Column By: ADAM CORNELL / RPW – LAFARGEVILLE, NY – The Bob Johnson Auto Group DIRTcar Sportsman class has been the most tightly contested division of racing at Can-Am Speedway in LaFargeville, New York in 2022.
Tyler Corcoran, of Central Square, New York, set out to repeat his championship run from 2021 and looked to be in great form from the beginning, starting the season with a victory. Corcoran led the points chase going into Friday night’s contest by just three points ahead of Mike Fowler, of Fulton, New York.
Friday night’s contest was the second-to-last race where points counted for 2022, and Fowler and Corcoran looked to be locked in a two-way battle for the championship. Enter David Rogers, of LaFargeville, New York. Rogers was fifth in points entering Friday night’s fracas, despite running a very solid year.
He had one previous victory at Can-Am in the 2022 campaign, and two additional victories at Fulton Speedway. He has run well at Can-Am all season long, with only two finishes outside the top ten, and several top-five finishes.
On Friday night, Rogers started fourth in the feature, and took just three laps to blast past the leaders and take over first place. He would never look back. Rogers drove his number 44 the rest of the 20-lap feature in the lead and took the checkered flag as the winner for the second time at Can-Am this season.
The win shook up the points chase, moving Rogers up to third place, trailing the leader by 30 points with just one race remaining. That leader was new to the position after finishing in fourth place for the night. Mike Fowler had found a way to sneak past Tyler Corcoran for the lead, moving up the leaderboard by six points to now own a slim three-point lead.
More than likely the final night of points racing at Can-Am on Friday, September 2nd will see the crowning of either Fowler or Corcoran, but it is not outside the realm of possibility that Rogers could leapfrog in from third place and take the title with a victory and poor finishes by the top two points leaders.
Crazier things have happened in the past. Should Corcoran and Fowler finish 9th or worse and Rogers has a repeat performance with a victory, it would be David Rogers who would be crowned Sportsman Modified champion for 2022.
The scenario is not an impossibility, just an improbability. Corcoran has finished outside the top ten twice this year at Can-Am Speedway. Though he’s sure to have his number 64 tuned up and ready, this late in the year, mechanical problems triggering a DNF are not uncommon.
For Mike Fowler, the chances of a bad finish are even less likely, as he has only missed the top ten once all season and has consistently placed in the top five, though a victory has been elusive.
The Night of Champions will decide who is the best racer in the Bob Johnson Auto Group DIRTcar Sportsman modified class at Can-Am Speedway, Friday night.
Channel 7 News and Sundance Leisure will sponsor the event, which seems fitting. It’s certainly going to be newsworthy, and the championship winner will be able to kick back and leisurely enjoy the crown all off season.
Barring a catastrophic wreck that would clear the field of the top three drivers heading into Friday night, the track champion will be Mike Fowler, Tyler Corcoran or David Rogers. Right now, the advantage goes to Fowler, who will be hunting for his first victory of the year to seal the deal, and who has found a way, just about each and every week to put up big points in the features. Corcoran is no stranger to victory lane this year, and could easily have another great night and find himself the repeat champion. Rogers needs some help and more than likely a victory Friday night to have a chance.
But there is a chance, and that’s all any driver can ask for heading into the final night of racing for a season.