CANANDAIGUA, NY – Joining the second ‘Thursday Super Spectacular’ of the season in Canandaigua, Dalton Martin claimed the companion 25-lap Stirling Lubricants Gerald Haers Memorial qualifier for Speed Connection Sportsman. While Martin matched Matt Sheppard by leading flag-to-flag, the long-awaited victory was in complete contrast to the multi-time Modified victor as it was his first-ever Sportsman feature race win at the historic Ontario Co. Fairgrounds oval.
The second-generation driver from Scottsville is quickly developing a liking to mid-week shows in Canandaigua after making his victory lane debut when Enduro stock cars took center stage on Wed. July 27 of the recent 179th Ontario County Fair and Martin captured the lead-off 6-Cylinder championship event.
“Its about time,” exclaimed Martin, after outlasting race runner-up Nick Guererri who fell four car-lengths short Thursday in his bid to steal away Martin’s landmark win. Nick’s brother Matt Guererri did grab the point from Martin last Saturday yet Dalton needed only five days to forgive and forget and rebound for the memorable victory.
“We’ve been coming here for a few years now and the Guererris are some of the best in the business. I knew when Nick got under me he wasn’t going to drive through me and its a huge deal when you have somebody running behind that you can trust.”
The third Stirling Lubricants GHM Sportsman qualifier on Thursday attracted 32 quality teams requiring four qualifying heats and a pair of consolation rounds to determine the final 27-car starting grid. A re-draw among the Top-12 qualifiers pitted pole-sitter Nick Guererri and Martin on the front row to take the initial green.
Martin wasted little time jumping out front of Guererri yet the trailing pack was even less patient as a turn two pile-up on the opening circuit forced a complete restart. Without a single lap complete, Ken Welty, Austin Germinio, Richard Murtaugh, Teddy Clayton Jr. and Tyler Corcoran headed pitside and were done for the night.
Two more cautions for a slowing Justin Liechti on lap 13 and spinning Ed Lukas on lap 19 were all that could slow Martin, yet a stubborn Guererri left no room for error as the two Canandaigua chauffeurs stayed glued the remainder of the way.
Making his fourth start of the season in wine country, LaFargeville’s Gavin Eisele finished third under the checkers followed by past Canandaigua tour winner Tyler Murray and recent entry-level Legends Sportsman division graduate Kasey Coffey, grandson of the late Carl Myers.
“Last week was driver error, I lost it not running my normal high line so I learned from my mistake,” divulged Martin, who was joined in the winner’s circle by father Rick, himself a past competitor at Canandaigua. “Tonight I figured someone would have to go on the low side to get by me as that kinda cost us last week in the end.”
Along with Eisele, Murray and Coffey, the win for Martin locked him into the season-ending Stirling Lubricants Gerald Haers Memorial in September. Race winner Karl Comfort, Kane Bristol, Paul Guererri and Zach Sobotka earned the first four spots in April while winner Tyler Corcoran was joined by Justin Henderson, Nick Guererri and Andrew Buff in the June qualifier to guarantee themselves starting spots in the lucrative GHM Sportsman Classic 40.
The fourth Stirling Lubricants GHM Qualifier, rewarding four more drivers, is slated for Sept. 3 Championship Night when the 2022 LOLR Sportsman titlist will be crowned while the last two qualifying races lead off GHM weekend on Fri. Sept. 16 with 14 drivers adding their names to the 30-car starting field taking shape for the Sept. 17 finale.
Land of Legends Raceway Event Summary – August 18, 2022
Speed Connection Sportsman Modified
Stirling Lubricants Gerald Haers Memorial Qualifier #3
*Feature (25 laps): 1. 132-Dalton Martin ($750), 2. 25g-Nick Guererri, 3. 18e-Gavin Eisele, 4. 1m-Tyler Murray, 5. 39-Kasey Coffey, 6. 12g-Matt Guererri, 7. 38-Zach Sobotka, 8. 10-Karl Comfort, 9. 82s-Will Shields, 10. 18h-Justin Henderson, 11. 36-Jimmy Grant, 12. 7-Paul Guererri, 13. 31-Kane Bristol, 14. 00L-Donovan Lussier, 15. 113jr.-Frank Guererri Jr., 16. 28-Mark Potter, 17. 77L-Ed Lukas, 18. 21v-Tony Velez, 19. 16x-Savannah LaFlair, 20. 27z-Ray Bliss, 21. 57-Justin Liechti, 22. 21k-Randy Chrysler, 23. 02-Ken Welty, 24. 10g-Austin Germinio, 25. 33-Richard Murtaugh, 26. 63-Teddy Clayton Jr., 27. 64-Tyler Corcoran.
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Murtaugh, N.Guererri, Germinio, Clayton, Comfort, Sobotka, Bristol, Nutting.
#2: Coffey, Murray, Corcoran, Lukas, P.Guererri, Bliss, Velez, Sperring(DNS).
#3: Liechti, Henderson, Welty, Shields, Lussier(DSQ), LaFlair, Baker, Root.
#4: Eisele, Chrysler, Martin, M.Guererri, Potter, Grant, F.Guererri, Lafler.
Consolation (10 laps): Sobotka, Bliss, Bristol, Grant, Velez, F.Guererri, 9-Tim Baker, 51-Tim Lafler, 30-Nick Root, 42-Daryl Nutting(DNS), 7j-JTSperring(DNS), Donovan Lussier(DNS).