Dexter Bean; BlackJack Racing Reflects On '06 Season Preparations Underway For Stronger '07 Season WESTBY, Wisconsin (Wednesday, November 22, 2006) - - As Thanksgiving approaches ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Dexter Bean reflects back on his rookie...
Dexter Bean; BlackJack Racing Reflects On '06 Season
Preparations Underway For Stronger '07 Season
WESTBY, Wisconsin (Wednesday, November 22, 2006) - - As Thanksgiving approaches ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Dexter Bean reflects back on his rookie campaign which was full of highs and lows, but a late wave of momentum allowed the team to make a statement that they can and will be a contender for the championship in 2007.
The season started off rough for the BlackJack Racing team. Rolling into Daytona International Speedway back in February, the team looked to propel from their 10th place finish in the season finale at Talladega Superspeedway. Unfortunately, motor problems hindered the team in the season opener forcing them on the sidelines.
An early season disappointment kept the team down but not out heading into Nashville Superspeedway, a new track for the Westby, Wisconsin native. After qualifying 25th, Bean rallied through the high-attrition race to cross the line 15th, a solid finish in his '06 debut.
Next, the first of the short tracks for the RE/MAX Series at Salem Speedway. Bean is a threat on the smaller circuits; he's proven that for years in his home state. After practicing well, he qualified a stout sixth and was running in the top-five before a chain reaction wreck broke out in front of him with the No. 6 Five Star-Telecom Chevrolet getting bounced from the rear sending him hard into the wall. The strong day resulted in a disappointing 33rd place finish.
Bean proved to be competitive and strong during the first portion of the season but dealt with rollercoaster like finishes. Running in the top-10 at Winchester before a motor broke, rebounding with at that point a season best 12th at Kentucky. Then unable to grip with the demanding characteristics of Toledo Speedway which grossed a 24th place finish.
The first event from the 2.5-mile superspeedway of Pocono Raceway really began to show the true potential of BlackJack Racing. Another new facility for Bean didn't faze the rookie team. Practicing strong yielded a brilliant fourth place qualifying effort. At the start of the event, Bean mastered himself into the lead and stayed there for several circuits, before motor fatigue once again hit the team.
They looked to bounce back at Michigan International Speedway, qualifying a solid 12th. The team again was in contention for their first top-ten finish before a flat tire resulted 35th place finish.
Kansas allowed the team to once again show their stuff. Strong practice and qualifying efforts were overlooked by bad race misfortune.
After finishing 12th earlier in the season at Sparta's Kentucky Speedway, Bean looked to improve that finish and award his team with their first positive. After qualifying mid-pack, he marched his way through the pack during the early stages, but contact from a slower machine put the team out of the event. Another rough finish.
With the rollercoaster like season continuing, many in the garage agreed if anyone needed a break it was the BlackJack Racing team.
In his short track debut at Berlin he provided a mid-pack starting berth resulting in a solid 12th place finish. Maybe the start of some good fortune? The team prayed on it.
Then the return to Pocono Raceway. Once again lap times proved to be impressive including a ninth place starting effort. Throughout the course of the race Bean showed maturity and skillfulness. His hard work paid off with Bean crossing the line fourth, a career best for the entire BlackJack Racing team. One of the highlights of Bean's young racing career.
Gateway didn't provide the team with another top-five finish, but nonetheless a 13th place finish was nothing to be down about.
The team returned to Nashville looking for a strong run in Music City. After qualifying 11th, Bean appeared to be heading towards his second top-ten finish of the season, but mechanical problems erupted again and left the team with a foul finish.
BlackJack Racing was looking for better luck the second time around at Michigan International Speedway. After netting 13th in time trials, Bean never gave up during the short but intense race. A late race dash with Ryan Howard proved to be one of the hottest battles on the track. Bean racked up a ninth place finish, his second top-ten finish of the season. After some rough outings, the hard work began to pay off and the finishes were impressive.
