Weedsport, NY — April 15, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
*Bob Armbruster Photo
The last time the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series visited Big Diamond Raceway, it was the Budweiser Racing no. 3 Big-Block outlasting the no. 39 Sweeteners Plus Special, no. 91 Gypsum Wholesalers mount, no 44 Waite’s General Contractors car and no. M1 B&F General Machine ride to secure victory in the
‘Down, Dirty & Wild 100’ at the popular Minersville, Pennsylvania oval.
During the past five years some of the numbers have changed yet the high level of competition has not. When Big Diamond’s ‘Spring Fever 75’ leads off the 2009 Advance Series points chase on Sunday, April 26, anticipation will have peaked as the battle for Big-Block supremacy between north and south will once again be rekindled.
“I think one of our first concerns right now is remembering how to get to the track,” quipped Hearn, now 50, who took top honors in the 2004 Advance Series stop at Big Diamond, besting second-generation standout Tim McCreadie, defending Mr. DIRTcar Champion Billy Decker, ’08 Super DIRT Week Rite Aid 200 winner Frank Cozze and north country traveler Tim Fuller. “It’s definitely neutral territory, at least for the tour guys, with not much experience to take in there with us.”
“Diamond also has quite a hefty field this year so we’re probably at a bigger disadvantage against the locals. But right now we’re excited to get back on the series and anything can happen when it’s the first big race of the year,” noted Hearn, today recognized behind the wheel of the potent Madsen Motorsports no. 20 Wentworth Custom Homes-Kruger-Benjamin Moore Paints-WLR Construction/TEO entry, yet still as successful as ever on DIRTcar Racing’s premier Big-Block Modified tour.
Activity gets underway Sunday with Integra Shocks Time Trials coming on the heels of a 5:15 p.m. practice session. Big-Block Modified qualifying heats take the first green flag at 6:30 p.m. while pit gates and grandstands open at 2 p.m. A rain date of Monday April 27 has been secured if necessary. General Admission grandstand tickets at Big Diamond are $20 (kids 10 yrs. and under are Free) and pit passes cost $30 each.
While the return trip to Big Diamond has been a handful of years in the making, the last time the Advance Series opened in Pennsylvania was in 1998. Very little changed in that regard as Hearn was again a winner in the Keystone State, parking his Bud no. 3 in victory lane at Susquehanna Speedway.
“Whatever I do and the success that comes as a result is all because of preparation,” stated Hearn, who last finished out of the top-five in overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar points following the series exclusively in 1994. The record six-time Mr. DIRTcar titlist and all-time winner with 100 tour triumphs placed fifth last season with a pair of wins and 20 Top-10s in 26 races. “I’m usually pretty confident once I get to any track knowing that all the aspects have been covered and I feel my crew is the best around wherever we go.”
“We have a strategy that prepares us to go the whole season while still taking the series one race at a time. Being around at the finish is always the most important part so we measure every risk that has the potential of preventing that. We just try to be smart out on the track, taking as much as we can get without forcing what we weren’t meant to have,” remarked Hearn, who also tops the Advance Series speed chart with 40 career Integra Shocks Fast Times set, including single lap records established at three venues.
2009 will be a year like no other for the Sussex, New Jersey speedster as he has assumed the position of event promoter when the Advance Series arrives at Orange County Fair Speedway on June 17. An 11-time tour winner at the historic Middletown, New York speedplant, Hearn holds the OCFS standard with 140 DIRTcar Big-Block victories and 13 season point championships.
“It will definitely be a little different going to Big Diamond, I’ll be running against the same guys I hope to bring in for the Orange County show,” added Hearn, who sited track all-stars like season-opening winner Jeff Strunk, Billy Pauch, Duane Howard, Doug Hoffman and Rick Laubach among his primary targets. “I want the Middletown race to be different from everything else and right now the pieces are falling in place.”
“Promoting an event like this obviously consumes a lot of time and demands even more attention, but I’m trying to make a lot of good deals along the way. The early season date is a good one so once that’s over we’ll be back to the normal routine with 100% going toward racing. When Weedsport comes up for that $20,000 show (July 19) we should be in pretty good shape as I plan to be ready to win,” Hearn said.
Hearn will also be looking to win at Big Diamond for the second time this decade, already joining Gary Tomkins (2004) and Bob McCreadie (1995) on the short list of drivers capturing the series opener en route to wearing the overall Mr. DIRTcar crown. The ‘Corporate Jet’ leads all title contenders with seven first round tour wins, although 1990 has been the only time he’s carried the momentum right through to the end.
Along with Tomkins, reigning points king Decker and inaugural Big Diamond Series winner Alan Johnson (2003), Hearn will have to fend off perennial rival Danny Johnson, Empire State stars Jimmy Phelps, Dale Planck, Steve Paine, Matt Sheppard, Frankie Caprara, Ryan Phelps, Justin Haers, Billy Dunn, Jeff Brownell Jr. and ’08 Rookie of the Year Larry Wight, plus upstart Michael Storms and Canadian veteran Pat O’Brien. The best from Pennsylvania and New Jersey are also expected to sign in to raise the temperature even further on race day, leaving little cure for ‘Spring Fever’ as the excitement continues to grow for this true tri-state affair.
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). Also log into www.superdirtcarseries.com, phone the speedway office at 570/385-0744 (570/544-1410 on raceday) or visit the track website at www.bigdiamondraceway.com 24/7.
Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series
Big-Block Modified Opening Day Winners
DATE TRACK WINNER
5/1/08 Virginia Matt Sheppard
3/31/07 Hagerstown Tim Fuller
3/25/06 Hagerstown Brett Hearn
5/1/05 Rolling Wheels Brett Hearn
3/27/04 Hagerstown Gary Tomkins
4/5/03 Lowe’s Steve Paine
3/30/02 Hagerstown Gary Tomkins
3/31/01 Hagerstown Steve Paine
4/30/00 Rolling Wheels Billy Decker
6/23/99 Bridgeport Billy Decker
6/17/98 Susquehanna Brett Hearn
6/12/97 Susquehanna Bob McCreadie
6/12/96 Brewerton Bob McCreadie
6/13/95 Brewerton Bob McCreadie
6/21/94 Susquehanna Frank Cozze
6/30/93 Ransomville Bob McCreadie
4/5/92 Flemington Kevin Collins
4/28/91 Pennsylvania Brett Hearn
5/6/90 Pennsylvania Brett Hearn
7/3/89 NYS Fairgrounds Brett Hearn
9/9/88 Ransomville Kenny Brightbill
9/10/87 Humberstone Davey Moore
9/4/86 Humberstone Alan Johnson
9/6/85 Ransomville Bob McCreadie
8/9/84 Lebanon Valley Merv Treichler
7/3/83 NYS Fairgrounds Ken Brenn Jr.
7/5/82 Rolling Wheels Dave Lape
7/15/81 Lebanon Valley Brett Hearn
4/19/80 Fonda C.D. Coville
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.