(Editor’s Note: ‘The Rapsheet’ is a new feature on Speed51.com, telling the background of certain personalities within the sport of short track racing. This will be a recurring feature on Speed51.com, giving fans the dirt on the new, the old, and even the forgotten personalities of short track racing.)
Last Saturday night Chris Dilbeck pulled into victory lane at North Carolina’s famed Hickory Motor Speedway. The 30-year-old driver was as exuberant as a 16-year-old. Because just like how many teenagers these days are winning Super Late Model races for the first time, so is Dilbeck.
Yes, even at 30 years old, Dilbeck had never won a Super Late Model race. Perhaps being “semi-retired” by the age of 26 could explain it.
“I moved up to the Charlotte area in 2008 to work for David Ragan on his late models,” Dilbeck told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I worked there for a few years, then things kind of changed a bit. Then I went to work for PFC selling brakes. During that time, I really wasn’t racing. We had some things we were working on and that didn’t really allow me much time to do any racing for myself. So I was in a semi-retired state for two or three years.
“Then I had some guys from Middle Georgia call me about racing their Outlaw Late Model at Watermelon Capital Speedway. I thought ‘Well that might be fun to start back up again.’ Two years later here we are winning at Hickory in a Super Late Model.”
One could say that Dilbeck has ended his semi-retired state, but he still doesn’t race on what anyone would consider to be a full-time basis. Most of the time Dilbeck is on the road following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series around representing PFC Brakes where he works as the NASCAR and Short Track Technical Sales Director. When he gets an off weekend, like last weekend, he’s usually back behind the wheel of a race car.
“For me it’s just a hobby,” said Dilbeck. “I tell people all the time that it’s my golf game. If I picked up a set of clubs it would be pretty embarrassing. As long as I’m doing well on a race track I’ll keep doing it. Whenever I’m not on the road selling brakes then we’ll make time to go racing. We’ll race as much as we can then.”
When Dilbeck does race, he’s usually seeing some success. Earlier this year Dilbeck finished second in the SpeedFest Pro Late Model 125 at his home track of Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Georgia. But no race was bigger than last week’s Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South start at Hickory.
“Oh yeah this is definitely the biggest win that I’ve had yet,” he said. “We ran the Legends Million that first year when it paid $250,000 to win there. I thought just making the show there and finishing sixth there was a big deal. Winning this PASS race has been awesome.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com