Weedsport, NY — May 19, 2010 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
*Jeremiah Fish Photo
Andrew Phillips has been named to receive the annual ‘Mechanic of the Year Award’ and will be formally honored during the 19th Northeast Modified Hall of Fame induction and special award ceremonies scheduled for Sunday, May 30 on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds in conjunction with the annual Memorial Day Weekend holiday show at the Weedsport speedway.
This special award was created in 1998 to recognize one of stock car racing’s modern day heroes during a customary time of tribute to the legendary drivers in our sport. Phillips will be rewarded for his outstanding service as crew chief for record-setting Big-Block Modified driver Brett Hearn, who captured the overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship two of the past three seasons.
“Its nice to be acknowledged with an award like this, I think only those people that travel on the road really know all the work that is involved with a race team nowadays,” remarked Phillips, who at 25, is half the age of Hearn yet each share a lifetime of passion in the motorsports business. “We’re fortunate to be successful at what we love to do and staying on top of the game gives us the biggest incentive year after year.”
For Phillips, a New Jersey native raised in Roxbury, his love for the sport admittedly comes only when he arrives at the track. The toughest part remains managing all the essentials before the races even start.
“The funnest part is being at the track. I hate being in the shop, it just doesn’t seem like you’re getting much accomplished until you get out there and can see some results,” figured Phillips, who has been an integral part of BH Racing Enterprises since the new millennium began. “You just have to be patient with preparation all week, and if you did your job it usually pays off on race day. Maintenance is something you can’t really see until it shows up in the win column.”
Teamed with the all-time Super DIRTcar Series champion, routine visits to victory lane for Hearn have helped showcase Phillips’ true talent throughout the work week. He joined the ‘Jet’ full-time out of high school in 2002 and last season marked his fourth year heading race day operations for DIRTcar Northeast’s winningest Modified driver.
First attending weekly shows at the now defunct Flemington (NJ) Fair Speedway, Drew joined his family helping out “uncle” Jerry Brophy, who claimed the 1991 Small-Block title at The Square. Just a spectator during his first visit to the New York State Fairgrounds in 1999 as a 15 year-old, he returned two years later as a prolific part of the winning team when Bud Christmann won the Super DIRT Week 358-Modified Championship on the famed Syracuse Mile.
“I had been going to the races since I could walk and grew up at Flemington and made trips to Orange County,” said Phillips, who worked with Hearn for the first time during the winter of 2000. Kicking off his 36th year of Modified stock car competition in the new decade, Hearn opened the 2010 campaign with 771 feature race victories and 72 track and series championships to his credit. “Brett needed some help and asked me if I knew how to polish. So I began polishing parts like the wheels and rods, got involved with changing gears after that, and just kept doing whatever needed to be done.”
Emerging as one of the most trustworthy under Brett’s supervision, today it is Phillips that is delegating assignments in the shop. And on race day he climbs behind the wheel of Hearn’s hauler in charge of transporting the immaculate Madsen Motorsports no. 20. Wentworth Custom Homes-Benjamin Moore Paints/TEO mounts around the Northeast.
“There’s no substitute for dedication in racing, it’s so far from a 9-5 job you can’t give anything less than 110%,” Phillips added. “There is always something to do. If you’re standing around then you’re not doing your job.”
Drew will enjoy a rare opportunity to stand up under the spotlight when he receives his Mechanic Award on Hall of Fame Day in Weedsport. And this time it will be Brett Hearn leading the audience in applause as they join together offering appreciation for a lifetime of achievement behind pit wall.
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.