BROOKLYN, Michigan (June 20, 2011) – – Without question, Sean Corr and his Empire Racing team made a bold statement Friday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). And even though the team once again didn’t receive the finish they rightfully deserved, the competition knew that Corr’s No. 82 Roush Yates Performance / Roush Yates Engines / Empire Racing Ford Fusion were a contender in the RainEater Wiper Blades 200.
On the adrenaline of a successful open-test at the two-mile oval last month, Corr and his family-owned team led by Michigan native Howard Bixman returned to MIS looking to flex their muscle and put their operation in the hunt for a top-10, if not a victory.
All indications led in the right direction as Corr in practice found his No. 82 Roush Yates Performance / Roush Yates Engines / Empire Racing Ford Fusion tucked inside the top-10 during the lone practice session before eventually landing in the 13th position overall. Strong adjustments made by the team left the Goshen, New York native heavily optimistic heading into qualifying.
Unlike his prior start at Michigan International Speedway, time trials would not be held on the same day as practice. Instead, the stars and cars of ARCA would set the grid for the eighth race of the season Friday morning. Corr maneuvered his No. 82 Roush Yates Performance / Roush Yates Engines / Empire Racing Ford Fusion to the 17th fastest lap. However, the team wasn’t fazed by their starting position as they felt their blue oval would solider to the front once the green flag flew.
The team’s intuitions became a reality. A quick caution on lap three stalled Corr’s path towards the front but returning to racing conditions several laps later offered the ability for Corr’s automobile to begin the march towards the lead pack.
Through the race’s first 30 circuits, Corr nicely negotiated his Ford Fusion through the extremely tight field and moved into the 12th position when the second yellow flag of the afternoon waived.
Bixman opted to bring his driver to pit road for two right side tires and fuel. The pit strategy paid off bolting Corr from 12th to third on the scoring pylon.
Despite the call for two tires, Corr’s No. 82 Roush Yates Performance / Roush Yates Engines / Empire Racing Ford Fusion brilliantly remained in-toe with the leaders, most of whom had taken four tires. Fending off some of the strongest teams in ARCA competition including nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel, Josh Richards and Joey Coulter, Corr appeared to be heading towards his strongest run of the year in the ARCA Racing Series before on lap 40, an unexpected parts failure would cause the right front tire to go down forcing an unscheduled trip to pit road for four new Hoosier tires.
Upon further inspection, the team notified Bixman that the right front brake rotor had been destroyed, which initially caused the tire to deflate, forcing the Empire Racing team to quickly push their race car behind the pit wall to replace the rotor.
Magnificent repair work by the crew had Corr back on the track quickly where the team would use the remainder of the day to salvage as many crucial points as possible in order to stay in the top-10 in the ARCA Racing Series championship standings. After sitting as low as 30th in the running order, Corr quietly climbed the leader board to take the checkered flag in the 24th position.
“One of these days, we’re going to have everything go our way and get the finish we deserve,” said an obviously frustrated Corr. “We had a good car, a real good car. The Roush Yates Performance / Roush Yates Engines Ford Fusion was going to be a contender. We made a call on pit road early and I think it was the right call, we just didn’t expect the tire to blow. We just haven’t had the luck on our side when we really needed it.”
The 27-year old added, “I have to give props to the Empire Racing team. Howard (Bixman), John (Bellesfield, team manger) and the whole team built me a really fast car and words cannot express my thanks to them for putting us in position for a great run. We’re going to get ourselves some redemption here soon and we’ll prove to everyone that never giving up will equal rewards.”
Despite avoiding a DNF (did not finish), Corr did slip to 10th in the ARCA Racing Series championship standings, but stands just 10 markers behind ninth place competitor Chad Hackenbracht.
Corr made his 18th career ARCA start at Michigan International Speedway on June 17. In those 18 races, the avid dirt racer has maneuvered nine top-16 efforts and 14 top-20 finishes including seven in the first eight events of 2011. Pocono Raceway hoists the track with Corr’s career best finish of 11th in June 2011. An eighth place qualifying effort at the 2.5-mile triangle also in August 2010 is also a personal best accomplishment to date.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is a return to Winchester (Ind.) Speedway for the running of the Winchester ARCA 200 presented by Federated Auto Parts. Corr will make his inaugural debut at the Indiana short track with a brand-new No. 82 Roush Yates Performance / Roush Yates Engines / Empire Racing Ford Fusion.
For more on Sean Corr, Empire Racing and marketing partnership opportunities for the 2011 racing season, please visit empireracingllc.com.
Are you FORD tough? Connect with Roush Yates Performance Products and Roush Yates Engines through their official web site at roushyatesparts.com.
Tweet with Sean Corr through Twitter @EmpireRacingLLC.
About Empire Racing:
Established in 2009, Empire Racing LLC. (empireracingllc.com) is a two-tier professional Motorsports organization consisting of dirt and asphalt competition. Sean Corr, a 26-year old hailing from Goshen, New York pilots the team’s automobiles in the DIRTcar Series and Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA). In 2011, the team will attempt to run for a championship in the ARCA Racing Series with aspirations of moving into the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). The team is headquartered in Goshen, New York with an additional operation in Mooresville, North Carolina.