CANANDAIGUA, NY – With anticipation of the mega-dollar DIRTcar ‘Build Your Bank Challenge’ presented by Phelps Cement Products and Canandaigua Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram reaching a crescendo during the final weekend of September, in truly fitting fashion encore performances by weekly Saturday night stars Erick Rudolph and Kevin Root brought down the curtain on the 2019 season at Land Of Legends Raceway.
It only took an extra day as promoter Paul Cole’s second special of the month was extended to Sunday for the second time as rain once again soaked the Ontario County Fairgrounds oval midway through the fast-paced race program.
The wait hardly mattered as third-generation wheelman Rudolph relished the $6,000 lion’s share of the $50,000+ purse including special awards posted for the mighty DIRTcar Modifieds while Root pocketed a $2,000 top prize in the DIRTcar Sportsman Series fall event that boasted a total payout of nearly $10,000 in cash and contingencies. Lap leader and special bonuses further bolstered each winner’s take, with no less than 20 Modified drivers collecting at least $1,000 in the record-breaking scheduled single-day short-track extravaganza paying tribute to life-long motorsports supporter Gerald Haers.
A true racing patriarch, long-time mentor and supporter of Land of Legends, Vietnam War Veteran, as well as husband, father, grandfather and friend to so many more, Jerry Haers passed away at age 74 on July 15 this past summer. In a special pre-race ceremony conducted on Saturday evening, drivers gathered around the Haers family on the homestretch to honor his lifetime of contributions made to the racing community.
“Glad they didn’t make this (trophy) a couple inches taller, then it would be taller than me,” smiled Rudolph, 27, following his fifth victory of the season scored on the ultra-smooth half-miler. “I only had a few conversations with Mr. Haers during my time here, but being around this weekend its not hard to feel the impact of what he’s meant to everyone at the track. He was a fixture at Canandaigua back when my father (Charlie) raced and certainly respected by all those he continued to help out.”
Following his victory in the first of three 20-lap qualifying heats —named after legendary Modified racers at Canandaigua— held Saturday, Rudolph re-drew third before the rain came. The ‘Barefoot’ Bob McCreadie heat race win earned him $500 with Larry Wight copping the second ‘Marvelous’ Merv Treichler qualifier and Steve Paine claiming the third and final ‘Wily’ Will Cagle preliminary.
Come Sunday, Rudolph wasted little time putting his no. 25 reVive Spine Center-Blue Cross Blue Shield/Bicknell entry on the point, overtaking Big-Block rookie Dillon Groover on the lap two restart and holding off Wight the final 49 trips around.
The first lap caution resulted when open-wheel veteran Pat Ward caught the left-rear wheel of Gary Tomkins between turns three and four. Ninth-place starter Ward’s red #42P machine hit the inside berm then bounced back across the track in front of the remainder of the 26-car field. The mounts of Lance Dusett, Jimmy Phelps and Billy VanPelt sat parked in turn four when the dust cleared, reluctantly earning Phelps the Bicknell Racing Products $200 ‘Hard Luck’ Award without completing a single lap.
Back under green with Rudolph and Wight out front, only two more yellow flags slowed the action, with traffic remaining a constant over the final 40 laps of non-stop action as the surface grew slicker. Ward slowed for a second time on lap eight while Chad Brachmann looped his no. 3 BRP ride rounding turn one on lap 10 to bunch the field one last time.
At the midway mark Rudolph and Wight maintained their advantage with sentimental favorite Justin Haers (son of Jerry), Canadian small-block standout Gary Lindberg and consolation round winner Mat Williamson comprising the front-five. Continuing to weave his way in traffic as the scoreboard counted down, Williamson grabbed fourth on lap 32 and cracked the top-three with 10 more still to go.
Yet up ahead the leaders refused to lose ground and at the checkers it was Rudolph pulling away for a 10 car-length victory over Wight, followed by Cost Plus Processing LLC Hard Charger Williamson, top Champion/SuperGen Products Small-Block bonus award winner Lindberg and Haers ahead of all-time track feature winner Alan Johnson.
“This car has always been good to us, went away from it about a month ago and we thought we’d bring it back out and it provided for us tonight,” remarked ’18 LOLR points champion Rudolph, now with nine career wins at the fairgrounds; eight behind his father’s career total of 17 logged in the 1980s. “The track was right to our liking, took a little bit of rubber at the end but the car was really good all night. It was super maneuverable all the way around.”
