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ASHLEY ASKS……. Mark Dilley

Before a crowd in the middle of the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo, Micks Motorsports essentially solidified their commitment to the future of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series and motorsports in Canada.

The team announced that Mark Dilley will return full-time to the series, behind the wheel of the No. 64 Leland Industries Ford. Additionally, rookie T.J. Rinomato will run four road/street course events behind the wheel of the No. 02.

The bigger news was the commitment the team is making to the future of motorsports, with plans to support five teams in 2020, before bumping the total to eight in 2021 across all NASCAR’s divisions.

POPULAR SPEED caught up with Mark Dilley shortly after the announcement to get his thoughts entering the 2019 campaign.

POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts entering the season?

MARK DILLEY: Pretty excited. To get back to my original number is a pretty big thing for me. I’m excited to do that, and really excited to have Leland Industries back on – 20 years now, which is pretty amazing. We have our new partners – SharkBite, Watson, HOLR Magazine, and the Rinomato Group.

It’s exciting for us with T.J. coming on as a partner, as far as him driving and the business side of things is very exciting for myself and Kerry. The guys have done a great job preparing the cars, so we’re excited. We’re excited to go into 2019.

PS: What track are you most looking forward to on the schedule?

MARK: I still say Antigonish (Riverside International Speedway). I crashed bad there last year on the first lap – got in the wall. I want to go back there. I like that, I like Trois Riveres – I like them all, I really do. I’m excited to get back to Jukasa (Motor Speedway). I haven’t run well there, so I want to get back into the swing of that and get going. I used to run really good there in the day, so we’re going to do some testing there.

PS: So with that said, how much of a change will it be going from doing the partial schedule back to the full-time deal?

MARK: I think I should be okay; I should adjust. I mean, I did it so long, it’s nothing new to me. We’re going to get started quickly. We’re going to Arizona next week to do some different testing, and go to a road race school. We’re starting early; we’ll start testing up here as early as April 15. So it should be good.

PS: What are your thoughts on the state of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series entering 2019?

MARK: I think it’s like anything. It’s not just motorsports, it’s everywhere – whether it’s football or hockey, everybody is fighting for the same thing. That’s tough and it takes strong marketing to get people to come to your event, and that’s not just the NASCAR level, but every level of motorcar racing, and every sport. We’re all feeling the push a bit so it’s going to take time as we’re all in a rebuild. I know NASCAR has switched a lot of things internally, and I believe if we keep pushing forward and everybody does what they need to do, we’ll be good.

PS: I should’ve admittedly asked this earlier, but why do you feel right now is the right time to go back full-time?

MARK: Well one, I am not getting any younger, and then we also have the plan – T.J. and myself – to market five teams in the future and that’ll be taking some of the younger kids up through, like a Treyten Lapcevich, and moving him up into the Pinty’s Series and upwards. Canada needs someone to run a good, full-funded team to get drivers south and that’s our goal.


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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Mark Dilley Entering Race Season with Full Plate in Hand

If there’s one man that’s always busy in short track racing in Ontario, it has to be Mark Dilley with the multiple roles that he is juggling.

The veteran currently is the track promoter for Sauble Speedway as they enter their first year under the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series banner. However, he will also be behind the wheel, competing in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series once again.

For the seventh straight year, he will be splitting driving duties of the No. 02 Ford with Kerry Micks. While previous years have seen Dilley run all the ovals with Micks on the road courses, they will switch it up a little this year with both drivers doing a little bit of both.

Being involved at both levels keeps Dilley in constant contact with NASCAR series personnel, which he feels is like a big family despite the size of the organization.

“They treat themselves as professionals – not just by being NASCAR, but on the side in marketing support, media support, technical support, and helped us a lot more for me at a short track like Sauble, or the Toronto Indy – whatever they’re doing,” he said. “They pump it up. You put the name on it, and it changes everything.

“Like this series here with the alliance between Pinty’s and NASCAR – I’ve always said that if you aligned those two companies – Canadian Tire and NASCAR – nobody could ever be better than those two in this country, but Pinty’s has gone beyond that. I can’t say enough being involved as a promoter, being involved in the Pinty’s Series.”

Being at both levels has also allowed Dilley to gain a perspective that many don’t see in budgets for speedways, as well as for teams and drivers. A lot of discussion surrounds where money can be saved with the racecars and equipment, but lost is the ‘soft costs’ which includes traveling, hotel rooms, food, waves, etc.

“Scott (Steckly) will have three teams, which probably will be 25 to 30 people traveling around across Canada. That costs a lot of money to do,” he said. “That’s really over the years what you’ve seen, and that’s the same on the short track level on a regular Saturday night with tire costs. That’s where the race tracks I commend them in Ontario because we formed an alliance together in trying to control tire buys, trying to control different things. Same as in the Pinty’s Series. You can’t just go in and buy 40 tires every weekend. You have a strict rule of how many tires you can buy.”

Keeping a busy schedule and continually making sure that budget is balanced is no easy task, and could be something that Dilley changes up in the years to come as he hinted possibly stepping away from the driver’s seat.

“Jukasa – I ran so bad there that I was going to quit after that race – not just because I ran bad, but I was going to pack it in after that race,” he said. “But running that bad, that’s not happening. I like them all. If I’m going to pack it in at the end of the year, I want to run one more road course, so it works out. Kerry is going to run some ovals – Loudon and the Quebec races – so it just kind of works out. So who knows.

“I don’t know the whole exact plan now. It depends on how my time goes. I want to pump the heck out of my race track, and I want to push on it, but on the other hand, I’m strongly committed to the Pinty’s Series. One way or another, we’ll have a car in every race – whether I’m there or not.”



The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.