Canandaigua, NY – June 9, 2012 – Defending Canandaigua Motorsports Park champions Matt Sheppard and Dan Wiesner padded their points leads on Saturday, each in quest of their second straight open-wheel titles at the Ontario County Fairgrounds.
Sheppard muscled past Peter Britten in traffic before outdistancing Justin Haers to post his fourth Original Pizza Logs Big-Block Modified feature win of the season while Wiesner overtook track rookie John Wilber in a three-wide maneuver to score his third Safety Awareness Solutions Sportsman victory of 2012 in decisive fashion.
Nate Peckham (Parts Plus Street Stock), David Ferguson (Castner Performance 305 Sprint) and Jon Ellsworth (New Legends Sportsman) made their second trips to victory lane while Eric Chapman captured his first Pure Stock win in four years to highlight Finish Line Auto Center-Big Motor Media Nite at the ‘Land of Legends.”
An energetic group of 10 youngsters also took to the tacky half-miler, with special Kids Power Wheels races staged on the frontstretch in front of an enthusiastic grandstand crowd. The first five-lap feature was won by 4 year-old ‘Turbo’ Tyler Werner from Auburn while 6 year-old Jared Haers from Clifton Springs borrowed Werner’s yellow #29 ride and won the second five-lapper. Werner and Austin Marcuccilli from Cayuga split three-lap heat races that were divided by age group.
Sheppard wasted little time when the big boys made their way out for their 35-lap Modified main, blasting from 13th starting position into the top-five after 15 circuits before ducking under Britten in turn four to complete lap 21. Britten regained the point almost immediately after down the back straightaway a half-lap later yet the first yellow flag for the stopped car of Mike O’Brien negated the pass and ‘Super Matt’ went unchallenged the rest of the way.
“Just can’t say enough about all the guys that work on this car, the cards are just falling in our favor right now,” stated Sheppard, after extending his points lead to 38 markers over third-place finisher Danny Johnson. Britten and Gary Tomkins filled out the final front-five. “This is our third race in a row we’ve won. Everywhere I go, everything I get in, they’re just flat-out fast.”
Sheppard won in a Small-Block on Tuesday at Woodhull Raceway and opened the weekend with a Big-Block victory Friday at Brewerton Speedway before taking his 11th trophy of the season Saturday.
Despite heavy rain in the early morning, CMP promoter Jeremie Corcoran provided an excellent racing surface come feature time. Sheppard took advantage aboard the JB Motorsports no. 9s F.X. Caprara Car Co.-Xtreme Lubricants/Bicknell entry, charging past Haers and Tomkins by the midway point before the Waterloo pilot disposed of division rookie Tyler Siri and Britten shortly after.
First-year Big-Block driver Colton Chappius out-dragged front row partner Tim Currier at the start before Siri gained control of the 23-car field on lap five. Still in search of his first checkered flag at the storied Routes 5&20 oval, Britten bolted into the lead on lap 17 when Siri got pinned behind the lapped car of Dave Allen heading down the back chute.
Sheppard matched Britten’s every move as he weaved his way to the front, forging what amounted to the final lead change four laps later when the tables were turned as this time the popular Australian became the victim in a turn four traffic jam.
“This whole deal is a big team effort,” added Sheppard, on the heels of his 26th career Big-Block win at Canandaigua. “It starts with my car owner Jeff Brownell and continues right through with all our sponsorship support. The guys on the team get to the shop before I do in the morning and bust their butts all day getting the work done. I just couldn’t do this without them.”
Team work has also been the centerpiece for Wiesner in his rise to the top of Canandaigua’s Sportsman Modified ranks, opening the season with back-to-back triumphs and leading the points chase ever since. His return to the winner’s circle came after the crew worked overtime during the week installing a new engine.
“They don’t call this place the ‘Land of Legends’ for nothing, I’m just glad to be on top of the class right now,” remarked Wiesner, after racking up career win number 20 in Safety Awareness Solutions Sportsman competition. “All the guys that run here have a lot of years and plenty of experience so when you show up just about anybody can win. And that’s why we come here.”
“This is my 12th year running (Sportsman) and it took awhile to get here. We’re going to enjoy it while we can because we all know everything in racing doesn’t always last this way. This is our third win, hopefully we’ll get a few more,” said Wiesner, who began his career at Canandaigua in 1998 buckled into a Pure Stock.
Registering all eight of his Sportsman wins at Canandaigua in 1987, Matt’s father Stu Sheppard was in control from the drop of the initial green until Matt Guererri looped his mount in turn two to incur the first caution period on lap 11. In a daring three-wide move down the frontstretch, high-riding Wilber grabbed a short-lived lead on the ensuing restart while Wiesner dove low to sandwich Sheppard across the line.
Wiesner carried the momentum into the first turn and the Geneva chauffeur kept his black no. 66 Monroe Wheelchair-Wayne’s Spa Service/Bicknell mount comfortably ahead the rest of the way. Greg Cool held off Todd Henderson for second while Dave Marcuccilli and Kevin Ridley rounded out the Top-5 in the 25-lap finale.
Full-fender veteran Peckham sped past pole-sitter Jack Terrell on a lap three restart and the Seneca Falls driver escaped with a narrow victory over points leader Mike Welch in the headline 15-lap Parts Plus Street Stock feature.
“Wins definitely don’t come easy around here,” noted Peckham, who won twice all of last season before settling for runner-up honors behind Welch on the 2011 points chart. He closed out April with his first win of the 2012 campaign steering the blue no. 90 Auto Value-Advance Auto-Industrial Service of Rochester Chevrolet Camaro. “The car was really good all night, for once. It worked best mostly on the top and that’s where I was able to keep it all the way.”
