Mar 26, 2007 08:20 PM EDT
Third Annual 'Rock Launcher' To Kick Off 2007 NY Racing Season
By RICH VLECK AND DON POST
It has been said that the best races of the year are those early in the season, when all of the equipment is in tip-top shape. If that old saying is true, the Black Rock Season Opener is a must-see.
History will be made on April 7 as the chase for Series points in the 2007 DIRTcar Sportsman Championship begins its run at Black Rock Speedway in the beautiful wine country in the heart of the Finger Lakes. The 4/10-mile in the Yates Co. village of Dundee has been a landmark in racing in the Central and Southern N.Y. area for the last five decades and is about to turn the corner by once again joining the DIRT fold.
The DIRTcar Sportsman class will run 55 laps on the fast and spacious oval located just off Rt. 14A outside Dundee. The purse will pay a whopping $5,000 to win the main event. This race, along with two others on the Black Rock schedule, will follow the DIRT Sportsman Series rulebook as the owners will be allowed to run engines that can be internally worked on. The remainder of the track schedule will see just the GM Crates legal in regular point events.
“The sportsman class is growing by leaps and bounds now they finally have a race and a purse to prove it,” said BRS General Manger Alex Hoag of the event. “Its 55 laps going all out for $5,000, there wont be any sandbagging here, that’s for sure!”
The Sportsman division will be heavily watched, as it will be used as the template into the next development of the class for the future. DIRTcar Racing Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed has attended many meetings regarding this class and stated, “We do hope that the guidelines for rules and their enforcement are part of the implementation of this class at Black Rock. We need to model our own tracks so as to fall within these standards.”
Dean and Alex Hoag expect over 60 of the Sportsman racers for this landmark event, helping establish the drivers that will follow the entire 15-race Hoosier Tire/Sunoco Race Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Championship trail in ’07.
“We just would like to see the class grow and this will be part of our responsibility, so we look forward to it,” said Hoag.
Among those that will contend for 2007 Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman title, as well as the 55-lapper include guaranteed pole-sitter Todd Henderson, Rob Pratt, Joe Williams, Danny Wiesner, Jipp Ortiz, Street Stock Champion Dave Yehl, and a slew of other competitors.
A DIRT Sportsman license is required for this event, along with a race entry fee, which is $50 before the race, or $75 the day of the race.
Black Rock will also play home to the BRP Can-Am 360 Late Model Series once again in 2007. Gary Montgomery’s growing series kicked off the 2006 season campaign at the Rock with Jeremy Wonderling running to his first of 11 wins in Dundee over the year.
“Mr. Excitement” will be back to defend his title, but will face extremely stiff competition from Larry Knowles, who also won at BRS in 2006. Randy Hall is the defending BRP Can-Am Series Champion and will mark the one-year anniversary of his breakout race with this event.
Among the Black Rock regulars to contend for top honors will be Quinn Sutherland, Dave DuBois and Bob Buono. Sutherland has stepped up his efforts for 2007 to improve on his runner-up position in the 2006 overall track point standings.
This will be the first of three trips into Dundee for the series, which includes a Friday night stop on July 13, as well as the championship event on October 19.
The other series to start of their season on April 7 will also be running their inaugural event. The Mr. DIRTcar Street Stock event will kick off their 2007 season with a 40-lap, $1,000-to-win feature event.
This new series will open up more money for Street Stock drivers and allow them to travel to new venues in highlighted races. Big street stock races are not new to the Black Rock Speedway, which hosts the Verizon Wireless World 100 each Fall. Look for many of those drivers to return Easter Weekend.
Local driver Bob Buono had his only BRS win in the Verizon Wireless World 100 last year and will again be a threat to win a big event. Outsiders like Dave Mannise, Nick Rizzo, Russ Marsden and Kurt Decker will take on locals such as Nate Peckham, Bubba Burnell, Frank Chapman Jr., Chris Fisher, Ron Hawker, Terry Potrzebowski and Rich Sharpsteen.
Like the other two classes, the Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman Series will return in October to help figure out who will win the championship.
While all of the racing takes place on Saturday, the gates of the speedway will be open on Friday, April 6, for a Safety and Technical Inspection in the pit area from 2-6 p.m., followed by a practice session until 9:00 p.m. General admission for this event is FREE, while Saturday’s opener is just $15 for fans and friends alike.
All questions for this event may be e-mailed to