Verona, NY — November 14, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
Bill Moore Photo
They say records are made to be broken. On the DIRTcar Racing Northeast circuit its been open-wheel ace Brett Hearn that has remained one of the biggest advocates of that proverbial statement.
The Sussex, N.J. speedster took center stage for the seventh time in his career Saturday night, November 14 as nearly 500 drivers, owners, crew members, officials, media members and corporate VIPs filled the Turning Stone Resort & Casino Events Center in Verona, New York to celebrate during the 34th Annual DIRTcar Northeast “Night of Champions” Awards Banquet.
“I have a really high fireplace ledge at home that I’ve been putting the eagles (trophies) on, this one will have to go on the lower shelf,” smiled Hearn, 51, as he accepted the commemorative 65-pound hand-crafted “Tribute Trophy” that World of Outlaws champions Donny Schatz (Sprint) and Josh Richards (Late Model) received just last weekend for their own divisional titles to distinguish them as the best in the land. “That thing is incredibly heavy, seriously.”
“These championships are so hard to come by. It takes such a commitment, so much hard work for such a long period of time. Sometimes I can’t believe we can get up and do this the next morning.”
“Have to begin by thanking the Madsen family. They’ve been so good to me, giving us all the tools we need to go out and do the job the way we need to be a championship contender. I want to give Andrew (Phillips, crew chief) all the credit, this is his 2nd championship in the past three years. As I’ve had less and less interest in changing gears lately, my guys continue to pick up the slack. “
“George from Wentworth Construction, we’ve really become great friends over the last five years. Guys like Don Kruger and Bill Rumsey have been with us for a long time and Dean Pectal from Benjamin Moore Paints has become even more involved this year. Looking around its pretty to cool to see the success of my brother’s (Bobby) business —Teo Pro Car Fabrication— with three championship cars up here all at the same time. A big thanks also has to go out to Kevin Enders for his engine work, he’s given us all the power we’ve needed and more. Having everybody here together tonight makes it the most special,” noted Hearn, the all-time Super DIRTcar Series leader with 103 victories, also topping DIRTcar’s Modified list with 523 (350 Big-Block) feature wins.
World Racing Group Chief Executive Officer Brian Carter headed the presentation to Hearn and his car owner Madsen Motorsports, with WRG President and Chief of Operations Tom Deery also addressing the audience alongside newly appointed Director DIRTcar NE Competition & Track Sanctioning Joe Skotnicki. Further acknowledgements went out to the entire DIRTcar NE staff and WRG officials that helped coordinate the annual production at the internationally acclaimed Turning Stone entertainment complex.
Familiar ‘voice’ of the Super DIRTcar Series Shane Andrews emceed the program that featured interviews with every major award winner throughout the night. Always a highlight of this special occasion, customary inclusion of the four Mr. DIRTcar winning cars near center stage on the dining room floor provided a fitting backdrop that offered numerous photo opportunities both before and after the festive stage production. The sleek Madsen Motorsports no. 20 Wentworth Custom Homes-Kruger-WLR-BPG/TEO mount grabbed the most attention with Hearn posing alongside with his top-flight team of sponsors.
“You need the help of a very loyal and dedicated crew to be successful in racing,” remarked Brian Madsen, speaking on behalf of his parents Guy and Patricia Madsen while accepting the coveted owners trophy. “That sums up Andrew and Thomas (Conroy, head fabricator), their work ethic is second to none and the commitment to their job is the reason we are here tonight. Then there’s Kim and Kevin Enders (engine builder), we’ve asked a lot of them and they were always up to the challenge. Thank you for the friendship.”
“Finally, there’s Brett … able to oversee the whole team without missing a single detail. Your dedication, focus and will to win is unmatched, thank you for winning our 2nd championship. Your 7th title puts you up there with the names Petty and Earnhardt. We’re planning to be back with you in 2010. I know you’ll be needing to help Brook (Brett’s daughter) with college expenses so I’m sure having to open up your own wallet will make you even more eager to win. And that should make next year even better,” teased the younger Madsen, as he helped celebrate the family’s 25th season of racing that all began with a Street Stock ride at Lebanon Valley Speedway in 1985.
