Carlson in Victory Lane at Legion Speedway
Driver Profiles: by Jim SantaMaria
Driver Profile: Seth Carlson
Car Owner: Skip Matczak
Car: 2017 Beast, Quad 4 engine.
Carlson spent the 2017 racing season touring around New England and New York, running a total of 20 races between the USAC DMA series and the North Eastern Midget Association (NEMA). Carlson would begin his second season in DMA, driving for car owner Stanley Matczak. This also would be the debut season for running a new ECU on their quad-4 engine to fix power and reliability issues from the previous season.
Original plans for 2017 had Carlson running a full season in NEMA for car owner Gene Feigel, which cut into his availability for DMA races. Original plans for Carlson had his first race of the season coming in week 4 due to conflicting races with NEMA. A last second rainout gave Carlson time to races the opener with DMA. With his primary car not ready, Carlson ran a backup car that was plagued with engine problems, resulting in a DNF. Carlson ran his next DMA race on June 10th, where he gave his new car’s maiden voyage a 5th place finish.
The next race at Albany Saratoga Speedway saw Carlson achieve his first podium of the season. Carlson would get his first DMA series win the following week and would prove to be one of the top competitors in the series. Carlson’s favorite moment of the season came at the second to last race of the year at Legion Speedway, where he not only won, but led a Seals-It Racing podium sweep.
“I think it was good just because we worked so hard to get the new computers and everything running right, and to get all three cars running right and on the podium was really special, especially with the new car”, Carlson said.
Of the 13 races held for DMA, Carlson raced in 11 of them, with an average finish of 4.0 for the season. Carlson achieved three wins, seven podiums, eight top 5’s, and would only finish outside of the top ten once.
Carlson was also the only driver in DMA to win at all three venues the series visits (Bear Ridge, Albany Saratoga, Legion). At races only held at Bear Ridge, Carlson had an average finish of 5.0. At Albany Saratoga, Carlson never finished off to podium, scoring a second on the first trip, and winning the other show at the track. In the middle of the season, Carlson posted an average finish of 1.75 over a four race span, with two races at Albany Saratoga and two at Bear Ridge.
Following a stellar 2017 season, Carlson and Matczak feel are happy with their program, upgrading minor things on the car that they didn’t have time to do during the racing season.
“We’re updating just mainly cosmetic things”, Carlson said. “Things like changing the body and graphics, cleaning up the lines, changing the throttle cable, putting in a new seat, and just basically just going through every last part of the car making sure that it is perfect. I feel that doing all of these little things will make a big difference come next season.”
When not at the track, Carlson keeps up with other activities he enjoys, such as rock climbing, biking, and skiing. Carlson competes in mountain bike races throughout the year, most recently competing in November with fellow DMA driver Adam Whitney.
Plans for the new year:
DMA recently announced their schedule, and Carlson plans to be at every event as he chases the DMA championship this upcoming season. Carlson will return to drive the Matczak #2 Beast quad-4.On DMA off weeks, Carlson will keep busy racing on both two and four wheels. Carlson will run a couple races for car owner Tim Bertrand in NEMA. After a wreck at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park destroyed Carlson and Feigel's chassis, Bertrand offered Carlson to drive his #47 car for two races. Carlson made the most his opportunity, scoring a 2nd at Star Speedway and a win at Monadknock Speedway. Carlson will appear for a few NEMA races in 2018, driving one of Bertrand's "Guest Cars". Carlson and Matczak will also team up with a Quad 4 powered Drinan chassis as a NEMA Lite entry. The race track isn't the only place Carlson plans on competing this summer. After purchasing a new mountain bike, Carlson will compete in select mountain bike races on off weekends from racing
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Dias slides through turn 4 at Bear Ridge Speedway
Race Added to Schedule: We have scheduled our race with Legion Speedway, will take place on September 14th, 2018.
Carlson Enters Turn 3 at Bear Ridge Speedway
Copyright © 2018 USAC Dirt Midget Association . All rights reserved.
Dean Christensen, driver of the #69 Miller Racing USAC DMA midget, is the 2017 USAC DMA Champion!! Congratulations, and a big congrats to all of our competitors who raced with us in 2017, we look forward to running with each and everyone of you in again 2018!!