“The track was definitely far different from yesterday. You had two sides of the spectrum, yesterday was really fast and today pretty slow. But both days we were good, our team’s just firing on all cylinders now,” added Rudolph, who headed home to Ransomville with more than $7,000 after leading the most laps including lap 25 which carried a $100 halfway bonus from Traction Grabber By Doc.
Settling for the runner-up spot despite numerous bids to capture his first career Big-Block win in Canandaigua, Phoenix (NY) traveler Wight had his red #99L FX Caprara Car Co-Tracey Road Equipment-LJL-Gypsum Racing/Bicknell machine dialed in both days.
“Just needed a little bit more drive off the corners, think we were a little better in the middle but exiting the turns Erick could just pick up the throttle quicker and a lot harder,” commented Wight, who won an Empire Super Sprint A-Main at LOLR in 2017. “And the straightaways here are so long, everything I gained in the corners I’d lose half a car down the straightaway.”
“This was a great race put together by the Haers family in such a short time. Have to thank them for everything they’ve done for us racers. I’ve grown up with the family since I was little running around the track. I know how tough it is to run a family business (Phelps Cement Products) and stay so involved in racing. Hats off to them, it was a great event to support,” Wight added.
Improving from 19th to cross the line third in the 28-minute Modified main, Williamson echoed Wight’s remarks as his no. 88 Buzz Chew Chevrolet-North Country Market/Bicknell entry gained the most ground over the final circuits.
“The track was excellent and we had a really good show, just a great tribute to Jerry Haers,” noted Williamson from St. Catharines, Ont., currently one of the hottest drivers on both the DIRTcar Northeast Big-Block and Small-Block championship trails. “He was a big reason why I came.”
“Unfortunately, the pill draw (to determine heat start) hurt us yesterday and put us behind the 8-ball a little bit. Just needed some luck in the heat race, think we had a good enough car to make it into the re-draw (for feature start) but we put it behind us and focused on tonight and here we are,” Williamson said.
While Rudolph led all but one time around in the Modified nightcap, Root needed nearly all 40 laps to stave off invader Matt Janczuk and successfully defend hometurf. And after clinching his first-ever points title at LOLR four weeks earlier, the Geneva pilot held on to put an exclamation point on the ’19 Canandaigua campaign with his fourth win of the season scored over a stellar 46-car Canandaigua Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram Sportsman field.
“We had an amazing car but tonight isn’t about me, its about one guy who touched my life when I was growing up,” noted Root, 41, after parking his #34 F.X. Caprara Car Co.-Slack Karts-SJP/Bicknell car in the wine country winner’s circle for the sixth time in his career. “I’m great friends with the Haers family, have been for years, and this one’s for Jerry.”
After winning the fourth of five qualifying heats on Saturday, Root drew nine out of a possible 10 top starting positions available to begin inside row five on Sunday. Making his second-ever appearance at the fairgrounds, Janczuk led off from the pole before Canandaigua kingpin Kane Bristol took control on lap four.
Local driver A.J. Lloyd stopped on the back chute on lap five and the next time around Tyler Corcoran looped low in turn one to require a pair of yellow flags. Janczuk regained the lead on the ensuing lap six restart with Root bolting into third right behind.
Root moved into second with 10 laps scored and when Janczuk slid over the edge exiting turn two the defending Mr. DIRTcar titlist filled the gap low to assume the lead role. Traffic thickened as the laps clicked off and at the midway point Root, Janczuk and Bristol led the way chased by track regulars Garrison Krentz and Paul Guererri.
When Matt Guererri slowed in turn two for the third caution, Janczuk took advantage of Root’s miscue and pulled ahead as the leaders crossed the stripe.
“Guess I screwed up, didn’t think we were going green … didn’t hear anything, didn’t see the lights go out and my 1-way (radio) was all messed up … then (Janczuk) took off and I thought oh sh–, you know what I mean,” bellowed Root, explaining Janczuk’s third move to the front. “We had a good car, didn’t want to lose it.”
“After that I said you better get your stuff together, you’ve got the best car here. Get your composure, hit your marks and don’t over-drive it. Obviously lapped traffic played a key part, fans had to love this, it was an amazing race,” Root said.
Root battled back, inching closer using the low lane while Janczuk managed to keep momentum up high as the dirt duo ran side-by-side with 10 laps to go. Root edged past under the scoring tower on lap 32 yet Janczuk dug deep to return the favor the next lap. Root took over the point with one final surge in traffic, authoring the last lead change on lap 37 and building a six-car advantage under the checkers with one lapped car caught in between.
Bristol retained third at the line followed by 19th-place starter Kyle Inman, Krentz, Paul Guererri and Safety Awareness Solutions $100 Hard Charger Award winner Jackson Gill, who rallied after qualifying in the consolation round.
