Canandaigua, NY – June 23, 2012 – The winningest driver in Canandaigua Motorsports Park history added to his legacy Saturday as Alan Johnson romped to career victory number 115 in the 35-lap Original Pizza Logs Big-Block Modified main.
‘A.J. Slideways’ bolted around frontrunners Dave Allen and Steve Paine in a thrilling three-wide maneuver at the halfway mark, then built up a straightaway margin en route to his first feature win of the year at the Ontario County Fairgrounds.
Mike Welch (Parts Plus Street Stock) and Dave Ferguson (Castner Performance 305 Sprint) posted their third wins of the season and Eric Chapman repeated in Pure stock competition while A.J. Lloyd (Safety Awareness Solutions Sportsman) and Jeff Davoli (New Legends Sportsman) etched their names in the ‘Land of Legends” record book on Currier Plastics-Genny Light Night that served to recognize firefighters and rescue personnel in attendance as the summer season officially kicked off in wine country.
“This (win) feels pretty good, especially lately, we’ve been struggling really bad with a couple tenths and a 9th-place the last three races here,” remarked Johnson, 54, who logged his first-ever win at Canandaigua in 1975 yet hadn’t visited victory lane since 2008. Saturday marked his first win at CMP teamed with car owner Kenny Saya. “So given a good starting spot we had a great car tonight and got it done.”
Johnson pulled into ninth on the 24-car starting grid aboard Saya’s black no. 10J Commercial Roofing and Sheetmetal/Bicknell ride, beginning his march toward the front as Mike O’Brien and Allen swapped the lead early. Embellishing the phrase ‘as the track gets slicker Alan gets quicker’ coined over the years for his mastery of smooth surfaces, Johnson took advantage to crack the front-five after seven laps.
Fifth-starting Paine moved into second a third of the way through and Johnson took over the show position soonafter, with both veterans setting their sights on high-flying Allen at the front of the field. Just as Paine looked for room on the low side of the leader, Johnson swept past high exiting turn four in a perfect slingshot move as the scoreboard clicked off 18 laps complete.
Points leader Matt Sheppard slowed with a left-front flat tire to bring out the first yellow flag on lap 22 while Daryl Hilkert suffered mechanical problems to incur a second caution period just two laps later. Points runner-up Danny Johnson ducked pitside to replace a worn tread in time for the lap 24 restart as older brother Alan led Vince Vitale, Paine and Justin Haers with just over 10 circuits remaining.
Johnson went unchallenged the rest of the way with a clear track ahead, although the battle behind the Middlesex veteran kept scorers reeling. Paine grabbed second on lap 29 running three-abreast with Vitale and Haers, yet Vitale returned the favor and stole the runner-up spot under the checkers. Billy Dunn rounded out the final Top-5 ahead fending off a late-race charge by Jimmy Phelps.
“It helps when the track gets a little slippery, that takes horsepower out of the equation making it just a matter of getting hooked up,” added Johnson, who also scored a pair of 358-Modified wins at Canandaigua in 2005. “I’ve had a lot of practice feathering the throttle over the years.”
“Our program is still a little behind right now. We’re trying to catch up so we just keep plugging away every week. Kenny and all the guys like coming out to run against this kind of competition, hopefully I can add a couple more (wins) to that list,” smiled Johnson, who joins Sheppard as the only drivers to finish in the Top-10 in all 11 events held at Canandaigua this season.
On the other end of the spectrum, Lloyd emerged as the 98th different winner since the DIRTcar Sportsman debuted at the Routes 5&20 oval in 1987. The local pilot from Canandaigua captured a 10-lap Legends race last year before graduating into the Safety Awareness Solutions Sportsman ranks after only five open-wheel starts.
“Didn’t think a win would come this fast, especially with a new car, thought I’d be fighting it for awhile,” said Lloyd, after edging Dave Marcuccilli by 0.3-sec. at the stripe to give owner Tom Fox his second win of the year after Rich Swarthout crossed the line first on May 5. “Thanks to Tom and Dar (Fox) for the chance.”
“Got a new car last week and a new motor and fought with it a little bit last week. Went back to my old set-up with this car and it felt really good. I hit the tire coming into (turn) one and just had to keep going deeper into the corner every lap after that. Fortunately it had just enough left to hang on,” noted Lloyd after pulling into victory lane aboard the no. 1F Fox’s Auto-Dar’s Auto-Becks Recycling/Bicknell entry.
The pole-position start to pace a hungry 26-car pack was the perfect place for Lloyd to begin his quest for the elusive victory. He quickly opened up a commanding lead over Kane Bristol before Canadian invader A.J. Lewis looped his mount to force a slowdown on lap 10. The entire field was brought to a halt under red flag conditions when Central New York traveler Earl Rudy ended his night upside down after a turn two mishap.
