PHOTO: Danny Sullivan celebrated his first career Limited Late Model victory at Airborne Speedway in September, but has purchased a ACT Late Model and will race weekly at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in 2012. (Leif Tillotson photo)

–by Ricky St. Clair
VMM Correspondent

MORRISONVILLE, N.Y. — It was made official earlier this month that Morrisonville, N.Y., native and Airborne Speedway Limited Late Model driver Danny Sullivan had purchased an American-Canadian Tour Late Model to race full-time at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vt., in 2012.

Sullivan’s family-owned team purchased the car from Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl competitor Dennis Demers in late December. Sullivan, crew chief Phil Perry, and father Bruce Sullivan decided that the time to move up to arguably one of the most elite racing divisions around the Northeast was now.

“We were prepared to continue racing our (Limited Late Model) at Airborne, but we caught wind of a car going up for sale,” Sullivan said. “To make the switch from what we were racing to a Late Model, it was a no-brainer expense wise because we would’ve had to chop the front end of our car off anyway just to make it compatible. We didn’t hesitate when the opportunity was there. We’re on-board, and we’re going to go all-out with it.”

Sullivan began his racing career in go-karts at 11-years-old. He then went on to purchase a Limited Late Model to drive at Airborne Speedway when he was just a senior at Saranac Central School. Despite his short tenure in Airborne’s support division, Sullivan set the goal of becoming a Late Model driver in the early stages of his career.

“I always wanted to (become a Late Model driver),” Sullivan said. Last year with the (Limited Late Model) at Airborne, things started clicking. I knew at some point the financial aspect of it all had to be straightened out before I could be in a Late Model. It’s been my goal.”

Sullivan was notified about his opportunity to purchase and drive a Late Model through Perry. He then elected to take Perry up on his offer after having multiple conversations with his father, and pulled the trigger on his new venture.

“At first, Phil asked me if I was interested in the Late Model deal,” Sullivan said. “We kept it a secret for maybe two weeks. I mean no one knew, not even my own mother.”

Perry has been a vital asset since joining Sullivan’s team, and will play a big role in helping Sullivan become comfortable with a track that’s he’s not only ever raced at, but seen before.

“Phil knows his stuff,” Sullivan said. “Before Phil came on-board, we didn’t really know what we were doing in regards to setting up the car. When he joined our team, it seemed like I went out there, and ran the best I ever had. It was as if I went from running junk to racing a hot rod. It was all hard work. That’s what it takes to make your car faster. He puts in the time, and gives us the results that we’re looking for.”

The Amerian-Canadian Tour has scheduled 10 point counting events for the 2012 season. Sullivan is currently uncertain whether he will participate in any sanctioned races this summer.

“I haven’t looked at the schedule or anything, but if the ACT race at Devil’s Bowl is the first Late Model event at Devil’s Bowl, I don’t know if I want to jump into an ACT race as the first Late Model race of my career,” Sullivan said. “The Fall Foliage 200 at Airborne would be a nice race to go and do, and hopefully draw in some fans after growing up racing a (Limited Late Model) there.”

Despite racing a Late Model full-time at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Friday night‘s, Sullivan plans on staying close to home at Airborne Speedway by racing select Limited Late Model events throughout the season, and could possibly race full-time if he can seek potential sponsorship.

“I would personally like to race in the three 50-lap USA/Canada Masters Series events at Airborne along with the “4-20’s” in August,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan mentioned that none of this would be possible without family, friends, and sponsors through the entire duration of his racing career.

“I’d like to thank my family, friends, and numerous sponsors including McSweeney’s Red Hots,” Sullivan said. “They were my first sponsor when I began racing go-karts in fifth grade. Michael Farrell has been beyond generous with me throughout the years. He’s stuck with me since day one.”