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JANCZUK JOLTS FIELD: Matt Janczuk wins non-stop DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series: Central Region Feature at Land of Legends Raceway
Over 50 DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series drivers unloaded at Land of Legends Raceway for the final DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series: Central Region event of 2020. For many drivers, this was the final look at the Canandaigua, NY half-mile speedway before the Series returns on Saturday, October 10 for DIRTcar OktoberFAST presented by DIRTVision.
With a mere 20 points separating the top five in points, it was anyone’s guess as to who would come out on top. To decide it, 30 cars stomped on their Chevy Performance crate engine accelerators at the green flag and never stopped until the checkered flag fell after 30 laps of hardscrabble, high-intensity DIRTcar Racing.
At the end of 30 laps, the top three were Matt Janczuk, Brett Senek, and Zach Sobotka. Before this year these drivers did not have ten starts at Land of Legends Raceway between the three of them.
Janczuk took the green flag, held on to the lead, and never looked back to become 2020’s DIRTcar Sportsman Modified: Central Region champion.
“We had a good car. This thing has been awesome all year. It’s a bucket list thing winning the Series. I wish it hadn’t been a shortened season but when we ran we ran well,” said Janczuk.
“We’ll take this first-ever Series championship!”
Victory Lane seemed just out of reach in Canandaigua but the No. 33X driver looks like he has it figured out now.
“We have a bunch of seconds here and I just couldn’t figure this place out. We won last time but we don’t have many starts here,” noted Janczuk. Maybe six in my whole career. To get these wins is awesome.”
Although the race was green from flag to flag, it was not an easy win for the champ. He spent his time on the front stretch trying to make out where Kevin Root in his No. 34 was running in the field as he was second in points all while defending against Brett Senek and managing traffic. Root was also the defending Series and track champion so Janczuk knew he could come out of nowhere to the front.
“I could see the 111 and the 38 were on the leader board between me and Kevin Root who got up to fourth at the end,” Janczuk said. “I knew we had a good car. We struggled in lapped traffic a little bit and I didn’t know if we had gapped those guys are not.”
Runner-up Brett Senek normally races at Ransomville Speedway but with limited opportunities to race anywhere in 2020, Senek found himself making starts at Land of Legends Raceway. Senek chased Janczuk all night but just couldn’t get the break he needed to make a serious run.
“He was fast. I thought once we got into traffic that I would have something for him. I couldn’t get through the traffic like him,” noted Senek. “Once we caught some cars I thought I had a chance but he’s just really good.”
Zach Sobotka came in strong, leading the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship, and ready to go for a Series win. Unfortunately, the No. 38 team missed the Feature setup a little bit.
“We had a good car but it was a bit free. All around it was a pretty good night for us. I thought that once Janczuk hit traffic that the 111 and myself would catch him but we didn’t,” Sobotka said similarly to Senek. The stars seemed to be aligned for Matt Janczuk.
AJ Miller is the recipient of one free tire courtesy of Hoosier Racing tire.
DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series: Central Region 30-lap Feature Results
1. MATT JANCZUK 2. Brett Senek 3. Zach Sobotka 4. Kevin Root 5. Alan Fink 6. Paul Guererri 7. Kevin Ridley 8. Matt Guererri 9. Nick Guererri 10. Will Shields 11. AJ Lloyd 12. Zach Payne 13. Dalton Rombough 14. Payton Talbot 15. Andrew Buff 16. AJ Miller 17. Brian Fish 18. Garrison Krentz 19. Mike Fowler 20. Andrew Smith 21. Kane Bristol 22. Cody Wolfe 23. Kyle Inman 24. Joe Shields 25. Chris Mackey 26. Derek Webb 27. Dan Grignon 28. Zach George 29. Rocco Leone 30. Daryl Nutting
DIRTcar Series PR
Two-time Nut Up Pro Late Model champion Buddy Shepherd of Bakersfield earned his fourth win of the season, eclipsing 300 laps led for the year in the process, taking round #7 at Madera Speedway. The MAVTV-televised action also saw Bradley Erickson win his fourth 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series feature as well.
Blaine Rocha led the opening circuit of the 80-lap race from the outside pole before the first caution flew on lap three. Wyoming’s Lance Elliott spun in turn one and suffered race-ending front end damage.
2019 Madera Late Model champion Jason Aguirre spun in turn four for the next caution. Shepherd looked inside Rocha for the lead on several occasions after that restart, while Dylan Zampa of Napa battled with 2019 Nut Up Pro Late Model champion Austin Herzog of Clovis for fourth.
