CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — Alan Johnson is the most successful short-track driver in the 50-year history of the Canandaigua Motorsports Park.
On Saturday night Johnson took home his 118th career feature win at the Ontario County Fairgrounds behind the wheel of a small-block powered Modified as the ageless racing star showed everyone that he still has a lot to give to the sport in the 35-lap big-block modified feature.
In other racing action at CMP, Rob Bussey (Safety Awareness Solutions Sportsman); Mike Welch (Parts Plus Street Stock); Wayne Ellison (Pure Stock); Darryl Ruggles ((Castners Performance 305 Sprint) Mike Marcuccilli Community Car Care of Waterloo New Legends Sportsman) were all winners. John Kuleszo and Ally Amell were also winners in the Midstate Vintage Stock Car Club.
Johnson took the lead on lap 23 using his small-block Bicknell-built car and won for the first time since the April 6 opener as he moved under the checkered flag as the leaders were moving through lapped traffic. He also lost a brake caliper on lap five, making the win sweeter.
Justin Haers finished second while Billy Dunn took home third. The result for Dunn also brought in more good news as the racer also took over the points lead from Matt Sheppard, who finished 20th after an accident on lap five helped Sheppard go down a lap. Fourth was Dave Marcuccilli followed by Mike Bowman in fifth.
“It’s been a while,” Johnson said afterwards. “During the first half of the race I was careful. After the track slickened up, I knew that the small-block was the answer.”
Polesitter Henry Maier led the first lap. Dave Marcuccilli would take over the top spot on lap two, taking the high road on the back straight. Johnson started fourth and emerged in a battle with Marcuccilli on lap five as the two moved away from the remainder of the pack.
When Johnson did take the lead, there was no stopping him. Haers moved into second on lap 32 and Dunn followed through into third. When both drivers were coming down for the finish, they were side-by-side with Haers winning by a matter of a few feet in the night’s most exciting finish.
“I’ve got a lot of wins here, they’re all so special,” Johnson added.
In the 25-lap Safety Awareness Solutions Sportsman feature, Rob Bussey won his first of the year as the Canandaigua, NY racing star gave the hometown fans a lot to cheer about.
Bussey took the lead on lap 3 and maintained a half straightaway lead by lap 10. When it came down to the end, it was Bussey, Andrew Jacobson, Kevin Ridley, Eric Giguere and AJ Lloyd.
Bussey had come close to winning several times this year, only to have something happen to disregard it. Bussey was not denied on this occasion..
For the second week in a row, fourth-place finishing Eric Giguere used the James Henry-owned Sportsman car and again was successful.
In the 15-lap Parts Plus Street Stock feature, Mike Welch won his 12th of the season.
The Lyons, New York veteran took the lead on lap eight and sailed on to the feature win. He passed Adam DePuy to get the job done. Ironically, the previous week had Welch following DePuy to the finish line.
For Welch, it was his 61st career full-fender win at CMP. DePuy held on for second while Chris Guererri took home third. Rounding out the top-five were Steve Pesarek and Bill Weller.
Weller led the first lap before DePuy took over at the front and led the next seven laps. Welch took the lead after a restart and became dominant the remainder of the way.
In the 12-lap Pure Stock feature, Wayne Ellison took his fifth win of the season and fifth in a row as he took the lead on lap seven.
Ellison had problems in the early stages of the 2013, but as of late he has been on fire and there seems no stopping him.
Marc Minutolo finished second followed by Eric Chapman.
In the 20-lap Castner Performance 305 Sprint feature, Darryl Ruggles won his sixth of the season. He also extended his points lead as he came into the night just six markers ahead of second-place runner Charlie Donk, who finished seventh.
Ruggles took the lead from Will Glover on lap 17 and went on to victory. Glover had led the event from the initial green flag. The race went without a yellow flag.
Steve Doell Jr. was third while David Ferguson finished fourth. Rounding out the top ive was Nick Cooper.
In the 12-lpa Community Car Care of Waterloo New Legends Sportsman feature, it was Mike Marcuccilli winning his first of the year. Marcuccilli, brother of Modified ace Dave Marcuccill, took the lead from Brandon Rauscher on lap six and drove on to victory.
Rauscher held on for second while Anthony Kimball was third. Fourth was Bruce Batzel and Shane O’Grady was fifth.