Geneva,NY — The 2009 curtain on the DIRTcar Northeast season has finally come down with the annual banquet for the Canandaigua Speedway/Cayuga County Fair Speedway last Saturday night at Club 86 in Geneva, New York
A crowd of better than 200 people saw veteran Alan Johnson of Phelps, NY celebrate his ninth career Cayuga County Fair Speedway championship. AJ made it two in a row and three out of the last four years. When asked, Alan didn’t have any idea on how many championships he had won at the DIRTcar Northeast flagship track but it was a hard fought title that went down to the final night of the season.
“We had a good car but we started off the season kinda lame,” said Johnson after receiving his award. “Things got better as the season went along.”
Alan is one of the more successful DIRTcar Northeast racers in it’s 38 year history. He’s currently owns the record for most wins by a DIRTcar Modified driver and has won every major event the organization has ever hosted. He’ll continue on in 2010 and will no doubt be near the top when the season comes to an end in September.
At Canandaigua Speedway, Matt Sheppard won his first career DIRTcar Modified title at the “Land of Legends” and did it in dominating fashion. Sheppard, of Waterloo, NY, won six times at the half mile Ontario County oval and disrupted Steve Paine’s nine consecutive titles at Canandaigua Speedway.
Sheppard won 20 times on the DIRTcar Northeast circuit in 2009 and finished second in overall DIRTcar Modified points just four behind champion Brett Hearn.
“Our 2009 season was really good,” said Sheppard. “Jeff Brownell Sr gave us a great car all year long. The one thing I really liked about Canandaigua Speedway was that I started the season with a win and ended the season with a win. I thought we caught a lot of people by surprize”
Sheppard also mentioned Steve Paine.
“I got my start with Steve Paine. To win this championship nine times in a row is incredible.”
Sheppard already has a good start to the 2010 season, winning a pair of feature events at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, FL in February along with the Florida championship.
CAYUGA COUNTY FAIR SPEEDWAY TOP TEN IN DIRTCAR MODIFIED POINTS: ALAN JOHNSON, Jimmy Phelps, Matt Sheppard, Steve Paine, Ryan Phelps, Jeff Brownell Jr, Justin Haers, Derrick Podsiadlo, Billy Dunn, Chad Homan.
CANANDAIGUA SPEEDWAY TOP TEN IN DIRTCAR MODIFIED POINTS: MATT SHEPPARD, Steve Paine, Gary Tompkins, Justin Haers, Charlie Donk, Chad Homan, Jeff Brownell Jr, Derrick Podsiadlo, Rob Bellinger, Dave Rauscher.
Tom Juhl Jr didn’t win a feature event in 2009 but it didn’t matter as he finally took his first DIRTcar Spotsman championship at Cayuga County Fair Speedway.
“We’ve been at it for a long time and we’ve finished second in points several times. I’m glad that we were finally able to pull it off,” said Juhl.
At Canandaigua Speedway, Ryan Susice won twice but was consistant enough to win his first “Land of Legends” title.
“It was a season that couldn’t have been scripted any better,” said Susice, who will again run a DIRTcar Sportsman in 2010 with the hope of running a DIRTcar 358 Modified in 2011.
“We wanted to run a 358 Modified this year but the finances wouldn’t allow us. We’ll stay in the Sportsman this year and hopefully things will pan out in 2011.
CAYUGA COUNTY FAIR SPEEDWAY TOP TEN IN DIRTCAR SPORTSMAN POINTS: TOM JUHL JR, Steve Gray, Justin Wright, Dave Marcuccilli, Alan Fink, Jim Spano, Robert Humphreys, Dan Wiesner, Marcus Dinkins, Ricky Newton.
CANANDAIGUA SPEEDWAY TOP TEN IN DIRTCAR SPORTSMAN POINTS: RYAN SUSICE, Anthony Rizzardo, Steve Gray, Eric Guigerre, Dan Wiesner, Rob Bussey, Darryl Hilkert, Justin Henderson, AJ Lewis, Nick Guerierri.
Dave Mannise of Fulton, NY has been one of the top Street Stock drivers in the Central New York region for several seasons. Mannise did the trick once again winning the Cayuga County Fair Speedway 2009 Street Stock title.
“We started out slow this season,” said Mannise. “We were able to pick things up in the end.”
Mike Welch won five times at Canandaigua Speedway in 2009 and picked up his sixth title here. Welch, of Lyons, NY, also won his second straight Parts Plus Big Six Street Stock Series.
“It was an up and down year and I was even upside down once,” kidded Welch in his acceptance speech. “We’ve got a new car and we’re going to try and keep up with these other guys when the season starts.”
