Sheppard, Phelps, Hearn Lead Super DIRTcar Series
Superstars Mark Thrilling Big-Block Modified Season
Dominating the Super DIRTcar Series for a second straight season paid the biggest dividends for Matt Sheppard as the second-generation standout from Waterloo, N.Y. held on to capture his first-ever overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block Championship — worth a cool $50,000.
Falling just four points shy of the coveted crown the previous year, ‘Super Matt’ was not to be denied in his most recent attempt aboard the potent JB Motorsports no. 9S Xtreme Lubricants-Integra Shocks-Bert Transmission/Bicknell machine, registering a tour-best six extra-distance wins including Cayuga County’s ‘Hall of Fame Classic’ and ‘All-Star Weekend 100,’ and ‘Stars & Stripes 100’ at Rolling Wheels Raceway on Independence Day. Setting the stage down south with a title run in the Florida DIRTcar Nationals By UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park in February, Sheppard continued his success up north logging a series-high15 top-5 finishes in the 22-race championship. The 2010 Cayuga County points champ concluded his 13th season of open-wheel competition by capturing a DIRTcar Northeast leading 19 Big-Block feature wins, finishing off the SDS campaign posting five Bilstein Shocks Fast Times and winning eight heat races while leading the most main events (12) for the most laps (586) laps, more than double anyone else.
Continuing to remain a model of consistency on the Super DIRTcar Series with a runner-up tally in 2010, Jimmy Phelps forged ahead with the best season of his Big-Block Modified racing career steering the HBR Motorsports no. 98H Wave Energy Drink-Mohawk Northeast/Troyer entry. Phelps totaled a tour-high 19 Top-10 finishes to place among the front-four in points for a fourth straight year, also recording 14 Top-5 runs in ’10 including a team high four series wins sparked by victory in the nationally televised Lowes Foods World Finals Presented By Bimbo Bakeries and Tom’s Snacks at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The Baldwinsville, N.Y. pilot led the series with six Bilstein Shocks Fast Time awards and collected a half-dozen qualifying heat race wins, taking a personal best 15 Big-Block checkered flags on the demanding DIRTcar Northeast circuit that ended with track titles at Brewerton and Fulton speedways.
Advancing one spot in the standings after a stellar SPEED TV performance at Charlotte in November, all-time Super DIRTcar Series winner Brett Hearn settled for third position in quest of an eighth Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship. Continuing his success north of the border with wins at Cornwall (Ont.) and Granby (Que.), the ‘Corporate Jet’ parked the Madsen Motorsports no. 20 Wentworth Custom Homes-Benjamin Moore Paints/TEO mount in the winner’s circle on 3 occasions to extend his all-time high series count to 106, also figuring in 18 Top-10 finishes to close out his 36th season of open-wheel racing. The Sussex, N.J. speedster finished the ’10 series campaign leading four main events for 148 laps while posting 9 heat wins.
Already boasting a pair of overall Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block Championships, Billy Decker finished fourth in the final standings for a second straight season buckled into the familiar LJL Motorsports no. 91 Gypsum Wholesalers-Stadium Int’l-Quality Hardwoods/Bicknell ride. Opening up the touring season in March with a victory at Hagerstown (Md.) and continuing with eight straight Top-5 finishes, the ‘Franklin Flyer’ faded from the spotlight in the second half of the summer, only able to crack the front-five in a handful of events on the road. Decker ended 2010 with 18 Top-10 finishes and the open-wheel veteran from Unadilla, N.Y. copped 5 heat wins, led four main events for 124 laps and the all-time quick qualifier (43) posted his lone Bilstein Shocks Fast Time at Mohawk in mid-September.
Behind the wheel of the MPR Racing No. 27J Rochester Americans-Waste Management-Honeoye Auto Parts-Currier Plastics /Bicknell entry in 2010, Danny Johnson climbed into the Top-5 in points for the first time in nine years as the five-time DIRTcar Northeast Driver of the Year scored two Super DIRTcar Series wins to launch a new decade of speed. The Rochester, N.Y. native won at both Drummond (Que.) and Brockville (Ont.) to highlight his 15 Top-10 tallies, showcasing his talents in front of the cameras with a pair of top-3 finishes at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. Ranking second all-time with 68 Big-Block tour triumphs, the ‘Doctor’ registered nine heat race victories and added a Bilstein Shocks Fast Time at Mohawk, closing out the 2010 campaign with owner Mike Payne as the overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Champion in November.
Hovering near the front of the pack after an early season Super DIRTcar Series win at Fulton, second-generation standout Dale Planck from Cortland, N.Y. got back on track in 2010 to reach sixth on the final Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block points chart. Dropping to 11th in the ’09 edition, the ‘Natural’ rebounded with 6 Top-5 feature finishes, leading the second most laps (274) on tour in five main events while racking up six heat race victories and garnering a Bilstein Shocks Fast Time Award.