Herzog broke a radiator hose, covering turn one in fluid that collected 2019 Jr. Late Model champion Joey Iest, Seth Wise, and Ross Strmiska in a grinding crash. All three cars collected were eliminated, while Herzog attempted to continue after adding fluid.
Rocha picked the outside on the restart and ran side-by-side with Shepherd for numerous laps. Shepherd then tucked in on the outside behind Rocha for a pair of laps, before diving inside one more. Shepherd’s resilience paid off when he cleared Rocha on lap 25 for the lead.
Herzog slowed on lap 42 and exited the event with mechanical issues. Shepherd led Rocha, Zampa, Glen Cook and Shelden Cooper into the Mission Racing Style Tortilla Chips break on lap 50.
Emerging from the break for adjustments and MAVTV interviews, Shepherd charged ahead while Rocha fought off a challenge from Zampa. Zampa then battled with Cook for third throughout the closing stages of the race. Shepherd won his 13th televised Late Model race at Madera and extended his points lead, leading Rocha across the finish by 2.812 seconds. Cook, Zampa, and Ryan Philpott of Livermore rounded out the top-five.
Bradley Erickson of Phoenix moved closer to the championship in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series with his fourth win of the year. Ukiah’s Cole Brown paced time trials with a new track record at 14.937 seconds, lining up alongside Erickson on the third row for the 70-lap affair.
Jake Bollman led the way while outside pole sitter Holly Clark of Colorado fell back to fifth. The first caution on lap three saw both Hailey Liles and Washington’s Kasey Kleyn suffer damage in turn four. On the restart, Clark battled fellow Colorado driver Cassidy Hinds. The battle ended with a significant crash on the backstretch that sent Clark into the wall. She was uninjured but done for the night.
Brown beat Bollman to the line on the ensuing restart, with Brown penalized to the infield for a stop and go penalty. Erickson navigated through the action up to the second position, diamonding the corner as the looked for a way around Bollman. Erickson used a maneuver in turns three and four to take the lead on lap 39, leading the field into the lap 40 break.
Erickson led the rest of the race while battling continued behind him. Kale McClenny of Bakersfield went around the outside of Bollman for second with Bollman backpedaling to fourth. Brown got back on the lead lap and charged past Bollman and Kercie Jung in succession to take over fourth by lap 58.
Kabe McClenny fought a loose handling race car, opening the bottom for Brown to take third. McClenny and Hinds then collided for position to bring out the caution on lap 67.
Erickson drove ahead of Kale McClenny on the final three-lap shootout for the win, with Brown finishing third. Bollman finished fourth after a late battle with Jung, followed by Kleyn.
Jeffrey Erickson continued a perfect seven-for-seven season in the Bandolero portion of the Mini Cups vs. Bandoleros, taking the 25-lap event ahead of Bakersfield’s Caden Cordova and Joey Kennealy. Rebecca Dubie of Tracy won her sixth Mini Cup event in seven tries in 2020 as well.
For information about Madera Speedway, visit www.RaceMadera.com The 2020 season would not be possible without the support of Nut Up Industries, 51FIFTY LTM, Mission Foods, Race 2B Drug Free, Competition Carburetion, Hoosier Tires, and Sunoco Race Fuel.
Madera Racing on MAVTV airs Monday nights at 4pm Pacific with new 2020 episodes now airing. Round #3 of the Nut Up Pro Late Model Series airs on September 28th.
Madera Speedway PR
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):
● Started 29th, finished 29th.
● Suárez and his It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Parts & Service Camry was up to 24th by the end of the first lap but then settled back into his original grid position of 29th when the first caution flag of the race waved for a single-car incident on lap 28. He reported being good on corner entry, a little tight in the center and loose on late-corner exit. He pitted for four tires, fuel, right-side and left-front air pressure adjustments, and a track-bar adjustment. He restarted 29th when the race went back to green on lap 40.
● The stage went green from there to the end with Suárez crossing the line 29th after flirting with the top-25 early in the run. He asked for more grip but to not free up the rear of his Toyota any more than it already was. He pitted during the break for four tires, fuel, and air pressure adjustments.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):
● Started 30th, finished 26th.
● Suárez was running 27th and two laps down when the caution flag flew for a single-car incident on lap 232. He reported his It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Camry was extremely tight in the center of the corners, but he stayed on track during the caution to take the wave-around to within one lap down. He restarted 26th when the race went back to green on lap 241.
