Weedsport, NY — August 19, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, Super DIRTcar Series PR Director
*Brent Smith Photo
One year has already passed since the Super DIRTcar Series last staged weekend Big-Block events back-to-back at Can-Am Motorsports Park and Cornwall Motor Speedway.
The time in between has not passed quick enough for DIRTcar Modified veteran Gary Tomkins as he scored his last tour triumphs exactly 12 months ago in the north country where he hopes to get a another jump-start this time around.
“Just about this same time we turned things around last year, it certainly would be big to duplicate the feat again,” said, Tomkins, 43, who dominated at each stop last August, leading the final 80 circuits at Can-Am before taking charge for good on lap 62 at Cornwall. The wins were his second at both Cornwall at Can-Am, with each initial visit to the winner’s circle made in 2004 en route to the overall Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship.
“We always look forward to going back, I just love racing at both tracks. I like racing fast at Can-Am and the sensation you get, leaned right over, makes it seem like you’re going just as quick at Cornwall. At Can-Am there’s a break on the straights to get your wits but Cornwall is one big circle when you’re on the gas. Its always a lot of fun making the trip up north to run these tracks,” remarked Tomkins, who ranks seventh on the current Super DIRTcar Series points chart fresh off his best series showing (2nd) of the season on Aug. 8 at Canandaigua (NY) Speedway where he stands third in points with a pair of DIRTcar NE wins.
Tomkins will be looking to double his output of just two top-five tallies in the opening 12 Super DIRTcar Series stops when DIRTcar Northeast’s premier traveling tour for the mighty Big-Block Modifieds heads back up Route 81 for rounds 13 & 14. Can-Am kicks off this terrific twin-bill Friday, August 21 with the ‘End Of The Summer Weekend Spectacular’ while the top tour travelers share another $27,000 purse in the rescheduled 15th Annual Akwesasne Mohawk Casino International 100 that awaits at Cornwall on Sunday, August 23.
“The first time (1998) I ever ran Can-Am was a tour race and I finished second ahead of Danny Johnson, and at Cornwall (1999, finished 23rd) I got turned over early so I’ve had some memorable times at both places. Hopefully, I can add a couple more good ones this year.”
“So far its been pretty frustrating. We haven’t been running very good and along with some unexpected things happening at different times, just haven’t got any breaks to take advantage of. But other than Brett (Hearn) everybody in the top-five from last year has been struggling some, too. We’ve tried a lot of things, just been lacking somewhere and haven’t been able to pin it down,” stated Tomkins, who has time trialed in the top-10 on just three occasions, while stopping the clocks 27th at Cornwall before rain cancelled the remainder of the July 12 show.
Tomkins’ team will have a pair of Doug Dulen-owned Honeoye Auto Parts no. 84 Rochester Americans-National Guard entries prepped by crew chief Mike Payne for the upcoming trip northward. The primary car used every Saturday on home soil at Canandaigua has been earmarked for competition at Can-Am while the newest Bicknell mount is expected to be unloaded Sunday at Cornwall.
“We’ve been decent enough in the group qualifying and heats to get into the re-draw but just have never capitalized,” noted Tomkins, from Clifton Springs, N.Y., who scored his only other front-five series finish (4th) this summer at Cayuga County Fair Speedway during the inaugural All-Star Weekend, ending up second in Integra Shocks Time Trials at Autodrome Granby the week prior. “Its just been a lot of little things, nothing has really gelled.”
“We had a set-up problem with the new car at Merrittville and thought it was fixed for Brewerton but that didn’t work. Finally got something going with our regular car at Canandaigua so hopefully we can build on that in time for the season-ending shows.”
“Racing is a very humbling sport. You can’t get an attitude, just have to keep moving forward and focus on the positives. I was around racing long before becoming a driver so I know winning is very tough. Its definitely one of the best parts as a payback for all the work the guys on your team put in and the support your owner and sponsors provide to keep going.”
“I probably appreciate the wins a lot more nowadays but being competitive and having the chance to come out on top still keeps me motivated regardless. Just wish I could get on a roll like Matt (Sheppard) or have a year like Billy (Decker) did last season, that would be a lot more fun than what we’ve been having lately,” added Tomkins, who has already posted 17 career Super DIRTcar Series wins with at least one checkered flag taken every year beginning in 2002.
