Canandaigua, NY – April 6, 2013 – Tom Skibinski, Canandaigua Motorsports Park PR (585-350-8997)
The 50th Anniversary Season of auto racing at Canandaigua Motorsports Park began the same way it did eight times in the past, with open-wheel veteran Alan Johnson kicking off the 2013 campaign on Saturday evening with a dramatic victory in the 3rd Annual Jan Corcoran Memorial presented by Empire/Seneca Recycling.
With young racer Larry Wight leading 47 of the 64-lap distance and looking to become the 96th Modified winner since the inaugural event in 1953, it was Johnson instead taking over for the final nine circuits to extend his all-time track mark to 117 Big-Block victories after a late race rally netted the Middlesex driver and car owner Kenny Saya the $6,400 top prize.
The night was just as memorable for two-time defending division points champion Mike Welch as he scored a landmark 50th win in the Parts Plus Street Stock feature while former Sportsman driver Rick Miller (BRP/Crate Late Model) claimed his first CMP checkered flag to close out the Corcoran Memorial card honoring the mother of track promoter Jeremie Corcoran for a third straight season.
“Its always special to win a memorial race, especially when its Jeremie’s mom,” remarked Johnson, whose own father Milt passed away in December and son in-law Ryan Baye lost his life in a fatal snowmobile accident in February making the win even more meaningful. “Its a little more emotional winning this one, have to thank everybody that’s helped out.”
Along with Milt Johnson, Canandaigua’s Modified-Sportsman points champion in 1961, the Corcoran Memorial event also recognized the recent passing of long-time speedway supporter Bill Turner, owner of Corvettes by Turner in nearby Victor. The turn four tower will be dedicated to Turner in a special ceremony held May 25.
On the track, Johnson’s stirring run to the front brought back more memories for the fairgrounds faithful, patiently working his way forward from his 15th starting position before wrestling away the lead from Wight in a thrilling three-wide maneuver exiting turn four. The potent black no. 10J Commercial Roofing & Sheetmetal/Bicknell ride was untouchable the rest of the way, opening up a three-quarter straightaway victory margin between Wight and Jimmy Phelps, while reigning track points king Matt Sheppard and Billy Dunn filled out the final front-five.
“It was an awesome car tonight. But when I got toward the middle of the race and was riding around I didn’t think I had anything for the guys up front,” noted Johnson, now 55, who captured his initial season-opener in 1976 and followed up in ’78, ’80, ’81, ’82, ’87, ’91 and ’02. He debuted in the winner’s circle in 1975, and including victories every year until 1997 (high of 12 in ’82), 2013 is his 27th season logging at least one Modified win at the Ontario County oval.
“The car maintained and those guys seemed to slow down a little bit. We had a loose race car with the track getting a little rough in turns three and four, but (car) was good on the bottom in one and two. It kinda played into our hands having a loose car. Didn’t really want it to be that loose but hey, I can’t complain,” smiled Johnson, whose younger brother Danny (finished 21st, lug nut failure) won the Corcoran Memorial last April while Billy Decker (7th) claimed the inaugural event run in June of ’11.
The heads-up start put qualifying heat race one winner Wight on the pole and the Central New York upstart jumped out to an early advantage over the 27-car field. A brief slowdown for debris on the track slowed the pace on lap three and with five laps covered it was Wight leading Peter Britten, Chad Homan and Rob Bellinger as Sheppard powered into fifth.
Vic Coffey looped his mount high in turn four to force out a yellow flag and Britten sped around Wight on the ensuing lap 17 restart. Remaining in the low groove, Wight regained the top spot on a lap 23 restart but Britten charged back ahead the next circuit. Another restart allowed ‘Lightning Larry’ to reclaim the lead on lap 26 and at the halfway mark Britten held down second with Phelps, Sheppard and Alan Johnson in tow.
Britten’s chance for his first fairgrounds win ended with a flat tire on lap 40, although Wight was still first in line to join that elusive ‘Land of legends’ list. Yet once owning a commanding lead, the 20 year-old college student gradually began to lose ground as traffic shortened the distance between a hungry band of veterans right behind with less than a dozen laps to go.
Holding down the show position with a bead on the leaders, Johnson was in prime position to pull off his patented move underneath as lapped cars forced both Wight and Phelps high rounding turns three and four. Johnson suddenly emerged as the new leader as the pack rambled down the front chute and before Wight could retaliate, Danny Johnson slid to the infield in front of the starter’s stand to incur the final caution and solidify his sibling’s place atop the scoreboard with 56 complete.
