By TOM SKIBINISKI CANANDAIGUA, NY – The six-feature fanfest at Land Of Legends Raceway was certainly a ‘Saturday Spectacular’ with as many twists and turns as the speedway itself.
Third-generation standout Erick Rudolph stopped ‘Super’ Matt Sheppard’s Pepsi Big-Block Modified feature win streak at three while Adam DePuy remained unbeaten with his fifth straight Smith Bros. Drywall Street Stock triumph.
And for the first time all season rain was never a factor as a full house of eager race fans took in the action-packed program on Geneva Club Beverage Night at the slick Ontario County Fairgrounds oval.
“I was as good as I needed to be tonight,” stated Rudolph, 27, after staving off a late race challenge from veteran Alan Johnson while Sheppard settled for third in the 35-lap Big-Block finale. The reigning track points king from Ransomville scored two wins en route to the coveted title while Saturday’s victory was the fifth of his career at the hallowed half-miler.
“On a slippery track like this you never really feel great. We were just okay, thought we could’ve been even a little better but nevertheless the team came out strong and made my job easy. The car was just hooked up tonight for whatever reason,” added Rudolph, whose father Charlie also raced against Johnson, registering 17 Big-Block wins in Canandaigua from 1983-88.
The first feature in June for the mighty Modifieds was all about Erick as he charged from 11th starting spot to overtake Derrick Podsiadlo on lap seven. Pole-sitter Jimmy Maier paced the 22-car starting field before Penn Yan’s Podsiadlo sailed by for the lead on a lap four restart.
Johnson had yet to crack the top-five when Rudolph moved to the point yet the all-time LOLR feature winner ducked under north country chauffeur Billy Dunn for second on lap 23. Fifteenth starting Sheppard cracked the front-four with a dozen laps to go and nosed by Dunn for third on lap 31 but that’s when time ran out.
James Sweeting and Dillon Groover tangled in turn two to bring out the sixth and final caution flag on lap 26, providing A.J. Slideways with a final opportunity to reach victory lane. The potent no. 25 reVive Spine Center-Blue Cross Blue Shield/Bicknell ride was up to the challenge as it carried Rudolph to a five car-length victory and $2,000 payoff, his second win of the weekend after Friday night’s Small-Block victory at his hometown Ransomville Speedway.
All past Super DIRT Week champions Johnson, Friday night Outlaw Speedway winner and current LOLR points leader Sheppard, Dunn and Jimmy Phelps rounded out the final top-five.
Double features for the Pepsi Big-Block Modifieds highlight Father’s Day weekend at Land of Legends Raceway with the June 15‘Saturday Spectacular’ also showcasing Canandaigua Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram
Pepsi Big-Block Modified
*Feature Starting Line-Up (35 laps): 1. 27j-Danny Johnson, 2. 31m-Jimmy Maier, 3. 21p-Derrick Podsiadlo, 4. 44v-Phil Vigneri III, 5. 12x-Dillon Groover, 6. 22g-Gil Tegg Jr., 7. 11j-James Sweeting, 8. 23-Kyle Coffey, 9. 19w-Justin Wright, 10. 14j-Alan Johnson, 11. 25-Erick Rudolph, 12. 10-Patrick Hoopes, 13. 3-Justin Haers, 14. 49-Billy Dunn, 15. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 16. 28p-Eldon Payne,Jr., 17. 63-Adam Roberts, 18. 1-Steve Paine, 19. 22-Jeff Daugherty, 20. 77-Lance Dusett, 21. 21x-Eric Williams.
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Rudolph, Phelps, Maier, Tegg, Coffey, Paine, Dusett.
#2: Podsiadlo, Dunn, Sweeting, Williams, Wright, Daugherty, Hoopes, D.Johnson.
#3: Roberts, Haers, Sheppard, A.Johnson, Groover, Farnham, Payne.