Guererri, Sparks, Pangrazio & Burnell Beat Curfew Saturday At Canandaigua
Big-Block Modifieds headline July 22 mid-week special, return for double features August 1
*Cory Sparks victory lane photo attachment by Don Romeo
Canandaigua, NY – July 18, 2020 – Tom Skibinski, Land of Legends Raceway PR
Motorsports returned to Land Of Legends Raceway for the last ‘Saturday Spectacular’ of the month yet after an elapse of more than two weeks nothing has really changed. At least in the world of Speed Connection Sportsman and Street Stocks at the Ontario County Fairgrounds.
Open-wheel standout Matt Guererri and full-fender veteran Josh Pangrazio continued to run as hot as the 90-degree heat in wine country, Guererri posting a division-high fourth Sportsman victory while Pangrazio made it three straight in the Street Stock ranks. Guererri won the last Sportsman race run on July 2 and Pangrazio captured the last Street Stock feature held on June 27.
Cory Sparks kicked off the 2020 SuperGen Products with Champion Power Equipment CRSA Sprint Car Series with a narrow victory over local favorite Darryl Ruggles and Tyler Burnell returned to victory lane in Hobby Stock action to close out Geneva Club Beverage Night in Canandaigua.
The 35-lap Pepsi Big-Block Modified main, along with the 16-car Sportsman B-Main, fell victim to the 11 p.m. curfew with LOLR promoter Paul Cole creating a unique DIRT doubleheader on Sat., Aug. 1.
“As a promoter you spend every waking moment trying to prepare a racetrack and no matter how much heart, soul and money you pour into the effort things will inevitably go sideways,” stated Cole, following his candid public announcement made in response to the unexpected Saturday night setback.
“Sometimes it’s the weather, sometimes it’s the government. Sometimes it’s a bunch of little things, sometimes it’s one big issue and sometimes that happens multiple times in a night. No matter how little control you may have, the promoter will always be the pin cushion. It comes with the job. Last night that happened all in about 30 minutes. What was shaping up as a great night of racing with fans, went off the cliff almost without warning. I’m not here to make excuses nor seek absolution, just let the racers and fans know we will be working to correct them.”
“During this entire COVID issue the Town of Canandaigua has been very helpful in keeping racing alive and fans back in the stands. There was no way we could break curfew and keep our progress forward. I know that isn’t very helpful to our dedicated Big-Block class and the fans that came to see them. We will be working to adjust the schedule to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Thankfully it hasn’t happened before but tonight it did happen,” Cole added.
Despite the night’s program ultimately slowed by four red flag situations and a viewing audience suffering through a server failure by the LOLTV supplier, over 120 race teams helped put on another exciting show for those both at home and in attendance.
“The track was tough for everybody,” remarked Guererri, 30, after parking his bent #12G Tradition Automotive Group-Product 9-Mohawk Northeast/Bicknell entry in the winner’s circle for the 10th time in his career circling the hallowed half-miler. “It’s fast and challenging for everybody. To stay off everybody is a job in itself.”
With the ‘Mug Bug’ making its season debut pacing the 26-car Sportsman field, Guererri had a tough assignment as the Waterloo pilot filed in 16th on the starting grid for the 25-lapper. Pole-sitter Nick Cooper and rookie Emmett Waldron swapped the lead early while top point chasers Kevin Root and Kane Bristol made unplanned pit stops following lap three incidents that kept scorers reeling.
Looking for his second win of the weekend, young Alex Payne grabbed the top spot from Waldron on lap six and after a pair of slow downs for minor mishaps held a comfortable lead. A big shake-up in the running order came on a lap 11 restart when no less than a half-dozen cars were involved in a turn two pile-up that necessitated the final red flag of the night.
Waldron bounced off the inside berm exiting turn one and contacted Mike Fowler forcing Fowler into a slow spin to lead off. With machines ducking high and low in the aftermath, the resulting chain-reaction pile-up eventually caught the cars of Sam Hoxie, Zach Payne, Brian Fish, Nathan Peckham and Chris Mackey, with Mike Phelps ending up atop the Fish mount. No injuries were reported yet nearly every car involved was unable to return.
