Weedsport, NY — March 5, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
For the ninth consecutive year Hagerstown Speedway is scheduled to kick off the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series in Maryland. Launching the 10th straight year of active involvement by Roanoke, Virginia-based Advance Auto Parts, the 2008 edition falls on Easter Weekend with the ‘North-South Shootout’ 100-lap feature winner collecting a $6,000 top prize on Saturday, March 22.
“We always anticipate one of the best Big-Block fields of the year for the Series opener,” said legendary promoter Frank Plessinger, who helped christen Hagerstown’s 61st season on March 2 with reigning Mr. DIRTcar points king Brett Hearn winning the 30-lap Modified opening day main event. Hearn, a 23-time feature winner at Hagerstown, also captured the 2006 Advance Auto Parts Series century grind. “We always have a great show under the lights and with the biggest stars in the business here, the fans are in for a real treat.”
Fresh off his Alltel DIRTcar Nationals title shared with Billy Pauch at Volusia Speedway Park in February, Hearn will be looking for his second victory of the young season at Hagerstown. “We’re always confident coming here with all the success we’ve had,” said Hearn, 49, who owns the all-time Advance Auto Parts Series mark of 98 tour victories. “We’ve finished in the top-five three of the past four years so we’re hoping to get off to another fast start. Doing well in Florida was a big boost for everybody on the team and picking up a tour win at Hagerstown would be a great way to begin the season up north.”
Last season the battle for supremacy in Hagerstown’s tour-lid-lifter came down to past Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block champions Tim Fuller, Gary Tomkins, Billy Decker and Hearn, with eventual ’07 overall points runner-up Fuller dominating the action to score his first Series triumph in the Old Line State. Runner-up Hearn edged Tomkins on the last circuit in a race that was extended to 105 laps while Decker settled for fourth ahead of hard charger Rick Laubach, who started 26th in the 30-car feature race field.
The 2008 Advance Auto Parts Series points race opener is expected to attract all the top teams in Modified racing today as they contend for the prestigious Hoosier-Sunoco Mr. DIRTcar Championship and the biggest share of the season-ending point fund in excess of $200,000. Hagerstown’s century grind leads off the 23-race Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRTcar Series with the Northeast’s premier Big-Block tour running from March through October and featuring extra-distance races at 17 dirt tracks in four states and two Canadian Provinces.
As the defending Hoosier-Sunoco Mr. DIRTcar points champion, Hearn will have his hands full holding off all-time DIRTcar Big-Block Modified feature winner Alan Johnson, two-time Hagerstown tour titlist Gary Tomkins (2002, ’04) and inaugural Hagerstown race winner Steve Paine (2001). Upstarts looking to dethrone the cagey veterans are Empire State wheelmen Jimmy Phelps, Dale Planck, Matt Sheppard, Danny Johnson, Billy Dunn and first-year tour regular Ryan Phelps.
The competition has been fierce in the initial six events staged at Hagerstown as 19 drivers have finished among the front-five with only five wheelmen —Decker, Tomkins, Alan Johnson, Hearn and Fuller— able to repeat. Still in search of his first Series checkered flag at Hagerstown, Decker (19.016 sec./94.657 mph) set the one-lap tour speed record around the ultra-smooth Hagerstown half-miler in 2005, the same season the race won by Alan Johnson when the event was rain-delayed until June. Advance Series events in 2000 and ’03 were lost altogether due to early spring precipitation.
Joining the mighty Advance Auto Parts Modifieds in the doubleheader program will be the Late Models. Pits gates are scheduled to unlock at 3:00 p.m., grandstands open at 4:00 p.m. with warm-ups starting at 5:30 p.m. followed by Integra Shocks Big-Block Time Trials. Hagerstown Speedway is located on U.S. Route 40, four miles west of I-81. For additional information, log into www.superdirtcarseries.com, contact the speedway office at 301/582-0640 or visit the track website at www.hagerstownspeedway.com.
Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts is the second-largest retailer of automotive aftermarket parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United States, based on store count and sales. As of October 6, 2007, the company operated 3,228 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The company serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets.
2008 Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE LAPS TRACK WINNER/LOCATION
Wed-Feb 13 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Billy Pauch
Thr-Feb 14 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Brett Hearn
Fri-Feb 15 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Dale Planck
Sat-Feb 16 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Jimmy Horton
Sat-Mar 22 Hagerstown Speedway Hagerstown,MD
Thr-May 1 Virginia Motor Speedway Jamaica,VA
Sun-May 4 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Sun-May 25 Cayuga Co Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY
Sat-Jun 7 Fulton Speedway Fulton,NY
Thr-Jul 3 Ransomville Speedway Ransomville,NY
Thr-Jul 10 Brockville Ont Speedway Brockville,ONT
Fri-Jul 11 Autodrome Granby Granby,QUE
Sat-Jul 12 Autodrome Drummond Drummondville,QUE
Sun-Jul 13 Cornwall Motor Speedway Cornwall,ONT
Wed-Jul 16 Grandview Speedway Bechtelsville,PA
Mon-Aug 4 Merrittville Speedway Thorold,ONT
Fri-Aug 8 Brewerton Speedway Brewerton,NY
Sat-Aug 9 Canandaigua Speedway Canandaigua,NY
Sat-Aug 16 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Sun-Aug 31 Cayuga Co Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY
Mon-Sep 1 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Sat-Sep 6 Lebanon Valley Speedway West Lebanon,NY
Fri-Sep 12 Lernerville Speedway Sarver,PA
Sat-Sep 20 Canandaigua Speedway Canandaigua,NY
Sat-Sep 27 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Sun-Oct 12 New York State Fairgrnds Syracuse,NY
Sun-Oct 19 Orange Co Fair Speedway Middletown,NY
-TBA- Orange Co Fair Speedway Middletown,NY
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.