DL Racing: Chasing The Soo 2.0

There's nothing like unwrapping some new buggies to put a smile on a guy's face.

For DL Motorsports and team owner Don LaBean, two must be a lucky number. Or at least he’s hoping it is. You see, 2012 will mark DL Racing’s second attempt at wining the Soo I-500, the team will run two sleds and they have two new riders. Yeah, you could say two is a pretty critical digit for Don and the team right about now.

With the 44th Soo I-500 a little over a month away, the DL Racing crew has already been hard at it for a few months getting everything situated for this year’s race. From taking delivery of new buggies, meeting with sponsors, attending Haydays, and making the plan to not enter 1 but 2 (2!) sleds in the SOO I-500 this year, there’s definitely been a lot going on.

“After a pretty successful launch into enduro racing last season, why not expand and put two sleds in every race” Says owner Don LaBean “We have the resources, man power, and a list of sponsors that totally support our team. The biggest hurdle for us this year was sorting through the resumes from racers who wanted to be a part of our team this season.”

All new and shiny, they almost look ready to ride.

DL Racing will have the same three riders back on board with the team this season, but with a few changes. With two sleds, Justin Tate will be switching over to the new No. 28 sled, while Shane Felegy and Joey Fjerstad will team up to ride the No. 29.

The team will also welcome Soo veteran and multi-time champion Jeff Leuenberger. Jeff brings a ton of knowledge and strategy to the team and a few new helping hands to pit row. Jeff will throw a leg over the No. 28 with Justin this season.

Also new to the team will be Grant Lynch. Grant spent a fair amount of time last season bouncing between cross-country racing as well as racing the Soo I-500. The DL Racing team is expecting big things from him this year.

The shop has been buzzing with activity getting sleds ready to race.

Not quite. The DL crew goes to work immediately, tearing down the sleds to the bare chassis to get them ready for the Soo.

“Sleds have been delivered and completely disassembled already, said LaBean, “The front ends have been tweaked and modified from what we learned last year and some subtle changes have been made to make adjustability a little easier.”

With the race looming just a month away it makes what little test time is left really critical.

“ The team is working really hard to make sure we are ready for the first test session in a few weeks and we plan on holding nothing back with either sled come the Soo,” said LaBean.

Stay tuned to sledracer.com for more updates from DL Racing and Chasing the Soo 2.0

Sponsors: DL Racing, Woody’s, Polaris, Tiede2 Motorsports, Wahl Bros., Camoplast, Fox Shocks, Fly Racing, HMK, Klotz, Straightline Performance, XLT Engineering, EVS, 139 Design and Weiss Equipment.

Cutting into the brand new tunnel? I can't watch! A Soo sled is a different animal and the list of mods needed to endure (and win) 500 laps on an ice oval is long. And yes, some require a steady hand with a cutting wheel.

Returning Team Members:
Don LaBean – Owner
Rick Tiede – Sponsorship Coordinator
Larry Tiede- Crew

Rich Felegy- Crew
Bill Foner- Crew

Dana Hribek- Crew
Shawn Rosenbrock- Crew

Colby Campbell- Crew
Brad Weaver- Crew

Mike Floyd- Crew

sledRacer Interview: Rick Tiede

Rick Tiede sporting some Woody's Wear.

Woody’s is arguably the most recognizable name in snowmobile traction products. Founded by James Musselman and Woody Kozlow back in the 1960s, the company has been heavily into racing from its inception. Based in Hope, Michigan, the Woody’s Race Program Coordinator is a guy named Rick Tiede. It’s not too many years ago Rick was racing Semi-Pro snocross, so he’s not some desk jockey who doesn’t know a stud from a roofing nail. Always smiling and always happy to talk to anyone who approaches him, Rick is also leading a groundswell of new support for the Soo I-500. We checked in with him to find out what you need to do to get sponsorship, why track patterns are important and why Woody’s is offering more support than ever.

sledRacer.com: You came from the ranks of racers, what is it like being on the other side?
Rick Tiede: Absolutely awesome, I’ve grown up in the snowmobile industry and honestly there isn’t anywhere else I’d rather work. Coming from a racing background has definitely helped me better myself as a race director though; I know what it takes to make the relationship from sponsor to racer happen from both sides.

sR: Woody’s has been in the traction and snowmobile racing business a long time, does it ever get old for people in the company?
Tiede: Woody’s is a family-owned company that basically started in racing over 40 years ago. Everyone here is truly passionate about racing, and it shows as we have one of the largest most successful race programs in the industry.

