Weedsport, NY — August 7, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
*Boris Rudzinski Photo
Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series standout Steve Paine is at a crossroads in his motorsports career. But don’t mistake that for a lack of effort or motivation to win for the low-key driver from Waterloo, New York.
Or lack of incentive when the Big-Block Modified stars invade his home turf at Canandaigua Speedway on Saturday, August 9 for the 14th event in the 27-race Advance Series.
“I still plan to race for awhile but every year I’m getting a little closer to just running on weekends, maybe a midweek show nearby once a month,” said Paine, 47, who has forged a successful career in the Modified ranks over the past quarter-century, with the 2000 overall Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block Championship and 27 Advance Series victories heading the list. “The family is growing and the boys are getting involved in just about everything right now.”
“I’ve got used to the family life but don’t spend enough time with all their activities. I still enjoy the local series stuff, those races I can get back home from at a decent hour. There’s so much information available today its getting tougher and tougher to get an edge. I’m just getting to the point where I see racing close by as more feasible with my own business still to run,” noted Steve, who continues to sell race car parts under the Paine Motorsports umbrella from the familiar Brewer Road site in his hometown.
Paine doesn’t expect Saturday night racing on the storied Ontario County Fairgrounds in Canandaigua to be lost in the shuffle when he finally gets around to adjusting his summer schedule one of these years.
“I wanted to cut back some last year, then I put together a deal to run Weedsport on Sundays and suddenly I was back to running three times every weekend plus Rolling Wheels and all the (Advance) Series shows,” said Paine, who mirrors the same agenda in 2008 steering his familiar yellow no. 7x Tallmadge Tire-Swarthout Recycling-Instant Heat Wood Pellets/Troyer ride. “I looked at it as a way to get a little more seat time and generate some additional income. But it’s a whole different ball game these days, you can’t just run decent any more and get away with it if you want to win.”
“Right now the top four guys are pretty much locked in and its hit or miss for the rest of us. From now on I’ve gotta look at finishing between fifth and 10th in points. I’ve been getting better lately and think I can pick up a win although there’s very little hope for much better (in points) the way things are going. Some of the tracks coming up I’ve just never been good at and others I’m down on equipment with just the smaller motor I’ve got left,” remarked Paine, who owns a handful of Advance Series top-five finishes to stand seventh in points, and is tied with Billy Decker after setting Integra Shocks fast time on three occasions.
Still in search of his first tour triumph of the season, Paine is realistic when it comes to etching another mark in the Canandaigua —site of his inaugural Advance Series win in 1985, with four more added through 2003 — record book.
“The track usually isn’t in the same condition as a regular show and most of the tour guys have more than enough experience getting around Canandaigua,” said Paine, who last year established an all-time DIRTcar NorthEast record after garnering his eighth straight Big-Block Modified season points title at the ‘Land of Legends.’ The ‘Hurricane’ has stormed into victory lane twice this season at the historic half-miler to bring his career total to 81 and once again top the points chart. “A few years back it seems almost everybody following the series raced here weekly at some point.”
“With the way guys like Billy (Decker) and Dale (Planck) are going every show, you have to be really, really right on to have a chance. I’d rather see a 100-lapper to cut tire expenses but a couple 50s would be alright if the track’s not as heavy as last year and we can get them both in. We had a few more wins by this time a year ago yet there were also more races, so two out of 10 is about average. This year everybody’s been in a bad spot out here fighting the weather in every race but one. It seems to rain every other day and with all three tracks (Fri.-Sun.) put together it equals about one full track schedule right now,” Paine figured.
Paine will be joined by a host of familiar faces this Saturday when Canandaigua Speedway hosts the Ferris Mowers Twin 50s, with the winner of each segment guaranteed a starting berth in the prestigious Rite Aid 200 Championship race on Oct. 12 of Super DIRT Week XXXVII at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Along with Saturday night Canandaigua regulars Gary Tomkins, Matt Sheppard, Justin Haers and Jeff Brownell Jr., the Waterloo warrior will have to fend off all-time Canandaigua feature winner Alan Johnson and younger brother Danny Johnson, along with Advance Series points leader Decker, runner-up Brett Hearn, Planck, Jimmy Phelps Frankie Caprara and young guns Ryan Phelps, Billy Dunn and Larry Wight.
Weekend action in the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series kicks off Friday, August 8 as Brewerton Speedway stages the WHF Racing 100 for Big-Block Modifieds.
For additional information about Steve Paine, log into his homepage at http://stevepaine.painemotorsports.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact Series Director Cory Reed at the DIRTcar NorthEast Office (315/834-6606) in Weedsport, New York or log into www.superdirtcarseries.com for additional Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series material.
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.