Teamed with owner Carey Terrance for a third straight season in the RezX Racing no. 77X Twin Leaf Express(Ft. Covington)/Bicknell car, Planck started all 24 series shows and cracked the Top-10 on 10 occasions.
The fourth year chasing Super DIRTcar Series points was the best so far for rising star Billy Dunn as the north country racer from Watertown, N.Y. reached seventh in the final standings steering the family-owned Number One Speed no. 49 Fast Lube of Watertown-SUNY Canton/Bicknell machine. Third-place at Cayuga County during All-Star Weekend —when he set Bilstein Shocks Fast Time and led 23 laps— and fifth in the tour opener at Hagerstown Speedway in March were his best finishes, earning four qualifying heat race wins along the way. Dunn added five feature wins on the weekend, successfully defending his track crown on home soil at Can-Am Motorsports Park in LaFargeville.
Now ranking in the Top-10 for three consecutive years following the tour full-time, Ryan Phelps filled in eighth in the final 2010 Mr. DIRTcar standings piloting the Big Red Towing no. 99 Dave Miller Auto Body/Bicknell entry. The inaugural winner of the ‘DIRTcar All-Star 100’ at Cayuga County Fair Speedway in ’09, the ‘Rocket’ posted eight Top-10s in the Super DIRTcar Series this season while taking four checkered flags in heat race competition. The young talent from Fulton, N.Y. scored his lone feature win at Brewerton Speedway in Friday night action to bring his career DIRTcar Big-Block total to an even half-dozen during the new millennium.
A solid performer throughout the decade contending at Cayuga County, Brewerton and Fulton speedways, Tom Sears Jr. from Clay, N.Y. finally got the opportunity to follow the Super DIRTcar Series from beginning to end and netted ninth-place on the points chart wheeling the BJB Motorsports no. 62S Summit Auto Group-Mullen Industrial-Trackman Equipment/Bicknell mount. Breaking into the Top-15 (13th-2006, 14th-2005) in overall Mr. DIRTcar points while running a limited tour schedule, Sears finished third in Granby’s 100-lapper and copped the second 25-lap segment during All-Star Weekend at Cayuga County to highlight his best-ever season in the series.
Rounding out the Top-10 in the final Hoosier-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar point standings is high school senior Larry Wight from Phoenix, N.Y., who turned 18 near the end of his third full season following the premier Big-Block Modified Series in the nation. Finishing 14th and 12th (2009) the previous two seasons, Wight became the youngest driver ever to win a Super DIRTcar Series show as he held off legendary veteran Alan Johnson to claim the historic victory at Cayuga County over Labor Day Weekend. ‘Lightning Larry’ added a second front-five finish at Mohawk (5th) in the LJL Racing no. 99L Gypsum Express-Stadium International/Bicknell ride, picking up three heat wins during the summer trail while leading the 100th lap in the Super DIRT Week SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 Presented By Ferris-Snapper-Simplicity at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.
Enjoying his second year of interstate travel, Rich Scagliotta from Bound Brook, N.J. brought some international flavor to the 2010 Super DIRTcar Series with the help of Australian crew chief Peter Britten. Last year’s Motorsports Safety Systems/G-Force Rookie of the Year at age 47, the Garden State chauffeur made every event and put his AMI Racing no. 8 Central Jersey Trailer & Hitch Depot-Adamsville Maintenance/Troyer entry in 5th-place at Autodrome Granby to score his first tour Top-5. A regular at Brewerton (15th pts) and Fulton (17th) in ’10, Scagliotta competes annually in the Florida DIRTcar Nationals held each February at Volusia Speedway Park.
Making a return appearance among the top Super DIRTcar Series point chasers in 2010 alongside teammates Decker, Wight and Ryan Phelps, open-wheel veteran Pat Ward from Genoa, N.Y. reached 12th on the points chart in the LJL Racing no. 42P Gypsum Express, Ltd./Bicknell machine. The overall Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified titlist in 2002 and ’04 Florida Tour champion, Ward missed eight events yet still tallied a handful of front-five finishes and 11 Top-10s to reach his highest finish since 6th-place in the 2006 standings. Ward led two feature races for a total of 37 laps and won a pair of qualifying heat races during the summer, calling Fulton (3rd pts) and Brewerton (4th) home throughout his 38th season competing on DIRTcar’s Central New York circuit.
