Birthday boy Gus Dean set to get dirty in Springfield debut
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Still upbeat about a fifth-place finish in the last ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race at Winchester Speedway two weeks ago, SCOTT Rookie of the Year contender Gus Dean (@gusdean) heads to Illinois State Fairgrounds this weekend for the first of two races on the dirt this season.
Dean, the Bluffton, S.C. native has never competed on anything but asphalt before, so the introduction of getting dirty on the Springfield dirt at the Illinois State Fairgrounds with his No. 32 GREE Cooling Products Toyota is something that intrigues the Win-Tron Racing developmental driver.
“I’m very curious about this dirt racing with a stock car,” said Dean who sits a season-high third in the championship standings ahead of Sunday afternoon’s Herr’s Potato Chips 100.
“I’ve done a bit of researching of this on my own and the racing sounds intense and exciting at the same time, so I’m eager to get to Springfield and experience it for myself.”
Of course, Dean admits it doesn’t matter how dirty he or his popular blue and white No. 32 Toyota Camry gets on Sunday if that means he finishes inside the top-10 for the 100-lap race. On Sunday, Dean is eying his 12th consecutive top-10 finish in the series, the second-highest top-10 streak in the series.
While the rookie driver plans to take it easy during the first few laps of practice on Sunday morning, the soon-to-be 23-year-old admitted that a good finish in Sunday’s race would be the perfect birthday present.
“I have the best birthday gift by just being able to race for GREE and Win-Tron Racing,” offered Dean who will celebrate his birthday on Sat., Aug. 19.
“We’ve been very fortunate and blessed to have raced hard and clean and bring home 11 straight top-10 finishes. I sure would like to increase that number to 12 and who knows if some way we find ourselves able to win the race on Sunday, well, that would be icing on the cake. Literally.”
Dean won’t have to go far this weekend for support on the 1.0-mile clay asphalt track. Not only does car owner Kevin Cywinski have plenty of experience at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, but family friend and tremendous dirt track ace Ricky Bozard will attend Sunday’s race and serve as a driver coach for Dean.
Bozard was responsible for building the first go-kart for Dean. Fast forward nearly two decades later, Bozard the 1998 NASCAR Winston ShorTrack Series Sunbelt champion will offer his expertise once again.
“Kevin has been to Springfield as a car owner and has seen many different races pan out over the years, while I’ve known Ricky from when I first got started in racing, plus he’s the man when it comes to dirt racing back home in South Carolina and he’s been kind enough to agree to come hang out with us for the day and see if maybe we can’t surprise the competition and put our No. 32 GREE Toyota in Victory Lane.”
Nestled third in the championship standings, Dean realizes that his hopes for a championship in his rookie year look dubious however, he is committed to winning the SCOTT Rookie of the Year title with seven races remaining.
“We’re going to do everything in our power to get as high as we can in the championship standings before the end of the year,”
said Dean. “Over the last few weeks, we’ve been able to claw our way from fifth to third in the standings, but we could be back to fifth with a bad race.
“We don’t want that. We’re just going to keep doing like we’ve been doing all year and that’s racing as hard as we can. There’s still a lot of racing left and plenty of chances to get our blue and white GREE Toyota into Victory Lane and believe me that’s what we’re shooting for.”
In 20 career ARCA Racing Series starts, Dean captured his first career victory in his second ever start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway after starting second in Apr. 2016. Overall, Dean has six top-five and 14 top-10 finishes and has led 37 laps in ARCA competition.
The Herr’s Potato Chips 100 (100 laps / 100 miles) is the 14th of 20 races on the 2017 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Sun., Aug. 20 with an hour practice session planned from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later that morning at 11:00 a.m. The race is set to take the green flag a few hours later shortly after 1:30 p.m. The event will be broadcasted live on MAVTV, while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the weekend’s activities. All times are local (CT).
Dean tweets too. Follow him on Twitter @GusDean.
In 1991, GREE set out to make the world a cooler place. To this end, we’ve become a global leader in air conditioners, developing some of the most advanced commercial and residential air conditioners in the world. Based in Zhuhai, China, GREE is now the world’s largest specialized air conditioner company integrating R&D, manufacturing, sales and service. It’s our mission to innovate and create new ways to help people live well and stay comfortable no matter where they live, work or play.
About Win-Tron Racing:
Located in Mooresville, North Carolina, Win-Tron Racing is a professional race team headquartered in “Race City USA.” Owned by former racer Kevin Cywinski, the team will compete for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship in 2017 with driver Gus Dean in the No. 32 GREE Toyota Camry. The team will also field a second entry in the No. 33 Toyota Camry with Justin Fontaine and others. Learn more at WinTronRacing.com or on Twitter @WinTronRacing.