Sheppard Tops Canandaigua Season Opener

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CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. – After two weekends of less than ideal weather, Mother Nature greeted fans at Canandaigua Motorsports Park with a crisp, clear evening for Saturday’s racing program.

The 35-lap Modified feature started with a battle between Steve Paine and Alan Johnson for the lead, with Erick Rudolph and Justin Haers racing for third behind them. Haers was able to move forward and took the lead by the lap 10 mark as Matt Sheppard entered the top five.

In the middle stage of the race, Sheppard started picking off competitors and was in third when a lap 20 yellow bunched the field. Sheppard was able to move past Rudolph for second, then two laps later, he made the winning pass on Haers to cruise to the checkered flag for his first CMP win of the season.

Haers settled for second, followed by Rudolph, Paine, and Johnson, who swapped the fifth spot with Justin Wright several times over the final laps of the event.

Dave Marcuccilli and Kevin Ridley brought the field to the green at the start of the 25-lap Sportsman feature, with Marcuccilli stretching out a lead while Rick Newton battled with Matt Guererri and Paul Guererri furiously.

The feature went the entire distance without a caution, which allowed Marcuccilli to extend his lead, though he did have to deal with lapped traffic in the race’s second half. At the checkers, Marcuccilli had his first CMP Sportsman win of the year and became the third different feature winner in the division. Newton held off Paul and Matt Guererri in the battle for second, with Kevin Ridley taking the fifth spot.

The 15 lap Street Stock feature was a great one, with a four car battle up front between C.J. Guererri, Adam Depuy, and Marc Minutolo. Bob Buono caught the lead group and the four battled back and forth until the yellow flew just one lap from the finish.

In the one lap dash to the checkers, Buono moved to second and was within a car length of Depuy as they crossed the line. Guererri , Minutolo, and Brad Steinruck rounded out the top five.

In the 305 Sprint Car feature event, Jason Whipple pulled away from Dan Craun and took the win, with Erik Karlsen grabbing third.

The New Legends Sportsman main event was a great race with Chris Mangiarelli and Brandon Michaud fighting for the lead right to the finish, with Ben Karlson hot on their heels. Mangiarelli got the top spot over Michaud, with Karlsen right behind them at the finish. Ken Washburn and Cameron Tittle completed the top five.

Mike Schroeder outlasted 20 other competitors to win the 4/6 cylinder Demo Derby.