Barberville, FL — February 12, 2008 – By Tom Skibinski, Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
For the second straight year, heavy rain forced track officials to cancel practice day for the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds as teams prepared for their debut Tuesday afternoon in the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
With intermittent rain drops beginning to spit down over the Barberville oval during lunchtime, the skies finally opened up at 2:45 p.m. to inundate the Volusia County speedplant. Just as the official announcement was made to scratch the program, a second downpour came at 4:10 to send the remaining racers and spectators heading even faster toward the exit.
“We’ve got a brand new car with some experimental suspension and we were really anxious to get on the track to try it out,” said all-time DIRTcar Nationals win leader Brett Hearn, referring to the mighty Madsen Motorsports no. 20 Wentworth Custom Homes-Kruger-WLR/TEO entry that was parked pitside, as he was interviewed yesterday “live” by local WNDB Radio Sports Director Mark Williams.
“Volusia is a real racy place and fans have a lot to look forward to when we come back. The track is always fast and wide enough so don’t be surprised when we get going three-wide. It should be a great show, I know I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a while now,” added Hearn, who begins his quest for an unprecedented seventh overall Hoosier Tire-Sunoco Race Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship when the green flag flies in 2008.
The rainout was the first following seven straight nights of competition at the popular half-miler, with still four more remaining. Anyone wishing to make a ticket refund request can contact the speedway office by calling 386/985-4402 or visit www.volusiaspeedwaypark.com, www.superdirtcarseries.com or www.dirtcar.com for further information.
The Alltel DIRTcar Nationals continue at VSP on Wednesday with another big doubleheader featuring an Advance Auto Parts Series non-point opening event for Big-Block Modifieds and round two for the UMP Super Late Models. The DIRTcar Big-Blocks compete every night through Saturday, with three 30-lap features preceding a $5,000-to-win 50-lap finale on Saturday night. Pit gates are unlocked daily at 2 p.m., grandstands open at 4 o’clock and race time is 7:30 p.m.
Prior to Tuesday’s cancellation, over 20 race haulers waiting to unharness the mighty DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds had arrived at the speedway. Twice that number of race teams are expected to arrive on Wednesday for the opener as Advance Auto Parts kicks off its 10th consecutive year backing DIRTcar NorthEast’s premier traveling tour.
When the Big-Block lid-lifter arrives on Wednesday, fans are encouraged to take part in the first of two special autograph sessions headlined by a number of Advance Series drivers. Both autograph sessions will run from 4:45-5:15 p.m., with Cup driver Ryan Newman meeting and greeting race fans in the turn one Alltel Fan Zone on Friday only.
The Troyer trio of defending Alltel DIRTcar Nationals Big-Block points champion Danny Johnson, Jimmy Phelps and Jimmy Horton, along with Bicknell chassis chauffeurs Matt Sheppard and Jamie Mills will be available on Feb. 13 while TEO Pro Car titans Brett Hearn, Alan Johnson, Dale Planck and David VanHorn will be seated alongside PMC pilot Andy Bachetti for the Friday festivities.
Big-Block fans are also encouraged to cast a vote in the inaugural Alltel DIRTcar All-Star contest after the first feature winner is recognized. Alltel Wireless will reward fans’ favorite driver as determined in a text message and online poll. Only drivers who win an A-main during the 12-day speedfest are eligible to win the $12,000 cash grand prize.
With the contest already underway after beginning at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern) on Feb. 6 and going through 11:59 p.m. (Eastern) on March 16, fans can vote up to once a day by texting #52191 plus adding their favorite driver’s letter code (available at alltelallstar.com) or by visiting www.alltelallstar.com. The winning driver will be named in a special ceremony shortly thereafter.
Among those joining Hearn on the grounds Tuesday were reigning Florida Tour points king Danny Johnson, older brother Alan Johnson, past winter time champions Andy Bachetti, Pat Ward and Billy Pauch, teammates Jamie Mills and Jordan Watson, Jimmy Phelps, Billy Decker, David VanHorn, Colin Jackson, Rick Laubach, Mark Forte Jr., Keith Flach, Dan Vauter and Wallace Stacey plus Sunshine State rookies Larry Wight and Steve Haggan.
Sean Beardsley was a late arrival before getting his hauler caught atop the back stretch cement inside retaining wall while Dale Planck’s team suffered a broken rig as it towed through South Carolina early Tuesday morning.
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 LOCATION
Wed-Feb 13 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Barberville,FL
Thr-Feb 14 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Barberville,FL
Fri-Feb 15 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Barberville,FL
Sat-Feb 16 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Barberville,FL
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
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.