Payne continued to pace the pack back under green but the yellow lights returned after mechanical woes ended the night for Cooper with 11 laps complete. By the halfway point Guererri had survived all the turmoil and cracked the top-five while two-time winner Zach Sobotka moved in to challenge Payne. Guererri remained relentless, grabbing third from Paul Guererri on lap 16 then securing second from Sobotka three more times around.
A final caution on lap 20 for the slowing mount of A.J. Lloyd put Guererri on Payne’s bumper to set up the thrilling finish. Guererri edged ahead underneath exiting turn two on lap 21 but Payne never flinched and maintained the advantage. Gibbz finally inched ahead on lap 22 and led by the same margin with two to go, eventually opening up a seven car-length distance over the talented teen at the stripe.
Sobotka and Paul Guererri crossed the line next while only the checkered flag thwarted the late-race charges managed by Bristol (5th) and Root (6th) as the clock struck 11.
“I saw Zach Sobotka go to the top in (turns) three and four and figured it was pretty good out there,” Guererri noted. “A little rough on top and I wasn’t too good getting through there but I found a line that worked. Got up to second and saw that Alex was running the top. He did everything a leader could do to try and hold on to the lead. I showed him my nose underneath and he was better than me on top so when he happened to go down low it surprised me. I’d rather be on top as that’s what got me to the front so that worked out. He filled the void down there and I ended up getting around him. He raced me hard and clean, you can’t ask for anything more than that,” Guererri added.
The CRSA Sprint Car Series A-Main was just as dramatic with the duel between Sparks and Ruggles lasting the final half of the 20-lap race. These winged warriors traded paint and the lead throughout with Sparks outlasting the Canandaigua kingpin in the 10-mile dash.
“Have to apologize to Darryl, I definitely did get him, got the inside water a little bit and slid up to him,” divulged Sparks, 33, after the Edinburg chauffeur pulled away for his first-ever victory at the Land of Legends over Canandaigua’s winningest sprint car driver. “Definitely got to apologize to him. But he paid me back, from his end he didn’t know what happened. As far as I’m concerned it was just a racing deal.”
The CRSA Sprint Car Series lid-lifter attracted a solid field of 27 winged machines for the group’s 15th season-opener with all but two taking the initial green flag. Aaron Jacobus caught the right-rear tire of rookie Ethan Gray’s car in his qualifying heat and flipped over on the front stretch after contact with Josh Pieniazek to send the Corning driver packing without a single lap complete.
Feature race leader Thomas Radivoy was chased early by row two starters Sparks and Ruggles, losing the top spot to Sparks on lap four then dropping to third behind Ruggles with six complete. After a three-wide battle in traffic at the midway point, Sparks and Ruggles swapped the lead on lap 11 amidst a flurry of contact that kept the crowd buzzing.
Sparks stretched out the advantage aboard his orange no. 1 Adirondack Harley-Davidson Motorcyles/FKR sprinter until a caution put Ruggles back in his shadow with five laps to go. More contact among the leaders exiting turn four this time gave Ruggles the lead on lap 17 yet per CRSA rules reverting back to the last completed lap Sparks was given back the point when Dan Craun slowed in turn one to incur the final yellow flag.
Sparks out-jumped Ruggles on the ensuing restart and went unchallenged the final three laps, moving out to a convincing 10 car-length victory margin under starter Scott Hixson’s checkered flag.
“We had a great car tonight,” beamed Sparks, following his seventh career CRSA Series triumph worth $750. “Gotta thank all my sponsors and crewman Jeff. And especially my father, he came up with a last-minute idea for a set-up change and it was definitely the way to.”
“This year it was letting the hair grow, maybe (beard) is lucky and maybe I shouldn’t shave it. Will have to discuss that later,” smiled Sparks, who let his beard grow last season until picking up his first win of 2019.
The SuperGen Products with Champion Power Equipment CRSA Sprint Car Series returns to LOLR on Sat., Aug. 29, while the next tour stop is currently scheduled out of state at Penn Can Speedway in Susquehanna, Pa. on July 24.