● The caution flag flew again for a single-car incident on lap 249, one lap short of the scheduled Stage 2 distance, with Suárez running 26th. He pitted during the break for tires, fuel, and track bar and air pressure adjustments. He pitted a second time to repair slight damage to the right front of his Toyota without losing any positions.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):
● Started 27th, finished 26th.
● The race stayed green until the caution flag flew for a multicar incident on lap 406 with Suárez running 25th and three laps down. It was a 146-lap green-flag run and the No. 96 It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota was turning among the best laps on the racetrack toward the end of that run on old tires. Suárez pitted for four tires and fuel enough to get to the scheduled finish, and no other changes as he reported the handling of his racecar was good. The race went back to green on lap 418 with Suárez 25th and three laps down.
● Suárez appeared headed to the team’s ninth top-25 of the season when, on lap 480, he made right-front contact with the No. 95 Toyota of Christopher Bell. The It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Parts & Service driver did his best to nurse his wounded racecar to the finish, dropping from 24th to 26th by the time the checkered flag flew.
Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Parts & Service Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:
“We deserved better than that. I don’t know what happened at the end there, but it should not have happened. We had a few things to work on at the start of the race. Then, in the middle part of the race, we were super tight for a long time until the Toyota Genuine Parts & Service car really started coming to me on old tires. We didn’t make any changes on the last stop and it was feeling pretty good until what happened there at the end. That’s Bristol, I guess. Let’s go to Las Vegas.”
● Kevin Harvick won tonight’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race for his 58th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his ninth of the season and third at Bristol. Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .310 of a second.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 50 laps.
● Only six of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Bristol with a 19-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule for Suárez and Gaunt Brothers Racing is the South Point 400 on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
- Stage One: 26th
- Stage Two: 24th
- Stage Three: 10th
- The No. 34 Love's Travel Stops | Delo Ford Mustang took the green flag on Saturday night from the 26th position at Bristol Motor Speedway. On Lap 25, McDowell radioed to his team to say that his race car was "tight across the middle," which prompted Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer to make the call for 4 tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment during the Competition Caution. The remainder of Stage 1 would stay green and the No. 34 Love's Travel Stops | Delo Ford Mustang would take the first green-and white-checkered flag from the 26th position. During the first Stage Break Caution, McDowell noted that he still needed "better turn across the middle of the corner to be able to run higher up" and would pit for 4 tires, an air pressure adjustment, a wedge adjustment and fuel.
- The majority of Stage 2 was run under green, however with less than 20 laps remaining, the caution flag was displayed. Under caution, McDowell told his team, "as I ran, I thought that I was okay. It just takes too long to get going." Blickensderfer would tell McDowell to "stay out" to take the wave-around and regain the lead lap and McDowell would go on to finish Stage 2 from the 24th position. McDowell would pit during the Stage 2 Caution for 4 tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.
- In the final stage of Saturday night's 500-lap race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Michael McDowell and his No. 34 Love's Travel Stops | Delo Ford Mustang would mount a strong charge towards the front. The caution flag would fly on Lap 406 to which McDowell told Blickensderfer, "I think we're close here, Drew" and the No. 34 would pit for 4 tires and fuel. Green flag racing would resume with less than 100 laps remaining and McDowell would continue his strong Stage 3 performance as the No. 34 Love's Travel Stops | Delo Ford Mustang would go on to take the checkered flag from the 10th position, earning McDowell a new career-best finish at Bristol Motor Speedway.
- "Well what an awesome night for our No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford Mustang. We got a Top-10 at Bristol; really proud of everybody at Front Row Motorsports. I'm so thankful to Bob Jenkins and all of my guys for giving me this opportunity. It's the best season that I've ever had and another Top-10 really helps to keep our momentum rolling. We also have a Ford in Victory Lane, so that's awesome. I'm just super excited to get a Top-10 at Bristol."
- Stage One: 17th
- Stage Two: 18th
- Stage Three: 20th
- John Hunter Nemechek started Saturday’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway in the 31st position. At the Competition Caution, he radioed to the team that his No. 38 Mystik Lubricants Ford Mustang was “free to start… lacking a little drive” and that he “felt like it was starting to come to” as his run went on. Crew Chief Seth Barbour called him to pit road for 4 tires, fuel and track bar and packer adjustments. By the time Nemechek finished Stage 1 in 17th place, he said he “started off free; built tighter.” Expecting the track to tighten up as the race went into the evening, Nemechek would pit at the Stage Break Caution for 4 tires and fuel.