In his first dirt track race ever, Bean remained cool and calm despite the uncertainty. He qualified inside the top-10 and finished a respectable 13th. Not too shabby for a rookie with no experience on the dirt.
His hometown race of Milwaukee started off strong, but the finish wasn't what they were looking for. The team once again stayed in contention but a late race fumble resulted in a 35th place finish.
Bean wasn't a fan of ARCA's Toledo Speedway and his second go-around didn't prove to be any brighter. Despite qualifying better, the team was caught up in someone else's mess forcing a long night on the half-mile oval and a 24th place finish.
The team was looking forward to the second and final dirt race of the season at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. Once again qualifying inside the top-10, things were looking good. The race was virtually flawless with Bean taking control of the event for 17 markers and easily had the field in control strengthening his lead from NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Ken Schrader. However, just as it seemed nothing could go wrong, another mechanical failure in the late stages of the event forced the No. 6 team behind the wall and a very disappointing but encouraging 24th place finish.
A top-15 finish in 2005 from Chicagoland Speedway had Bean excited to return to the 1.5-mile Speedway looking to put his team back on the map and stay there. After qualifying 12th, Bean had a great race. Smart moves and veteran-like driving paid off for the former NASCAR Elite Division driver, resulting in another fourth place finish, tying his career best and refreshing his BlackJack Racing team.
With some momentum back, Bean returned to Salem Speedway with some unfinished business. Looking strong in practice, the hopes were to back it up in qualifying. They did and in a spectacular way. Bean's lap time topped the entire field, claiming his first Pork Pole award. Bean took control of the early stages of the race, leading laps with hopes of bringing home his first career victory. Despite being overtaken by some of his competitors, Bean appeared to be heading towards another top-five finish before contact with another competitor sent the No. 6 spinning. Bean would be forced to regroup and settle for 11th. Bean also set the fastest lap of the race. Overall a very positive and strong weekend for the BlackJack Racing team.
Next up, Talladega Superspeedway, the final restrictor plate race of the season. Bean qualified his No. 6 Five Star Telecom Chevrolet a solid 21st. At the start of the race, he wasted no time drafting to the front and put his machine inside the top-10 before the completion of ten laps. Bean ran as high as fourth during the race before having to settle for a tenth place finish, avoiding the "Big One" at the end of the race.
With some great finishes and momentum on their side, the team looked to end their season on a high note at the new Iowa Speedway. The team tested at the facility and proved to everyone they were going to be a contender. Bean went into the record books as he controlled the first practice session edging out fellow competitor Steve Wallace by .001 of a second for the top-spot in practice. Qualifying resulted in a hiccup and sour 19th place effort. The race, another story. Bean fired off the grid like a rocket ship and quickly found himself in the top-ten. He stayed there for the remainder of the event, despite some damage after being a victim of another competitor's misfortune. The end result brought the third top-ten finish in four races for the BlackJack Racing team with a solid seventh place effort. Bean, for the second time this season also set the fastest lap of the race.
In all, Bean started 22 of the 23 ARCA events, rallied by two top-fives and five top-ten finishes and one Pork pole. He also led 84 laps between three races and finished a solid 12th in the final championship standings. Dexter Bean and BlackJack Racing also qualified in the top-ten for eight of 23 events. The team qualified in the top-15 for 13 of the 23 events. They also qualified in the top-20 for 20 of the 23 events.
"We had a good year," said Bean. "Our season started off a little rough, but as the season progressed the determination of our team only got stronger and we really proved to be a strong competitor towards the end of the year. I really didn't want the season to end, but at least I'll have some momentum heading into the 2007 season. I'm thankful to my team, sponsors and supporters for everything they've done for BlackJack Racing this year, it really means the world to me and I'm really looking forward to the future."
Next up for Bean and the BlackJack Racing team will be the championship awards banquet on December 9th. Bean will be one of 20 drivers recognized for their efforts during the course of the 2006 season. The team will also announce their plans for the 2007 season during the yearly press conference session held at the banquet.