Returning for a second straight season teamed with established car owner Vinny Salerno in the Four Star Racing no. 4 Keizer Aluminum Wheels/TEO machine, Michael Storms from Wantage, N.J. dropped from 10th to 13th in the final 2010 Super DIRTcar Series standings despite kicking off the campaign with a Super DIRTcar Series best third-place finish at Hagerstown. Before summer came to a close, Storms added two more Top-5s (Orange County-5th) and Lebanon Valley (4th) yet failed to enter the final four events after a late-season departure from Salerno’s squad. Using Brewerton (1 win) as his home track for Mr. DIRTcar bonus points, Storms totaled Top-10 tour finishes in 18 events attended, picking up his lone heat race victory at Cornwall in July.
Remaining a solid Top-10 contender during the new millennium and front-runner on the Central New York DIRTcar circuit over the past three decades, 2000 Hoosier-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block champion Steve Paine from Waterloo, N.Y. finished 14th with a trio of Top-5 finishes scored in 17 events. Steering the patented Paine Motorsports no. 7X Swarthout Recycling-Tallmadge Tire-Terrell’s Potato Chips/Bicknell mount, all three front-five finishes came before the middle of July with the ‘Hurricane’ taking six checkered flags in heat race qualifiers and leading 41 circuits in the St. Amand Memorial 100-lapper at Merrittville (Ont.) Speedway in August.
Scrambling to secure a Big-Block ride on tour throughout the season, ‘04 Mr. DIRTcar Champion Gary Tomkins shared driving duties with no less than seven owners in 15 events to reach the 15th and final payoff position in 2010. Tomkins buckled into the rides of Chad Brachmann, no. 3 -Mighty Taco-Power Trip Energy Drink/Bicknell; Brian Murphy, no. 41 Purcell’s Wallpaper & Paint-Lamb’s Speed Shack/Bicknell; Ken Brewer, no. 00B Brewer Construction & Home Improvements-KFC/Bicknell; Ray Tuit Jr., no. 673 Mike Sparta Trucking-Pro Stock Automotive-Behrent’s Performance Warehouse/Bicknell; Joe Beyea, no. 121 Beyea Custom Headers/Troyer; David Thompson, No. 1 Back’s High Performance Fuels/Troyer; and Travis Braun, no. 76 Biedas Powersports-Brian’s Tire Repair-DBN Drywall/Bicknell. He finished 4th for Beyea at Rolling Wheels where he also won a heat on Independence Day before closing out the year charging from 28th to 3rd for Tuit in the event televised from Charlotte in November,
Volusia Speedway Park launches the 2011 season as the landmark 40th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals By University of Northwestern Ohio showcases four non-point events in the Super DIRTcar Series on February 16-19.
2010 Overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Modified/
Super DIRTcar Series Point Standings (FINAL)
Rank No. Driver Total Series Bonus Diff Wins Top-5 Top-10 Starts
1 9s Matt Sheppard 3,122 2,122 1000 0 6 15 18 24
2 98H Jimmy Phelps 3,063 2,063 1000 -59 4 14 19 24
3 20 Brett Hearn 2,924 1,924 1000 -198 2 8 18 24
4 91 Billy Decker 2,862 1,887 975 -260 1 12 18 24
5 27J Danny Johnson 2,794 1,829 965 -328 2 12 15 23
6 77x Dale Planck 2,634 1,689 945 -488 1 6 10 24
7 49 Billy Dunn 2,505 1,505 1000 -617 0 2 12 24
8 99 Ryan Phelps 2,432 1,477 955 -690 0 1 8 24
9 62s Tom Sears Jr. 2,317 1,382 935 -805 1 2 3 24
10 99L Larry Wight 2,303 1,363 940 -819 1 2 8 21
11 8 Rich Scagliotta 2,166 1,248 918 -956 0 1 3 24
12 42P Pat Ward 2,077 1,102 975 -1,045 0 5 11 16
13 4* Michael Storms 2,074 1,139 935 -1,048 0 3 7 20
14 7x Steve Paine 2,015 1,015 1000 -1,107 0 3 5 19
15 3T Gary Tomkins 1,869 967 902 -1,253 0 3 5 17
16 16 Lance Willix II® 1,822 857 965 -1,300 0 0 1 16
17 3H Justin Haers 1,701 736 965 -1,421 0 1 7 11
18 1J Alan Johnson 1,693 718 975 -1,429 0 2 5 12
19 10v Bobby Varin 1,534 559 975 -1,588 0 0 3 6
20 8R Rob Bellinger 1,382 407 975 -1,740 0 1 2 8
21 33 Mike Mahaney 1,346 418 928 -1,776 0 0 0 9
22 48T Dave Rauscher 1,306 374 932 -1,816 0 0 0 6
23 5H Chris Hile 1,282 364 918 -1,840 0 0 1 8
24 21K Randy Chrysler 1,267 355 912 -1,855 0 0 0 6
25 99B Chuck Bower 1,251 321 930 -1,871 0 0 1 8
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, VP Racing Fuels www.vpracingfuels.com and GM Performance Parts www.gmperformanceparts.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.