PLATTSBURGH, NY – Alexandria, ON native, Chris Raabe will look to defend his 2017 Egglefield Ford 358-Modified championship this season at Airborne Park Speedway in Plattsburgh.
Last season, Raabe posted phenomenal numbers at Airborne by winning 6 races in 12 point counting events. He also finished in the top five in every start, which was more than enough to solidify the 2017 crown. His consistency throughout the season allowed a very comfortable margin of victory, 84 points to be exact, over the second-place point finisher, Mike Perrotte. Raabe also had two non-point event starts in 2017 at Airborne.
“Airborne’s transition to dirt went pretty smoothly,” Raabe said. “I believe you’re going to see even more Quebec participation in the Modified and Sportsman divisions this year.”
Last season, Raabe was a regular on Friday at the Mohawk International Raceway and at Cornwall Motor Speedway on Sunday nights. Away from Airborne, he had 32 starts with his #01 machine. In those 32 starts, he collected 3 wins, 14 top five finishes and 27 top ten finishes. Two of his 48 starts last season came during a Super DIRTcar Series event. Raabe competed in the Big Block Modified events at Airborne and Mohawk with his Small Block Modified. At Cornwall, Raabe was knocking on the door of cracking into the top five before a steering issue forced him to retire just beyond the halfway point of the race. Raabe ran inside the top ten for much of the event at Airborne before the Big Blocks overpowered his Small Block, as he settled for position twelve.
“Right now, we plan on running weekly at Airborne on Saturdays and Cornwall on Sundays,” Raabe said. “Our schedule is always tentative and we certainly like to move around and challenge new venues as a team.”
Raabe also followed the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series last season. Raabe finished second in the standings behind Steve Bernard. At Super DIRT Week, Raabe was the only Airborne regular to qualify for the 358-Modified event. He began the week by time trialing as the tenth quickest car out of 56 that took time. From there he moved onto a twin-25 event where he posted a fifth-place finish behind Peter Britten, Matt Sheppard, Stewart Friesen and Brett Hearn. From there he moved onto the 150-lap main event where he finished eleventh in a midday race that saw very little passing.
“As far as the 358 tour goes, we will hit the early shows to start and see where that takes us,” Raabe noted.
Prior to the 2017 season, Raabe and his team set their goal, the “Drive for 150.” On July 16, that was checked off the list for the 01 team. The number 150 stood for the number of open wheeled Modified wins in his career. He is now beyond 150 and headed for 200. Raabe and his team have established themselves as one of the top 358-Modified teams in the northeast.
“Preparation, attention to detail, good equipment, micromanagement and demanding perfection from all involved are all key performance factors that we’ve utilized to meet the demands brought on by racing,” Raabe explained. “Our team is meticulous with trying to stay up to speed with new technology.”
A lengthy list of sponsors are onboard for the team in the 2018 season. St. Lawrence Radiology, Kids 4 Kids, McColman Media, Mike Sauve Construction, Husqvarna Alexandria, Teo Pro Car, Doiron Engineering, Glengarry Windows and Doors, Richards Sweeping, Distribution J.M. Bergeron Inc., PM Promotions, OK Tire Alexandria, Genesis Racing Shocks, Eibach, Beyea Headers, Outerwears, Simpson and Fast Axle are contributors this season.
Raabe was asked about the importance of sponsors in the sport of auto racing.
“Sponsors are always tough to find,” Raabe said. “There is definitely a difference between a company who engages in short term recognition and a company who believes in investing in your brand. Unfortunately, racing relies on those investments of greater magnitude to further a career and provide opportunities to produce numbers on the track.”
Airborne’s racing season is scheduled to take its first green flag on April 28 with a 6 p.m. post time. The DIRTcar Sportsman Series will be on hand for their first event of the season. Airborne will host a car show prior to the season at the Champlain Centre Mall in Plattsburgh. The event will be two days, April 14 and 15. For more season information visit airborneparkspeedway.com