“This is a big race, a big win, wanted to start out the fall series good and this is just unbelievable,” beamed Root, who earned a $250 bonus from Finger Lakes Livestock Exchange for leading lap 20 as well as a guaranteed starting spot in the ‘Chevrolet Performance 75’ title event during Super DIRT Week staged at Oswego Speedway in October.
“These guys are just so tough, such a competitive class. On any given day we have 15 cars that can win a race here. I’m just fortunate to be the one tonight to come out on top. Its great to have a solid support team behind me and back up what we did last year,” Root added.
The final event to officially close out the 56th season takes place after the new year arrives when King’s Party House, 4031 Routes 5&20 in Canandaigua, hosts the Land Of Legends Raceway Awards Banquet. Circle Sat., Jan. 11, 2020 on the calendar as Promoter Paul Cole will hand out nearly $40,000 in cash and contingencies to his supporting race teams. Banquet tickets will go on sale in the weeks ahead with additional information publicized as more details are confirmed for this festive occasion.
Be sure to check out the final point standings for each division as well as all the track news online by visiting www.LandOfLegendsRaceway.com. Advance sale tickets will be made available online for the 2020 race season during the coming months. Once the schedule is posted, log into (LandOfLegendsRaceway.com), hit the red “Buy Tickets” button on the homepage, then make a selection from the list of dates & events highlighted.
Land of Legends Raceway is located at the Ontario County Fairgrounds, east of the city on Town Line Road (County Road 10), with easy access off either Exit 43 (Manchester, Route 21 South) or Exit 44 (Farmington, Route 332 South) of the New York State Thruway, just ½-hour southeast of Rochester.
Phelps Cement Products and Canandaigua Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram present Gerald Haers Memorial ‘Build Your Bank Challenge’
Pepsi Big-Block/Small-Block Modified
*Feature (50 laps): 1. 25-Erick Rudolph ($6,000), 2. 99L-Larry Wight ($3,000), 3. 88-Mat Williamson ($2,500), 4. 28zt-Gary Lindberg(SB) ($2,000), 5. 3-Justin Haers ($1,700), 6. 14j-Alan Johnson ($1,500), 7. 7f-Matt Farnham ($1,450), 8. 21a-Peter Britten ($1,400), 9. 48too-Gary Tomkins ($1,350), 10. 23-Kyle Coffey ($1,300), 11. 19w-Justin Wright ($1,250), 12. 4-Greg Martin(SB) ($1,200), 13. m1-Dave Marcuccilli ($1.150), 14. 12x-Dillon Groover ($1,100), 15. 2L-Jack Lehner ($1,050), 16. 32r-Ronnie Davis III(SB) ($1,000), 17. 7x-Steve Paine ($1,000), 18. 3m-Mike Stanton Jr.(SB) ($1,000), 19. 82-Billy VanPelt ($1,000), 20. 22-Jeff Daugherty ($1,000), 21. 15-Todd Root(SB) ($500), 22. 77-Lance Dusett ($500), 23. 3b-Chad Brachmann ($500), 24. 42p-Pat Ward ($500), 25. 2rj-Ronnie Johnson ($500), 26. 98h-Jimmy Phelps ($500).
DIRTcar Legends Heats (20 laps / 6 Qualify / Top-3 redraw / Pos. 5&6 in cash dash)
‘Barefoot’ Bob McCreadie #1: Rudolph ($500), Groover, Haers, Tomkins ($100), Phelps, Lehner, Davis, T.Root, VanPelt, D.Martin, Susice, Maier, Payne(DNS).
‘Marvelous’ Merv Treichler #2: Wight ($500), R.Johnson, Ward, Coffey ($100), Dusett, G.Martin, Stanton, Daugherty, Murray, Williams, D.Johnson, Trump, Hall.
‘Wily’ Will Cagle #3: Paine ($500), Lindberg, Wright, Farnham ($100), A.Johnson, Britten, Williamson, Forward, Marcuccilli, Brachmann, Sweeting, Jordan, K.Root.
B-Main (15 laps / Top-8 advance to A-Main)
#1: Williamson ($250), Davis, T.Root, Marcuccilli, Stanton, VanPelt, Daugherty, Brachmann, Murray, D.Johnson, Sweeting, Trump, Payne, D.Martin, Williams, K.Root, Forward(DNS), Susice(DNS), Maier(DNS), Jordan(DNS), Hall(DNS).
