Weedsport, NY — January 5, 2010 – By Tom Skibinski, Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
*Gebhardt Racing Photo
After just one year away from the action down south, popular Pennsylvanian Rick Laubach is headed back to Florida in February for the 39th Annual DIRTcar Nationals By UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park.
New car owners for his eighth trip to the Sunshine State during the millennium are expected to provide Laubach with his best shot yet at defeating fellow Northeastern Big-Block Modified stars, and the Hellertown, Pa. pilot is poised for the opportunity.
“Even bringing along the race car with us, going to Florida was usually more of a winter vacation,” admitted Laubach, 37, who has opened the season at Volusia every year since 2002 prior to last February. His most memorable times, though, have so far come at places like the Kennedy Space Center, Disney World and the big track in Daytona. “We’ve always skimped in the past, but not this year. This is the best equipment I’ve ever had and I can’t wait to get started.”
The 17-year open-wheel veteran has circled the second week in February on his calendar as he seeks his first career triumph in the DIRTcar Modified ranks. The Big-Block portion of DCN includes three straight 30-lap main events and a $5,000-to-win 50-lap finale on Sat., Feb. 13. An optional night of practice is offered Tues., Feb 9.
Yet before Laubach gets down and dirty in gator country, fans can get an early glimpse of owners Gary and Lori Herman’s blue no. 7 Benton Electric & Elevator-Jones Racing Products/TEO Pro Car that will be part of the DIRTcar Racing display January 22-24 at Len Sammon’s 2010 Motorsports Race Car & Trade Show in the Greater Philadelphia (Pa.) Expo Center.
“This is the same car we drove at Syracuse in October and the one we’ll use at most of the Super DIRTcar Series shows we run this year,” remarked Laubach, who drove for Keith Roussey (2002-04), Dieter Schmidt (2005-06) and Dick Biever (2007-08) in past trips to Florida, posting a 6th-place best feature finish in 2003 to wind up eighth in points. “I’ll still have Dieter’s car available for some of the events closer to home.”
“This time of year its just nice to get away from the routine up north. I’ve never run very well at Volusia so I’m pretty excited with another chance, especially knowing I’ll be on more of an even playing field in terms of equipment. These (tour) teams are some of the best around but I’ve had some good finishes and I’m not intimidated anymore. I’ve got a new shock package in place and will be trying out a new set-up. Still, I feel I can compete with the top guys more consistently now,” noted Laubach, who qualified in four of six series shows entered last season.
Along with select Super DIRTcar Series stops highlighting his 2010 race agenda, Laubach has penciled in regular weekend events steering both Big-Block and Small-Block Modifieds throughout the summer months.
“We’re planning to be at all the Hagerstown events and a lot of mid-week series shows in between,” added Laubach, who owns a half-dozen career Super DIRTcar Series Top-5 finishes, including 5th-place in Hagerstown’s last Big-Block tour show in 2007. “My next goal is to win a 100-lapper, that would be a tremendous accomplishment considering the drivers you have to beat. Hopefully, we can get one under our belt at Volusia, that would be a great place to start.”
Already joining Laubach on the growing list of drivers planning to compete in the Florida DIRTcar Nationals are reigning overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar points king Brett Hearn, the Gypsum Express trio of Billy Decker, Pat Ward and Larry Wight, Xtreme Lubricants teammates Matt Sheppard and Jeff Brownell Jr., Big-Block title contender Jimmy Phelps, winter traveler Mark Forte Jr., 2009 Motorsports Safety Systems Rookie of the Year Rich Scagliotta and first-year Modified pilot Billy VanInwegen, the ’09 Tobias SpeedSTR Midget National Champion.
Drivers wishing to update team information for the pre-race roster, please contact DIRTcar Northeast PR Director Tom Skibinski by phone (585/350-8997) or through e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org correspondence. Specific questions regarding rules can be directed to DIRTcar NE Chief Technical Inspector Bob Dini (845/358-5049, email@example.com) and Joe Skotnicki (704/796-4566, firstname.lastname@example.org), DIRTcar NE Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning.
Tickets are on sale for the 39th Annual DIRTcar Nationals, February 2-13, available for any individual night and also in blocks for each headline division at Volusia. Along with the Big-Block Modifieds, competition also features Sprint Car racing (Feb. 3-7), Late Model action (Feb. 8-13) and UMP/DIRTcar Modified activity (Feb. 2-9).
A FREE Fan Pit Pass has been made available to every ticket buyer who comes through the main gates each night of the DIRTcar Nationals at VSP beginning on Feb. 2. All fans have to do once they arrive at the track is take their grandstand ticket and head toward the pits, where a table will be set up to sign-in for an up-close look at the cars and stars who will be racing that night. To purchase tickets call Volusia Speedway Park at 386/985-4402, for more information visit www.DIRTcarNationals.com.
In addition, every person that purchases a ticket for the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia before January 15 will be entered in the “Fan of February” contest currently being held. The winner will be announced on January 16 and will receive two tickets for each of the (4) Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified shows run at VSP In February, as well as a free hotel stay during that time. Winners will also be selected for the World of Outlaws Sprint Car and WoO Late Model Series portion of the 2010 DCN, as well as the UMP DIRTcar Modified segment. For more information visit www.fanoffebruary.com.
Big-Block Modified news is always available on-line at www.superdirtcarseries.com. Be sure to sign up as a Super DIRTcar Series follower on Twitter by visiting http://www.twitter.com/SuperDIRTcar and receive updates anywhere at anytime as the 2010 season gets underway.
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.superdirtweekonline.com anytime.