Flach Faces Biggest Challenge Against Familar Advance Series Foes
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Weedsport, NYJune 4, 2009 — By Tom Skibinski, Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
*George Smith Photo

Keith Flach is in his third full season buckled in behind the wheel of a Big-Block Modified. 2009 will pose the biggest challenge yet, not only as he continues to face the stars of the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series in select events, but when he takes on the best in the business this weekend in back-to-back tour events at both dirt and asphalt tracks.

“I’ve gone to Florida the past two years and qualified for a handful of series events closer to home, you can’t run with a better bunch of guys,” remarked Flach, 23, who posted his first-ever Florida top-five feature finish at Volusia Speedway Park in February steering his no. 43 Flach Crane & Rigging-Gould Erectors & Riggers/Bicknell entry. Last year he debuted 14th in the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals By UNOH point standings and followed up further north placing 32nd on the overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar chart.

“As long as we can keep things together over the weekend I think we’ll be okay. Florida is always nice to go down and have fun while getting some experience. Its good to be able to shake off some of the cobwebs in the winter, try a few new things and hopefully figure some others out. Back north it’s a little more serious with Lebanon our home track and a couple races already under our belt at Airborne. Starting spots up front will certainly be important at both stops,” figured Flach, who finished seventh in the final ’09 winter tour points chase and recently climbed up to second at Lebanon Valley Speedway to stalk current leader Andy Bachetti.

Flach is in prime position to improve on the homefront when the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series returns to action as a unique doubleheader arrives in the Empire State. All the top tour point chasers are expected to visit the high banks of Lebanon Valley on June 6 before traveling north to Airborne Speedway on June 7 for ‘The Battle of Plattsbugh’ with both 100-lap Modified main events paying $6,000 to win.

“We’re comfortable at the Valley right now but it’s a longer race and track conditions are sure to be a little different,” noted Flach, who finished sixth in his rookie year at Lebanon and dropped to eighth in points last year, taking one checkered flag each season. He carried over his success to the tar at Airborne a year ago, copping 10th-place in the 75-lap DIRTcar Big-Block/Small-Block Modified Shootout II in August and finishing third in the ‘Fall Foliage 100’ Small-Block season-finale at the Plattsburgh half-miler in September.

“There will be a lot of laps run Saturday even before we start the feature so we’ll make a small set-up change and go from there. We’ve got a general idea of what to expect after running Airborne, but I’ve heard it’s a little bit wider this year with some new pavement laid down. Hopefully, that doesn’t throw us a big curve and leave us struggling when we go back,” said Flach, who will be competing in two different cars over the weekend, leaving his Teo Pro machine in the garage saved for trips outside the Capital District.

A third-generation driver from Ravena, New York —located about 20 miles south of the state capital in Albany— Flach will be attempting to follow in the tire tracks of his closest predecessors as the new millennium speeds on. Grandfather John P. Flach was crowned the 1962 Sportsman-Modified champion at Lebanon Valley Speedway while his dad, John C. Flach, garnered consecutive Big-Block titles in 1988-89. Bloodlines don’t stop there as his older cousin Mark Flach Jr. is the defending track co-champion, tying J.R. Heffner for Modified high-point honors last summer.

“When my dad got out of racing I was only six years old so it wasn’t a guarantee that I’d be in a car today,” stated Flach, who carries the same no. 43 as his all-time favorite driver Richard Petty, while his father (77J) and cousin (77F) mirrored the no. 77 that adorned his grandfather’s championship ride. Keith began his oval track career racing go-karts with his brother then experienced a brief stint with motorcycles before joining the Sportsman ranks at age 16. He graduated into the DIRTcar 358-Modified division in 2005 and competed at Lebanon Valley, Albany-Saratoga Speedway and Orange County Fair Speedway the following year, eventually picking up a Big-Block ride later in ‘06.

“It would definitely be a highlight to win one of these races this weekend but it’s a lot harder than people think with everything that goes into fielding a team. We try to run as many series races as we can fit into our schedule but how many we actually get to depends on how we’re doing in the points at home. Orange County this month is for sure, Cayuga County and Rolling Wheels are good possibilities as well. I’m not banking on being a full-time driver although I still want to be as good as I can and have a quality team. We’ll continue to pick and choose between the series shows, although racing at Lebanon has always been the family tradition,” Flach added.

