AKWESASNE -- The 2010 racing season comes to a close this weekend at Mohawk International Raceway (MIR) with a triple-header card of racing action that will be the biggest weekend of racing ever hosted at the fast North Country clay oval.
The A&M Beverage 75 for the Mr. DIRTcar 358 Modified championship series takes place Sept. 17.
Also on the card will be the Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman championship tour, with a 50-lap main event (being made up from a June 23rd rain-out), along with a complete, full program of heats and a 20-lap feature for the Sportsman.
The Bandits will also have an open competition event, with double prize money on the line. Racing starts at 7:45 p.m.
Saturday, September 18th is the SUNY Canton 100 for the SuperDIRT Big Block Modified tour. Also on the card Saturday are the CRSA 305 Sprint cars, making their first ever stop at MIR, and just added is the Mr. DIRTcar Pro Stock championship tour, with a 30-lap feature event for the Pro Stocks.
The weekend wraps up on Sunday, September 19th, with the annual IronMan Slick Track Enduro 100, with a noon starting time.
Each day of racing gives the MIR fans plenty of drama and excitement, as the Mr. DIRTcar championship tour is in full swing and all four tour races at MIR will play a key role in determining the 2010 DIRTcar champions.
For Friday night's Mr. DIRTcar 358 championship 75-lapper, "Mr. Small Block," Pete Bicknell of St. Catherines, ONT comes into the event with just a three point lead over MIR fan-favorite Dan "the Pocket Rocket" O'Brien of Kingston, ONT.
O'Brien knows MIR very well, scoring the win in the Chief's Tobacco Outlet 50 in late July. Dan's brother, Pat "Flyin'" O'Brien, is the defending race winner, while defending Mr. DIRTcar 358 Champion Dale "The Natural" Planck of Cortland has three feature wins at MIR, including the win in the Frenchie's Chevrolet Labor Day Shoot-out 50 just two weeks ago.
Planck's teammate, Carey Terrance, comes into the event with seven wins on the season at MIR and he is the newly crowned MIR Frenchie's Chevrolet 358 Modified champion. The 358 tour race will also bring in a top contingent of drivers from the tough Autodrome Granby/Autodrome Drummondville circuit, featuring 2008 Mr. DIRTcar 358 Champion Mario Clair (just 14 points behind Dan O'Brien in third) and David Hebert, former Lucas Oil 358 Series champion and a two-time winner of the Lucas Oil 100-lap races at MIR.
Hebert is just 15 points behind Clair in fourth spot in the 358 Modified tour standings. The "Doctor" Danny Johnson rounds out the top five in the 358 Modified tour standings and is coming off a top-five finish in the June SuperDIRT Big Block tour race at MIR.
The Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman tour should be an interesting battle as the tour returns to the home turf of 2010 MIR Sportsman champion Chris Raabe. Raabe, the three-time Mr. DIRTcar Sportsman champion, currently sits fourth in the tour point standings but is coming off a win last weekend at Humberstone, Ont., while his 13-win season at MIR speaks for itself. Tim Sears Jr. is the current Sportsman tour point leader, with Ryan Susice second, Steve Gray third, Raabe fourth and Justin Wright rounding out the top five.
The Bandit division has been dominated this year by Joey Foster, with 12 wins en route to his second straight championship, but with Open Competition rules that allow drivers from Airborne, Brockville, Cornwall and other area tracks to come in and race under their home track rules, it will be interesting to see if one of the invaders or one of the MIR regulars will be able to topple Foster in this shoot-out race.
Saturday night's SUNY Canton 100 for the SuperDIRT Big Block Modified tour finds Steve "The Hurricane" Paine of Waterloo leading the current tour points with 2450, but second place point man Jimmie Phelps (2388 points) comes into MIR with confidence after winning June's Jreck Subs 100. Behind Paine and Phelps, Billy "The Franklin Flyer" Decker is third in the SuperDIRT point standings, with Brett "The Jet" Hearn and Dale "The Natural"
Planck rounding out the top five in point standings.
For Saturday's Pro Stock tour race, the MIR regulars should be tough to beat. 2009 MIR Pro Stock champion Louie "Action" Jackson leads the point standings with 1,372, 12 points ahead of Quebec star Jocelyn Roy. MIR regular Dave "Bulldog" Bissonnette sits third in tour point standings with 1,350, Mohawk Race Parts tour champion Joey Ladouceur is fourth in the point standings with 1,348, while MIR regular Corey Wheeler rounds out the top five with 1,345. Going into this event, Jackson has consistency on his side, being the only driver to finish in the top three for both of the Pro Stock extra distance events at MIR, along with four feature wins and a tie for second with Bissonnette in the final MIR point standings. Jocelyn Roy is perhaps at the biggest disadvantage with only a handful of starts at MIR, while Dave Bissonnette is coming off a great season that saw him score three feature wins en route to the second place tie with Jackson in the final point standings. Joey Ladouceur had only one win at MIR this year but he is no stranger to success at the North Country oval as he is always a threat to win. Corey Wheeler has come into his own this past season, with his first career Pro Stock feature win and numerous top five finishes at both Cornwall and MIR.
The CRSA Sprints will be making their first evert start at MIR and the fans can expect an outstanding field of the winged, alcohol burning, open-wheeled monsters. The CRSA Sprints are very similar to the ESS Sprints that visited MIR in August, but the CRSA division uses an economical 305 steel block motor and a spec head for dramatic cost savings compared to the open 360 motors used by the ESS and other Sprint car groups.
Finally, Sunday afternoon's IronMan Slick Track Enduro 100 is a treat for fans and drivers alike. Enduro racing is different from normal stock car racing in that large fields of cars start the race -- sometimes more than 100 cars enter the event -- and no caution flags are used. The cars spin and slide around the track, often colliding with each other, and drivers must navigate around other stalled and wrecked racecars to complete the race. To add to the mayhem, the track is heavily watered before the race to make the track slick and challenging. Red flags are used only in the event of a possible safety hazard, but other than that, the race goes from green to the half-way 50-lap mark with no stops.
Teams have a few minutes to make repairs while the track is re-watered, and then the cars return for the final 50 lap battle to the finish. In Enduro racing, the fastest car is often not the winning car -- what matters is endurance and the ability to avoid trouble on the racetrack. The IronMan Slick Track Enduro 100 starts at noon on Sunday.
Mohawk International Raceway is located midway between the Seaway International Bridge to Cornwall and the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino. From Route 37, turn south onto Frogtown Road.
Racing is held on Friday nights at 7:45 PM from May through September, featuring the Frenchie's Chevrolet DIRTcar 358 Modifieds, Sportsman and Pro Stocks, as well as the Bandit division.
The website is at www.MohawkInternationalRaceway.com. The MIR office is 518-358-3225 and on race days, the track number is 518-358-9017. The track is owned and operated by Mohawk International Raceway, LLC.