“With all that traffic at the end I didn’t even know I had the lead,” revealed Johnson in victory lane. “When the yellow came out they said number 10 to the front. I didn’t expect that so now I had to hold those same guys back that were strong all race. I knew they were gonna be on me but the car ran real smooth right to the end.”
In less dramatic fashion yet with a tighter finish under the checkers, Welch out-dragged front-row partner Adam DePuy at the drop of the green and went on to score a flag-to-flag victory over Nate Peckham in the Parts Plus Street Stock finale.
“We had a great car tonight, the guys really worked hard on it over the winter and it paid off,” downplayed Welch, 47, after registering his fourth straight win at the storied Routes 5&20 speedplant. The record eight-time Canandaigua points champion closed out last season with three straight victories to give him 49. A full-season ahead provides the Lyons, N.Y. pilot with plenty of opportunities to surpass all-time CMP stock car winner Steve Pesarek who won 51 features from 1986-1998.
Fourth-starting Peckham posed the only threat to Welch during the 20-lapper, although the late-arriving driver from Seneca Falls was unable to improve his position the final 15 circuits despite a pair of cautions closing the gap on the winning double-zero Investor Services-Mark’s Garage-Parts Plus Chevrolet Impala machine.
“A lot of good cars here tonight and its great to see all these guys supporting this event for Jeremie,” added Welch, after out-distancing Peckham by five car-lengths at the stripe while Bob Babbitt, Byron DeWitt and Jake Karlnoski rounded out the top-five. “Hopefully, we can keep the car count up this year. There’s a lot of interest and once the guys come here they like it a lot.”
The BRP/Crate LM special attracted 19 full-fender entries from Western and Central New York, with Miller from the Oswego County town of Volney pocketing $500 after the wire-to-wire romp. Syracuse traveler Sean Beardsely chased Miller every lap before settling for runner-up laurels ahead of Alan Fink, Brian Knowles and Ed Carley.
“We had a nice set-up tonight, I’m pretty impressed with this place,” said Miller, whose only other race at Canandaigua was in a 1998 Sportsman event. “Looks like a lot of work went into this show here.”
“Had to go over and thank Sean after the race, he’s the reason I’m here. He helped me out with a lot of pointers last season, took time out on his own and went out of his way to get me going in the right direction. I owe him a lot,” added Miller, the 1998 Cayuga Co. Fair Speedway Sportsman co-champion with current Canandaigua Big-Block driver Vince Vitale.
Two quick yellow flags flew on lap one to shuffle the pack although once the green lights stayed on the 25-lap main event went non-stop. Neil Patterson and John Waters tangled in turn one before Adam Sixt got out of shape to send the field scrambling in turn two.
The early setbacks only delayed the inevitable with Miller crusining home for a three-quarters straightaway victory. Beardsley faded at the end after keeping the leader in his sights the first half of the late model main.
Canandaigua Motorsports Park returns to action on Saturday, April 13 featuring a standard six-star show of Team Tiremasters Big-Block Modified, Safety Awareness Solutions Sportsman, Castner Performance 305 Sprint Car, Parts Plus Street Stock, Pure Stock and Community Car Care of Waterloo New Legends Sportsman racing. Qualifying begins at 7pm.
With CMP’s Golden Anniversary season now officially underway, be sure to follow the point standings and breaking news online by visitingwww.CanandaiguaMotorsportsPark.com. Send along a note to firstname.lastname@example.org to join the e-mail list, or register withhttp://www.twitter.com/Canandaigua_MSP to keep up-to-date on-line and through text messages on cell phones via Twitter.
For more information, please contact Jeremie Corcoran via cell 315-374-2839 or e-mail email@example.com. Joe Bailey (585-500-8852, firstname.lastname@example.org) can also be reached during the week to discuss marketing opportunities currently available at the track in 2013.
Canandaigua Motorsports Park 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.
Event Summary – April 6, 2013
Empire/Seneca Recycling of Waterloo
presents 3rd Annual Jan Corcoran Memorial
Team Tiremasters Big-Block Modified
*Feature (64 laps): 1. 10j-Alan Johnson ($6,400), 2. 99L-Larry Wight, 3. 99j-Jimmy Phelps, 4. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 5. 49-Billy Dunn, 6. 7x-Steve Paine, 7. 91-Billy Decker, 8. 32c-Vic Coffey, 9. 21a-Peter Britten, 10. 91-Chad Homan, 11. 6-Mat Williamson, 12. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 13. 21-Derrick Podsiadlo, 14. 99b-Chuck Bower, 15. 5*-Tyler Siri, 16. 56-Vince Vitale, 17. 8r-Rob Bellinger, 18. 28p-Eldon Payne,Jr., 19. 74-Matt Billings, 20. 48too-Dave Rauscher, 21. 27j-Danny Johnson, 22. 3b-Chad Brachmann, 23. 3-Justin Haers, 24. 84-Gary Tomkins, 25. 22-Gil Tegg Jr., 26. 21k-Randy Chrysler, 27. 19w-Justin Wright.
