Mark Dilley Sun Valley, Edmonton summary

Dilley nets top-10 finishes during CASCAR's western swing Dodge-sponsored Charger driver sits ninth in the points after 5 events BARRIE, ON -- CASCAR veteran Mark Dilley had what he calls a "semi-successful" two-race swing through western Canada.

Dilley nets top-10 finishes during CASCAR's western swing
Dodge-sponsored Charger driver sits ninth in the points after 5 events

BARRIE, ON -- CASCAR veteran Mark Dilley had what he calls a "semi-successful" two-race swing through western Canada. The Dodge-sponsored Charger driver recorded 10th and seventh-place finishes on consecutive weekends in Vernon, BC and Edmonton, Alberta.

This year, CASCAR's tour of western Canada included stops at Sun Valley Speedway (Vernon) and an appearance at the prestigious Grand Prix of Edmonton ChampCar weekend. And while the Barrie, ON resident wasn't doing cartwheels over his results, they were more than respectable and the venues offered great exposure for his sponsors.

At Sun Valley, (July 15-16) the Dodge / Mobil1 / Exide / Leland / Avenue MotorWorks / CRS Dodge Charger team battled to find the perfect setup under sweltering conditions.

"We struggled to find the setup all weekend in Vernon," said Dilley. "We were fast in one of the practice sessions, but the track changed with the heat during the 300-lap race, and we held onto a semi-respectable 10th-place. We're not overly happy about the result, but it was probably the hottest I've ever been in a racecar. The team did a great job that day, though, getting me a few spots in the pits with their quick work."

Prior to the feature race, the Dodge-sponsored Charger came home fourth in its 100-lap qualifying heat race, to line up seventh in the field of 37 starters at the half-mile Vernon tri-oval.

Following the Sun Valley race, the CASCAR caravan headed to Edmonton to prepare for action in front of one of its biggest crowds ever. According to Dilley, the response from the fans was extremely gratifying.

"It was a great event. Attendance was well over 50,000 on both Friday and Saturday. The fans couldn't thank us enough for being there. It was great to hear people say that they were at the track because CASCAR was there."

During practice and qualifying for the Edmonton race, the heat and track conditions challenged the #9 Dodge Charger team as they fought to master the 14-turn temporary road course laid out on the tarmac of the City Centre Airport.

"We were fast in practice; sixth in the first one and third in the second," recalled the former CASCAR champ. "In the first round of qualifying, we were sixth-fastest and 10th in the second, so we started 10th. I wasn't unhappy about that because the lap times had dropped about five seconds from when we first got there as everyone learned the track. I was pushing pretty hard but wanted to keep it in one piece for the race."

Dilley describes the start of the race: "I fell into line at the beginning after some pushing and shoving. There was a caution and a re-start where a few guys got tangled together, but we got through all of that. And from there, we'd kind of gain a spot and lose a spot."

Dilley continues, "The heat was really an issue, with the hot tires and brakes, causing the cars to tighten up. The rubber being laid down by the ChampCars was another factor, which made it kind of a guessing game as far as how much to loosen the car up as the day went on. Everyone was having a tough time making up positions. In the race itself, we were really tight for most of it."

In the end, the Dodge / Mobil1 / Exide / Leland / Avenue MotorWorks / CRS Dodge Charger came across the finish line in seventh-place, of the 38 who participated. Dilley is philosophical about his road course program. "We seem to be able to race between fourth and seven in the road course races. I never thought of myself as a road course 'ace', because that's not my forte, but we're pretty happy. All in all, seventh was a solid result. We still have two more road races this season, at Trois-Rivieres and Montreal, and we're feeling good about them."

With the result, Dilley sits ninth in the overall Super Series points following five events. "I'd like to thank our crew for all the hard work out west, and a special thanks to all of our sponsors for making it possible for us to compete."

The next outing for the #9 Dodge-sponsored Charger team will come in two weeks (on Aug. 4-6) at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, in Quebec.

RACE NOTES: During CASCAR's tour through western Canada, the Super Series appeared at Vernon, BC's Sun Valley Speedway (July 15-16) and at the Grand Prix of Edmonton (July 21-22). Veteran racer Brad Graham earned his first-ever Super Series win at the half-mile Sun Valley track, while Jeff Lapcevich won his first CASCAR race in almost two years by taking the checkered flag in the prestigious Griddly Headz 100 road course race at Edmonton's City Centre Airport.

-itc

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About this article
Series NASCAR Canada
Drivers Mark Dilley , Brad Graham , Jeff Lapcevich