Dupre up for challenge

Dupre up for challenge


Toward the middle of the last racing season at Cocopah Speedway, Yuma’s James  Dupre was starting to raise some eyebrows.

In 10 feature event starts in  the Street Stock Division of the 2011-2012 Cocopah Speedway Racing Series, Dupre  had logged four second-place finishes.

But just when some felt Dupre was  on the verge of getting his first win, he dropped off the radar — totally.
And the story gets even stranger. Dupre bowed out of the Street Stock title chase and bought another car to race in a division that didn’t even exist.
As it turns out, however, everything went according to  plan.

Ever since he purchased the new car and got it race ready, he’s  shown up at racing events at the Somerton oval and taken numerous hot laps,  logging important seat time behind he wheel. And when the 2013 Cocopah Speedway  Racing Series gets under way tonight — the first race starts at 7 p.m. — featuring the new IMCA Sport Mod Division, Dupre will be in the  lineup.

It will be his first time on the track in the car with  competition, but he feels the time he’s already spent in the car gives him an  edge over the competition.

Back when he purchased the car, he explained, “It’s an advantage for me, because I get to go out there and practice every week  and get seat time and work on getting the car set up.

“Once everybody  else comes around and we start racing, I’ll already have several  trips.”

Greg Burgess, Cocopah Speedway’s director of operations, said  it’s anybody’s guess how many of the Sport Mods will be on hand for the Friday  and Saturday program, but he has reports of eight cars being ready to  go.

“I’m excited about the season starting, that’s a given,” said  Burgess. “But I’m really excited about this new division we’re starting, too.  There has been a lot of interest, and it’s something that we needed to add, a  level of competition leading up to the full-on Modified Division.

“It  might take a little while to get a large field of cars in this division, but I’m  confident it will grow.

“As we speak, I believe there are eight cars  ready to race, and I know of at least two more drivers who are building  cars.”

“We need the initial people to put these cars together and get out  there,” said Dupre, “and the others will follow.

“We need six to start  racing for points and money.”

The learning curve has not been easy, said  Dupre, referring to the difference between driving a Street Stock and the Sport  Mod.

“It’s a lot lighter, a lot more squirrelly; it feels real loose; and  it slides around,” said Dupre of his new ride. “It feels completely different;  just slides around. But from what everybody who drives Modifieds tells me that’s  how they say they are.”

He explained that he made the abrupt switch  because, “I had the opportunity to pick up a new car in another class that is  going to progress.
“Also, I had a lot of trouble early in the (2011-2012)  season, blew the engine twice. And since this opportunity presented itself I  figured why not.”

Dupre said he decided to give dirt track racing a try  after racing motocross, plus it also helped that he knows Adolfo Noriega, the  track’s two-time Street Stock Division champion.

“I started talking to  him about it and he wanted me to come out and help him in the pits and stuff and  get a feel for what it’s like before I started racing. And I just went and  bought a car,” said Dupre.

But the first car he bought, a Pro-Stock, was  not a good experience as it had a number of problems, “and it didn’t do a whole  lot of good for me,” he said. “It seemed like I couldn’t even get past hot laps  when the motor would start having problems. And to build a Pro-Stock motor was  completely out of my league, out of my checkbook.”

He then purchased a  Street Stock from another Yuma racer, Bill Miller, before he bought the Modified  of Bobby Horton.

“Hopefully I get some wins in this car,” said Dupre. “I  was close in the other car; I was getting there.”


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