NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Florida (February 9, 2011) – – Gus Dean may not be a familiar face when racing begins this Friday night at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway for the 45th Annual World Series. However, Dean will be surrounded by plenty of experience and knowledge, which should accelerate his learning curve and put him in contention in some of the tightest short track racing in the world over a period of nine days.
Dean, a promising driver from Bluffton, South Carolina will be guided by USARacing Series Pro Cup veteran A.J. Frank, who for the last six months or so has managed the role as team manager at the shop and crew chief and driver coach at the race track. While Dean hasn’t competed in Annual World Series before, the rookie is taking his lack of experience in stride knowing that he has the comfort in one of the most respected short track racers in the Southeast.
“I’m very blessed to have A.J. not only as my crew chief and driver coach but as my friend,” said Dean, who first started racing at the tender age of six. “He is such a joy to be around and really has made me become aware of my surroundings inside and outside of a race car. I feel very comfortable going to New Smyrna this week knowing that he’s on my side.” Indeed, comfortable is a word that the former Allison Legacy Series (ALS) pilot can grasp. With nine tenacious nights ahead of him in all forms of short track racing, Dean plans to earn his respect while not forgetting the real reason that his Gus Dean Racing (GDR) team made the trip to the Sunshine State.
“We are going to New Smyrna with the intentions that we can run strong and (hopefully) be a factor,” added Dean, who in 2007 earned American Kart Racing Association’s Junior II National Points Series Championship. “We’re sticking to our guns of knowing that if we can keep our nose clean and stay out of trouble, we should be able to improve over the course of the next week or so and let everyone know that we were there at least.”
Frank praised his young driver’s ambition to get the job done behind the wheel. “Gus is a very smart and dedicated young man,” sounded Frank, who plans to return to racing himself in the USARacing Pro Cup Series in 2011. “He has that “want” when it comes to being a race car driver. Patience will probably be the most annoying word he will hear at New Smyrna, but there is a method to that madness. Keeping our car together will allow us to race more; thus giving Gus the seat time he needs.” Frank, the Bluffton, South Carolina added, “Realistically, I think we can go run in the top-10 every night and surely you would like to think you can get a top-five or two and maybe even sneak in a win. These races won’t be a piece of cake though. They are short and very demanding races. Gus will learn a lot that will not only help him for the rest of his trip at New Smyrna but for the rest of the racing season as well.”
In his lone short track venture at Concord (N.C.) Speedway last year, Dean entered the garage showing he meant business. Quickly gaining speed and comfort with the treacherous short track, Dean qualified his machine an impressive eighth and was running in the top six before the engine seized, yielding a disappointing finish.
In the loosest sense of the word, Dean is hoping to make up for that lost momentum at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway.
“I know I would not be racing without the help of support of our sponsors,” the youngster said. “Whirlpool Cooling and Heating, MODOC Research Group and The CornerStone Grill have been huge supporters of this team and have allowed us the opportunity to go to New Smyrna and try and turn some heads. My goal is to try and bring them home a finish (no matter where that may be) that they will be satisfied with.”
Ironically, Dean will be carrying the No. 56, the same signage for Frank in the USARacing Pro Cup Series. “The 56 was available and I respect A.J. a lot, so I’m running the number in his honor,” insisted Dean. “He has been a part of our family for a long time now. My family helped support his dirt racing career in the late 1990s and now he’s giving back by helping me. The circle in a racing family doesn’t get any better than this!”
In addition to Late Model competition at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, Dean and Co. will run in the PASS South Series and other Super Late Model (SLM) events across the Southeast all year long.
For more on Gus Dean, please visit GusDean.com. For additional input on Whirlpool Cooling and Heating, please logon to WhirlpoolHVAC.com.