Following a similar format to the banquet program initiated last autumn, recognition of the 2009 DIRTcar Northeast touring division track champions kicked off the evening agenda with Regional Racing Series top point-getters honored prior to dinner being served at 7:30pm.
Continuing in ‘09 with DIRTcar Northeast sanctioned tracks divided into regions for the Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified and Sportsman classes, Regional Racing Series point funds rewarded the leading drivers in each class with total payouts equaling $39,425 for all nine open-wheel divisions. Recently crowned Regional champions earning $2,000 in the Big-Blocks were Matt Sheppard (central), Andy Bachetti (east) and Kevin Bolland (west).
Top point-getters in the Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman and Pro Stock classes were recognized during this popular seasonal celebration and in the end more than $374,000 in cash, fuel certificates and contingency awards were spread over 300 paying positions in DIRTcar NE’s four major touring divisions.
Eastern Region Manager Jim Kelly presented awards on behalf of VP Racing Fuels, Bicknell Racing Products Vice-President Randy Williamson rewarded teams in the name of Hoosier Tire while Larry Bishop was in attendance from Dig Safely New York, a long standing supporter of DIRTcar Racing and sponsor of the Modified Non-Qualifiers race at Super DIRT Week. Also recognized as special guests of DIRTcar Racing in this season-ending event were representatives from Camping World, Pullen’s Truck Center and Summit Auto Group.
In a special presentation made near the end of the night by Canandaigua, Cayuga County and Rolling Wheels track General Manager CoryReed, long-time scorer, handicapper and DIRTcar NE Director of Computer Operations Gary Spaid was recognized with a career achievement award. Spaid received the 4th Glenn Donnelly Award of Excellence which was created in 2006 to honor individuals, teams, associates, sponsors and others within the DIRTcar Racing Northeast community who exemplify characteristics that Glenn himself displayed. Pride, professionalism, dedication, loyalty and a genuine desire to excel are some of the attributes that qualified Spaid to receive this year’s prized award.
“I respected what Glenn did and admired all that he accomplishment in Modified racing,” uttered a choked up Spaid as he looked for words to describe a surprise reception of the rare honor. “He made our brand of racing mean a lot to everyone around him and it meant so much more to be a part of something that special. Certainly never expected this but appreciate it greatly … don’t really know what else to say. Just something I never thought of receiving although it means so much. Its nice to have some family here as they’ve been a part of everything I’ve done since day one,” noted Spaid, who was joined by wife Donna and son Brian Spaid, who was also on hand representing Tri-City Speedway during the track awards portion.
A custom trophy was given to Spaid and his name will also be inscribed on a special plaque next to 2006 award winners John Holland and Al Heinke from H&H Motorsports, ’07 recipient Tim Burger from Rite Aid, and last year’s winner Mike Paris from Advance Auto Parts, that will be put on display in the Northeast Modified Hall of Fame & Classic Car Museum located on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds in Weedsport, New York.
Along with the $50,000 Mr. DIRTcar cash jackpot collected by Hearn, the five-time Super DIRT Week Rite Aid 200 winner earned an additional $3,000 in VP Fuel certificates and $1,000 more from VP for his Super DIRT Week 358-Modified Championship fast time. The World Racing Group also fitted the newest Mr. DIRTcar Modified Champion with a commemorative ring to add to his growing collection. Mr. DIRTcar runner-up Matt Sheppard garnered an additional $2,000 in fuel from VP while receiving a unique $1,000 “Gater Leads The Way” prize package from Gater Racing Photo News editor Joe Patrick after ‘Super Matt’ led the most laps during the Super DIRTcar Series which included 20 extra-distance feature races held from April through October.