Along with the Valley’s top DIRTcar point-earners Bachetti, Eddie Marshall, Kenny Tremont and Guy Sheldon, Flach will be running bumper-to-bumper with Airborne asphalt aces Martin Roy, Patrick Dupree, Leon Gonyo, Aaron Bartemy and George Foley as he ventures further north Sunday. Contending on both nights will be defending Mr. DIRTcar Champion Billy Decker, along with series all-stars Brett Hearn, Gary Tomkins, Jimmy Phelps, Dale Planck, Danny Johnson, Frankie Caprara, Ryan Phelps, Justin Haers, Billy Dunn and ’08 Rookie of the Year Larry Wight plus upstart Michael Storms.

Pit gates swing open at Lebanon Valley at 3 p.m., main grandstand seating begins at 5 o’clock and Integra Shocks Time Times are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Airborne pit gates are slated to unlock at 12 noon while grandstands open at 3 p.m. Multiple Big-Block warm-up sessions begin at 2 p.m. with time trials going off the line at 5 o’clock and the first qualifying heat taking the green at 6 p.m.

Adult General Admission grandstand tickets at Lebanon Valley are $15 each, $2 kids 11 and under and $16 for reserved seating while $22 secures a spot in the tower or on the roof. The cost of an adult general admission ticket at Airborne is $22, Students (6-12 yrs.) are $5 each with kids 5 & under admitted free.

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 x227). Also log into www.superdirtcarseries.com or visit the track websites at www.lebanonvalley.com and www.airborneparkspeedway.com.

2009 Advance Auto Parts Series Big-Block Modified Point Standings
Rank No. Driver Total Series Diff Wins Top-5 Top-10 Starts
1 4 Duane Howard 105 105 0 1 1 1 1
2 29 Jeff Brownell Jr. 98 98 -7 0 1 1 1
3 20 Brett Hearn 95 95 -10 0 1 1 1
4 98h Jimmy Phelps 88 88 -17 0 1 1 1
5 99 Ryan Phelps 81 81 -24 0 1 1 1
6 8p Billy Pauch Jr. 76 76 -29 0 0 1 1
7 66 Danny Johnson 73 73 -32 0 0 1 1
8 14j Alan Johnson 73 73 -32 0 0 1 1
9 84 Gary Tomkins 66 66 -39 0 0 1 1
10 FX1 Frankie Caprara 62 62 -43 0 0 1 1
11 77x Dale Planck 60 60 -45 0 0 0 1
12 62 Tom Sears Jr. 58 58 -47 0 0 0 1
13 88c Rich Laubach 56 56 -49 0 0 0 1
14 4s Mike Storms 55 55 -50 0 0 0 1
15 91 Billy Decker 55 55 -50 0 0 0 1
16 74 Tim Fuller 55 55 -50 0 0 0 1
17 3 Justin Haers 50 50 -55 0 0 0 1
18 49 Billy Dunn 48 48 -57 0 0 0 1
19 26 Ryan Godown 47 47 -58 0 0 0 1
20 37x Tom Scheetz Jr. 46 46 -59 0 0 0 1
21 14 Jimmy Horton 43 43 -62 0 0 0 1
22 44 Frank Cozze 42 42 -63 0 0 0 1
23 6 Mike McAleer 41 41 -64 0 0 0 1
24 28 Richie Pratt 40 40 -65 0 0 0 1
25 99L Larry Wight 40 40 -65 0 0 0 1
26 117 Kevin Hirthler 40 40 -65 0 0 0 1
27 126 Billy Pauch 40 40 -65 0 0 0 1
28 33 Ray Swinehart 40 40 -65 0 0 0 1
29 1c Craig VonDohren 40 40 -65 0 0 0 1
30 9s Matt Sheppard 40 40 -65 0 0 0 1
31 07 Tim Kerr 10 10 -95 0 0 0 0
32 69 Bob Trapper 10 10 -95 0 0 0 0
33 6 Pat O’Brien 10 10 -95 0 0 0 0
34 53 Mike Gular 10 10 -95 0 0 0 0
35 00 Doug Manmiller 10 10 -95 0 0 0 0
36 27 Troy Wink 10 10 -95 0 0 0 0
37 41 Jeff Strunk 10 10 -95 0 0 0 0
38 8 Rich Scagliotta 10 10 -95 0 0 0 0

DIRTcar Racing Northeast main office is located in Weedsport, New York on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds www.cayugacountyfairspeedway.com, home of the 2009 DIRTcar All-Star Weekend, July 17-19, featuring Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series events for Sportsman and Big-Block Modifieds in the richest short-track show of its kind in the nation — the $20,000-to-win Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series “DIRTcar All-Star 100” on Sunday, July 19.

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.