Phelps Cement Products / Buzz Chew Chevy / Beaver Dam Motorsports Cash Dash (6 laps)
#1: Phelps ($200), A.Johnson ($150), Britten ($125), Lehner ($100), D.Martin ($75), Dusett ($50).
Fulton Speedway Outlaw 200 Guaranteed Starting Spot ($250v): Erick Rudolph.
Super DIRT Week LCS Preferred Starting Spot ($200v): Alan Johnson.
Champion/SuperGen Products Small-Block Bonus: 1. Gary Lindberg $500, 2. Greg Martin, $300 3. Ronnie Davis III $200.
Cost Plus Processing LLC Hard Charger Award $300: Mat Williamson.
Sunflowers of Sanborn 4th-Place Heat Finish Awards $300: H1-Gary Tomkins, ($100), H2-Kyle Coffey ($100), H3-Matt Farnham ($100).
Buzz Chew Racing Longest Tow Award $250: Jack Lehner.
Bicknell Racing Products Hard Luck Award $200: Jimmy Phelps.
Dobbers Sports Bar Last Car Running On Track Award $200: Lance Dusett.
Bicknell Racing Products Sportsmanship Award $200: Daniel Johnson Jr.
F.X. Caprara Dodge Best Appearing Car Award $150: #15-Todd Root.
F.X. Caprara Honda Lucky Dog Award $150: Jack Lehner.
Start Imagining Warrior Award Most Laps Led Award $111: Erick Rudolph.
Traction Grabber By Doc Halfway Leader Bonus $100: Erick Rudolph.
Quikrete Masonry Sands Pole Award $100: Steve Paine.
Smith Brothers Drywall Move of the Race $100: Alan Johnson.
Barmorepuppies.com Worst Number Drawn at Check-In Bonus $100: Greg Martin.
$4,858 Lap Money.
*(10) Hoosier Tire Giveaways: Chad Brachmann, Ronnie Davis III, Alan Johnson, Daniel Johnson Jr., Gary Lindberg, Dave Marcuccilli, Tyler Murray, Todd Root, Mike Stanton, Gary Tomkins.
*(39) Hoosier Driver Care Packages.
DNQ: 1m-Tyler Murray(SB), 3rs-Ryan Susice(SB), 7c-Glenn Forward(SB), 34/9x(SB)-Kevin Root, 9x-Tyler Trump, 11j-James Sweeting, 14ny-Daniel Johnson Jr., r21-Ryan Jordan, 21x-Eric Williams, 28p-Eldon Payne Jr., 29j-Joel Hall(SB), 31m-Jimmy Maier, 132-Dalton Martin(SB)
DIRTcar Sportsman Series Fall Championship Race #1
Canandaigua Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram Sportsman Modified
*Feature (40 laps): 1. 34-Kevin Root ($2,000), 2. 33x-Matt Janczuk, 3. 31-Kane Bristol, 4. 20k-Kyle Inman, 5. 56-Garrison Krentz, 6. 7-Paul Guererri, 7. 60-Jackson Gill, 8. 3r-Chris Mackey, 9. 0-Shane Pecore, 10. 25g-Nick Guererri, 11. 28-Alan Fink, 12. 9-Tim Baker, 13. 29g-Steve Gray, 14. 18r-Brad Rouse, 15. 52-Jessica Power, 16. 38-Zach Sobotka, 17. 1-Mark Yorker, 18. 410-Mike Fowler, 19. 20x-Kevin Ridley, 20. 21h-Bob Henry Jr., 21. 12g-Matt Guererri, 22. 71-Sean Beardsley, 23. 70-Alex Payne, 24. 11t-Jeff Taylor, 25. 35t-Cameron Tuttle, 26. 7s-Torrey Stoughtenger, 27. a47-Dale Corbett, 28. 86-Matt Steffenhagen, 29. 1f-A.J. Lloyd, 64-Tyler Corcoran(DSQ), 82-Will Shields(DNS).
Heats (8 laps / 4 Qualify / Top-2 redraw)
#1: Sobotka, Shields, Pecore, Tuttle, M.Guererri, A.Payne, Juno, Lloyd, Lawrence.
#2: Fowler, Fink, Yorker, Henry, Z.Payne, D.Corbett, Johnston, Steffenhagen, Castelletti.
#3: Krentz, Janczuk, P.Guererri, Rouse, Baker, Stoughtenger, Tibbitts, Barker, Hoxie.
#4: Root, Ridley, Taylor, N.Guererri, Collins, C.Corbett, Beardsley, Chretien, Groescup.
#5: Bristol, Gray, Mackey, Inman, Gill, Power, Corcoran, Dolbear, Cook, Kimble.