Oval racer Malcolm Chartier is sponsored by Woody's.

sR: One race you’ve supported more as of late is the Soo I-500, why?
Tiede: We have always supported the Soo I-500; it’s honestly where the racing at Woody’s all started. The Musselman family grew up racing Enduros and Drags here in Michigan and did extremely well. There are a few old I-500 trophies floating around here at the office, but as far as the recent increase in added support – that has stemmed from everyone here wanting to help bring back the Soo back to the forefront of snowmobile racing and show how prestigious an event it really is. And its working!

sR: There is a ton more interest in that race in the past few years, why do you think it’s coming back?
Tiede: It’s a great race to showcase your products at, whether it’s the sled, fuel, oil, or traction products. Winning or making it through a grueling 500 laps on a track that gets to be pretty insane is definitely something to brag about.

sR: With the economy down, where do you see snowmobile racing going in the next few years?
Tiede: Of course, everyone had to tighten up the last few years with the big economic hit on the industry, but things have definitely been on a rise the past few years. We understand that its not just sponsors that have to tighten up but racers alike, so we have definitely been trying to do as much sponsorship as we can these past few years. From our end things should only continue to get better as the years roll on!

Tiede once raced for Scheuring Speed Sports. Once.

sR: I know you’re backing a Soo team and have put together a talented group of riders including guys like Justin Tate. Would you like to see racing move more toward what Tate is doing where a rider goes cross-country racing one weekend, races snocross the next and hits an enduro here and there? Or do you think snowmobile racing will remain a sport where riders specialize in one genre such as snocross?
Tiede: I would absolutely encourage racers to get on the multiple forms of racing kick. It allows the racer to get a taste of all forms of racing, broadens not only their knowledge of the sport but also allows them to get their sponsors in front of a variety of crowds and racers. If a guy like Tate can race snocross, cross-country, and oval enduros anyone can do it! Seriously though, we never know what’s going to happen in this industry so being able to adapt to all forms of racing just makes a racer that much more valuable to a sponsor. Levi LaVallee is another perfect example how a rider can diversify his program and make it successful.

sR: If I’m a racer, what is the best way to get support from Woody’s?
Tiede: We try to make it easy for both new and past sponsored riders to get a hold of me for sponsorship. You can do that by filling out our race application online at www.WoodysTraction.com or give me a call at 989-689-4911.

sR: What are some things you look for when you consider sponsoring racers beyond a product or discount level?
Tiede: Every racer wants to be the “factory” guy for us at Woody’s, but the teams and racers that set themselves apart are the ones that go above and beyond putting a sticker on their truck, trailer, and sled. It’s the Steve Scheurings of the sport who get us involved with the Air Force or Makita and into the Power Tool shows across America. It’s the Levi LaVallees who have open door policies for fans that make him the “Fan Favorite” every year. It’s the 4-Time World Champions like PJ Wanderscheid. And it’s the guys that not only help sell Woody’s parts by doing all these things but the racers and teams like Tim Bender, Malcolm Chartier, or Craig Marchbank that have actually helped create, test and prove some of the best products we sell today.

Brian Dick used Woody's traction products to win the USCC Red Lake I-500 last year.

sR: What is something a racer should know about traction but probably doesn’t?
Tiede: The biggest thing that racers tend to overlook is their track patterns. Track patterns can truly make or break all forms of racing. We spend a ton of time creating different patterns for all forms of racing, from drag patterns with too many scratch lines to count, to oval sprint patterns that help riders to break the back end loose with controlled slip, all the way to balanced patterns for cross country races so when they get on the throttle coming out of a left or right hander they aren’t going to spin because we all know spin is just time wasted.

sR: What is the best part of your job?
Tiede: Best part of my job has to be getting on the road and attending every top snowmobile event in the country, from snow shows to the X Games. I’ve had the privilege of making what is most peoples joy and hobby a profession, you can’t beat hanging out and working side by side with some of the industry’s most influential people and getting paid for it! Also thanks to my job I’ve made some great friends all across the country.

