Canandaigua, NY – July 2, 2011 – On a night filled with repeat winners at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Justin Haers was the popular exception as the Phelps, NY pilot survived a late-race bid from division points leader Matt Sheppard before cruising home for his first Big-Block Modified victory of the year Saturday.
Reaching victory lane for the second time this season in the holiday show were Kevin Ridley (NAPA Sportsman Modified), Andy Fisk (Parts Plus Stock Car) and Marc Minutolo (Klein Steel Retail Pure Stock) while Don Barnes earned his first win at the Ontario County Fairgrounds in the Community Car Care of Waterloo New Legends Sportsman class. Dave Charczuk (Modified) and Ally Amell (Limited Sportsman) shared top honors in a pair of Midstate Vintage Stock Car Club events to close out the Independence Day special.
“I don’t know about you guys but its good to see somebody else down here in victory lane,” declared Haers, 31, alluding to reigning overall Mr. DIRTcar points king Sheppard who opened the 2011 Canandaigua campaign with five wins in seven races. “I was happy to see Matt in second at the end, said if he beats me this time I’m going to be so mad.”
“That last yellow came out and just it made it more exciting for the fans. I didn’t want to see (caution) but I didn’t want any excuses like we got out front early and the race went green to checkers. He was right beside me there and we came away with the win,” remarked Haers, following his 4th career Big-Block feature win in Canandaigua.
With Haers (started 11th) and Sheppard (14th) mired mid-pack to begin the 35-lap finale, track veteran Charlie Donk bolted from his outside pole-position start to pace the field early on. Haers took advantage of a handful of early yellow flags to advance and on a lap seven restart ducked under Donk to fulfill his mission to the front.
Upstart Rob Bellinger (10th) had his own agenda as the north country regular tracked down the Haers Bros. Racing no. 3 Phelps Cement Products-Classic and Customs-Jeff Jolly Masonry/Bicknell machine to grab the top on spot on lap 14. Bellinger’s bid for his first trip to the winner’s circle this season was suddenly lost when Henry Maier crossed directly in front of his mount on the way to an inadvertent infield exit, allowing Haers to charge back past in the meantime.
Sheppard had cracked the Top-5 the same time Haers took his first lead yet the second-generation star from Waterloo needed two-thirds of the race to finally reel in Bellinger and take away the runner-up slot. Danny Johnson followed ‘Super Matt’ through the same hole on lap 31.
Ron Cartwright Jr. slowed on the back chute to incur the fifth and final caution period on lap 32, with Bellinger losing out on any chance of victory when a flat tire forced him pitside during the slowdown. Sheppard cozied up to Haers’ rear bumper on the restart although that was the closest he would get, ultimately dropping to third at the stripe when Johnson darted low exiting the last turn on the last lap to steal second-place. Donk and Derrick Podsiadlo completed the final front-five.
“I was just trying to save my tires early on, running the top side and the next thing I know, boom, (Rob) sneaks right underneath me and I said I better get going,” noted Haers, who pulled to within seven points of Sheppard after logging his 7th Top-5 finish in 8 races. “Fortunately, our car was good enough to go good both on the top and bottom. (Bellinger) got hung up with that lapped car a little bit so once I got back out front I was able to keep hitting my lines. It was a long time coming. Seems we’ve been the 2nd-best car all season, just couldn’t get past that #9 car (Sheppard) so I’m glad we could finally beat him to the front tonight.”
The second trip to victory lane was just as decisive for Ridley as the Waterloo driver powered past Justin Wright on the 16th circuit and forged ahead to score a five car-length win in the 25-lap NAPA Sportsman main.
“Two wins already is pretty good for us,” figured Ridley, after emerging as the first repeat winner in eight Sportsman events. His 10th career triumph makes him the 15th driver to reach double figures since the division debuted at Canandaigua in 1987. “This is really a stout field around here There’s a lot of fast cars, maybe 10-15 that can go anywhere and win races. It’s tough to beat them on a regular basis.”
Hard luck drive Daryl Hilkert won out in a three-wide dash to lead the opening lap before Rob Bussey moved to the point on the third circuit. A big 26-car starting field left little room for error, with Randy McCulloch and Greg Cool the first to fall victim after a scary front stretch tangle that sent cars in every direction trying to avoid.
Wright wrestled the lead from Bussey on lap six as Ridley, his row four partner on the starting grid, secured second with 10 laps in the books. Legends Sportsman graduate Matt Guererri slowed on the back chute to slow the action, and on the ensuing lap 16 restart Ridley forged the final lead change steering his familiar Xtreme Lubricants no. 20x Fred’s Fab’N Fold-Gevos Rears & Gears/TEO machine.