Last Chance Showdowns (10 laps / 5 qualify)
#1: M.Guererri, Baker, Gill, Corcoran, Steffenhagen, D.Corbett, C.Corbett, Juno, Lawrence, Hoxie, Tibbitts(DNS), Chretien(DNS), Cook(DNS).
#2: A.Payne, Power, Stoughtenger, Beardsley, Lloyd, Johnston, Z.Payne(DNS), Collins(DNS), Barker(DNS), Dolbear(DNS), Castelletti(DNS), Groescup(DNS), Kimble(DNS).
Group Time Trials (3 laps / 46 cars)
#1: Cameron Tuttle 18.991 sec. (94.782 mph), Zach Sobotka 19.147, Will Shields 19.166, Shane Pecore 19.270, Alex Payne 19.441, Tom Juno 19.443, Matt Guererri 19.591, A.J. Lloyd 19.602, Jeff Lawrence 19.729.
#2: Mark Yorker 19.118 (94.152 mph), Mike Fowler 19.128, Zach Payne 19.326, Alan Fink 19.350, Dale Corbett & Matt Steffenhagen 19.381, Robbie Johnston III 19.704, Bob Henry Jr. 19.816, C.J. Castelletti 20.047.
#3: Garrison Krentz 19.100 (94.241 mph), Matt Janczuk 19.183, Paul Guererri 19.254, Torrey Stoughtenger 19.270, Brad Rouse 19.284, Charlie Tibbitts Jr. 19.379, Tim Baker 19.409, Corey Barker 19.685, Sam Hoxie 20.043.
#4: Kevin Root 19.080 (94.340 mph), Kevin Ridley 19.243, Jeff Taylor 19.264, Nick Guererri 19.289, Tommy Collins Jr. 19.292, Sean Beardsley 19.524, Chris Corbett 19.579, Brandon Chretien 19.802, Jeremy Groescup 20.277.
#5: Kane Bristol 18.783 (95.831 mph), Steve Gray 18.954, Chris Mackey 19.129, Kyle Inman 19.148, Jackson Gill 19.321, Anthony Kimble 19.369, Tyler Corcoran 19.418, Jessica Power 19.623, Ryan Dolbear 19.881, Joe Cook Jr. 20.403.
Super DIRT Week Chevrolet Performance 75 Guaranteed Starting Spot ($200v): Kevin Root.
Finger Lakes Livestock Exchange Halfway Leader Bonus $250: Kevin Root.
Century 21 Pole Award $100: Matt Janczuk.
Safety Awareness Solutions Hard Charger Award $100: Jackson Gill.
*(2) Hoosier Tire Giveaways: Matt Guererri, Alex Payne.
*(46) Hoosier Driver Care Packages.
DNQ: 00-Sam Hoxie, 02-Brandon Chretien, 1L-Jeff Lawrence, t1-Charlie Tibbitts Jr., 2k-Anthony Kimble, 7z-Zach Payne, 8-Joe Cook Jr., 25-Tom Juno, 31b-Corey Barker, 31r-Ryan Dolbear, 33j-Robbie Johnston III, 33jg-Jeremy Groescup, a48-Chris Corbett, 117jr.-C.J. Castelletti, 713-Tommy Collins Jr.
NEXT EVENT: Saturday, January 11, 2020 – 2019 Land Of Legends Raceway Awards Banquet @ King’s Party House, 4031 Routes 5&20, Canandaigua.
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Along with recognizing its weekly 50/50 raffle fund beneficiaries, Land of Legends Raceway is proud to salute several sponsors and corporate partners that continue to help bring its fans the best Saturday night racing show in the Northeast. Listed alphabetically are current division sponsors Canandaigua Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram, Mike Emhof Motorsports, Pepsi Geneva Club Beverage, Smith Bros. Drywall; event sponsors Admar Construction Equipment & Supply Company, American Equipment, A-Verdi Storage Containers, Geneva Club Beverage, Honeoye Auto Parts/Auto Value, Pepsi/Mountain Dew/Lipton Lake Beverage, L&L Transmission & Towing, Main Energy, Red Osier Restaurant, Sherwin-Williams Paint, Tradition Automotive Group; promotional partners Champion Power Equipment, Dig Safely New York 811, Dobbers Sports Bar, Elab Smokers Boutique, Hoosier Racing Tire, Hoselton Chevrolet, Ontario County Fairboard, Radio 95.1 Rochester, Star Headlight & Lantern Co., VP Racing Fuels, Weedsport Hall of Fame, Wright Beverage, Young Real Estate Agency.