RPW Column: Can-Am Fans Enjoyed Sprints, Modifieds & Big “Lights Out” Night Of Racing

Column By: ADAM CORNELL / RPW – LAFARGEVILLE, NY – The Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints charged into the North Country of New York ready to kick off speedweeks with the running of the Pabst Shootout at Can-Am Speedway in La Fargeville, NY Wednesday night.

Throughout the day there was trepidation about the weather. Rain was threatening, but it looked like it would blow through and give way to sun with plenty of time to get the track ready to go for the evening’s racing action.

All looked to be going as planned until another storm cell north of the track knocked out power to the entire region during hot laps.

The crew and fans were undeterred as generators were quickly brought online to power the lights and the announcers’ booth as well as the video stream. After a short downtime, racing resumed and the qualifying races ran without a hitch. The packed house cheered as power was restored around 9:55pm, just in time for the feature races.

Chad Miller of Amsterdam, NY started on the pole of the Lucas Oil ESS 360 Winged Sprint feature with Matt Tanner of Stephentown, NY to his right on the front row. At the drop of the green, Tanner charged into the lead with Jordan Poirier of Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, Quebec right behind him. Tanner maintained control of the lead for about four laps when Poirier pushed his tires to the limits on the high side to take away the lead. Poirier looked poised to own the lead for good but Keith Granholm of Syracuse, NY spun out his number 13 and brought out the yellow caution on the track.

The restart put Tanner right back in a position to retake the lead, and at the drop of the green that was exactly what he did. Tanner powered past Poirier as they crossed the chalk line in turn four to resume green flag racing and took over first place once again. Poirier pushed and challenged from second position through the middle laps when a lap 16 caution looked to jeopardize Tanner’s lead.

Behind the leaders through those early laps, Paulie Colagiovanni of Cicero, NY had steadily climbed up from an 8th place start to 3rd. Colagiovanni looked like he had the fastest car on the track, as he seemed to find a perfect line out of turn four and gain on the leaders just about each and every lap.

The scene was set in lap 16 for a shootout restart between the top three drivers of the race, Tanner, Poirier and Colagiovanni. As they crossed the turn four chalk line and the green flag waved over the track, Tanner got the jump and owned first place by turn two. Poirier settled into second, while Colagiovanni didn’t get a good restart at all and faded back to 5th position.

Colagiovanni spent the final laps trying to regain his position, which he did, and once again looked to be the fastest car on the track as the white flag waved. On that final lap, the leaders moved into lapped traffic, with Tanner navigating the obstacles precisely, never giving Poirier or Colagiovanni the opportunity to challenge for the lead.

With the unfurling of the checkered flag from the flag stand, Matt Tanner notched his first win of the season, taking a victory in the first leg of CNY Speedweek for the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints.

“I thought I gave it away early there,” Tanner said from victory lane, referencing Poirier’s early race pass for the lead. “We all know how good the Poiriers are. On the restart I thought Jordan [Poirier] had me again, but I was able to get up to speed and hang on. It’s a big victory, it sets the tone for the whole week. It gives us some confidence for the rest of Speedweek. We’ve been struggling really badly so far this year, so it gets the monkey off our backs.”

Though relegated to the first runner-up position, Poirier seemed positive about his finish. “Can-Am was a new track for me, so it’s pretty good to get a second-place finish on our first night here. Tanner ran a good race so congratulations to him,” Poirier said.

Paulie Colagiovanni was able to claim third place, with Dave Franek of Wantage, NJ and Shawn Donath of South Onondaga, NY finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.

It was a night full of fireworks, on the track and above the track, as pyrotechnics accentuated the evening after racing.

Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, NY took the victory in the Whitesboro Plow Shop DIRTcar 358 Modified division of the Pabst Shootout. It was his second Pabst Shootout victory at Can-Am Speedway since 2020.

Local driver, David Rogers of La Fargeville, NY won his first of the year at Can-Am in the Bob Johnson DIRTcar Sportsman modified feature. Dakota Bechler of Sackets Harbor, NY was the big winner in the Marsha Gibbons TLC Real Estate ThunderCar feature, netting a $1000 check for his victorious efforts, thanks to Tony Frezzo and T&T Property Services – Home Repair & Roofing Specialists.

The success of the night, despite the early power outage and the threat of major delays or cancellation was a testament to the hard work of the Can-Am crew as well as those in attendance who pulled together to get all the available generators into position to help keep the racing going. It’s displays like that which makes dirt track racing the very best sport in the world.

Racing pauses at Can-Am for the weekend in observance of Independence Day and will return on July 8th with a full night of racing action, featuring five racing classes and Family Autograph Night, sponsored by the Children’s Miracle Network and Walmart – Evans Mills.

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