One week after Gus Dean landed the sponsorship to take his racing career to the next level, the Bluffton driver now has a race team.
Dean will drive next season’s ARCA schedule for Win-Tron Racing, a Charlotte-area operation that just completed its 10th year of competition on the developmental circuit. GREE Cooling Products, already committed to Dean in a multiyear deal, will be the primary sponsor on Win-Tron’s flagship No. 32 Toyota Camry.
Motorsports veteran Todd Myers will serve as crew chief for Dean’s first full season on the circuit.
“I know the car and team are top-notch,” Dean said. “I’m just going to do everything I can to make the transition into a full season of ARCA, with a new team, as easy as possible.”
Win-Tron gave Dean an audition during this past season’s finale at Kansas Speedway. Though a blown tire led to a wreck that brought their night to an early end, the parties saw enough in the partnership to discuss a full-season ride.
“I had a great car,” Dean said. “I’m just really excited about the chance to work with them for an entire season.”
The new season begins next February at Daytona International Speedway, part of the Speedweeks undercard that culminates with the Daytona 500.
“The program that Win-Tron Racing built last season and the outlook for the future made perfect sense for us to be a part of,” said Dave Pearson, president of Tradewinds Climate Systems. “We’re eager to get down to Daytona to test in January and kick off the season with a strong showing for the race in February.”
Tradewinds is the master U.S. distributor for GREE’s line of specialized cooling and heating products. After backing Dean at six ARCA stops this past season — including a May victory at Talladega Superspeedway — the parties last week signed a multiyear sponsorship starting in 2017.
Dean will run the full 20-race ARCA schedule next year, with an eye on possibly moving into the NASCAR pipeline as soon as 2018.
The remaining question was putting a team around the 22-year-old driver. Though Dean also drove six races last year for Mason Mitchell Motorsports, Win-Tron’s proposal ultimately got the nod.
“They have a level of professionalism that a company like GREE deserves,” Dean said. “I think that really contributed to GREE’s decision to move forward. They gave me a great race car and their attitude at the track was unparalleled.”
Kevin Cywinski, Win-Tron Racing’s team principal, said Dean “reminds me of myself when I raced.”
“He is focused, talented and eager to learn,” Cywinski continued. “We’re proud of what we’ve built during the past year and look forward to continuing to enhance our program and see Gus Dean contend for race wins and ultimately the ARCA title.”
In addition to the victory at Talladega, Dean had two other top-10 finishes among his seven starts. Projecting his ARCA points total over a full season, he likely would have placed among the circuit’s top eight drivers.
Dean also was excited to be able to retain spotter Tyler Green, who was in the tower at Talladega as Dean led 21 laps and was declared the winner via video review when the race finished under caution. Green also is the spotter for Jamie McMurray in NASCAR’s Premier Series, known until recently as the Sprint Cup.
“He has really helped me with the learning curve, as far as superspeedways and intermediate tracks,” Dean said of Green. “He’ll be with me for all the companion races. When we’re running on the same weekend (schedule) as the Cup, he’ll be with me. He was invaluable in helping me to learn.”