The 2010 season will be known as the Parts Plus DIRTcar Stock Car Series presented by Wix Filters. All races at Canandaigua, Cayuga County and Rolling Wheels will county as one points. Drivers will be able to take their top twelve events along with the six race Parts Plus Series to determine it’s overall champion.
CAYUGA COUNTY FAIR SPEEDWAY UMP STREET STOCK TOP TEN IN POINTS: DAVE MANNISE, Andy Fisk, Mike Welch, Nathan Peckham, Nick Rizzo, Chris Fisher, Frank Burnell Jr, Wayne Ellison, Steve Crouse, Steve Woodworth.
CANADAIGUS SPEEDWAY UMP STREET STOCK TOP TEN IN POINTS: MIKE WELCH, Andy Fisk, Frank Burnell Jr, Chris Fisher, Mike Rasback, Nathan Peckham, Leroy Lewis, Wayne Ellison, Bryan Faulkner, Blaine Smith.
Pete Stefanski of Wheatfield, NY won the Pro Stock championship at Syracuse, NY in 2009 along with the DIRTcar Pro Stock title for the fourth time. Stefanski also won the Route 5 Terrells Potato Chips DIRTcar Pro Stock Series, a ten race battle between Canandaigua and Genesee Speedway.
ROUTE FIVE TERRELLS POTATO CHIPS DIRTCAR PRO STOCK SERIES TOP TEN: PETE STEFANSKI, Mike Martin, Butch Zimmerman, John Zimmerman, Jack Terrell, Ron Richtner, Andrew Northrup, Mike Rasback, Franl Burnell, John Gagner.
BattleKarz champion Nick Werner was honored for his 2009 Cayuga County Fair Speedway championship. Alex Morris, who was also celebrating his wedding anniversary, accepted his Canandaigua Speedway Pure Stock championship.
DIRTcar Northeast General Manager Cory Reed handed out some special individual awards:
BEST APPEARING CARS: Cayuga County Open Wheel-STEVE GRAY; Cayuga County Full Fender-WAYNE ELLISON; Canandaigua Open Wheel-PAUL GUERRERI; Canandaigua Full Fender-ANDY FISK. SPORTSMANSHIP AWARDS: Cayuga County Open Wheel-DERRICK PODSIADLO: Cayuga County Full Fender: MIKE WELCH; Canandaigua Open Wheel-FRAN HILTON; Canandaigua Full Fender-THE BUSH FAMILY. MOST IMPROVED DRIVERS: Cayuga County Open Wheel-CHAD HOMAN (Getting his first DIRTcar Modified win on Sunday, June 7th); Cayuga County Full Fender-LANCE ALBANESE; Canandaigua Open Wheel-AJ LEWIS; Canandaigua Full Fender-MIKE RASBACK. SHOCK AND AWE AWARD: Cayuga County- ERIC GIGUERE; Canandaigua-NICK GUERRERI. Both awards were given due to a specific accident (Giguere) and to Guerreri, who seemed to always a lot of time from behind a tow truck. ROOKIES AWARD: Cayuga County-ROB HUMPHREYS. Humphreys was also the Motorsports Safety Systems DIRTcar Rookie of the Year. Canandaigua-GREG BIROSH, who finished 13th in Sportsman points and picked up his first feature win. BIG JUMP AWARD: TIM CURRIER, who was the ony Sportsman driver from 2008 to move into the Modified class in 2009. He was also a top five finisher on opening night at Cayuga County Fair Speedway.
PROMOTERS AWARD: Cayuga County-RYAN PHELPS for his swep of the All Star Weekend in July. Canandaigua-Eric Giguere. According to Cory Reed, he had one of the best knock down, drag out arguments with Giguere. He appreciated the passion Giguere displayed during that time.
Cory Reed started off the evening, stating that he was looking forward to the challenges of the 2010 season in his first full season as General Manager of the Canandaigua, Cayuga County and Rolling Wheels Raceway. Reed also introduced veteran announcer Mel Thomas as Master of Ceremonies for the evening and for the Canandaigua Speedway 2010 season.
The final award of the evening was of the “gag gift variety” when Reed gave gift certificates to both Matt Sheppard and Alan Johnson to the recently announced Danny Johnson Driving School at Cayuga County Fair Speedway. Needless to say, both drivers took the joke in stride. Both drivers are a couple of DIRTcar Northeast’s best pilots.
Cayuga County Fair Speedway opens it’s doors for the 56th season on Sunday, April 18th. Canandaigua Speedway on Saturday, April 24th and Rolling Wheels Raceway on Sunday, May 2nd. Practice session are also scheduled for each track. For more information, please go online at cayugacountyfairspeedway.com, canandaiguaspeedway.com and rollingwheelsraceway.com.