CANANDAIGUA, NY – With the current race season on ‘pause’, Land of Legends Raceway promoter Paul Cole and members of the track’s media production team embarked on a new venture this extended offseason.
For the first time, the famed track in Canandaigua started hosting events on the iRacing simulation platform that incorporated racers, crew members, fans and media members alike. The first two events were wildly popular, averaging over 15,000 viewers on social media for the first two shows and growing the audience on LandofLegendsTV.com with over 350 new accounts registered to watch the social media simulcast.
With the New York 360 Sprint Car Nationals potentially not being scheduled to race in 2020, it made sense to hold the event virtually for the third installment of the track’s iRacing Series. Lakeland, Florida’s virtual USA International Speedway dirt track, at three-quarters-of-a-mile was a fitting pick to hold the event that was won at Land of Legends Raceway in 2019 by Canadian powerhouse Steve Poirier.
38 drivers from all over the Northeastern United States and Canada registered to compete in Thursday night’s Mac’s Dairy Bar Qualifying Night #1. Thursday night’s race was limited to iRacers with some tie or affiliation to Land of Legends Raceway- be it a driver, crew member, traveling series participant, official or media member.
Newfane, NY’s Adam Hilton, 2019 Modified track champion at Freedom Motorsports Park and planned LOLR Big Block Modified competitor in 2020, set fast time off the trailer with a time of 19.685 seconds. Hilton would also win his heat race, giving him the maximum amount of points heading into the A-Main.
The format for the New York Nationals is similar to that of a points-based system used at annual events like the Knoxville Nationals. Every time a driver hits the track for racing, they accumulate points. The Top 20 in combined points at this night’s end would transfer into the field of 50 for Saturday night’s New York Nationals Main Event, leaving the pressure squarely on the drivers to be solid in time trials, their heat and their Main race.
Representing members of the media, Curtis Berleue from the Patriot Sprint Tour and Super DIRTcar Series PR Coordinator Joe Grabianowski both time trialed in the Top 5. This set them both up for success as Berleue carried a 2nd in Time Trials, a Heat Win and a 17th place finish in the A-Main to finish 7th in points. Grabianowski rocketed to 5th in Time Trials, 3rd in his Heat to qualify for the A-Main where he finished 19th. Both carried the flag well for their series and will go to the big dance on Saturday night.
On the flip side of that coin was Waterloo, NY’s Nick Cooper. Cooper bobbled in Time Trials, relegating him to the 19th fastest time. But a 2nd place finish in his heat placed Cooper 7th on the starting grid for the A-Main.
It would take Cooper just 9 laps to wrestle the lead away from early race leader and A-Main polesitter Hilton. Hilton would slide back to 4th in the finishing order, but would see his No. 3 go to the top of the board in overall event points with a nearly perfect score.
While Cooper tried to run away and hide, Joe Isabell, Sammy Reakes and Thursday afternoon’s late entry Mike Mahaney were putting on a battle royale for the number two position. Mahaney was the show late in the race, working the cushion right up against the USA International concrete. But a late race miscue coming off the fourth turn saw Mahaney slide back to a seventh place finish.
Isabell would hold off the ‘Honeybadger’ Reakes for second, with Hilton fourth and Modified star Ryan Susice rounding out the Top 5.
The Top 20 qualifiers will now move on to Saturday night’s Main Event which will open with practice at 6:30PM, Live coverage on Facebook and LandofLegendsTV.com at 6:45PM, National Anthems at 6:55PM and Time Trials promptly at 7:00PM.
Positions 21 through 38 in Night 1 points will now have just one more shot to get into the big dance for the New York Nationals. The Three Nine Productions Non-Qualifiers Race will take the green flag at 3:00PM Saturday with practice, time trials, heats, consis and a 25-Lap A-Main taking the Top 5 finishers to the Main Event at 7:00.
Saturday night’s Main Event will consist of 50 drivers- 20 from Night 1 Qualifying, 20 from Night 2 Qualifying, 5 from the Non-Qualifiers Race and 5 from the Patriot Sprint Tour/CRSA 305 Sprint Tour Invitational taking place Saturday evening at 5:00PM.
SIM PIT NOTES:
-Nick Cooper now has won 2 out of 3 LOLR iRacing Series events, including the very first event that was held three weeks ago at the virtual Volusia Speedway Park.
-Sammy Reakes now has an average finish of 2.66 in Land of Legends Raceway iRacing Series competition with finishes of 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd.
-Brandyn Griffin made the Top 20 by the skin of his teeth after finishing 24th in Thursday night’s A-Main. Griffin held on by finishing 2nd in his heat and time trialing 12th fastest.
-8 out of the 20 cars that are now locked into the Main Event, qualified through a Consi
-Top 20 locked in drivers consist of: Big Block Modified drivers, Small Block Modified drivers, 360 Sprint Car drivers, Dirt Late Model drivers, DIRTcar Sportsman drivers, 305 Sprint Car drivers, a Micro Sprint driver, a Big Block Modified crew chief, the 2019 New York Nationals winning 360 Sprint Car crew chief, former crew members…AND 2 Media Members
Land of Legends Raceway New York Nationals Night 1 Qualifying official results 4/16/2020:
35 Laps, (starting position)
1. Nick Cooper (7)
2. Joe Isabell (6)
3. Sammy Reakes (3)
4. Adam Hilton (1)
5. Ryan Susice (12)
6. Kevin Loveys (14)
7. Mike Mahaney (4)
8. Dillon Groover (16)
9. Corbey Daniels (13)
10. Gavin Bassett (18)
11. Ryan Dolbear (5)
12. Matt Kubasik (20)
13. Jim Smith Jr. (23) *Hard Charger +10
14. Alex Trautman (17)
15. Jeremy Bunn (22)
16. Zach Sobotka (15)
17. Curtis Berleue (2)
18. Emmett Waldron (11)
19. Joe Grabianowski (9) -1L
20. Mike Schultz (19) -3L
21. Trevor Years (10) -4L
22. Ted Barcomb (21) -9L
23. Max Rose (24) -15L
24. Brandyn Griffin (8) -20L
Heat Winners: Adam Hilton, Sammy Reakes, Mike Mahaney, Curtis Berleue
For more information on Land of Legends Raceway visit www.landoflegendsraceway.com, Like Land of Legends on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LandofLegendsNY or Follow Land of Legends on Twitter @LandofLegendsNY.
Land of Legends Raceway is happy to announce their new livestreaming platform- Land of Legends TV! Located at www.landoflegendstv.com, fans of the dirt flying action at LOLR can view weekly racing competition from the comforts of their living room. With a streaming video season pass available at just $150 and weekly streaming options at the regular General Admission price, Land of Legends TV is set to make live streaming dirt racing affordable and get race fans closer to the action than ever before!
Land of Legends Raceway is located in Canandaigua, NY, just 30 minutes East of Rochester, NY and 75 minutes West of Syracuse, NY, Land of Legends Raceway competes weekly on Saturday nights from mid-April through September. The track offers DIRTcar sanctioned racing in the Hoosier Tire Weekly Points Championship. LOLR also offers numerous special events including the Big Block Modified Super DIRTcar Series, DIRTcar Sportsman Series, Patriot Sprint Tour, Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints and CRSA 305 Sprint Tour.