Four rookie drivers were honored at the banquet and presented special achievement awards for their first-year success by Dennis Botindari from MSS. An additional $8,500 in cash and prizes, including Extreme Mufflers and a ButlerBuilt Seat, were shared by 2009 Motorsports Safety Systems/G-FORCE Racing Gear DIRTcar Northeast Rookies of the Year award winners led by Rich Scagliotta in the Big-Block Modified division. Scagliotta was also presented a ‘Determination Award’ for loyally following both Big-Block and Small-Block Modified series, and his tentative agenda in ’10 includes a similar strategy.
‘Live’ entertainment provided by the band Raised On Radio closed out the gala evening in the events center as race teams, sponsors, track operators and guests officially helped draw the curtain on DIRTcar’s 34th season of auto racing promotion.
The start of 2010 is now only 88 days away as Volusia Speedway Park leads off down south with the 39th Annual DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH opening for Big-Block Modifieds on February 10. Check out www.superdirtcarseries.com often as further information for Volusia’s popular Winter tour events will be posted right up to race time.
Skidmarks: Michael Storms finished 10th in the final 2009 overall Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block point standings yet it was a combination of broken spindles, engine failures and racing wrecks and having his ride —Vinny Salerno’s 4-Star Racing-Keizer Aluminum Wheels-Four Star Transmission/TEO— stolen near season’s end that ultimately landed him the Area Auto Racing News ‘Hard Luck’ award. Helen Bruce made the presentation…. In an award introduced this year by Jeff Brownell, his own driver Matt Sheppard was selected as the ‘Xtreme Slick Move of the Year’ award recipient, yet in a fine gesture, Brownell turned over the $500 prize to Salerno following the late-season theft of his Big-Block Modifieds…Putting an exclamation point on a season filled with prize package giveaways after every Super DIRTcar Series Dig Safely New York ‘Last Chance’ qualifier, DSNY motorsports consultant Larry Bishop held a special draw with consi race winners Rich Ricci Jr., Roy Bresnahan, Tim Fuller, Pete Bicknell and Danny O’Brien collecting $100 awards while Chuck Bower earned the $500 grand-prize…An informal Saturday afternoon gathering of more than a dozen media members in the Turning Stone Resort Tower Hotel’s 2nd-Floor Meadow Room pre-empted the dinner banquet with WRG officials Carter, Deery and VP Public Relations Chris Dolack offering some brief notes about what transpired during the promoters’ meetings held Friday.
2009 DIRTcar RACING NORTHEAST AWARDS BANQUET REVIEW
HOOSIER TIRE-VP RACING FUELS MR. DIRTcar BIG-BLOCK MODIFIED AWARDS
Top-15 Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Championship
15. STEVE PAINE 1201 Pts.
14. BILLY DUNN 1250
13. JEFF BROWNELL JR. 1278
12. LARRY WIGHT 1282
11. DALE PLANCK 1290
10. MICHAEL STORMS 1318
9. ALAN JOHNSON 1341
8. DANNY JOHNSON 1559
7. RYAN PHELPS 1634
6. GARY TOMKINS 1686
5. JUSTIN HAERS 1751
4. BILLY DECKER 1881
3. JIMMY PHELPS 1887
2. MATT SHEPPARD 2040
1. BRETT HEARN 2044
MEDIA NOTES – 2008 MR. DIRTcar BIG-BLOCK MODIFIED CHAMPIONSHIP
Since 1976, DIRTcar Racing Northeast has been declaring an overall Big-Block Modified champion. Over the past three decades the point fund has grown to reflect the magnitude of this championship and with nearly 30 tracks participating in this year’s title chase, a combined point fund in excess of $200,000 awaits the top 15 Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar point getters, with over $50,000 in cash and contingency awards going to the 2009 overall champion.
