Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – CANANDAIGUA, NY – An eighth place finish for Justin Haers was enough to clinch his second straight track championship at Land of Legends Raceway after needing to finish 10th or better.
Haers is the first Modified driver to win consecutive titles at the ½-mile facility since Matt Sheppard did it in 2016-17.
“It feels great. It wasn’t an easy, fun task. We got the job done we needed to tonight. Two in a row, it was another great season at Land of Legends, ” Haers told RPW.
Entering the night, it was a 48-point lead for Justin Haers over Peter Britten. It was cut down to 47 when Britten finished 3rd while Haers took 4th, both in Heat 1, meaning a top 10 for “T-Bone” would be good enough to win it all.
The challenge wasn’t easy as he started from 14th due to the handicap. Eleven laps in, he was stuck in 14th while Britten moved up to 8th, which cut the points gap in half. By the time the first caution flew with 11 to go, Haers was in 12th while Britten was in 7th. “T-Bone” would grab the top 10 inside the final eight laps.
“On the outside of the original restart, there were a lot of people all over the place. I had to be patient more than I’d liked to be. Just took us a while to get ourselves in clean air and get going. If we had a longer race, I think our car would’ve been very good towards the end,” Haers said.
While the race for the championship got intense, how about the racing for the lead?
At the start, Daniel Johnson went 3-for-1 in the first half lap of the event, overtaking Dave Allen, Ricky Newton, and Troy Sperring. On lap 18, Gil Tegg Jr. got up to Johnson’s rear bumper but couldn’t make the pass before the first caution for Alex Payne spinning and losing his left front wheel in turn two.
On the first restart, Johnson and Tegg went up the track, opening the door for Kevin Root to battle Johnson. Johnson would hold off with nine to go.
Eight to go after another restart, Johnson edged Root by a bumper, with Root running the preferred bottom groove to take the lead, but couldn’t cross the line first as the caution flew once more.
Coming to seven to go on the final restart, Root would secure the lead but had another man coming with him. Enter Erick Rudolph, who came from 15th on the grid and hadn’t won a race at Land of Legends in around 13 months. Root tried everything to hold off Rudolph, but with three to go in turn three, Rudolph sent it in deep on the outside, pulling up to Root’s door with two circuits left. The momentum off-turn two powered Rudolph to the lead and taking the checkers.
“Super consistent car. Tonight we were a little better than the other times [here]. Had a little luck on our side. Had cautions when we needed them. Without the cautions, I don’t think we even had a prayer. The race worked out perfectly,” Rudolph explained. “Kevin was running a similar line, so I had to search around a little. Once I moved up in 1 and 2 there, it really took off.”
22 cars were on the grid tonight.
One more event for the Big Blocks at Land of Legends this season is the prestigious Gerald Haers Memorial on the 17th, paying 10k to win. Next week, the Sportsman, 305 Sprints, Street Stocks, and Hobby Stock champions will be crowned in Canandaigua.
For more interviews with Haers and Rudolph, visit the RSN Trackside page.
Land of Legends Raceway Quick Results – August 27, 2022
Tradition Automotive, Ontario County Fairboard & Vance Metal Fab
present Saturday Spectacular – Modified Season Championship Night
Pepsi Big-Block Modified(DOUBLE POINTS)
*Feature (30 laps): 1. 25-Erick Rudolph ($2,000), 2. 34-Kevin Root, 3. 39-Kyle Coffey, 4. 21a-Peter Britten, 5. 7z-Zach Payne, 6. 22g-Gil Tegg Jr., 7. 19-Tim Fuller, 8. 3-Justin Haers, 9. 27jr-Daniel Johnson Jr., 10. 14j-Alan Johnson, 11. 42p-Pat Ward, 12. 28-Jordan McCreadie, 13. 7-Troy Sperring, 14. 19w-Justin Wright, 15. 56-Garrison Krentz, 16. 11n-Ricky Newton, 17. 33j-Robbie Johnston, 18. 11j-James Sweeting, 19. 66-Dan Wiesner, 20. 88-Dave Allen, 21. 70a-Alex Payne, 22. 29ny-Greg Birosh.
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Allen, Wright, Britten, Haers, Sperring, Krentz, McCreadie, Sweeting.
#2: A.Payne, A.Johnson, D.Johnson, Rudolph, Root, Birosh, Ward.
#3: Fuller, Tegg, Coffey, Z.Payne, Newton, Johnston, Wiesner.
