winner Brett Hearn, DIRTcar Big-Block career win leader Alan Johnson and top-five tour challengers from a year ago Jimmy Phelps, Dale Planck and Gary Tomkins all looking to wear the crown in 2009.
“Night racing is very enjoyable at Hagerstown and a great place to start off the Advance Series,” said Decker, coming off a career year highlighted by a record-tying 10 tour wins and a series-best 24 Top-10 finishes, 18 among the front-five. The ‘Franklin Flyer’ would like nothing better than to register his first-ever Big-Block victory at Hagerstown, where he has tallied four Top-Five finishes and set the Integra Shocks Fast Time on four occasions. “I’ve always really liked the track, just struggled to make the right adjustment come feature time. It’s similar to Rolling Wheels where we’ve done well there over the years, so we’ll certainly give it our best shot again in a few more weeks.”
The last time the Advance Series stormed into Hagerstown was 2007. Decker was clocked quickest in qualifying and led seven laps before Tim Fuller took over for good on the 33rd circuit. With a late race caution extending the distance to 105 laps, runner-up Hearn slipped past Tomkins with one to go while Decker held off hard charger Rick Laubach to salvage fourth under the checkers.
The 2009 Advance Auto Parts Series points race opener is expected to attract all the top teams in Modified racing today as they contend for the prestigious Mr. DIRTcar Championship and the biggest share of the season-ending point fund in excess of $200,000. Hagerstown’s century grind leads off the 23-race Advance Series with the Northeast’s premier Big-Block tour running from March through October and featuring extra-distance races at 19 dirt tracks in three states and two Canadian Provinces.
Decker will have his hands full in defense as the Top-16 in 2008 Advance Series points have all indicated they’ll be back in ’09 in quest of the coveted Big-Block title. On that all-star list are past Hagerstown tour winners Hearn (2006), Alan Johnson (2005), Tomkins (2002, ’04) and inaugural victor Steve Paine (2001). Joining in on the trail activity are Empire State wheelmen Matt Sheppard and teammate Jeff Brownell Jr., Frankie Caprara, Steve Paine, Ryan Phelps, Justin Haers, Billy Dunn, Danny Johnson and ’08 Rookie of the Year Larry Wight, along with Canadian veteran Pat O’Brien.
The competition has been fierce in the initial six events staged at Hagerstown as 19 drivers have finished among the front-five with only five —Decker, Tomkins, Alan Johnson, Hearn and Fuller— able to repeat. Decker set the one-lap tour speed record (19.016 sec./94.657 mph) around the ultra-smooth Hagerstown half-miler in 2005, the same season the race was won by Alan Johnson when the event was rain-delayed until June. Advance Series events in 2000 and ’03 were lost altogether due to early spring precipitation.
Joining the mighty Advance Auto Parts Modifieds in the doubleheader program will be the Late Models. Pits gates are scheduled to unlock at 3:00 p.m., grandstands open at 4:00 p.m. with warm-ups starting at 5:30 p.m. followed by Integra Shocks Big-Block Time Trials. Hagerstown Speedway is located on U.S. Route 40, four miles west of I-81.
For additional information, contact DIRTcar Racing Northeast Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed via cell (315/224-9009) or in the DIRTcar Northeast Office (315/834-6606). Also log into www.superdirtcarseries.com, phone the speedway office at 301/582-0640 or visit the track website at www.hagerstownspeedway.com.
2009 Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series Schedule
NP=Non-Point event; SP=Show-Up Point event.
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TRACK WINNER/LOCATION
Wed-Feb 11 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Pat Ward
Thr-Feb 12 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Pat Ward
Fri-Feb 13 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Jamie Mills
Sat-Feb 14 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Brett Hearn
Sat-Mar 28 Hagerstown Speedway Hagerstown,MD
Sun-Apr 26 Big Diamond Raceway Minersville,PA
Sun-May 24 -TBA-
Sat-Jun 6 Lebanon Valley Speedway West Lebanon,NY
Sun-Jun 7 Airborne Speedway-SP Plattsburgh,NY
Wed-Jun 17 Orange Co Fair Speedway Middletown,NY
Fri-Jul 3 Ransomville Speedway Ransomville,NY
Sat-Jul 4 Fulton Speedway Fulton,NY
Thr-Jul 9 Brockville Ont Speedway Brockville,ONT
Fri-Jul 10 Autodrome Granby Granby,QUE
Sat-Jul 11 Autodrome Drummond Drummondville,QUE
Sun-Jul 12 Cornwall Motor Speedway Cornwall,ONT
Sat-Jul 18 Cayuga Co Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY
Sun-Jul 19 Cayuga Co Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY ($20,000-to-win)
Mon-Aug 3 Merrittville Speedway Thorold,ONT
Fri-Aug 7 Brewerton Speedway Brewerton,NY
Sat-Aug 8 Canandaigua Speedway Canandaigua,NY
Fri-Aug 21 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Thr-Aug 27 Lebanon Valley Speedway West Lebanon,NY ($17,500-to-win)
Sun-Sep 6 Cayuga Co Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY
Mon-Sep 7 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Fri-Sep 11 Lernerville Speedway Sarver,PA
Sat-Sep 19 -TBA-
Sat-Sep 26 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Sun-Oct 11 New York State Fairgrnds Syracuse,NY ($50,000-to-win)
Sun-Oct 18 -TBA-
Sun-Oct 25 -TBA-
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 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.