DISMORE LIKES VIEW OF HIS BRIGHT FUTURE IN PEP BOYS IRL
ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 12, 1998 -- Even Frank Sinatra would have had a hard time convincing race driver Mark Dismore that 1991 "was a very good year." He spent the summer in his Greenfield, Ind., home healing from multiple injuries suffered in a crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His rehabilitation included learning to walk again. But Old Blue Eyes sang of other times that he considered vintage years, too. Dismore has distanced himself by 7? years from that accident with only a slight limp as a reminder. And at 42, he finally is ready to experience some "very good years." Dismore is preparing to start his second full season with Kelley Racing in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. He has acquired a major sponsor and an excellent associate, is healthy and excited about the impending 1999 Pep Boys IRL season and feels the last year of the 1900s and the first of the new millennium could be his best. "I hope '99 is my year, I hope 2000 is my year," Dismore said. "I feel like it will be. Not one but both of them. I feel like my dues are paid up, and I just want to get on the podium a bunch now and have a long career with (team owner) Tom Kelley and his dad, Jim." Dismore and teammate Scott Sharp participated in the Pep Boys IRL Open Test Dec. 11-12 at Walt Disney World Speedway, preparing for the season-opening TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 on Jan. 24. They immediately set fast speed marks, running well above the track record for normally aspirated race cars of 166.013 mph despite a new 10,300 rpm rev limiter. "Things are looking good right now," Dismore said. "We're going quicker than we've ever gone here with lower rpm limits. Obviously, I've learned a few things. The team's coming together, and I just don't see why '99 and 2000 won't be incredible years for me." During the 1998 season, Dismore started all 11 races, had a top start of third, led three races for 62 laps and completed 1,465 laps. But he never saw the checkered flag as mechanical gremlins limited him to a best finish of fifth in last year's opener on the 1-mile tri-oval at Disney World. Dismore was fifth in the standings after one race, but finished 15th in the final rundown. He feels that it's good to start the season with a bang, but emphasizes that does not necessarily set the tone for the entire year. "I went over that in my mind," he said. "Like if we come here and it's a disaster for us, then you've just got to put it out of your head because you've got 10 more after that first one. "I mean, look how Kenny Brack won the championship. He had a horrible first half of the season, which I don't intend on doing that. But things happen. If you have a bad race you can't let that dictate your mood for the rest of the coming races. Definitely not the next race. You've just got to put it behind you. "It's like waking up and having a headache one day. You got to know the other days you're not going to have a headache everyday. You've just got to get through it." Any headaches Dismore has had about acquiring sponsors in the past certainly went away on the testing weekend as MCI-WORLDCOM was announced as the major sponsor on his No. 28 Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear car for 1999. Also, long-time race car sponsor Bryant Heating & Cooling of Indianapolis committed to Dismore for the '99 and 2000 seasons as an associate sponsor. For Dismore, it takes a load off his mind. He admits he's a much better race driver than marketing man. "Well, I've tried to be involved with (acquiring sponsors) for my entire racing endeavor," he said. "I'm not very good at finding sponsors. I've tried my entire life to put sponsorships together to help so I could race. "For an independent guy like myself to walk into a corporation and show them the benefits of racing without really having something to offer them other than myself as a person, it's hard because I'm not a junior of a famous racer. There's nothing wrong with that, it's great asset to have. But I've never been able to use that card to help me open doors, and that's made it tough." Dismore, though he hasn't reached recognition status of an Andretti or Unser, is extending his own career while helping son "Little Mark" move forward with his. The younger Dismore, 18, is stepping up to the U.S. F2000 series that will enable father and son to race on the same weekends at the same tracks - Atlanta, Charlotte and Phoenix - on three occasions in 1999. Indianapolis friend Bill Warren, CEO for Internet employment site monster.com, is providing the son's financial sponsorship backing. One time several years ago Warren walked into the elder Dismore's garage at Indy, introduced himself and said he wanted to put his name on the car. Warren told Dismore he had watched his career and wanted to help. Warren and wife, Susie, since have become close friends with Dismore and wife, Donna. "Little Mark's got the opportunity of a lifetime at his age," Dismore said. "I think Mark has all the talent in the world, and it's just a matter of getting the kid some seat time and getting him hooked up with the right team. I think his future looks really bright. He loves racing. I sure didn't afflict that on him, because I'd just as soon he'd be a doctor or something like that. "He's a really patient kid and a good kid. If he wasn't a good kid I wouldn't try to go out and help him anyway. But he is a good kid and that in itself is worth everything."