Come feature time for the Street Stocks, Pangrazio got any drama out of the way early, taking away the lead for good from Parker Smith on lap eight and building up an insurmountable straightaway advantage over the remaining dozen circuits.
“She was definitely hooked up tonight,” declared Pangrazio, turning 37 since his last visit to the LOLR winner’s circle in June. “Been tuning on it, getting it faster and faster. Would’ve been even faster but I ripped the right-rear brake line off this thing just before taking the lead coming off turn four and we had to restart in second.”
“So I had to learn how to drive with no brakes … or very little. As soon as I felt the (brake) pedal was soft I just compensated and drove with no brakes so that way if I needed brakes in lap traffic I wouldn’t push all the brake fluid out,” Pangrazio said.
Smith overtook Jason Quigley for the lead on lap seven and after starting 11th Pangrazio stole third on lap four in a gritty three-wide maneuver rounding turn three. Pangrazio shot past Smith on lap eight yet when a caution flag flew for Jared Hill going off the track high in turn two, Smith was moved back to the point.
Pangrazio wasted no time regaining the lead on the restart and despite the lack of brakes in his red #7 Skyline RV Sales & Service-Houseman Refrigeration-Impressions Concrete Ford Mustang, the Oakfield wheelman was virtually unstoppable after that. Smith held off Jimmy Grant at the line while 19th starting Quinn Sutherland and all-time LOLR stock car winner Mike Welch rounded out the front-five.
“Definitely difficult to get through lapped traffic with no brakes, you never know where they’re gonna be and you want to ride the brakes a little bit in the center of the corners,” added Pangrazio, after padding his division points lead with win number three in five starts. “Finally bought some new tires, we were (running) on last year’s tires up until last week.”
The Hobby Stocks have staged four events and Saturday night second-generation stalwart Burnell became the first repeat winner in the entry level class.
“We had all winter to build a new hot rod, decided to put it into victory lane twice this year and might as well keep doing it again,” said Burnell, 18, who also extended his division points lead steering the potent gray no. 57jr. Castle Harvester-Touhey Insurance Chevrolet Camaro.
Shawn Lloyd out-dragged front row partner Brian Lloyd to lead lap one before recent winner Casey Wagner pulled ahead the next time around. Burnell stormed into second with three laps scored and after hawking Wagner forged the final lead change low out of turn four just shy of the halfway mark of the 15-lapper.
A caution near the end for Jim Smith in his first race of the season tightened the field for a two-lap dash to the finish with Burnell holding off Wagner by a decisive four car-lengths at the wire. Also making their first appearances of 2020, Josh Oles and Jim Claypool crossed the line next followed by Shawn Lloyd.
“This car is more stable, more smooth, and I know when to get on and off the gas, know when to be smart,” Burnell stated. “I don’t have a lot of power, just being smoother than everybody else. Don’t mean to sound cocky but I enjoy doing this and having a lot of fun.”
Originally scheduled for July 2 then postponed three weeks due to the lingering effects of COVID-19, the Super DIRTcar Series event for touring Big-Block Modifieds on July 22 has officially been scrapped and will not be made up as per joint discussions between Land of Legends Raceway management, SDS staff and World Racing Group brass. This cancellation comes on the heels of ongoing uncertainty in regard to guidelines put forth by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Undaunted by the loss of the lucrative ‘Liberty 100’ series shootout, the show will still go on. And in honor of LOLR Promoter Paul Cole’s own 50th birthday next weekend, the milestone celebration will begin early on Wed., July 22 as Honeoye Auto Parts presents a terrific tripleheader featuring a 50-Lap $5,000-to-win Pepsi Big-Block Modified main, 25-Lap $1,500-to-win Speed Connection Sportsman finale and 20-Lap $500-to-win Street Stock special.
Those wishing to help celebrate Paul’s birthday are encouraged to donate toward Big-Block lap sponsorships which will be available at $100 each and come with a complimentary Pit Pass.
There will be no racing on July 25 in lieu of the originally scheduled Ontario County Fair as the coronavirus recently forced officials throughout the entire state to cancel their annual outdoor agricultural meets. The 177th Ontario Co. Fair is now scheduled for July 27-31, 2021, as announced by current Fair Board President Casey Kunes.