While Peckham and Welch battled it out at the front of the pack, just as many eyes were focused on five-time winner Russ Marsden coming up through the field. A tangle between turns three and four involving Steve Faulkner and Jason Whipple forced Marsden pitside to replace a shredded right-rear tire on lap two, yet by the midway (lap 8) point he had already cracked the Top-5 and was hungry for more.
Marsden stormed past Pat Hobbs on lap nine and took over third from Terrell after two more times around, yet ran out of time in the near caution-free final that ran off in eight minutes.
Mirroring his performance staged the prior weekend, Ellsworth copped his qualifying heat then led all 10 laps to claim a second successive Legend Sportsman feature race in his no. 316 Magnum Auto Parts-Custom 31 Graphics-Red Apple Quik Fill/Bicknell mount.
“I never even drove a car until last year, so I lived a dream just by doing that,” said Ellsworth, who joins Billy Brown and recent division graduate Josh Livingston as the only repeat Legends winners this year. “Its been a real big learning curve, one we’ve tried to progressively get better at.”
“We switched from a Teo Pro car to a Bicknell and have gotten a lot of help from Dan (Wiesner) and Eric (Giguere). They help me out a lot with some set-up tricks and getting the car dialed in. Having a dedicated pit crew is just as big a reason we’re able to get (victory lane),” added Ellsworth, who maintains his favorite part of racing is participating in family autograph night when the Marion driver gets to give something back to the fans.
For the second straight week Ellsworth led the distance from his pole-position start, once again challenged most of the way by Billy Brown and Daryl Nutting. Settling for runner-up laurels last Saturday, Nutting gave up a third-place finish after ramming the outside turn four cement retaining wall with just one lap to go.
Brown improved one spot from a week ago while Jeff Davoli, Jason Scales and Brandon Rauscher rounded out the Top-5.
Father’s Day Weekend at Canandaigua Motorsports Park features a full show of Original Pizza Logs Big-Block Modified, Safety Awareness Solutions Sportsman, Parts Plus Street Stock, Pure Stock and New Legends Sportsman with a Pit Stop Challenge filling the bill on Saturday, June 16. Pit gates unlock at 4pm, grandstands open at 5pm and the first qualifying heat goes green at 7pm.
A complete schedule is posted on www.CanandaiguaMotorsportsPark.com along with updated point standings, driver rosters, photo gallery and the latest breaking news. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. Contact CMP Marketing Director Joe Bailey (585-500-8852, firstname.lastname@example.org) during the week to discuss marketing opportunities still available at the track in 2012.
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 – June 9, 2012
Finish Line Auto Center-Big Motor Media Nite
Original Pizza Logs Big-Block Modified
*Feature (35 laps): 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 2. 3-Justin Haers, 3. 27j-Danny Johnson, 4. 21a-Peter Britten, 5. 84-Gary Tomkins, 6. 99j-Jimmy Phelps, 7. 5*-Tyler Siri. 8. 10-Tim Currier, 9. 91-Chad Homan, 10. 10j-Alan Johnson, 11. 8r-Rob Bellinger, 12. 49-Billy Dunn, 13. 4-Daryl Hilkert, 14. 56-Vince Vitale, 15. 7x-Steve Paine, 16. 57b-Colton Chappius, 17. 19w-Justin Wright, 18. 21-Derrick Podsiadlo, 19. 48too-Dave Rauscher, 20. 88-Dave Allen, 21. 28p-Eldon Payne,Jr., 22. 1jr-Mike O’Brien, 23. 8-Rich Scagliotta.
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Hilkert, Scagliotta, Paine, Wright, D.Johnson, O’Brien, Vitale, Payne.
#2: Currier, Rauscher, Tomkins, Homan, Phelps, Dunn, Podsiadlo, Allen.
#3: Chappius, Britten, Haers, Sheppard, Siri, Bellinger, A.Johnson.
Safety Awareness Solutions Sportsman Modified
*Feature (25 laps): 1. 66-Dan Wiesner, 2. 22-Greg Cool, 3. 18h-Todd Henderson, 4. m1-David Marcuccilli, 5. 20x-Kevin Ridley, 6. 7-Paul Guererri, 7. 21-Justin Henderson, 8. 29g-Steve Gray, 9. 48b-Stu Sheppard, 10. 25g-Nick Guererri, 11. 57b-Frank Burnell Jr. 12. 1j-John Wilber, 13. 31-Kane Bristol, 14. 16k-Kaitlin Pashina, 15. 12g-Matt Guererri, 16. 1-Andrew Smith, 17. 67g-Eric Giguere, 18. 5-Tom Keyes, 19. 1f-A.J. Lloyd, 20. 76-Rob Bussey.
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Wilber, Bussey, Cool, Ridley, Giguere, J.Henderson, Sheppard, Lloyd, Pashina, Bristol.
#2: Wiesner, Keyes, N.Guererri, Marcuccilli, P.Guererri, Burnell, T.Henderson, Gray, Smith, M.Guererri.
New Legends Sportsman
*Feature (10 laps): 1. 316-Jon Ellsworth, 2. 16-Billy Brown, 3. c21-Jeff Davoli, 4. 11j-Jason Scales, 5. 48b-Brandon Rauscher, 6. 42-Daryl Nutting, 7. 22z-Phil Vigneri III, 8. 113jr-Frank Guererri Jr.
Heat (6 laps)
#1: Ellsworth, Davoli, Nutting, Brown, Guererri, Rauscher, Scales, Vigneri.