2022 Track Champion: Justin Haers
Speed Connection Sportsman Modified
*Feature (25 laps): 1. 25g-Nick Guererri ($750), 2. 10-Karl Comfort, 3. 38-Zach Sobotka, 4. 35-Nick Cooper, 5. 64-Tyler Corcoran, 6. 12g-Matt Guererri, 7. 7-Paul Guererri, 8. 113jr.-Frank Guererri Jr., 9. 31-Kane Bristol, 10. 28-Mark Potter, 11. 68-Dave DiPietro II, 12. 02-Ken Welty, 13. 30-Nick Root, 14. 9-Tim Baker, 15. 57-Justin Liechti, 16. 7t-Mike Taylor, 17. 04-Eric Years, 18. 18h-Justin Henderson, 19. 21v-Tony Velez, 20. 36b-Brandon Grover, 21. 36-Jimmy Grant, 22. 39-Kasey Coffey, 23. 51-Tim Lafler, 24. 132-Dalton Martin, 7j-JT Sperring(DSQ).
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Henderson, Lafler, Cooper, Sperring, M.Guererri, DiPietro, Liechti, Years, Martin(DNS).
#2: Sobotka, Potter, Velez, Bristol, P.Guererri, Corcoran, Root, Welty.
#3: Grover, Coffey, Comfort, N.Guererri, Baker, Grant, F.Guererri, Taylor.
Mike Emhof Motorsports 305 Sprint
*Feature (20 laps): 1. 48jr.-Darryl Ruggles ($500), 2. 75-Brandyn Griffin, 3. 53-Bobby Parrow, 4. 17e-Ethan Gray, 5. 13t-Trevor Years, 6. 77-Matt Rotz, 7. 48a-Alysha Bay, 8. 121-Steve Glover, 9. 18c-Dan Craun, 10. 23-John Smith, 11. 10j-Johnny Kolosek, 12. 2-Randy Years, 13. 18-Timmy Lotz, 14. 14-James Layton, 15. 38-Jason Whipple, 16. 29t-Tori Kaplin.
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Ruggles, Rotz, Gray, Layton, Parrow, Glover, Bay, Kolosek.
#2: T.Years, Craun, Griffin, Whipple, Kaplin, Smith, R.Years. Lotz.
Eldredge & Sons Scrap Recycling Street Stock
*Feature (20 laps): 1. 00-Mike Welch, 2. 87-Carl Johnson, 3. 5c-Rick Crego, 4. 57j-Nick Dandino, 5. 25b-Marc Minutolo, 6. 93-Jared Hill, 7. 122-Chris Beyea, 8. 36-Willy Grant, 9. 9-Aksel Jensen, 10. 22-Carl Cleveland, 11. 39-Ely Mangiarelli, 12. 34t-Tommy Bowen, 13. 99-Adam DePuy, 14. 18-Jeff Almekinder, 15. 3-Patrick Hobbs, 16. 55p-Parker Smith, 17. 74-Ronald “Bundy” Metcalf, 18. 25j-Justin Eldredge, 63-Mike Fellows(DNS).
Heats (6 laps)
#1: Johnson, DePuy, Dandino, Hobbs, Crego, Grant, Smith, Mangiarelli, Fellows, Eldredge(DNS).
#2: Welch, Minutolo, Jensen, Beyea, Hill, Metcalf, Bowen, Cleveland, Almekinder.
Lloyd’s Contracting Hobby Stock
*Feature (15 laps): 1. 25b-Marc Minutolo, 2. 90-Nathan Peckham, 3. 25j-Justin Eldredge, 4. 61-Daniel Kerrick, 5. 57b-Frank ‘Bubba’ Burnell Jr., 6. 17a-Jon Almekinder, 7. 88-Justin Jacoby, 8. 25BL-Kyler Lloyd, 9. 57jr.-Tyler Burnell, 10. 19-David Yehl, 11. 22-Craig Dingy.
Heat (6 laps)
#1: T.Burnell, F.Burnell, Minutolo, Eldredge, Peckham, Kerrick, Almekinder, Lloyd, Jacoby, Yehl, Dingy.
MighTea Boba New Legends Sportsman
*Feature (12 laps): 1. 30-Behr Grover, 2. 31k-Cameron Nichols, 3. 08-James Coble, 4. 56a-Angel Sperring, 5. 31-Nick Ventura, 6. 51-Justin Sick.
Heat (6 laps)
#1: Grover, Sperring, Nichols, Coble, Sick, Ventura(DNS).