In a dramatic conclusion that came to a head in the biggest event of the year, the outcome of the 34th edition of DIRTcar’s premier Big-Block Modified title chase came down to the season finale with our champion finally decided by just a handful of points after Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds on the notorious Syracuse Mile. The script could not have been written up any better as it was all-time series winner BRETT HEARN edging rising star MATT SHEPPARD in DIRTcar Northeast most celebrated show with only four points separating this dynamic duo and Hearn surviving for a record seventh Mr. DIRTcar title when the 2009 campaign came to a close by Columbus Day.
Hearn kicked off the Super DIRTcar Series with a trio of consecutive top-3 finishes and only got better after that, capturing two of the next three main events at Ransomville and Brockville Ontario speedways to open up a commanding 127-point advantage over reigning Mr. DIRTcar points king BILLY DECKER. Two more front-five finishes in the inaugural All-Star Weekend at Cayuga County and a runner-up tally at Merrittville provided the ‘Corporate Jet’ with his biggest cushion of 150 markers, yet it was Merrittville winner Sheppard taking over the number two position in the standings for the first time.
Sheppard repeated his victory lane march just four days later at Brewerton, and while Hearn’s single-season record of 10 straight top-5s to begin the series came to a close at the D-Shaped Dirt Demon, it marked a glimmer of hope for the rest of the competition that so far had been mired behind the Madsen Motorsports no. 20 Wentworth Custom Homes-Kruger-WLR-BPG/TEO machine for the previous four months. The outlook, at least for ‘Super Matt,’ further brightened as Hearn could only muster a single front-five finish in the final four August events, with Sheppard reducing the gap to 60 points heading into Labor Day.
The September holiday was certainly a time for Hearn to give thanks as back-to-back gifts once again elevated the New Jersey Jet well above the opposition. Continuing to steer the potent JB Motorsports no. 9s Xtreme Lubricants/Bicknell entry in his best season ever, Sheppard suffered a broken rear hub while leading the first 75 laps in the Sunday showdown at Cayuga County before a shredded right-rear tire forced Sheppard to relinquish the lead he had held for 87 laps on Monday at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park. And even with a damaged brake rotor limiting his chances, Hearn charged forward to forge the final lead change with just five to go and claim his third series checkered flag at The Wheels.
After Lernerville lost its bout with the weatherman for a second straight September, just three extra-distance events remained yet Hearn remained in the driver’s seat opening up a 133-point margin. Consecutive tour triumphs for Sheppard at Drummond and Rolling Wheels cut his deficit to 83 markers and with the 150-point scale intact for the Rite Aid 200 Presented By Ferris & Snapper Mowers, Hearn needed to finish 21st or better to lock up an unprecedented 7th overall Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block title. And that’s just about all he could muster, experiencing a faulty yoke in the transmission to wind up 20th while 27 year-old Sheppard romped home to score the biggest victory of his budding career in the Salt City.
In the final chapter of DIRTcar Racing’s 34th successive season, 51 year-old Hearn parked the Madsen Motorsports 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 championship. Hearn concluded his 35th season of open-wheel competition by capturing five DIRTcar Big-Block feature wins to increase his career count to an even 350; with another 173 victories registered in 358-Modified racing. The Sussex, N.J. speedster finished the ’09 series campaign leading seven main events for 391 laps, posting seven heat race wins and setting one Integra Shocks Fast Time.
SUPER DIRTcar SERIES AWARD PROGRAMS
* MODIFIED ‘DETERMINATION’ AWARD: Winner RICH SCAGLIOTTA
One driver was recognized with the presentation of a special award that epitomized his season, one that could be summed up in just a single word ….. DETERMINATION. Although he may have attended every Super DIRTcar Series event —qualifying for just 10 features— and hit all but two Mr. DIRTcar 358-Mod Championship shows that ran in conflict, he continued to travel the farthest every week from his Bound Brook, NJ home. His expenses were all out of pocket, with earnings totalling $4,800 in the Big-Block Series and $2,650 on the Small-Block tour. There were several nights when he missed qualifying by just 1 or 2 spots, and other occasions when he experienced some rough rides, yet through it all he never tossed in the towel and most importantly, already harbors plans to return to tour competition in 2010.
