King Ferry, NY — April 30, 2010 – Kelly Loughlin, Mahaney Motorsports PR (585/455-5080)
*Jeremiah Fish Photo
The tagline of Richard Petty’s Driver Search asked, “Do You Have What it Takes?” DIRTcar Northeast Big-Block Modified racer Mike Mahaney from King Ferry, N.Y. proved that yes, he does. The 20 year-old second-generation standout was the runner-up in Petty’s intensive training camp and competition that took place April 26-29 outside Charlotte, N.C.
Named for the winningest driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup history, the inaugural Richard Petty’s Driver Search presented the opportunity to just 12 applicants —ranging in ages 16-39 yrs, representing 11 states and Australia— to advance their racing careers and learn from some of the best in the business.
Mahaney and the other contestants were scored in 11 modules at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord Speedway and Carolina Motorsports Park to test their abilities in the core skill set necessary for success in the highest levels of motorsports: Speed, Car Control, Adaptability, Endurance/Consistency, Car Knowledge/Feel, Communication and Marketability/Professional Presentation. Dillon Moltz, 19, from Waterford, Conn., compiled the highest scores to earn the opportunity to qualify and compete at Pocono (PA) Raceway in a fully supported ARCA car.
Everyone received intensive training from top racing talents such as Marcos Ambrose, Randy LaJoie and Kyle Petty, plus plenty of words of wisdom from the “King” himself, Richard Petty.
“Nothing like this program currently exists,” said Kyle Petty, Richard’s son. With just five years behind the wheel, Mahaney was the only driver from New York State accepted into the program. This dirt track native quickly found his way on the asphalt as he competed with drivers from around the country with varying levels of experience, placing in the top-five consistently and winning some of the modules.
“My mind is still racing, I’ve never learned so many new things so quickly,” remarked Mahaney, who graduated from Alfred College last year with a degree in Motorsports Technology. “I came down here to learn as much as possible and truly determine whether I have what it takes to pursue a professional racing career. I would have loved to come away with the ARCA ride, but I know for sure that I will continue to chase my dream of driving professionally.”
Mahaney grew up on a race track, becoming crew chief for his father, Jim “The Workshoe” Mahaney, at age 10. He moved from the pits into the driver’s seat a few years later and has quickly achieved success in every racing class he has entered.
Career highlights locally include two track championships at Paradise Speedway in Slingshots and one in 600cc Micro Sprints, 2006 Northeast Tour champion in the Slingshot series, 2007 DIRTcar Sportsman Rookie of the Year at Cayuga County Fair Speedway, 2008 Rookie of the Year at Black Rock Speedway in the 358-Modified division, and 2009 DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Rookie of the Year at Brewerton Speedway.
In 2010, Mike will drive his Aloi Materials Handling no. 33 Mahaney Farms & Trucking/Bicknell DIRTcar Big-Block entry at Brewerton, Cayuga County and Fulton Speedway, along with select events on the premier Super DIRTcar Series. For additional information and race schedules, log into www.mikemahaneyracing.com and also visit www.pettydriversearch.com to learn more about Richard Petty’s Driver Search.
DIRTcar Racing Northeast main office is located in Weedsport, New York on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds, home of DIRTcar All-Star Weekend in July. DIRTcar Northeast’s crown jewel event —Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse runs annually in October featuring Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series events for Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman and Pro Stock divisions. Ticket and schedule information is available by contacting the Weedsport office (315/834-6606) during the day or logging into www.allstar100weekend.com and www.superdirtweekonline.com anytime.
The Big-Block Super DIRTcar Series is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Hoosier Racing Tire www.hoosiertire.com and VP Racing Fuels www.vpracingfuels.com. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and Chizmark & Larson Insurance www.chizmarklarson.com, and contingency sponsors are Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, MSD Ignition www.msdignition.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Vicci Racing Apparel www.vicci.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com.