Billy Dunn speaks to YNN reporters after parading his 49 Big-Block Modified through the streets of downtown Syracuse. Photo by Jay Fish.
Big-Block Modified Driver Billy Dunn Looking to Repeat NAPA Super DIRT Week Success
Last year’s VP Small Engine Fuels outside polesitterprepares for unpredictable Syracuse
WEEDSPORT, N.Y. — Super DIRTcar Series racer Billy Dunn is in the midst of one of his most successful seasons, and he believes he can achieve even more at NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week, Oct. 3-7, at the New York State Fairgrounds.
“We’re coming back with the same car this year, same motor, and I think if we can have the same speed and a little more luck on Sunday, we can hopefully be right there at the end of it,” Dunn said Tuesday during a conference call with media.
During last year’s event, Dunn raced to victory in the Safety-Kleen Shootout after a stunning performance in his Triple 20 placed him on the outside pole for the Big-Block Modified VP Small Engine Fuels 200. Dunn started strong in Sunday’s race, maintaining position in the top 10 for the first 50 laps, but placing 33rd after a collision with Larry Wight on lap 107.
“Sunday’s Sunday,” Dunn said.“It doesn’t matter what you do all week long at Syracuse, or how well you prepare, anything can happen on Sunday, so you have to be ready for it. That’s kind of what happened to us last year.”
Bringing the same Finger Lakes-powered #49 Bicknell machine to the “Moody Mile” for the sixth year, Dunn hopes his qualifying success will translate to a victory in the VP Small Engine Fuels 200.
“The past couple years we’ve had a lot of speed, so this year, if we can come back with the same amount of speed, then hopefully we’re just going to concentrate on trying to get to the end of the race,” said Dunn, who is fourth in the Super DIRTcar Series championship standings and is looking for his first Super DIRTcar Series feature victory. “We’ve really turned our program around a lot this year and we still haven’t come through with that series win yet, but I think our team is to where we can win a race as easily as anybody. It’s not going to be easy, but we’ve had good speed, and if we can keep the consistency up and just keep finishing in the top five, top ten, these things will happen.”
One of Dunn’s most stunning successes of the season has been taking Laurent Ladouceur’s 23d 358-Modifed to a track championship at Mohawk International Raceway, in addition to winning two DIRTcar 358-Modified Series events there.
“That was something that really wasn’t planned when we started the year,” said Dunn, who thought he would just be competing in the first few races of the season for Ladouceur before being offered a chance to drive it weekly at Mohawk. “Ever since we did it’s been a really good situation for me.”
Right now, the car Dunn will use to tackle Syracuse sits in Number One Speed Truck Accessories in Watertown, N.Y., the same shop Dunn’s father, Norm, purchased from legendary driver “Barefoot” Bob McCreadie in the early 1980s. Needless to say, the 28-year-old Billy Dunn is never short of mentors and role models.
“There’s a lot of history in our shop,” Dunn said. “Bob (McCreadie) has been a good supporter of mine and has always been a good shoulder to lean on, along with Tim McCreadie and Tim Fuller and a few other drivers throughout this area. Without the help that all of them created probably wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Although the company he keeps makes Dunn aim high, his work in the shop keeps his mind grounded.
“It really helps when you’re hands on,” Dunn said.“I think it helps you appreciate what you have more. You’re not going to go out there and drive over your own head if you have to take it home and fix it. I have just as much fun in the shop as I do driving.”
NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLI runs from Wednesday, Oct.3, through Sunday, Oct. 7, at the New York State Fairgrounds with satellite events at Cayuga County Fair Speedway (Oct. 3) and Rolling Wheels Raceway Park (Oct. 4 and 6). Capping off the biggest week in dirt modified racing is the VP Small Engine Fuels 200 for the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds.
For more information about NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week, including vendor and sponsorship opportunities, call DIRTcar Northeast Headquarters at (315) 834-6606.To purchase tickets for events at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park or the New York State Fairgrounds during NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLI, log on to www.SuperDIRTWeekOnline.com/span>, or call the DIRTcar ticket hotline at (877) 395-8606.
The Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast Region is brought to fans by several sponsors and partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Chevy Performance Parts, Gander Mountain, NAPA Auto Parts, Nationwide Insurance, and Safety-Kleen. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio. Contingency sponsors are ASI, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Intercomp, JE Pistons, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, KSE Racing Products, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD Ignition, Penske Shocks, Racing Electronics, Superflow, Vicci Racing Apparel, WIX Filters, Wrisco Industries, and Xtreme Lubricants.