- Nemechek drove his way towards the top 20 throughout most of Stage 2. When a caution came out on Lap 232, he noted that his No. 38 Mystik Lubricants machine was a “little free off, snug center… I get tight off the bottom.” After going a lap down in the previous run, he stayed out to take the wave-around and would go on to finish Stage 2 in 18th place.
- Partway through the Final Stage of the night at Bristol Motor Speedway, Nemechek reported that he was picking up a slight vibration in his No. 38 Mystik Lubricants Ford Mustang. He was able to stay out on track until a caution came on Lap 406, where he noted that he was “free center, struggling with drive off.” Barbour called him to pit road for 4 tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Nemechek would go on to take the checkered flag in 20th place.
- “The crew put together a solid top-15, maybe even top-10 car tonight at Bristol. Our No. 38 Mystik Lubricants Ford Mustang was decent on the long run, but we struggled a little with drive off. After the first stage, it was looking like we were going to have a decent night. We tried a couple of different adjustments on pit road tonight – some of them helped, some not as much. Overall, we wanted to be able to finish a few spots higher. Thanks to our partners at Mystik Lubricants for coming on board with us this season. We'll debrief this week and come back ready for Las Vegas.”
Ryan Newman battled an ill-handling machine and had to overcome a pair of mishaps in the 500-lap night race at Bristol Saturday night to finish 25th in the Guaranteed Rate Ford. The race featured just five total cautions as multiple cars finished off the pace in the final race in the round of 16 for the NASCAR Playoffs.
Newman drew the 25th starting spot for the 500-lap event. The first yellow flag would come out at lap 28 just prior to a scheduled competition caution, with Newman running 27th and reporting the handling was tight all the way through in his No. 6 machine. Following service on pit road, the South Bend, Indiana, native was caught speeding leaving pit road, putting him tail end of the field on the restart.
The track position made it difficult to move forward, leading to Newman finishing 30th and one lap down at the end of stage one. He rolled off 29th for the stage two restart, with just one yellow flag separating the stage at lap 233. He went on to take the wave around under that break, putting him back to one lap off the pace in the 25th position.
As the second stage came to a close, the No. 6 was spun from behind, ending the stage for Newman in 27th. With just one remaining yellow in the closing 200 laps, the deficit was too deep for Newman to overcome as he finished 25th.
Newman and the No. 6 team return to the track next weekend on the West Coast at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Race coverage Sunday night begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Coverage can also be heard on PRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.
The 6th Annual KerbyStrong event was a successful one despite the fact that COVID-19 and the Coronavirus pandemic nearly ruined it. Kerby Damery once said, "Don't worry about the things you can't change." One thing the KerbyStrong Foundation couldn't change was the financial support from the dozens of sponsors who have been with the program for the previous five years. Instead of worrying about it, they agreed to put on the best show and have the best support they could. Kerby Damery would have been proud that the foundation followed along with one of his quotes on this night and during this 2020 racing season.
The big race of the night was the Pro Late Model division where Springfield's Jake Little led wire-to-wire in the 30-lap feature event and pocketed the $1,000-to-win prize. Little's race was won from the front row, opposite to the pole sitter and last year's winner of the race Chris Dick. The race was solidly ran by the 14-car field with only two yellow flags involved, laps 11 and 27. During those green flag runs, Little dominated the race and used the top groove to pull away from Dick and Guy Taylor.
Kerby Damery's son Blake Damery ran the race from the sixth starting position. A lengthy back-and-forth battle with Cody Maguire resulted in Damery making the pass and eventually moving to fourth on a pass of Donny Koehler. Damery changed up his numbers for the night. Usually sporting the #10 on his car, the same number of his dad, he went with the #66, which was the number of Kerby's favorite racer growing up.
One of the Macon Speedway divisions featured its final night at the track for 2020 as the Sportsman division ran its final 15-lap event of the year. Dennis Vandermeersch was clinching the championship with his appearance on the track as Scott Landers was not able to run his car on the final night. With Vandermeersch already winning the championship, he had one more goal in mind, take the checkered flag in the KerbyStrong Sportsman feature. Starting behind Jim Farley III from the second row, Vandermeersch needed a lap to catch Farley and sprint out to the lead. Ethan Schnapp and Wes O'Dell battled for second place as the race continued along. Vandermeersch was practically unstoppable and won all by one feature at Macon Speedway for the 2020 season. For Vandermeersch, he has won four of the six Sportsman races during the KerbyStrong events including three-straight wins.
