Weedsport, NY — May 13, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
*Brent Smith Photo
Last month Rich Scagliotta made his first ever trip north of the border. A second visit to Canada comes next week after rain delayed opening round action in the Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series at Merrittville Speedway to May 18.
“I really liked the place, it was very racy and there was just a monster crowd,” stated Scagliotta, 46, who will be making the trek from his home in Bound Brook, New Jersey after qualifying on April 25 in his Merrittville debut. He time trialed 17th fastest out of 55 entries that Saturday, finished third in the final qualifying heat and will fall into 15th on Monday’s starting grid. “Seems like everybody has a small-block around there, just a shame that the rains cut it short.”
Scagliotta will get a break in his return to Merrittville as the originally scheduled ‘Spring Sizzler 100’ has been reduced to 50 laps although the $4,000 (US) top prize remains intact. The Zavitz Financial Strategies & Employee Benefits ‘Monday Night Madness’ race menu also features a second 50-lap 358-Modified main complete with qualifying, plus a full show for Sportsman Modifieds, Hoosier Stocks and Enduros.
Leading off the race action at 6:30 p.m. will be the two remaining tour consolation round qualifiers and a Hoosier Stock B-Main, followed immediately by the ’09 Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series lid-lifter. Both the grandstands and pit gates will open at 4 o’clock. Priced in Canadian currency, tickets are $18 adults, $16 seniors/students, $6 Juniors and kids under 8 years free. An economical $50 Family Pass is also available.
“In the long run I’m better off in a 50-lapper, sometimes you get worn out traveling so much on the road,” admitted Scagliotta, who plans a rare appearance in Weedsport, New York on Sunday for a test run at Cayuga County Fair Speedway. He’ll make an early morning stop the next day at Troyer Race Cars in Rochester to fix a broken front-end on another no. 8 Central Jersey Trailer & Hitch Depot-Adamsville Maintenance machine before continuing west to conclude his international haul on Victoria Day.
“Right now I’m planning to run both the Big-Block and 358 Series, I even got a new truck out of Vermont to get around. There’s enough going on just getting to the track, so the better the ride, the less stress there will be once you arrive,” figured Scagliotta, a traveler every February to Volusia (FL) Speedway Park for “our vacation, which is anytime we’re not working a regular job and can put all the time into racing.”
“I’ve got some seasoned people with me at the company and with the business a little slow right now it makes for a good time to hit the highway. I like going to Florida every year and racing against some of the series guys, maybe it’s a good time to start spreading out and running with them more regularly up north. Right now I’ve got good equipment, easily the best I’ve ever had, with the right engines for the right applications. I’m certainly not expecting to win but finishing 10-12 is a realistic goal,” said Scagliotta, President of Adamsville Maintenance, an Excavation Contractor Lawn/Garden Services Concrete Contractor providing road work, land clearing and paving in the Garden State.
Stating that “I haven’t had the highlight of my career yet,” while competing in the 2004 Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia, Scagliotta was captured in one of the most violent front-stretch flips ever taken during the Florida tour. Check out on the internet www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEz1BuqLdXE to view the film clip credited to DIRTcar NE videographer Bob Miller and narrated by veteran announcer Mel Thomas.
With brief stints previously enjoyed at only a handful of DIRTcar tracks —including Brewerton, Lebanon Valley, Rolling Wheels, Syracuse and Canandaigua just last month— Scagliotta will not only be speeding head-first into the face of experienced traffic, the all-time New Egypt (NJ) Speedway Sportsman Modified winner and 1998 Rookie Sportsman points champion will be broadsliding on unchartered soil in his maiden voyage of series competition.
“When I ran at Canandaigua I learned a lot against (tour) guys like Paine, Sheppard and Tomkins and felt comfortable getting around,” noted Scagliotta, who will be the first New Jerseyman —excluding perennial power Brett Hearn— to chase Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified points since Richie Pratt Jr. climbed to fifth in the 2005 final standings. Ironically, Pratt coaches his company’s softball team and still races while Scagliotta’s girlfriend Randie Rudy, an avid slow-pitch softball player, serves on his crew and remains the comptroller for Adamsville Maintenance. “Randie’s record is way better than mine, she won the powder puff race at New Egypt three times in five years!”
“Richie always gives me advice and I’ll count on Billy (Colton, Troyer owner) for some notes on gears and set-ups at all the new tracks. Other than that I’ll just keep doing what I’ve always done and work hard to get better. A lot of people have put a lot of time and effort into our team so I’ll probably be at this for awhile.”
“Starting out in motor-cross and competing in triathlons I’ve never really been a team player. When you own a company or you finish a job there’s nobody coming up and patting you on the back. In my mind, qualifying for a Modiied race is my own form of satisfaction. And when I make the show or have a good finish, its the guys on the team that are there to say ‘good job’ and that makes it all worthwhile,” Scagliotta added.
Along with Scagliotta starting Merrittville’s Monday night main event inside of row eight, the redraw among top-two heat race finishers puts former Merrittville champion Larry Lampman Jr. on the pole and Jimmy Phelps outside. The next four rows are filled by Bobby Davidson Jr. David Hebert, Robbie Krull, Scott Wood, Laurent Ladouceur, Pat O’Brien, Pete Bicknell and Chad Brachmann.
Krull and Bicknell set fast time with each stopping the clocks at 16.017 seconds on the tight 1/3-miler. Heat wins went to Wood, Krull, Bicknell, O’Brien and Brachmann with 16 year-old Larry Wight copping the first consi when rain began to fall.
For additional information, please contact 358-Modified Series Director Gaston Salvas (450/655-5022 or 514/817-2270; e-mail email@example.com) or DIRTcar NE Director Cory Reed (cell 315/224-9009) at the Weedsport office (315/834-6606) during normal business hours. In the meantime, log into www.superdirtcarseries.com or the homepage at www.dirtcar.com to find out more about the Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series as well as the entire circuit.
Track information can be found at www.merrittvillespeedway.com or by contacting Public Relations Director Jim Irvine at 905/892-8266. Merrittville Speedway is accessible from any direction in the U.S., taking the Peace Bridge in the Buffalo, NY/South Niagara Region, Rainbow Bridge and Queenston-Lewiston Bridge in Niagara Falls, or in Canada following the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) south to Niagara from the Hamilton or Toronto areas.
2009 Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship Series Schedule
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TRACK LOCATION
Mon-May 18 Merrittville Speedway Thorold,ONT
Fri-Jul 31 Ransomville Speedway Ransomville,NY
Sun-Sep 6 Cornwall Motor Speedway Cornwall,ONT
Fri-Sep 11 Mohawk International Raceway Akwesasne,NY
Sat-Sep 12 Brockville Ontario Speedway Brockville,ONT
Sun-Sep 13 Autodrome Granby Granby,QUE ($10,000 to win)
Fri-Sep 18 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Sat-Sep 19 Autodrome Drummond Drummondville,QUE ($10,000 to win)
Fri-Sep 25 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Wed-Oct 7 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Thr-Oct 8 Brewerton Speedway Brewerton,NY
Fri-Oct 9 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY
Sat-Oct 10 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY ($20,000 to win)
Sat-Oct 17 -TBA-
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 Super DIRTcar Series “DIRTcar All-Star 100” on Sunday, July 19.