Following a pair of ‘Saturday Spectaculars’ on Aug. 1 (double Big-Block features) and Aug. 8, the Super DIRTcar Series is on the docket for the 2nd Annual Gerald Haers Memorial slated for Thr., Aug. 13. In this unique event, 20-Lap qualifying heat line-ups will set up by Hoosier Tire weekly points.
The third SDS installment arrives on Sat., Sept. 29 with the ‘Finger Lakes 100’ headlining the 2020 season-finale. A 50-Lap DIRTcar Sportsman Series race and 35-Lap Les Whyte Top Gun Shootout for Street Stocks fills the card that also includes the final appearance by the Hobby Stock division.
Social distancing continues to be a priority at the speedway and facial coverage is required when that can not be accomplished. For those unable to be in attendance, LIVE video coverage will be provided for each scheduled race date and can be viewed on Land of Legends TV for $15.
Land of Legends Raceway Event Summary – July 18, 2020
Geneva Club Beverage presents Saturday Spectacular
Pepsi Big-Block Modified
*Feature (35 laps/$2,000-to-win): Curfew-delayed to Sat., Aug. 1
Starting Line-Up: 1. 22g-Gil Tegg Jr., 2. 31m-Jimmy Maier, 3. 77-Lance Dusett, 4. 11j-James Sweeting, 5. m1-Dave Marcuccilli, 6. 23-Kyle Coffey, 7. 19w-Justin Wright, 8. 7f-Matt Farnham, 9. 12x-Dillon Groover, 10. 49-Billy Dunn, 11. 42p-Pat Ward, 12. 19-Tim Fuller, 13. 3-Justin Haers, 14. 63-Adam Roberts, 15. 98h-Jimmy Phelps, 16. 25-Erick Rudolph, 17. 99L-Larry Wight, 18. 82-Ryan Susice, 19. 28p-Eldon Payne,Jr., 20. 21-Derrick Podsiadlo, 21. 14ny-Daniel Johnson Jr., 22. 21x-Eric Williams, 23. 33j-Robbie Johnston III, 24. 44-Russell Morseman, 25. 14j-Alan Johnson.
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Tegg, Farnham, Rudolph, Haers, Marcuccilli, Susice, Payne, Williams, A.Johnson.
#2: Coffey, Groover, Ward, Roberts, Wight, Maier, Podsiadlo, Johnston.
#3: Dusett, Phelps, Dunn, Fuller, Sweeting, Wright, D.Johnson, Morseman.
Speed ConnectionSportsman Modified
*Feature (25 laps): 1. 12g-Matt Guererri ($750), 2. 70a-Alex Payne, 3. 38-Zach Sobotka, 4. 7-Paul Guererri, 5. 31-Kane Bristol, 6. 34-Kevin Root, 7. 20x-Kevin Ridley, 8. 25g-Nick Guererri, 9. 410-Mike Fowler, 10. 56-Garrison Krentz, 11. 61-Andrew Jacobson, 12. 00-Sam Hoxie, 13. 4-Emmett Waldron, 14. 11n-Ricky Newton, 15. 9-Tim Baker, 16. 117jr.-C.J. Castelletti, 17. 1f-A.J. Lloyd, 18. 35-Nick Cooper, 19. 27-Brian Fish, 20. 3r-Chris Mackey, 21. 99m-Mike Phelps, 22. 7z-Zach Payne, 23. 90-Nathan Peckham, 24. 113jr.-Frank Guererri Jr., 25. 132-Dalton Martin, 26. 111-Brett Senek.
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Jacobson, Castelletti, N.Guererri, Baker, Root, Z.Payne, Pavlick, Corcoran, Lincoln, Years, Marshall.
#2: Ridley, Cooper, M.Guererri, F.Guererri, Hoxie, Mackey, Newton, Butler, Borden, Stoughtenger.
#3: P.Guererri, Waldron, D.Martin, Fowler, Lloyd, Manitta, Bristol, Tresidder, R.Martin, Baldwin, Smith.
#4: A.Payne, Sobotka, Krentz, Fish, Senek, Phelps, Peckham, Germinio, Vinson, Sam.
