Elbridge, NY – October 9, 2010 – By Kevin Kovac, DIRTcar Racing PR
Winning Saturday’s 25-lap DIRTcar Big-Block ‘Win & You’re In’ feature at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park was exciting enough for Jeff Brownell Jr.
Earning a starting spot in Sunday afternoon’s prestigious SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 Presented by Ferris/Snapper/Simplicity at the Syracuse Mile added even more luster to his accomplishment.
Making just his second start since returning from health problems that sidelined him for most of the 2010 season, Brownell turned the inside groove of the five-eighths-mile oval into the hot route to Victory Lane. He battled forward from the third starting spot to pass Chuck Bower of Lansing, N.Y., for the lead on lap 14 and dominated the remainder of the distance.
Bower, who started from the pole position and led laps 1-13, settled for a runner-up finish, a distant 4.050 seconds behind Brownell at the checkered flag. Fourth-starter Chad Brachmann of North Tonawanda, N.Y., who won last year’s ‘Win & You’re In’ event, finished third, followed by fifth-starter Rob Bellinger of Dexter, N.Y., and seventh-starter Danny O’Brien of Kingston, Ont.
“I don’t know what to say,” remarked the overwhelmed Brownell, a 27-year-old from Waterloo, N.Y. “This is just so cool. I didn’t think I was gonna run a race this year, let alone win one.”
Brownell began his 2010 campaign in rough fashion – he barrel-rolled multiple times in February at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. – and then saw his fortunes only get worse. After a pair of early-season appearances at Cayuga County Fair Speedway in Weedsport, N.Y., and Canandaigua (N.Y.) Speedway, Brownell had his racing efforts shut down indefinitely by a health issue that had grown more serious.
“I didn’t listen to the doctors and got myself in a whole lot of trouble,” said Brownell, who drives Bicknell cars owned by his father, Jeff Sr., as a teammate to DIRTcar Big-Block Modified star Matt Sheppard of Waterloo, N.Y. “The stuff they found would’ve taken two weeks (to heal) if I didn’t try to race, but instead it took all summer.”
Brownell finally got the go-ahead to return to the cockpit in mid-September. He made his comeback on Sept. 25 at Rolling Wheels, finishing seventh.
“It feels great to be back racing,” said Brownell, the 2009 DIRTcar Big-Block Modified champion at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park in Fultonville, N.Y., and a former feature winner at Glen Ridge, Canandaigua and Cayuga County. “Winning really helps too. I think maybe I get better when I don’t race much.”
Brownell was on his game in Saturday’s Super DIRT Week XXXIX satellite event. He lost second to Brachmann on a lap-two restart, but fought back to overtake Brachmann for the bridesmaid spot on lap 11 and Bower for the lead with a powerful lapped-traffic move through turns three and four on lap 14.
“The car was working real good – the best car I’ve ever had here,” Brownell said. “I got right up to second (on the original start), but I think water got splashed out a little onto the track so when I didn’t get in just right (on lap two) I pushed a little and (Brachmann) got by me.
“I just told myself to be patient on the bottom. I knew those guys (Bower and Brachmann) were running the top, so I decided that I’d try my best to get ‘em on the inside.
“I don’t really even know how I got (Bower),” he added of his winning pass. “There were like three (lapped) cars and he went high, and then those guys kind of slid up in front of him. I figured they would slide up and they did, which worked great for me.”
Brownell’s $1,500 triumph handed him the 45th starting spot in Sunday’s SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 at the famed New York State Fairgrounds one-mile oval. He’s not prepared to run the full distance, but he plans to take his car to the Moody Mile and at least start the event for another $1,500 payday.
“It might give us a chance to scuff some tires for Matt too,” Brownell said of Sheppard, the defending SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 winner and 17th starter in Sunday’s marquee event.
The race’s only caution flag on lap two, was displayed after Steve Paine of Waterloo, N.Y., was sent spinning between turns one and two while he was battling for fourth place. His car absorbed a glancing blow from Quebec’s Michel Chicoine and he retired from further action.
With 26 cars signed in for action, heat winners were Bower, Chris Hile of Syracuse, N.Y., and Brownell. No B-Main was contested.
Super DIRT Week XXXIX ends on Sunday (Oct. 10) at the New York State Fairgrounds with the running of the $50,000-to-win SEF 200. The 25-lap BNC Motorsports Pro Stock Championship is also on the afternoon’s agenda. For more information, visit www.superdirtweekonline.com.
DIRTcar Big-Block Modified ‘Win & You’re In’ Feature Finish (25 laps): 1. Jeff Brownell Jr., 2. Chuck Bower, 3. Chad Brachmann, 4. Rob Bellinger, 5. Danny O’Brien, 6. Chris Hile, 7. Chad Homan, 8. Tim Currier, 9. Chad Phelps, 10. Chris Steele, 11. Randy Chrysler, 12. Dan Vauter, 13. Richie Vinson, 14. Pierre Dagenais, 15. Ryan Susice, 16. Pete Cosco, 17. Michel Chicoine, 18. Wallace Stacey, 19. Randy McCulloch, 20. Mike Ward, 21. Roger Chrysler, 22. Steve Paine, 23. Henry Maier, 24. Mike O’Brien, DNS: Charlie Donk, Paul Habeck.
SUPER DIRT WEEK XXXIX EVENTS SCHEDULE: Oct. 10, 2010
*All tmes and events subject to change.
DAY-DATE TIME EVENT
Sun-10/10 8am Pit Gates Open
9:15am Pro Stock Driver’s Meeting (in pit building)
9:30am Modified Driver and Crew Chief Meeting (in pit building)
10am Grandstands Open, Track Open for Pro Stock Final Practice
10:20am Modified Final practice
10:45am Pro Stock Last Chance Qualifier
11:15am Dig Safely NY Modified Last Chance Qualifier
11:45am Modified Top-30 Autograph Signing under grandstand (Top 30 in Thursday Time Trials)
12noon BNC Motorsports Pro Stock Championship (25 laps)
12:45-1:45pm Cold Pit Tour of Pit Row
1:30pm SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 Presented by Ferris/Snapper/Simplicity Pre-Race ceremonies
2:00pm SEF Small Engine Fuels 200 Presented by Ferris/Snapper/Simplicity Championship (200 laps)
Mon-10/11 -TBA- Rain Date for Saturday or Sunday events
DIRTcar Racing Northeast main office is located in Weedsport, New York on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds, home of DIRTcar All-Star Weekend in July. DIRTcar Northeast’s crown jewel event —Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse runs annually in October featuring Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series events for Big-Block Modified, 358-Modified, Sportsman and Pro Stock divisions. Ticket and schedule information is available by contacting the Weedsport office (315/834-6606) during the day or logging into www.allstar100weekend.com and www.superdirtweekonline.com anytime.
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.