Airborne Speedway competitor Pat McGrail of Candiac, QC is going all out in an attempt to return the DIRT Modified title north of the USA border in 2012.
McGrail has purchased a new Troyer DIRTcar Modified chassis designed specifically for asphalt racing and a new RL Racing engine to go with it. He’s also welcomed Fastenal aboard as a new sponsor.
McGrail came on strong in 2011 after a slow start to place sixth in the Ernie’s Discount Tools Modified point standings while recording three podium finishes.
“I am going to try my best to bring the Airborne championship trophy home to Quebec just like Martin Roy did last year,” McGrail said.
Roy has announced plans to compete in the CASCAR series this season. In 2009, he became the first Canadian to win Airborne’s lead division championship in 38 years. He became a two-time track champion in 2011 by overtaking Patrick Dupree of Saranac Lake, NY in August.
“This will be my third full season at Airborne,” McGrail said. “We did okay my first year and we were quite good last year, but not good enough to beat the top drivers like Roy, Dupree and George Foley. Last year we struggled at times. The car was a little too heavy in the back, had problems coming out of the corners and was hard on the brakes. The rear end would jump around too much.”
Rene Lessard of RL Racing has enjoyed much success at Canadian dirt tracks, including Autodrome Granby. Troyer race cars have set the standard for Modified racing in the Northeast for decades.
“We’re trying to advance some rear suspension ideas and position components in a way that’s best suited for pavement,” Troyer owner Billy Colton said. “You need the proper balance between flexibility and stiffness. A stiff car can be fast, but it can also be very unforgiving if you don’t hit the setup just right.”
“I’m very respectful of how Airborne’s promoter Mike Perrotte has kept a lid on expenses in the Modified division,” Colton said. “His approach has been great. You can still take a regular dirt modified car there and be competitive. The chassis we’ve built for Pat McGrail and Roger Labreche fit the rulebook.”
McGrail’s title bid will be assisted by two long-time crew members - Yvon Perron and Leandre Laroche. “I’m 50, Yvon and Leandre are 60-plus,” McGrail said. “We agreed we need to come back and give it another try at Airborne. It’s very competitive there, but it’s a very good place to race and we still have the need for speed.”
Airborne’s 59th season opener is set for Sunday, April 29.