Weedsport, NY — January 12, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast PR Director
Two years ago Danny Johnson made his debut with JIR Motorsports in the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. In just one more month team owner Jeff Isabell and Johnson will reunite for an all-out run at the coveted Florida Tour title as DIRTcar Racing NorthEast opens up for it’s 33rd straight season of operation.
“My plate is fuller than its ever been, so I can only hope for the best once we get out on the road,” said Johnson, 47, as he prepared to defend his Advance Auto Parts Modified mini-series crown steering the JIR Motorsports/Troyer entry carrying his trademark number 27J. The Rochester, New York favorite dominated the Big-Block action last winter as owner Dave Thompson’s first-string pilot, posting a pair of feature wins and adding a runner-up finish to capture his third title in gator country. “All I know for sure right now is that we’re running in Florida, so we’ll see what falls into place after that.”
Johnson continues in his fourth decade of racing when the 37th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia arrives in February, with 2008 marking the 20th trip to the Sunshine State for the DIRTcar Big-Block contingent. Florida Tour ’08, Feb. 13-16, features the mighty Advance Auto Parts Modifieds contending in three 30-lap main events with a $5,000-to-win 50-lap finale closing out the trip on Saturday.
Just like his initial outing with JIR Motorsports in the winter of ’06, Johnson will pace the parade down south alongside a full squadron of cars and drivers making the haul. The ‘Doctor’ expects to head the multi-car operation once again with familiar owner Jeff Isabell, son Joe Isabell and Alan Fink sharing the load. Jeff Isabell, Jr. may even help fill the roster in his own ride if he is able to make a break from school come mid-February.
“We’ll probably hit the Advance Auto (Super DIRTcar Series) shows most of the season, it all depends on how we do early on,” figured Johnson, who owns 65 Advance Auto Parts tour triumphs (2nd all-time) among his 295 (4th best) DIRTcar Big-Block feature wins logged since 1979. The popular second-generation pilot won back-to-back Florida Tour championships in 1987-88 and has collected 11 checkered flags along the way.
“It will be a lot of work any way you look at it but I’ll be focused only on my ride. Jeff has four cars yet only one with my name on it. He will still call all the shots so I’ll just worry about doing the best I can out on the track. Right now I’m pretty happy, I think I’ll have a good hot rod in Florida and things are looking real good as long as we don’t run into any bad luck,” Johnson added.
Johnson tops a pre-race entry list already headlined by past Florida DIRTcar Nationals point champions Brett Hearn, Alan Johnson, Pat Ward, Andy Bachetti and Billy Pauch. Veterans Billy Decker, Matt Sheppard, Rick Laubach and Jamie Mills, along with young guns David VanHorn, Rob Bellinger, Keith Flach and ’07 DIRTcar Sportsman rookie of the year Larry Wight are among more than 30 drivers also confirming plans to attend.
Modified teams can direct any questions regarding rule procedures to Cory Reed, DIRTcar NE Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning, at the DIRTcar NE Office (315/834-6606). For drivers wishing to add their entry information to the pre-race roster, please contact DIRTcar NorthEast PR Director Tom Skibinski at DIRT NE headquarters or through e-mail email@example.com correspondence.
Volusia Speedway Park www.volusiaspeedwaypark.com (386/985-4402) is located 15 miles west of Daytona Beach on State Road 40 in Barberville, Fla. For additional information, contact the DIRTcar NorthEast Office during normal business hours or log into www.superdirtcarseries.com.
37th DIRTcar Nationals Schedule & Rule Information
Advance Auto Parts DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Florida Tour
Day-Date Event Feature Winner
Tue-Feb 12 Practice —
Wed-Feb 13 Qualifying Heats, Feature (30 Laps) $2,000
Thr-Feb 14 Qualifying Heats, Feature (30 Laps) $2,000
Fri-Feb 15 Qualifying Heats, Feature (30 Laps) $2,000
Sat-Feb 16 Qualifying Heats, Feature (50 Laps) $5,000
– 2008 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.
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.