You'd be smiling like Frank Deiny, too, if you could make a living on the local level driv
BioName: Frank Deiny Jr.
Residence: Mechanicsville, Virginia
Family: Married, wife Doreen; one daughter, Faith
Occupation: Parts and shock specialist at Townsend Race Products, test drives the company's new race cars.
Racing Experience: Competes in pavement Late Models; won '02 track championship at South Boston (Virginia) Speedway; 2002 performance at Southampton Speedway in Capron, Virginia, earned him a Third-Place finish in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Atlantic Region.
Most weekly racers can only dream of making a living from the sport they love. Frank Deiny Jr. is living that dream, and he understands he's a pretty lucky guy.
For the past two seasons Deiny has driven for two different teams, one on Friday night and another on Saturday night. In 2002 he hit the big Late Model shows in what he calls a "travel car" fielded by Mack Bailey, owner of Bailey's Cigarette Co. And he added a NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series ride. That's right...Southwest Series...way out West at places like Pikes Peak International Raceway and Mesa Marin Raceway.
How full is his plate? Well, Deiny drove in more than 75 races in 2002, and staying busy certainly didn't seem to bother his effectiveness. Deiny won the track championship at South Boston (Virginia) Speedway, where he ran on Saturday nights, with 6 wins and 15 Top-5 finishes. He picked up 2 wins and 15 Top 5s at Southampton Speedway in Capron, Virginia, where he ran on Friday nights. That was good enough to place him third in NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Atlantic Region point standings.And, let's not forget the granddaddy of them all: a victory in the '02 Taco Bell 300, a shootout for Late Models held each fall at Martinsville (Virginia) Speedway Speedway, where he ran on Saturday nights, with 6 wins and 15 Top-5 finishes. He picked up 2 wins and 15 Top 5s at Southampton Speedway in Capron, Virginia, where he ran on Friday nights. That was good enough to place him third in NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Atlantic Region point standings.
With Deiny's experience testing race cars, when he gives the thumbs-up you know the machin
And, let's not forget the granddaddy of them all: a victory in the '02 Taco Bell 300, a shootout for Late Models held each fall at Martinsville (Virginia) Speedway.
Then there's Deiny's real job. During the week he works for Townsend Race Products, one of the largest producers of Late Model stocks on the East Coast. Deiny's job title for Townsend is parts salesman and shock specialist. That's just a title though. He spends most of his time as Townsend's official race car tester, helping customers shake down their new Late Model.
"I know I'm in a great situation," Deiny says. "The car I drive on Saturday nights at South Boston, I just show up with my helmet, tell them what setup I want under it, and race. We maintain the other car ourselves, but we have a really good crew.
"Then, during the week, I work at Townsend's and a lot of customers request we go test with them. I go and drive their car for most of the day and get it as good as we can for them. With racing and my job, I'm in a race car three or four times a week. It's great. I love to go test for the customers to make them better, and I'm learning at the same time."
Some weekends in 2002 Deiny raced at Southampton on Friday and took advantage of an off weekend at South Boston to fly out West Saturday morning to compete in a Southwest Series race later in the day.
"I want to try to win on both coasts on the same weekend. I think that would really be cool," says Deiny, who landed the West ride through connections he had maintained in California after moving to Virginia nine years ago.
Deiny rubbed some fenders en route to victory in last fall's Taco Bell 300 shootout for La
Racing life hasn't always been so great for the 29-year-old Deiny. Nine years ago Deiny decided to leave his native California and move East to pursue racing.
"California's great if you want to be a movie star, but I didn't want to be a movie star. I wanted to be a racer," Deiny says. He settled in Mechanicsville, Virginia, to work for Townsend while chasing racing.
"It's been extremely up and down since I've been here," he says. "I've had a lot of good years and a lot of bad years. There for a while I thought I was completely done (with racing). I owned all of my own cars. I had to sell all my stuff. I just couldn't afford to do it out of my pocket. It's such a competitive deal, I just couldn't do it any longer on my own."
In fact, two years ago, Deiny didn't even have a ride, but that didn't mean he didn't get in plenty of laps through his job with Townsend, especially at Martinsville.
"I wound up testing eight of our customers' cars during the Taco Bell weekend two years ago," Deiny says. "I wound up being in every practice session. I had more practice laps than anybody out there last year."
By the start of the '01 season, his racing career was back on track. "All of a sudden I had two rides. It's really a dream come true," says Deiny. He won the track championship at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, North Carolina, in 2001 with 11 wins.
Deiny piloted a car for veteran car owner Steve James at Southampton on Friday nights in 2002. Then he slipped into a car owned by Bob Unczur on Saturday night at South Boston. When he wasn't racing at either Southampton or South Boston, he could be found in Bailey's car chasing big money or in the Southwest Series car chasing experience.
Deiny's two-year success story peaked on September 29, 2002, at Martinsville Speedway with a win in the Taco Bell 300. "What a day," said Deiny after picking up his first win at the 0.526-mile track. "Forty-two of the best drivers on the East Coast were here...what a great day. What a great series. This to me is the best around. People pay a lot to see the big boys (Winston Cup), but this is where it all begins."
Although Deiny has his eye on bigger things in the future, he refuses to take the present for granted. "I'm just in an awesome situation and I'm very thankful."