* AREA AUTO RACING NEWS: ‘Hard Luck’ Winner MICHAEL STORMS
Coming up in January, Len Sammons Motorsports Productions’ Atlantic City Indoor Race will once again be held to help kick off the new year. Area Auto Racing News Editor & Publisher Lenny Sammons is presenting the ‘Area Auto Racing News Hard Luck’ award winner Michael Storms two tickets to the show, which includes two tickets/ pit passes to the Atlantic City NJ Gambler’s Classic Indoor Races that will be held on Friday and Saturday, January 29th & 30th inside Boardwalk Hall. After watching the exciting headline 3/4 midget car action, Storms will have luxury hotel accommodations waiting for him in Atlantic City. Storms’ Super DIRTcar Series highlights in Vinny Salerno’s 4-Star Racing- Keizer Aluminum Wheels-Four Star Transmission/TEO entry…. Finished 10th in the final 2009 overall Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block point standings with 2 Top-10s. But it was a combination of broken spindles, engine failures and racing wrecks and having his ride stolen near season’s end that ultimately landed him the ‘Hard Luck’ award.
* GATER RACING PHOTO NEWS: Lap Leader MATT SHEPPARD
“The ‘Gater Leads The Way’ award recognizes the Big-Block Modified driver that led the most laps during Super DIRTcar Series feature race competition. Tonight, award winner Matt Sheppard, who led 699 laps in 11 main events & winning 7, has earned a $1,000 package from Gater News for leading the most laps.
* XTREME LUBRICATION: ‘Slick Move Of The Year’ Winner MATT SHEPPARD
In 2009, Jeff Brownell Sr. introduced his company’s ‘Xtreme Slick Move of the Race’ award and in an ironic outcome his 1st-string driver Matt Sheppard was selected as the inaugural recipient after his “$60,000 move” —avoided front stretch collision with slowing car late in race/dented front bumper— orchestrated at Syracuse in the Super DIRT Week finale which resulted in the biggest win of ‘Super Matt’s’ budding career. Yet in a more unique twist, Brownell awarded the overall ‘Xtreme Lubricants Slick Move of the Year’ $500 bonus to the Vinny Salerno/Michael Storms tandem following the late-season theft of their Big-Block Modifieds!
* DIG SAFELY NEW YORK: ‘Last Chance’ Draw Winners CHUCK BOWER ($500), RICH RICCI JR. ($100), ROY BRESNAHAN ($100), TIM FULLER ($100), PETE BICKNELL ($100), DANNY O”BRIEN ($100)
Throughout the 20-event Super DIRTcar Series, Dig Safely carried a strong presence with its backing of the consolation round. A total of 39 ‘Last Chance’ qualifiers were run with 30 drivers taking checkered flags, and each of those had their names entered for a chance to share $1000 in cash. Distinguished DSNY motorsports consultant Larry Bishop was in attendance to hand out five $100 awards along with a $500 check to the grand-prize winner. Odds-on favorites to share in these spoils were multi-time Dig Safely New York Last Chance Race winners Dale Planck (4), Billy Dunn (3), Pete Bicknell (2), Rob Bellinger (2), Roy Bresnahan (2) and Tim Fuller (2) as their names were entered those same number of times.
* 2009 Motorsports Safety Systems/G-FORCE DIRTcar NE Big-Block Modified Rookie of the Year:
RICH SCAGLIOTTA – Bound Brook, N.J. (47 yrs.)
– driver of the no. 8 Central Jersey Trailer & Hitch Depot-Adamsville Maintenance/Troyer entry;
– competed at Canandaigua (20th pts/5 starts), Cayuga County (31st/3 starts);
– finished 17th in overall Mr. DIRTcar Modified pts (10th-place best at Cornwall Motor Speedway);
$4000 award; G-FORCE Helmet, 6-Pt Safety Belts/Driving Gloves; $225 HANS gift certificate; $1000 cash
and Extreme Muffler package ….. plus $2,000 ButlerBuilt Racing Seat!
DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Track Champions
TRACK PROMOTER(S) CHAMPION
Brewerton: John & Laura Wight Matt Sheppard
Can-Am: Charlie & Billy Caprara Billy Dunn
Canandaigua: Jeff Farney Matt Sheppard
Cayuga County: Cory Reed Alan Johnson
Fulton: John & Laura Wight Billy Decker
Glen Ridge: Jake Spraker & Mike Romano Jeff Brownell Jr.
Lebanon Valley: Howard Commander Andy Bachetti … (remain by stage)
Lernerville: Gary Risch Jr. Jeremiah Shingledecker
Tri-City: Rich Hetrick & Roy Hill Jeremiah Shingledecker
DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Regional Champions
CENTRAL REGION EASTERN REGION WESTERN REGION
No. Driver Points No. Driver Points No. Driver Points
1 9S Matt Sheppard 900 34 Andy Bachetti 666 777 Kevin Bolland 704
2 91 Billy Decker 876 29 Jeff Brownell Jr. 662 37MD Jeremiah Shingledecker 700
3 3H Justin Haers 868 20 Craig Hanson 544 83 Brian Swartzlander 674
4 14J Alan Johnson 852 24 Bobby Varin 628 20D Del Rougeux Jr. 668
5 42P Pat Ward 834 115 Kenny Tremont 616 61 Dave Murdick 634
6 49 Billy Dunn 824 19K Paul Kinney 612 25 Joe Crawford 590
7 99J/98 Jimmy Phelps 820 98 Eddie Marshall 590 28 Tom Winkle 576
8 7X Steve Paine 816 57 Donnie Corellis 590 65 Rex King 574
9 84 Gary Tomkins 802 6H Josh Hohenforst 570 8J Dean Pearson 562
10 99 Ryan Phelps 790 77F Mark Flach Jr. 564 17H Kevin Hoffman 523
11 8R Rob Bellinger 768 43 Keith Flach 560 11R Brad Rapp 522
12 19H Chris Higgins 758 42 Guy Sheldon 538 96 Mike Turner 512
13 29 Jeff Brownell Jr. 752 711 JaMike Sowle 534 6 Carl Murdick 456
DIRTcar BIG-BLOCK MODIFIED REGIONALS:
Collecting his first point titles at Brewerton and Canandaigua speedways while leading the entire DIRTcar Northeast circuit with 20 feature wins, Sheppard easily separated himself from the pack during the summer and cruised on to the Central Region crown in convincing fashion. ’09 Lebanon Valley Speedway champion Bachetti, a four-time Big-Block winner on the high banks, was the class of the Eastern Region while Bolland led all Western Pa./Ohio drivers with eight feature wins to top his area points chart.
GLENN DONNELLY AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
….. presented to DIRTcar Racing NE Chief Scorer/Computer Operations Director GARY SPAID
Introduced in 2006, the Glenn Donnelly Award of Excellence honors individuals, teams, associates, sponsors and others within the DIRTcar Racing Northeast community who exemplify characteristics that Glenn himself displayed. Pride, professionalism, dedication, loyalty and a genuine desire to excel are some of the attributes that qualify recipients for this most prestigious award. *Inaugural winners car owners JOHN HOLLAND & AL HEINKE (2006), Rite Aid Corporation Senior Vice-President TIM BURGER (2007) and AAP Motorsports Marketing Supervisor MIKE PARIS (2008) are great examples. These qualities separate DIRTcar members apart from the others and it’s the dedication and love of this sport set in motion by Glenn, that make this great image of DIRT racing possible. This award is earned, not won.