Heats (10 laps)
#1: Wight, Bower, Phelps, A.Johnson, D.Johnson, Chrysler, Vitale, Rauscher, Allen.
#2: Homan, Sheppard, Williamson, Podsiadlo, Tomkins, Cartwright, O’Brien, Dinkins, Hilkert.
#3: Bellinger, Brachmann, Paine, Dunn, Payne, Billings, Currier, Coffey(S=6th).
#4: Decker, Scagliotta, Haers, Britten(S=4th), Tegg, Wright, Siri, Roberts.
Consolation (10 laps)
#1: Billings, Chrysler, Vitale, Siri, Rauscher, Ron Cartwright Jr., Tim Currier, Adam Roberts, Daryl Hilkert, Mike O’Brien, Dave Allen, Marcus Dinkins.
Parts Plus Street Stock
*Feature (20 laps): 1. 00-Mike Welch, 2. 90-Nate Peckham, 3. j2-Bob Babbitt, 4. 34-Byron DeWitt 5. 55x-Jake Karlnoski, 6. cj1-C.J. Guererri, 7. 715-Michael Cooper, 8.01h-Charles Harvey, 9. 98t-Jack Terrell, 10. 99-Adam DePuy, 11. 55b-Blane Smith, 12. 75-Steve Austin, 13. 33-Todd Hayward, 30-Steve Pesarek(DNS).
Heats (8 laps)
#1: DePuy, Babbitt, Cooper, DeWitt, Austin, Smith, Pesarek(DNS).
#2: Welch, Peckham, Terrell, Guererri, Harvey, Hayward, Karlnoski.
Crate Late Model
*Feature (25 laps): 1. 33x-Rick Miller, 2. 18-Sean Beardsley, 3. 28f-Alan Fink, 4. 4-Brian Knowles, 5. 28-Ed Carley, 6. 3j-Jeremy Wonderling, 7. 8-Zach Carley, 8. 97-David McDonald, 9. 9k-A.J. Kingsley, 10. 39-Rob Mason, 11. 11-John Waters, 12. 27-Neil Patterson, 13. 6t-Adam Sixt, 14. 27z-Ray Bliss, 15. 9-Doug Gavette, 16. 12j-Jared Hill, 17. 8-Billy Holmes, 39j-Jimmy Johnson(DNS), 9x-Laslo Holyfield(DNS).
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Miller, Beardsley, Fink, E.Carley, McDonald, Kingsley, Bliss, Mason, Patterson, Waters.
#2: Knowles, Sixt, Wonderling, Z.Carley, Holmes, Gavette, Johnson, Hill, Holyfield.
NEXT EVENT: Sat., April 13 @ 7pm; Sherwin Williams presents Big-Block Modified/Sportsman/Street Stock/Pure Stock/305 Sprint/New Legends Sportsman.
Track Instant Info
Canandaigua Motorsports Park is proud to salute several sponsors and corporate partners that continue to bring its fans the best Saturday night racing show in the Northeast. Listed alphabetically are division sponsors Castner’s Performance Systems, Community Car Care of Waterloo, Parts Plus of Macedon, Safety Awareness Solutions and Team Tiremasters; event sponsors Admar Supply Company, American Equipment, A-Verdi Storage Containers, Canandaigua Carpets, Champion Power Equipment, Charlie’s Restaurant, Cobra Motorhomes/Wilkins RV, Commercial Roofing & Sheetmetal, Corby’s Collision Center, Currier Plastics, Dig Safely New York 811, Empire/Beck’s Recycling, Empire/Seneca Recycling, HEP Sales, Honeoye Auto Parts, Monroe Wheelchair, Morrisville State College, North Eastern Pool & Spa, Owasco Beverage (Labatt), Phelps Cement Products, Rochester Optical and Victor Mobile Home Parks; promotional partners Big Motor Media, F.X. Caprara Car Co., Coca-Cola, Corvettes by Turner, D.C. Rauscher Inc., Ferris, Lysander Construction, Ontario County Fairboard, Sherwin-Williams Paint Stores, Star Headlight & Lantern Co., VP Racing Fuels and Victor Excavating; and contingency sponsors P&M Fabrication and Promotion Custom Metal Fab.