The new car Dias will run in 2018
Driver Profiles: by Jim SantaMaria
Driver Profile: Manny Dias
Car Owner: Manny Dias
Car: 2009 Spike, Quad 4 Engine
The primary goal for Manny Dias was improving from his 2016 campaign. Dias returned to DMA for his second season running full time in 2017. Dias came back with the same equipment he had before, a 1989 Ellis chassis paired with a Quad 4 engine.
When it came time for the season opener, Manny was ready. The drivers at Bear Ridge Speedway were presented with a tacky track soaked with water from spring time rains. After placing second in his heat race, Manny continued his opening day success by rocketing into the lead when the green flag dropped. He led 19 laps before an incident with the second-place car resulted in Dias losing the lead, finishing second in the opener.
“I had a shot at a win there right off the get go, so that was a great start”, Dias said. "I cut the car up over the winter and did a bunch of changes which I thought would work and it payed off.”
As the season progressed, Dias continued his learning curve on setting up the midget. He showed the ability to run at the front of the pack with good speed, posting multiple heat race wins to accompany a dash win. Dias only finished outside of the top ten twice in the en-route to a 7th
place finish in the standings.
Knowing the track:
Dias previously ran cars such as late models and pro stocks on New England’s premiere short tracks like Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and Seekonk Speedway. After a 20-year hiatus from racing, Dias purchased a midget and ran with the Outlaw Midget series and DMA series. Dias’ return to motorsports introduced him to a new variable, dirt.After a few years, Dias can analyze the track like he's been driving on dirt for his entire career.
“I like a heavy track, especially with that old car that’s what it seemed like I could produce good lap times with”, Dias said. “I like the challenge of a dry slick track, I would come home every week and be thinking from Sunday for two weeks about what I’m going to do this time and what’s going to happen. But you know I’m good to run anywhere. If were all racing on the same track, a race is a race and its fun. No matter when I can go and where it is, it’s fine.”
Off season and Off the Track:
This season brings big change for Dias, as his Ellis chassis will be replaced with a 2009 Spike chassis. Dias said that he had been wanting new equipment for a long time and was finally able to upgrade his car. Dias also rebuilt his Quad 4 engine and will be pairing that with his new chassis for the upcoming season.
For 2018, Dias will return to run DMA full time. The primary challenge for this year will be getting the new chassis figured out. Once the chassis is all set, look for Dias to be a rocket. The potential speed he showed last year makes him a weekly contender this season. He has also expressed an interest in racing other series as well on off weekends from DMA
“I’m interested in driving anything for anybody when there is something around”, Dias said. “I like to race everything, so I’m always eager to jump into anything.”
Away from the track, Dias continues his love affair with cars. Manny has a Ford Mustang that he brings to car shows and occasionally runs on the drag strip. While the Mustang has taken a break from the track due to Manny’s commitment with the midget, he still makes car shows on off weekends.
Dias also works with his father on restoring hot rods, their current project is a ’37 Ford. Dias said that he helps his father out with all the welding on the car. When Dias isn’t doing something with cars, he enjoys going down the ocean to do some striper fishing.
A noticeable difference in DMA from other series, is that DMA teams do not need to field large crews. For Dias, his crew is just himself and his girlfriend, Tammy Pollock. Dias has great chemistry with Pollock, ensuring proper maintenance and changes to the car are done before it hits the track.
“I like when she goes up, she knows exactly what I need to do and what needs to be done, so she’s great to have there”, Dias Said.
Dias is also fortunate enough to receive some help from another team’s crew member. Steve Belworth, a crew member for Jeff Horn’s team. Manny said that Steve will come around and help Dias when needed, even with small things like helping Tammy push the car down to the staging area.
Dias isn’t limiting his team to just two crew members either. Dias said that if there is someone who wants to learn about midgets and how to work on them, they are more than welcome to come by and work on his car..
The series was formed at the beginning of 2011 after seeing a need to bring affordable dirt midget racing back to the Northeast area. The DMA offers a great way to race top notch race cars while keeping a budget friendly division top priority. DMA runs a Ford Focus and GM Quad 4 engine package to control cost and keep reliability. The series will see a very diverse group of drivers and car owners from rookies, to seasoned veterans from all disciplines of racing.
The DMA races Saturday night's from May to September at Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, VT, with a few special shows at Albany Saratoga Speedway and Legion Speedway.