A late caution gave Wright one more chance to reel in Ridley, yet it was the 2008 CMP points champion coming home for a five car-length victory as Dan Wiesner, Steve Gray and Adam Hilton figured in the final Top-5.
“The car was really stuck on the bottom and I was running there in the infield in (turns) one and two,” noted Ridley, who climbed to second on the points chart behind one-time winner Wiesner. “There was a lot of mud down there to give me some extra bite. Didn’t think I was going to get by (Wright) if I had to actually run on the track so we kinda used the infield to our advantage. On the last restart he chose the middle and it was just a little too slippery there to pick up enough speed.”
Action at Canandaigua Motorsports Park continues in the first full month of summer as fans take to the track for 1-on-1 Spectator Drag Races on the July 9 card sponsored by Parts Plus and Stalker Web Design. On tap Saturday is a five-star show of Big-Block Modified, NAPA Sportsman, Parts Plus Stock Car, Klein Steel Retail Pure Stock and Community Car Care of Waterloo New Legends Sportsman, with qualifiers going green at 7pm.
Be sure to follow the point standings and learn all the news about Canandaigua online by visiting www.CanandaiguaMotorsportsPark.com. Send along a note to email@example.com to join the e-mail list, or register with http://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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Tim Bowman (315-225-0881) can be reached during the week to discuss marketing opportunities available at the track in 2011.
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 – July 2, 2011
Ontario County Fairboard Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza
*Feature (35 laps): 1. 3-Justin Haers, 2. 27j-Danny Johnson. 3. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 4. 99-Charlie Donk, 5. 21-Derrick Podsiadlo, 6. 48too-Dave Rauscher, 7. 8r-Rob Bellinger, 8. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 9. 97-Michel Chicoine, 10. 7x-Steve Paine, 11. 25-Paul Habeck, 12. 21a-Peter Britten, 13. 1jr.-Mike O’Brien, 14. 10-Tim Currier, 15. 16. 11x-Chris Mangiarelli, 17. 49-Billy Dunn, 18. 28p-Eldon Payne Jr., 19. 56-Vince Vitale, 20. 21k-Randy Chrysler, 21. 3m-Henry Maier, 22. 27jr-Daniel A. Johnson.
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Donk, Haers, Dunn, Habeck, Chrysler, Payne, Cartwright, Mangiarelli.
#2: Rauscher, Bellinger, Danny Johnson, Podsiadlo, Chicoine, Scagliotta, Dan A. Johnson.
#3: Vitale, Sheppard, Britten, O’Brien, Currier, Paine, Maier.
NAPA Sportsman Modified
*Feature (25 laps): 1. 20x-Kevin Ridley, 2. 11j-Justin Wright, 3. 66-Dan Wiesner, 4. 29g-Steve Gray, 5. 3a-Adam Hilton, 6. 5-Tom Keyes, 7. 76-Rob Bussey, 8. 7-Paul Guererri, 9. 67g-Eric Giguere, 10. 4-Daryl Hilkert, 11. 21-Justin Henderson, 12. 25g-Nick Guererri, 13. 22-Greg Cool, 14. 2-Loren Lincoln, 15. 1f-A.J. Lloyd, 16. 31-Kane Bristol, 17. 83x-Bryan Faulkner, 18. 50-Tim Downs, 19. 8-Joe Cook Jr., 20. 38-Rich Swarthout, 21. 18h-Todd Henderson, 22. 12g-Matt Guererri, 23. 12x-Brian Freese, 24. 24a-A.J. Lewis, 25. 21m-Randy McCulloch, 26. 10-Karl Comfort.
Heats (8 laps, 6 qualify)
#1: Hilkert, Bussey, McCulloch, Cool, Wiesner, Comfort, N.Guererri, Lloyd, Cook.
#2: Ridley, T.Henderson, Bristol, P.Guererri, Giguere, Keyes, M.Guererri, Downs, Freese.
#3: Wright, Lincoln, Swarthout, J.Henderson, Gray, Hilton, Faulkner, Lewis.
Consi (6 laps): N.Guererri, Lewis, M.Guererri, Lloyd, Downs, Faulkner, Cook, Freese.
NEXT EVENT: Sat., July 9 @ 7pm; Parts Plus and Stalker Web Design present Big-Block Modified/Sportsman Modified/Stock Car/Pure Stock/New Legends Sportsman plus 1-on-1 Spectator Drag Races.
Track Instant Info