Border Patrol: After a long winter, it sure was great to be back into the swing of racing season. My first racing trip of the season was this past weekend as I traveled to Canandaigua Motorsports Park near Rochester, New York for their season opening weekend. Friday night’s events consisted of a 35 lap Sportsman main event along with the 305 Sprint Cars and Pure Stocks, while Saturday night’s show was headlined by the 3rd annual Jan Corcoran Memorial, 64 lap, $6400 to win event, along with the Late Models and Street Stocks.
It was a cold evening on Friday night, but the racing action was hot, with great racing in all classes. The sportsman division had some local flavor as Brockville Speedway regulars Jessica Power and Steve Barber both made the trip. Power qualified for the main event with a great second place finish in her heat race, and Barber also made the main event which was a great accomplishment with more than 40 Sportsman teams on hand. The action up front was pretty intense as Dave Marcuccilli and Sam Reakes IV traded the lead back and forth in the second half of the race. Marcuccilli took the lead for good with just five laps remaining and went on to win the $1000 winner’s share. Reakes had an impressive run to finish second after making a rare start in a Sportsman since making the move to a 360 Sprint car, which he also had on hand for some practice laps. Rob Bussey, Karl Comfort and Mike Prentice rounded out the top five. Former Modified start Charlie Donk won the 305 Sprint Car main event over Darryl Ruggles and Ken Peworchik. Eric Chapman was the Pure Stock Feature winner. The Big Block Modifieds also took to the track for some practice with Vic Coffey setting the pace in session one, and Peter Britten in the second round.
Saturday was a much warmer day, but as the sun went down, it become another cold evening at the track, but that didn’t stop Jeremie Corcoran and his staff from putting on another excellent show. The Big Blocks were the center of attention with the 64 lap Jan Corcoran Memorial on the card. “Lightning” Larry Wight was the class of the field for much of the night, leading 47 laps, and Peter Britten and Jimmy Phelps also had strong cars, but it was legendary Alan Johnson, using lapped traffic to his advantage taking the lead with just eight laps remaining and cruising to his 117th career win a the track they call ‘Land of Legends’. Larry Wight finished second ahead of Jimmy Phelps, Matt Sheppard, and Billy Dunn, who had a strong run coming from his 17th starting position. I must give a shout out to Matt Billings, who was making his first career Big Block start. He started the race from 23rd after winning the consi, and stormed up through the field and was running in 7th place before suffering a mechanical failure in the closing laps. It’s a shame he didn’t have the finish to go with such a strong performance at a very tough race trace with some of the best drivers in the business on hand. Rick Miller won the Late Model feature over Sean Beardsley and Alan Fink, while Mike Welch took top honors in the Street Stocks.
It sure was great to get that first racing weekend of the season in. Thanks to Jeremie Corcoran and the Canandaigua Motorsports Park staff for putting on a great event despite the cold temperatures.
Looking ahead to this weekend, I will be at the 2nd annual Brockville Ontario Speedway Fan Fair on Saturday from 10am to 1pm at Walmart in Brockville. Several racecars will be on display and drivers will be available for autographs. Local band Texas Tuxedos will be playing, and a charity BBQ will be taking place in support of CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario). Scheduled to attend the BOS Fan Fair so far are, Danny O’Brien, Pat O’Brien, Kyle Dingwall, Lee Gill, Ryan Arbuthnot, Matt Billings, Chris Herbison, Jessica Power, Dylan Evoy, Ryan Poole, Brian Comeau, Steve Barber, Darrick Eaton and possibly more. Many teams will also be making the trek across the border on Saturday and again on Sunday, as Chapman’s Can Am Motorsports Park opens up for practice on both days, in preparation for their season opener on Friday, April 19th. Mohawk International Raceway will also host their annual awards banquet on Saturday night, completing a very busy day.
As mentioned, Can Am will be the first of my local tracks to open, on April 19th. Evans Mills Speedway opens up the following night, Saturday, April 20th. Brockville Speedway is set to open for practice on Saturday, May 4th, where their season opening night scheduled for Saturday, May 11th. Mohawk International Raceway opens for business on Friday night, May 17th, while Cornwall Motor Speedway will open on Sunday May 19th.
Another season is now officially underway, and nobody is happier about that than I am. I look forward to another busy season at the track and with a little luck, and a little co-operation from Mother Nature, I will hit the 100 event mark before the end of 2013.
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