The World Racing Group, in particular DIRTcar Racing Northeast, continues to be recognized as one of the premier motorsports organizations around the entire country. Comprised of two dozen member speedways throughout the region and boasting a handful of traveling tours that annually attract hundreds of teams for competition in open-wheel and full-fender divisions, it remains among the most successful enterprises in operation today. The recipient of the 2009 Glenn Donnelly Award of Excellence has not only further enhanced the status of this internationally respected auto racing association, he has spent half his lifetime documenting its history and chronicling its rise to the top echelon, while ultimately helping insure a popular existence for generations to come.
Born in what would one day become the backyard of DIRTcar Big-Block Modified racing in Central New York, our award winner was thrust into the motorsports mainstream at a very young age, attending the stock car shows at nearby Waterloo Speedway (aka Maple Grove) with his father, Elton Spaid. Venturing weekly to the track from his home in neighboring Seneca Falls, N.Y., it was no surprise that on one of his first dates with high school sweetheart Donna Freligh, he brought her to Waterloo to spend a romantic Saturday night amidst the sounds of revving engines and smells of burning fuel at the local dirt track! Many more laps were on the horizon and the couple finally wed in 1968, soon after carrying on the family tradition with children Brian and Jennifer joining the race fraternity before they were a year old. Lancaster National Speedway in Western New York was the first track for Brian, today a prominent attorney in Franklin, Pa. while Jennifer, currently employed as a marketing specialist by Stewart Haas Racing in Charlotte, N.C., first muddied her shoes at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park after the fledgling family relocated further east. Graduating with a Business Marketing/Education degree earned at Niagara University, our award winner was employed from 1970 to 2003 as a business teacher with the Rush-Henrietta Central School District located just south of Rochester, N.Y.
Remaining a devout race fan from day one, his own homework assignment became penning weekly articles for Gater Racing Photo News under the column title “Ace’s Wild” in 1978. And the following year he answered an ad to be a writer for Dirt Trackin’ Magazine, the weekly souvenir program that covered the founding member DIRT-sanctioned tracks. His deep knowledge and love of racing was soon recognized in the front office, and in 1980 he was hired as the chief handicapper by DIRTcar founder Glenn Donnelly at those same charter tracks — Cayuga County Fair Speedway, Rolling Wheels and Canandaigua Speedway, along with the NYS Fairgrounds. Working with former Dirt Trackin’ Magazine editor Larry Costa and Donnelly’s right-hand assistant Annette Lutz, he quickly transitioned to the job of chief scorer, handicapper and points keeper for every DIRT track; assuming chief editor duties for Dirt Trackin’ magazine in 1983.
He developed the original computer points program for DIRT in the early 1980s as the sanctioning body became one of the first regional auto racing organizations to use computer generated points for handicapping. Providing his personal experience in sales and marketing, he assisted in DIRT’s marketing department before being named Super DIRTcar Series Director as the decade came to a close. Our award winner also worked with Glenn Donnelly and his technical team on the transition to the new-style bodies that helped reshape DIRTcar Modified racing in 1987, often times operating tracks on nights when promoter Donnelly was unable to attend. He later joined Donnelly on a committee formed in 1992 to establish the Northeast Hall of Fame on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds.
Wife Donna worked with him on the handicapping and points from 1980 to the present, with the couple recently celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2008. Son Brian, now 41, started announcing races at Canandaigua Speedway in 1987 and worked on the television show “This Week on DIRT” and Super DIRT Week broadcasts from 1988 to 2004, today serving as the P.A. announcer at Tri-City (Pa.) Speedway while working with the track promotional team since 1998. Daughter Jennifer, 38, started working as a 50/50 ticket seller at CNY DIRT tracks in the mid-1980s. After moving to Charlotte in 1992, she became involved with motorsports marketing dealing directly with NASCAR teams, including that of Ricky Rudd from 1997-2004.
In recognition of our appreciation to his unconditional loyalty and dedication shown to the sport, and to a man who has been instrumental in the success and continuity of DIRTcar Racing throughout its existence, tonight we would like to present the Glenn Donnelly Award of Excellence to GARY SPAID!
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.