Tiede dabbled in racing for a number of years. He says his racing experience plays in huge in his current position as Race Program Coordinator.

sR: Is there anything new we can we expect to see from Woody’s this year?
Tiede: R&D is one of the big factors that separate Woody’s from the rest of the snowmobile traction industry. We are always working on something new and improved, we definitely have some industry changing news to release this season but you’ll have to stay checked into the website and snowmobile events for that release. Also we have yet again came out with a really cool clothing line so be sure to check that out online, the new Woody’s Wear is top notch!

Woody’s VP Randy Oberson To Retire

International Engineering & Manufacturing, Inc. is announcing Randy Oberson, Vice President of International Engineering & Manufacturing, Inc. will retire on June 30, 2011. The company plans to distribute Randy’s duties internally to members of his staff. Randy will assist with the transition. He has been with International Engineering 17 years including serving as the company’s Vice President for the last eleven years.

We’re particularly grateful for Randy’s leadership in building strong and capable teams for procurement, operations and distribution. Randy has done an awesome job He will be missed.

“It has been an honor and extremely satisfying experience working with this great company and the many fine people inside and outside of International Engineering for the past 17 years,” said Vice President, Randy Oberson. “I hope I have contributed and desire nothing less than to have International Engineering be successful for generations to come. I will always be a Woody’s man!”

International Engineering’s Board of Directors released this statement: “Randy Oberson helped lead the way through the recent economic downturn leaving IEM as strong as ever. IEM’s preseason orders are the largest they have had in years. New machinery for diversification is being delivered. While Randy will be missed, his contributions to IEM are evident in the capable teams left behind. He takes pride in leaving IEM strong and financially sound.”

We have a team in place for a seamless transition. Our website www.WoodysTraction.com under Contact Us will have a staff listing with Departments for your convenience. Any concerns or questions, I can be contacted.

Sincerely,

Robert Musselman

Fjerstad Racing Wraps Up Season

The Fjerstad Racing team made the trip to its last race of the season this past weekend, the Canadian Power Toboggan Championships in Beausejour, Manitoba. If you’re into ice racing and you’ve never made the trip to Beausejour you need to go. Andy Baker and the crew up there put together a top-notch event and it’s one of the best tracks in ice racing.

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Soo Download

The DL Racing sled gets pushed through the rough stuff late in the day at the Soo.

The DL Racing/Tiede Motorsports team made a great run at winning the Soo I-500 but in the end a broken rod put them out of the race. Team owner Don LaBean isn’t new to the Soo and neither is Rick Tiede, but the team’s riders, Shane Felegy, Justin Tate and Joe Fjerstad were all new to the race. It was a wild week of racing and handling the learning curve the Soo throws at you, but the team came through it well and was competitive until they lost the engine with less than 100 laps to go. We sat down with rider Shane Felegy to get his thoughts on what went down at the race, here’s what he had to say about setups, enduros vs. ovals and if he’s going to come back.

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DL Racing Ready To Test Soo Buggy

The DL Racing Soo sled looks pretty wicked. With Rich Felegy building the engine it should run as good as it looks.

Things are coming together nicely for the DL Racing team as the sled nears completion. Tracks are studded, custom front end and Fox Shocks are all finished and ready to be dialed to put down some fast laps, Pipes have been fabbed, the motor is in and and taking on some quality lubrication from Klotz.

“After weeks of putting together what we feel are the best sponsors, riders, crew, and parts to go after a SOO I-500 Championship, the weekend of our first test session is finally upon us!” said Rick Tiede. “With Shane Felegy flying in today to ride and tie up the last little bit of loose ends like the riders handlebars, grips, throttle locations and so forth, and Rich Felegy coming with him to lock down the final carburetion and engine tuning. We will then be ready on Saturday morning to take off for a few days of testing.

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