Weedsport, NY — December 18, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
Only a month has passed since the DIRTcar Racing Northeast season officially came to a close and in just two more the roar of big-block powered Modifieds will be heard once again when teams make the annual trek south for the 38th Alltel DIRTcar Nationals By UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park.
The wait has already been too long for Jeff Brownell Sr. as the veteran Central New York owner is the first to register his XTreme Lubricants team cars in anticipation of DIRTcar’s 12th straight year of competition at the popular Barberville oval.
“It’s nice to get a head start whenever you can, it just ain’t ever easy traveling the circuit,” remarked Brownell, who recently entered a pair of C.C. Performance-powered Bicknell cars to carry his son Jeff Jr. and Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series standout Matt Sheppard around the spacious VSP half-miler in February. “Hopefully, we’ll have some fun and pick up a few good finishes. We’ll try to get a win, that would be something nice too.”
The Florida tour for DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds begins February 11 at Volusia with a 30-lap feature headlining the program. Open-wheel action continues with 30-lap feature events on Thursday and Friday before a big $5,000-to-win 50-lapper brings the curtain down on Saturday, Feb. 14. An optional practice day has been set for Tuesday, Feb. 10.
The roots of Brownell Racing in the Sunshine State go back to the southern tour’s infancy in 1982 when Jeff Sr. partnered with the late Jeff Kappesser en route to sharing the Florida tour title with Billy Pauch. Ironically, Pauch was declared co-champion with Brett Hearn this past February.
Including the past two trips to Florida aligned with former owner Randy Ross, the 2009 edition of race weeks for Sheppard will mark the fourth for the Waterloo, New York pilot. Today steering the familiar no. 9s entry, ‘Super Matt’ made his maiden voyage to Volusia in 2003 teamed with Brownell and this February will be the first-ever winter run for Jeff Jr. sporting that same number 29.
“Last year was a very quiet but good year,” figured Sheppard, 26, who ended the season sixth in the final Mr. DIRTcar point standings after opening with a dramatic win at Virginia Motor Speedway then closing with a runner-up finish in the Rite Aid 200 on the Syracuse Mile during Super DIRT Week. Kicking off the year at Volusia in February he placed fifth in points with all top-10s and a fifth-place best in the four-race mini-series. “We finished the season strong so that’s always something to build on for the upcoming year.”
“Volusia is really nothing like any track you can compare to up north so it just gives us the chance to shake down the cars. We’ll go down there and have some fun and maybe pick up a win if we’re lucky. The only expectations are to finish, learn something along the way, and do the best we can every time out,” said Sheppard, whose current plans combine a full slate of Advance Series stops in ’09 with regular weekly appearances at Brewerton Speedway, Canandaigua Speedway and Cayuga County Fair Speedway.
Among the more than 30 DIRTcar Modified teams expected to join Sheppard and Brownell for the popular Advance Auto Parts Florida mini-tour staged at Volusia are those of reigning Mr. DIRTcar points king Billy Decker, all-time Advance Series winner Brett Hearn, ’08 Rookie of the Year Larry Wight, tour travelers Dale Planck and Carey Terrance, and Vermont invader Dave Camara.
Any drivers wishing to update team information for the pre-race roster, please contact DIRTcar Northeast PR Director Tom Skibinski by phone (585/350-8997) or through e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org correspondence. Specific questions regarding rules can be directed to Cory Reed (315/224-9009), DIRTcar NE Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning.
Tickets are currently on sale for the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals, February 3-14, at Volusia Speedway Park just in time for the holidays. Tickets for each individual night can be purchased and tickets are also available in blocks for each headline division. Along with the Big-Block Modifieds, competition during the weeks also features Sprint Car racing (Feb. 3-8), Late Model action (Feb. 9-14) and UMP DIRTcar Modified activity (Feb. 3-10). For tickets please visit: https://volusia.ticketdirector.com/ticketdirector.web.ui/SelectEvent.aspx or call the track directly at 386/985-4402.
For additional information, contact the DIRTcar Northeast Office (315/834-6606) during normal business hours or log into www.dirtcarnationals.com. Advance Series Big-Block Modified news is always available on-line at www.superdirtcarseries.com.
38th Alltel DIRTcar Nationals By UNOH Schedule/Information
Advance Auto Parts Big-Block Modified Florida Tour
Day-Date Event Feature Winner
Tue-Feb 10 Practice —
Wed-Feb 11 Qualifying Heats, Feature (30 Laps) $2,000
Thr-Feb 12 Qualifying Heats, Feature (30 Laps) $2,000
Fri-Feb 13 Qualifying Heats, Feature (30 Laps) $2,000
Sat-Feb 14 Qualifying Heats, Feature (50 Laps) $5,000
– 2009 DIRTcar NorthEast Rulebook applies;
– DIRTcar Hoosier Tires mandatory, Soft, Hard, Extra Hard compounds may be used in any combination;
– Racing Gasoline only;
– Weight Minimum:
*DIRTcar legal big-block up to 467 c.i. (min. 2500 lbs.);
– AMB Transponders & RACEceivers required, NO Radios allowed;
– All heat race line-ups will be determined by draw, all features will start heads-up.
DIRTcar Racing NE Contacts:
Weedsport, N.Y. Office (315/834-6606);
Cory Reed – DIRTcar NE Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning (315/224-9009);
Tom Skibinski – DIRTcar NorthEast PR Director (585/350-8997).
Volusia Speedway Park (386/985-4402);
– located 15 miles west of Daytona Beach (I-95) on Route 40 in Barberville.
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.