St. Catharines, ONT — February 5, 2010 – By Jim Irvine, Bicknell Racing Products Public Relations
With Pete Bicknell himself perhaps the final driver to score a win in 2009, one of the largest ever contingents of Team BRP drivers are all looking to be among the first to win in 2010.
Bicknell’s December pre-Christmas win came in his first-ever visit to the Maryborough Speedway during a whirlwind tour of Queensland Australia, capping off a 670+ win season for the cutting edge chassis and components manufacturer based in St. Catharines, Ontario.
When the 39th Florida DIRTcar Nationals By University of Northwestern Ohio comes to life at the Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Feb. 10-13, many of the almost 30 strong BRP-chassied racers will look to draw on previous success.
In last year’s edition, on the strength of his first two feature wins in the Sunshine State, Team Gypsum driver Pat Ward won the Florida title with perennial down south competitor Jamie Mills also earning a win in the 4-race mini series.
Ward’s teammate and 2008 overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Champion Billy Decker would surely like to keep the pre-season winter tour crown within the John Wight-owned race team. Ward, from Genoa N.Y., earned his first DIRTcar Nationals title in 2004 and the Gypsum Team also includes 17 year-old up-and-comer Larry Wight.
One driver certainly looking to pick up right where he left off in 2009 is Matt Sheppard, who came within just 4 points of ‘09 Hoosier-VP Mr. DIRTcar Champion Brett Hearn and his first-ever Big-Block Championship. Sheppard enjoyed quite a strong finish last season in winning the final three Super DIRTcar Series Tour events, including the Super DIRT Week Rite Aid 200 finale at Syracuse. The Waterloo N.Y. second-generation driver led the DIRTcar Northeast circuit with 20 Big-Block triumphs in ’09 and is yet to visit Victory Lane in five visits to Florida. Sheppard will be joined by teammate Jeff Brownell Jr.
Veteran Billy Pauch, the lone New Jersey driver in a BRP ride for the ’10 DCN, is a three-time Florida points champ; earning his first in 1982 while 23 years separated his last two titles – the most recent coming in 2008. From the Keystone State, Darwin Greene, Ray Swinehart and Dan Vauter will be looking to put Pennsylvania on the Volusia podium.
Several two-car BRP teams will be in the pits as brothers Randy and Roger Chrysler are again slated to make the trip south representing the DIRTcar Western Region, as is the father/son tandem of Rex King and Rex Jr., seen as staples on the BRP Modified Tour. The Len & Jo’s Restaurant-sponsored entries of Billy VanInwegen and Jeremy Markle are also hoping to serve up some top finishes.
The Canadian contingent will see the province of Quebec featuring another father and son team, Wallace and Dexter Stacey, in addition to former Hoosier-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Champion Mario Clair and Michel Chicoine, while Eastern Ontario race fans will be cheering on Tim Kerr.
With 11 previous Florida wins to his credit, New York favorite Danny Johnson will also be part of Team BRP this year, joining his brother Alan Johnson, DIRTcar’s all-time Big-Block winner, in the Sunshine State. Also making the haul south from the Empire State, three more Central New York Team BRP drivers – Dave Rauscher, Chris Higgins and Dale Planck will gain fan support while Easterners will no doubt be behind Bobby Varin and Keith Flach.
Volusia Speedway Park’s events are just the start of another assault on 2010 Victory Lanes at a dirt track near you throughout the spring, summer and fall. In 2009, BRP-chassied drivers won more features than any other Chassis Manufacturer in Big Block, 358 and Sportsman competition. In fact since 2002 – Team BRP drivers have annually combined for at least 500 total wins each season.
Race fans unable to make the annual trek south to Volusia Speedway Park for the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals By UNOH need not worry. Every night (Feb. 2-13) of the Nationals will air LIVE once again on www.dirtvision.com. For more information on the 39th running of the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park, please visit www.dirtcarnationals.com or www.volusiaspeedwaypark.com.
For further information on Bicknell Racing Products or to find a dealer near you, call 905/685-7223, 905/685-4291 or 716/285-7502, or visit BRP on line at www.bicknellracingproducts.com or register to go live at twitter.com/bicknellracing.