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Justin Haers’ Land of Legends Legacy Continues with Third Track Title, Growth of Gerald Haers Memorial

Justin Haers and Larry Wight

The Phelps, NY driver is the fourth driver to win three consecutive track championships

Justin Haers’ legacy at Land of Legends Raceway continues to grow after a history-making 2023 season.

The Phelps, NY driver became the fourth driver to win three consecutive Big Block Modified track championships at the iconic facility, joining Bob McCreadie, Steve Paine, and Matt Sheppard.

Sharing this accolade with those Legends is something Haers cherishes.

“It means a lot,” Haers said. “Just to have your name with some of the best to ever do it is something special. I didn’t really know that those guys were the only ones to win three in a row. I didn’t really have an idea until the last few weeks before the season ended. 

“It kind of put a little bit more pressure on me to get it done because I really wanted to make it happen.”

One of the reasons for that pressure is the stout field of Big Block Modified drivers who race weekly at Land of Legends, including Alan Johnson, Danny Johnson, and Super DIRTcar Series star Peter Britten.

Haers’ consistency earned him his third track title, with 12 top 10s in 13 races, besting Alan Johnson by 49 points—someone he watched growing up.

“[Land of Legends] has always had great talent there,” Haers said. “Obviously, with Alan and Danny, my dad was a sponsor of their cars for a number of years. (I have) great respect for those guys just watching those guys growing up. I never thought I’d be racing against them, even though I wanted to. I just never knew if it would ever happen or not. It’s really cool to race with those guys.”

His on-track accolades aren’t the only reason his legacy is growing at Land of Legends. The Gerald Haers Memorial, an event in his dad’s honor, has become one of the premier DIRTcar Big Block Modified events.

Last season’s event won the Outstanding Event of the Year award from Racing Promotion Monthly, beating out prestigious events like the Eldora Sprint Million at Eldora Speedway.

The award was something Haers, who accepted on behalf of the family and Land of Legends Raceway in Florida, never expected.

Justin Haers (Right), accepts Outstanding Event of the Year Award from Joe Skotnicki (Left)/ Racing Promotions Monthly photo

“Never in a million years did I think that we’d win it because it’s going against some prestigious events,” Haers said. “To be named that was definitely a true honor. Especially for the people who put forth a ton of effort to make this happen. My nephew Jared, and Nick Guerreri, put countless hours into getting lap sponsors and contingency sponsors to make this event truly unique to the Northeast. 

“There’s not really a race out there that does the same thing this thing does, just paying out bonuses and lap money. There was a lot of money in contingencies and stuff, like longest tow, front row, Heat Race winners, all sorts of cool stuff. It’s great to hear people when they leave this race stop at my trailer and say I can’t wait to come back next year.”

With the fifth annual Gerald Haers Memorial making history, Haers said he’s excited for its legacy to grow even more in 2024. He also hopes to join Sheppard, Erick Rudolph, and Chris Hile as drivers who’ve won the event.

“It’s been a real honor,” Haers said. “Every year, we try to make it bigger, badder, and better. It’s hard to believe [my dad] has been gone for six years. But we want to keep making it grow, keep making it better, and hopefully, I can get a win.”

Land of Legends Raceway will kick off 2024 with its 71st season opener on Saturday, April 27. Fans can watch all the action from Land of Legends, including the sixth annual Gerald Haers Memorial, live on DIRTVision, either online or with the DIRTVision app.

The track will also host two Super DIRTcar Series events in 2024. The first will be on Thursday, July 4 for the Stars and Stripes Spectacular. Then, the Series returns on Tuesday, Aug. 13 for the middle portion of SummerFAST.

For more on the DIRTcar Northeast, follow the DIRTcar Facebook page and the Series’ X/(Twitter) page.

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