Consolations (8 laps)
#1: Mackey, Z.Payne, Newton, Pavlick, Corcoran, Stoughtenger, Butler, Lincoln, Years, Marshall, Borden.
#2: Bristol, Phelps, Peckham, Germinio, R.Martin, Manitta, Sam, Vinson, Tresidder, Baldwin, Smith.
DNQ (16): 04-Eric Years, 04-Zack Sams, 2-Loren Lincoln, 6-Cody Manitta, 7s-Torrey Stoughtenger, 10g-Austin Germinio, 16-Brandon Butler, 18p-Casey Pavlick, 21-R.J. Tresidder, 23b-Timmy Borden Jr., 28-Stephen Marshall, 64-Tyler Corcoran, 74-Kelly Smith, 92-Rick Martin, 93-Tyler Vinson, 327-Brett Baldwin.
SuperGen Products with Champion Power Equipment CRSA Sprint Car Series
*Feature (20 laps): 1. 1hd-Cory Sparks ($750), 2. 48jr.-Darryl Ruggles, 3. 3a-Jeff Trombley, 4. 7-Andy Jacobus, 5. 53-Bobby Parrow, 6. 75-Brandyn Griffin, 7. 38-Jason Whipple, 8. 1q-Thomas Radivoy, 9. 25w-Dana Wagner, 10. 48a-Alysha Bay, 11. 13t-Trevor Years, 12. 121-Steve Glover, 13. j27-John Cunningham, 14. 41j-Josh Flint, 15. 112-Mike VanPelt, 16. 410-Jerry Sehn Jr., 17. 9k-Kyle Pierce, 18. 56v-Ronnie Greek, 19. 56-Josh Pieniazek, 20. 18c-Dan Craun, 21. 77-Matt Rotz, 22. 99-Mike Kiser, 23. 17e-Ethan Gray, 24. 56d-Peter Dance, 25. 22m-Matt Priscott, 2-Aaron Jacobus(DNS), 66-Erik Karlsen(DNS).
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Parrow, Trombley, Radivoy, An.Jacobus, Cunningham, Craun, VanPelt, Dance, Priscott.
#2: Gray, Years, Griffin, Kiser, Sehn, Greek, Bay, Ar.Jacobus, Pieniazek.
#3: Whipple, Glover, Ruggles, Sparks, Wagner, Pierce, Rotz, Karlsen, Flint.
*Feature (20 laps): 1. 7-Josh Pangrazio, 2. 55p-Parker Smith, 3. 36-Jimmy Grant, 4. 57j-Quinn Sutherland, 5. 00-Mike Welch, 6. 64-Bob Buono, 7. 5c-Rick Crego, 8. 25b-Marc Minutolo, 9. 34q-Jason Quigley, 10. 93-Jared Hill, 11. 122-Chris Beyea, 12. 3-Patrick Hobbs, 13. 92x-Carl Cleveland, 14. 9r-Roger Bush, 15. 60-Brian Wesseldine, 16. 12-John Burritt, 17. 74-Ronald “Bundy” Metcalf, 18. 55b-Blane Smith, 36s-Seth Steele(DNS), 5-Ryan Rozelle(DNS).
Heats (6 laps)
#1: P.Smith, Quigley, Hill, Grant, Crego, Minutolo, Metcalf, Cleveland, Wesseldine, Sutherland.
#2: Pangrazio, Buono, Welch, B.Smith, Hobbs, Beyea, Bush, Burritt, Steele, Rozelle(DNS).
*Feature (15 laps): 1. 57jr.-Tyler Burnell, 2. 42-Casey Wagner, 3. 1-Josh Oles, 4. 18x-Jim Claypool, 5. 86L-Shawn Lloyd, 6. 13b-Brian Lloyd, 7. 12s-Jim Smith, 8. 97-Kenny Hunt.
NEXT EVENT: Honeoye Auto parts presents Paul Cole Birthday Spectacular, July 22 @ 7pm; Big-Block Modified-50L $5,000-to-win/Sportsman-25L $1,500-to-win/Street Stock-20L $500-to-win. *No Racing Sat., July 25.