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For Immediate Release – August 25, 2017 -- Shane Jackson photo
(Woodhull, NY) – It’s no secret that over the past decade, racing has changed. Whether it be the style of car or the technology- it’s changed. Many of the drivers that remember the “good ‘ole days” aren’t in the car today but still find themselves coming to the races on a weekly basis.
Carter Dennis out of Addison, NY does not follow the status quo. He finds himself driving the No. 22 machine on a weekly basis at Woodhull Raceway. Dennis has been racing on and off for the past twenty-five years.
Dennis ran a number of cars including street stocks and he did some asphalt racing. He took a few breaks but always found himself coming back. Eventually his son, Jeredd, became old enough to race.
“I quit to let him do all the driving until this year,” Dennis mentioned.
Just to touch upon how much racing has changed, Dennis first started in a six-cylinder sportsman class at Woodhull Raceway.
“The first car I ran was an old mustang, like a ‘64 or ’65 body mustang with a six-cylinder and a homemade frame,” Dennis said.
Which class does that relate to now?
“It eventually came to be the modifieds”
With a modified now, it has eight-cylinders and chances are you won’t be making a homemade frame you’ll be buying one from a company such as Troyer, HigFab, Teo or Bicknell. It’s definitely true that the cars have changed, not only with the way they may look but the number of cars and technology that comes along with them.
“There’s a lot less cars than there used to be, I believe. The cars are so technical now days. You used to be able to go and buy all your parts at the junk yard and build a decent car.”
With the cost of racing rising more and more, many people have looked to try to find classes that cost less to try to bring in more racers. Hobby Stocks originated by many grass roots dirt tracks and now sanctioned by IMCA, is an affordable way to get into racing. Hobby Stocks are slowly growing here in the Northeast and many say it’ll eventually be a decent sized class.
“The hobby stock is just what it is, stock. That car is like the strictly stock car used to be twenty years ago,” Dennis said.
Do you feel like the hobby stocks go back to the way things used to be, with being able to buy your parts from a junk yard?
“To a certain extent they do. They body parts and all that have to be original so yeah, they definitely stepped back.”
Being able to go and just find parts from the junk yard is cheaper and easier than going to the manufacturer; another reason why Dennis loves this class. Dennis only has a couple thousand dollars total in his hobby stock. Which is relatively cheap compared to other classes. Some drivers pay a couple thousand for the motor alone.
Dennis had mentioned earlier in the interview that the technology had changed since he first started as well.
“The cars, the way they go around the corner, is even different. Someone found something that worked better,” Dennis mentioned. “Years ago we didn’t worry about it now it’s $100 for a cheap one and there’s so many different tensions and it really makes a difference on how it works.”
One thing that has not changed over the twenty-five-year course for Dennis is the track. It’s stayed the same for the most part. Even though the track has not changed, it has not gotten easier but it hasn’t gotten harder for Dennis either.
This season was the first time in twenty years Dennis has drove. Twenty years may be a long time but it didn’t seem to bother Dennis cause he won his first race back.
“It was, I wouldn’t say scary, but a little nervous to see if I could still do it,” Dennis said.
Dennis is getting used to the handling of the car and learning each race he goes out. Which doesn’t seem to be much of an issue considering he’s won all but three races and is currently leading the points for the class.
During the interview, Dennis was asked what he would say to anyone, not as advice but just as a ‘hey don’t forget this kind of thing?’ His response was simple.
“Slower is faster,” Dennis said touching upon how he has a sign with that saying in the garage.
Many drivers have said the trick to Woodhull Raceway is actually going slower.
As the cars change and the driver’s wave through, there are a few things that will never change. Woodhull Raceway will always be a home to a huge number of drivers; and slower is faster will always be a popular tip. Dennis is a racer lucky enough to see the changes but able to continue living his dream without breaking the bank.