HICKORY, North Carolina – Re-energized with a new car number, Gus Dean and his Dean Racing team head to Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway this weekend looking to hop over the competition with a strong run in Saturday night’s Pro All Star Series (PASS) Easter Bunny 150.
Unveiling the No. 44 Dean Custom Air Chevrolet during Friday’s open practice session at the historic half-mile oval, the family-owned team was satisfied with their lap times, giving them a positive outlook towards Saturday night’s anticipated thriller.
“We’re ready to go,” said Dean. “Friday was a pretty successful day for us at Hickory. We worked hard to get our car dialed in. Hickory is such a momentum track that we needed to make sure we kept our car handling, but getting the boost we need off the corners to run our line.”
Starting the season with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Dean headed to New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, where he participated in much of Speedweeks 2016. While the finishes weren’t what they hoped, the team decided to utilize the downtime to rebrand themselves.
“I’ve carried the No. 56 since the beginning of my racing career, but sometimes change is good,” added Dean. “We had a super-fast car at Daytona and were wiped out early. Went to New Smyrna and had some crummy luck. We decided that we were going to change things up and bring a new look for the rest of the year. So far, so good.”
Running a mixture of Late Model events throughout the country, as well a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race here and there, the Bluffton, South Carolina native isn’t necessarily focused on a points championship, but rather the checkered flags.
“We go into every race with one mission, one goal, win,” added Dean. “There’s usually 20 other teams though that have the same goal in mind. If we can’t win, we just go out there, have fun and do the best for our sponsors. Of course, without them, we wouldn’t be at Hickory this weekend.”
Speaking of Hickory, it’s a track where Dean is comfortable. When Dean Racing competed in the Pro Cup Series, the 21-year-old produced impressive results. In four starts, Dean has amassed top-10 finishes in every race with a best finish of fourth in 2013.
The Easter Bunny 150 is set for Saturday March, 26 where rotating practice begins at 11:00 a.m. with two laps of qualifying set to commence at 2:15 p.m. An on-track autograph session is set for 4:00 p.m., with the 11th annual event set to launch just after 6:15 p.m. All times Eastern.
For more on Gus Dean, please visit the newly redesigned GusDean.com or follow him on Twitter @GusDean.
PHOTO CAPTION: Gus Dean, driver of the No. 44 Dean Custom Air Chevrolet
Credit: Chris Knight