Frank Deiny Jr. living a dream

MARTINSVILLE, VA -- Most weekly racers can only dream of making a living from the sport they love. Frank Deiny Jr. is living that dream. And he understands he's a pretty lucky guy. On the weekends Deiny drives for two different teams, one on...

MARTINSVILLE, VA -- Most weekly racers can only dream of making a living from the sport they love.

Frank Deiny Jr. is living that dream. And he understands he's a pretty lucky guy.

On the weekends Deiny drives for two different teams, one on Friday night and the other on Saturday night.

During the week, he works for Townsend Race Products, one of the largest producers of Late Model Stock Cars on the East Coast. Deiny's job title for Townsend is parts salesman. That's just a title though. He spends most of the time as Townsend's official racecar tester, helping customers shake down their new Late Model Stock Cars.

"I know I'm in a great situation," Deiny said as he prepared for the Taco Bell 300 Late Model Stock race set for Sept. 30 at Martinsville Speedway. "The car I drive on Saturday night's at Orange County Speedway, I just show up with my helmet, tell them what setup I want under it and race. We maintain the other car ourselves, but we have a really good crew. "Then during the week, I work at Townsends and a lot of customers request we go test with them. I go and drive their car for most of the day and get it as good as we can for them."

Racing life hasn't always been so great for the 28-year-old Deiny. Nine years ago Deiny decided to leave his native California and come East to pursue racing.

"California's great if you want to be a movie star, but I didn't want to be a movie star. I wanted to be a racer," said Deiny, who settled in Mechanicsville, VA to work for Townsend while chasing racing.

"It's been extremely up and down since I've been here. I've had a lot of good years and a lot of bad years. There for awhile I thought I was completely done (with racing). I owned all of my own cars until last year. I had to sell all my stuff. I just couldn't afford to do it out of my pocket. It's such a competitive deal, I just couldn't do it any longer on my own." In fact, a year ago, Deiny didn't even have a ride for the Taco Bell 300. But that doesn't mean he didn't get in plenty of laps at Martinsville Speedway.

"I wound up testing eight of our customers' cars during the Taco Bell weekend last year," said Deiny. "I wound up being in every practice session. I had more practice laps than anybody out there last year." Late last season, after the Taco Bell 300, Deiny picked up a ride for an end-of-the year race. He won and things began coming back together for him.

"All of a sudden I had two rides. It's really a dream come true," said Deiny, who has won more than 10 races this year and leads the championship points race at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, NC. "I'm just in an awesome situation."

Deiny has made four Taco Bell 300s and wound up third in the 1998 after leading for awhile.

"The last time I ran Martinsville I honestly thought I had a chance to win," said Deiny.

He led 40 laps of that race. He believes he's in a position to lead more this time around.

"I feel I have a real good chance this year," said Deiny. "With all these laps I've got this year and Townsend behind me and the type of car I'll get to drive there, I feel real good." Qualifying for the Taco Bell 300 begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29 to determine the top 20 starting position.The fastest qualifier will receive $1,000 from Chatlee Boats.

On Sunday, September 30, the Taco Bell 300 kicks off four 25-lap qualifying races with the top five drivers from each race filling out positions 21-40 in the starting field. There will be two provisionals given to complete the 42-car starting lineup for the 200-lap feature race. At lap 100, of the 200-lap feature, the race will be stopped for a 10-minute break and the leader at lap 100 will be presented the $5,000 BB&T Award. Also at the break, several of the top cars will be inverted. The race will continue until the caution is displayed at lap 190 for a single file restart for the final 10 green flag laps.

Tickets for the Taco Bell 300 are $20 each for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved.

The Taco Bell 300 is the first of two weekends of racing at Martinsville Speedway this fall.

-MS-

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Series NASCAR