Another solid night of racing for Tommy Sheppard, Jr. in the BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds. From playing from behind in the points standings, Sheppard has made strides over the last few weeks to cut into the lead by Pro Modified driver Billy Knebel. Each week Sheppard continues to come and race and win, the points deficit shrinks. It shrunk again Saturday night as Sheppard took another checkered flag and finished four spots ahead of Knebel who moved into fifth place at the finish line due to a fourth turn collision between two cars.
With the leader and second place car running away from the group, the excitement was going for third. Danny Smith, who started ninth, moved into the third place spot with Curt Rhodes and Jacob Steinkoenig also in pursuit. Knebel was on the outside looking in. Rhodes and Steinkoenig connected off the final turn and jarred together to allow Knebel into the fifth spot ahead behind Rhodes and ahead of Steinkoenig.
Archer's Alley Street Stock feature race winner was one happy man. Guy Taylor has been a friend and supporter of the KerbyStrong Foundation and the team since its inception and has been racing the X7 car in memory of Larry "Bub" Russell, Jr., who passed away just before the start of the season. The car has been a work in progress all season as it finally got dialed in and ran as Taylor and team has wanted it to all season. Running at the top, Taylor dashed around the 1/5th mile dirt oval and looked good doing it. Second place car Jaret Duff and Terry Reed had nothing on him. Duff would fall victim to his car slowing down and pulled off the track just six laps into the 15-lapper. The race was on for Taylor and Reed to finish and it ended in that order.
Knebel made a comeback in the Pro Modified feature and outlasted Kyle Helmick and Dalton Ewing for the win. The leader in the standings stayed ahead the group of cars chasing him down from the bottom of the track. Ewing was the only driver to really test the top of the track during that feature race. It worked enough to take him from a fifth place starting spot to a second place finish.
The night was capped off with Brady Reed taking another Hornets feature win. Reed won the 15-lap event from the pole position. Billy Mason started front row outside and took second place while Mike Eskew finished in third after starting tenth place.
One night of racing remains at Macon Speedway for its 75th Anniversary Season. An exciting six division night of racing will close out one of the oddest and most unique seasons in track history. The Pro Late Models, BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds, Archer's Alley Street Stocks, Pro Modifieds, Micro Sprints Presented by Bailey Chassis and the Hornets will crown their champions next week in the season finale. Macon Speedway thanks the KerbyStrong Foundation for agreeing to put on the 6th Annual KerbyStrong event and thanks to Cromwell Media Group radio station 98.1 GRIZ-FM for sponsoring the night's racing action.
Macon Speedway PR
As a winner and top runner in weekly action with the Hobby Stock division Trisha Connolly knows her way around Mahoning Valley Speedway quite well.
On Saturday afternoon she made good use of her track talent by claiming victory in the Junk Car race.
Junk Car races have become a popular attraction over the past few seasons running at a number of local county fairs and related venues. The tracks are tight small dirt ovals, however, drivers got the opportunity to test their skills on the ¼-mile paved Mahoning Valley Speedway and by the end of the day no one fared as well as Connolly.
She not only showed her prowess during the 30-lap feature by leading every lap after starting from the pole by winning the first of three heat races but it was how she won the prelim that also added to her merit.
In a twist of the norm the heats where contested in the opposite direction with drivers racing the track clockwise which put everyone at a drawback but for Connolly it did not deter her in the least, winning with a thrilling last lap pass.
Charles Holland and Michael Klotz, first time Mahoning racers, were also heat winners.
When it came time for the feature a coin toss determined the direction by which the cars would race and the result was to proceed going counter-clockwise.
The grid was set heads up from the heat finishes and once the initial green waved Connolly set sail as the leader with Carl Altemose making chase.
Despite a bevy of lapped traffic Connolly never turned a wheel wrong and most times stayed ahead by a few car lengths, ultimately picking up the victory uncontested by the time she reached the checkers.
Altemose would hold on for second and beat his daughter, Kassidy Altemose, in the process.
The event was run under the direction of Old School Promotions. A field of 38 entered the contest and although Connolly proved to be the car to beat, there was still plenty of close and exciting racing throughout.
Mahoning Valley Speedway returns to action on Friday and Saturday, October 2 & 3 with the final event of the Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fames Series, staging the Hal Renninger 99-lap Tribute and will feature the Race of Champions Modified Tour in their final point’s race of the season.