Lloyd appeared in control back under green while Rob Bussey and Todd Henderson —looking to score his first win of the year on his sponsor’s night— diced for runner-up laurels ahead of Marcuccilli and Bristol at the midway mark of the headline 25-lapper. However, after the leader’s unexpected contact with a uke tire in the latter stages, Henderson and Marcuccilli were able to close the gap considerably and get within striking distance with just two to go.
Marcuccilli slid past Henderson on the white flag yet his last effort exiting turn four to overtake the race-long leader fell just a half car-length shy, putting Lloyd in the record book and keeping Marcuccilli out of it for another week as he continues in his first full season contending at the hallowed half-miler. Bussey and last week’s winner Paul Guererri filled out the final front-five.
Just as Welch was ready to settle for his fourth runner-up finish behind 6-time race winner Russ Marsden, the leader suddenly slowed on lap nine and pulled to the infield and the defending division points champion led the final six circuits to give him a track-best 46 Parts Plus Street Stock wins in the new millennium.
“We didn’t have the best car tonight, but in this deal the best car doesn’t always win,” figured Welch, after the Lyons chauffeur increased his lead over Marsden in search of an unprecedented eighth full-fender points crown at Canandaigua. “Great job by Jeremie (Corcoran, CMP promoter), great to race in front of a lot of people and be able to put on a good show for them every week.”
“This win feels real good after having a lot of problems lately. Broke a water pump during hot laps and didn’t get enough water in her for the heat so I shut it down and picked up the rear for the feature. This (win) definitely makes up for it,” added Welch, who now leads Marsden by 22 markers after 11 events.
CMP hosts its final program of the month when Saturday night activity returns June 30. A huge fireworks display closes out an early ‘Fourth of July’ celebration with 1-on-1 Spectator Drag Races joining a full card of Original Pizza Logs Big-Block Modified, Safety Awareness Solutions Sportsman, Parts Plus Street Stock, Pure Stock and New Legends Sportsman action. 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 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. Contact CMP Marketing Director Joe Bailey (585-500-8852, email@example.com) 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 23, 2012
Currier Plastics-Genny Light Nite
Original Pizza Logs Big-Block Modified
*Feature (35 laps): 1. 10j-Alan Johnson, 2. 7x-Steve Paine, 3. 56-Vince Vitale, 4. 3-Justin Haers, 5. 49-Billy Dunn, 6. 99j-Jimmy Phelps, 7. 88-Dave Allen, 8. 84-Gary Tomkins, 9. 10-Tim Currier, 10. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 11. 21a-Peter Britten, 12. 91-Chad Homan, 13. 27j-Danny Johnson, 14. 8r-Rob Bellinger, 15. 1jr-Mike O’Brien, 16. 8-Rich Scagliotta, 17. 48too-Dave Rauscher, 18. 21-Derrick Podsiadlo, 19. 57b-Colton Chappius, 20. 19w-Justin Wright, 21. 5*-Tyler Siri, 22. 2b-Ron Cartwright,Jr., 23. 4-Daryl Hilkert, 24. 3m-Henry Maier.
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Scagliotta, Dunn, Allen, Currier, Sheppard, Siri, Rauscher, Maier.
#2: Tomkins, Homan, Paine, O’Brien, Bellinger, Podsiadlo, Hilkert, Cartwright.
#3: Vitale, A.Johnson, Britten, Haers, Phelps, D.Johnson, Wright, Chappius.
Zander Cooper Memorial Dash (5 laps)
1. Haers($250), 2. Britten, 3. Sheppard, 4. D.Johnson.
Safety Awareness Solutions Sportsman Modified
*Feature (25 laps): 1. 1f-A.J. Lloyd, 2. m1-David Marcuccilli, 3. 18h-Todd Henderson, 4. 76-Rob Bussey, 5. 7-Paul Guererri, 6. 31-Kane Bristol, 7. 66-Dan Wiesner, 8. 22-Greg Cool, 9. 12g-Matt Guererri, 10. 25g-Nick Guererri, 11. 20x-Kevin Ridley, 12. 21-Justin Henderson, 13. 48b-Stu Sheppard, 14. 24a-A.J. Lewis, 15. 2-Loren Lincoln, 16. 1-Andrew Smith, 17. 16k-Kaitlin Pashina, 18. 28-Jeff Stevenson, 19. 8-Joe Cook Jr., 20. 30-Gary Hotelling, 21. 3m-Jimmy Maier, 22. 29g-Steve Gray, 23. 57b-Frank Burnell Jr., 24. 3a-Adam Hilton, 25. 16-Earl Rudy, 26. 17-John Wilber.
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Lloyd, T.Henderson, N.Guererri, Bussey, P.Guererri, Sheppard, Stevenson, Maier, Rudy.
#2: M.Guererri, Gray, Wiesner, Ridley, Pashina, Burnell, Lincoln, Smith, Hotelling.
#3: Marcuccilli, Bristol, Lewis, Cool, J.Henderson, Maier, Cook, Wilber(DNS).