Tomkins will be looking to continue the streak when he visits two of his favorite tracks on the DIRTcar circuit. Along with a first-place prize of $6,000 up for grabs at Can-Am and Cornwall, each winner will earn a guaranteed a starting berth in the prestigious SDW XXXVIII Modified 200 Championship race held at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse on Oct. 11.
Brett Hearn remains atop the Super DIRTcar Series point standings followed by Matt Sheppard, Jimmy Phelps, Billy Decker, Ryan Phelps and Justin Haers, a five-time winner this season at Can-Am. Tour regular Billy Dunn leads the Can-Am Big-Block points chart with three wins to his credit in ’09.
For additional information, please contact Series Director Cory Reed at the DIRTcar Northast Office (315/834-6606 x227) in Weedsport, New York or log into www.superdirtcarseries.com for additional Super DIRTcar Series material.
Can-Am Motorsports Park www.canammotorsports.com (315/778-3407) is located off of NYS Route 411 and can be reached from the east or west by traveling the NYS Thruway to I-81 (Exit 36). Take I-81 North or South to Rt. 411 (Exit 49), then head west four miles. Cornwall Motor Speedway (613/938-3945) www.cornwallspeedway.com is located off Highway 401, Eastbound using exit 786 to Power Dam Drive and West bound taking exit 789 to Brookdale Avenue, then following the posted signs from both directions.
2009 Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified Schedule
NP=Non-Point event; SP=Show-Up Point event.
*All events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TRACK WINNER/LOCATION
Wed-Feb 11 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Pat Ward
Thr-Feb 12 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Pat Ward
Fri-Feb 13 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Jamie Mills
Sat-Feb 14 Volusia Speedway Park-NP Brett Hearn
Sat-Mar 28 Hagerstown Speedway rain-cancelled
Sun-Apr 26 Big Diamond Raceway Duane Howard
Sat-Jun 6 Lebanon Valley Speedway Matt Sheppard
Sun-Jun 7 Airborne Speedway rain-cancelled
Wed-Jun 17 Orange Co Fair Speedway Bily Decker
Fri-Jul 3 Ransomville Speedway Brett Hearn
Sat-Jul 4 Fulton Speedway Alan Johnson
Thr-Jul 9 Brockville Ont Speedway Brett Hearn
Fri-Jul 10 Autodrome Granby Billy Decker
Sat-Jul 18 Cayuga Co Fair Speedway Ryan Phelps
Sun-Jul 19 Cayuga Co Fair Speedway Ryan Phelps ($20,000-to-win)
Mon-Aug 3 Merrittville Speedway Matt Sheppard
Fri-Aug 7 Brewerton Speedway Matt Sheppard
Sat-Aug 8 Canandaigua Speedway Tim Fuller
Fri-Aug 21 Can-Am Motorsports Park LaFargeville,NY
Sun-Aug 23 Cornwall Motor Speedway Cornwall,ONT
Thr-Aug 27 Lebanon Valley Speedway West Lebanon,NY ($17,500-to-win)
Sun-Sep 6 Cayuga Co Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY
Mon-Sep 7 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Fri-Sep 11 Lernerville Speedway Sarver,PA
Fri-Sep 18 Autodrome Drummond Drummondville,QUE
Sat-Sep 26 Rolling Wheels Raceway Elbridge,NY
Sun-Oct 11 New York State Fairgrnds Syracuse,NY ($50,000-to-win)
Sun-Oct 18 -TBA-
Sun-Oct 25 -TBA-
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 and VP Racing Fuels www.vpracingfuels.com. Promotional partners include Dig Safely New York www.digsafelynewyork.com and the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and the contingency sponsors are Bars Leaks www.barsproducts.com, Bert Transmission www.berttransmission.com, Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, Brodix Cylinder Heads www.brodix.com, Ferris Industries www.ferrisindustries.com, Integra Shocks www.integrashocksandsprings.com, Intercomp www.intercomp-racing.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Rislone Oil Stabilizer www.barsproducts.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com.