LIME ROCK- (May 26,2000)- Larry DuLude faces a racer's dream at Memorial Day's Neon Challenge Race at Lime Rock: How do you back-up a perfect season in 1999? DuLude won both Neon Challenge SSC races at Lime Rock last Memorial Day, and went on ...
LIME ROCK- (May 26,2000)- Larry DuLude faces a racer's dream at Memorial Day's Neon Challenge Race at Lime Rock: How do you back-up a perfect season in 1999? DuLude won both Neon Challenge SSC races at Lime Rock last Memorial Day, and went on to win the season's other two event's at Road America, ending the season with a 4 for 4 record.
"Last year was better than we ever expected", said DuLude while preparing for this year's events, "you can't count on winning all the races in any series, especially in Showroom Stock cars. We raced hard last year, we were really focused, and we got some good breaks. I don't know if we can go 4 for 4 again, but we know we'll have to be especially strong to repeat as champion."
Repeating as Neon Challenge Champion is the plan for this 2000, and DuLude will have plenty of help getting to Victory Circle. Permatex Inc. has signed as primary sponsor of DuLude's #71 Neon, and Lime Rock will be their first event together. "Permatex is one of the leading Automotive Aftermarket companies", said DuLude, "and it's great to be associated with a company with so much knowledge about today's cars. With the sophisticated systems in today's cars, you have to make sure you use the right products when you work on them. Permatex makes great products so we're happy to have them help us as we get ready for Lime Rock."
DuLude will have a new Crew Chief for 2000 too. "Tim Marren did a great job for us the past few years", said DuLude, "he wanted to go in a different direction this year. I'm lucky that Pete Stern and Steve Oesterle have come on as co-crew chiefs for 2000. I've known these guys for years, and they know a lot about racing and a lot about preparing these race cars."
DuLude's first outing with the new crew was the Lime Rock National on April 29, and they finished 2nd, the fastest Neon in the SSC field. "We looked at that race as an opportunity to learn, and to practice for the Neon Challenge", said DuLude. "We were happy to do so well, and to beat Sam Ryan and Paul Charsley, these two guys are gong to be tough competition when we get to the Neon Challenge on Memorial Day."
In addition to Permatex, DuLude has support from several associate sponsors at Lime Rock. East-West Auto Repair, Papa's Dodge, and Driving Impressions are helping the team at the Neon Challenge.
Larry DuLude has been racing since 1980, starting in Formula Vee. He won the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) New York Region Formula Vee Championship in 1981 and 1982. He competed in the Renault Cup from 1982 to 1985, and ran in IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) in 1985 and 1986. DuLude has been competing in SCCA Showroom Stock since 1991, qualifying and running in the annual National Run-Offs each Fall. DuLude captured the SSB Neon Challenge Championship in 1996, with two wins along the way. In 1997, DuLude was third in the Championship; in 1998, he was 2nd in one race at Lime Rock, and 4th on Memorial Day. DuLude won the 1999 championship with wins in all four Neon Challenge races; the highlight was winning overall in the second Lime Rock event on Memorial Day, beating all of higher-horsepower 'B' class cars.
East-West Auto Repair is an ASE-certified repair facility in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. The company is owned by Steve Oesterle and Pete Stern, co-crew chiefs on the #71 Neon of Larry DuLude. Both Pete and Steve have been racing for more than 10 years, and both have been certified by the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) as premiere auto service professionals.
Neon Charity Challenge: The premier U.S. racing series races for Grassroots racers. The series is beginning its 6th year, and is the premiere series to showcase up-and-coming drivers in Showroom Stock race cars. All competitors race Dodge Neons in two classes, SSB, for Neon Coupes, and SSC, for Neon Sedans. The series raises money for the Police Athletic League, and has raised over $1 Million for children's Charities. Series sponsors include PPG Industries, Yazaki North America, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Infinity Sound Systems, and RECARO North America.