Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – CANANDAIGUA, NY – Mike Mahaney led 21 laps of Wednesday’s Super DIRTcar Series feature before giving up the lead to Matt Sheppard before the halfway point.
Starting from pole, the finish is Mahaney’s first podium at Land of Legends since finishing third in the second race of a 2021 doubleheader.
Sheppard looked inside on Mahaney for the lead on lap 25 of the 60 lap feature. Despite Mahaney fighting back on both offense and defense, there was nothing he could do to fight back on Sheppard unless there was a late race caution.
“Mostly the center of 3 and 4, he really had it better than I did,” Mahaney said. “We had a good run on the top early and it got too far early. I started seeing him next to me and then crossed over, we’ll take it. The speed Matt was carrying he was able to get through, no matter what line.”
Outside of the 2021 podium at Land of Legends, Mahaney also finished on the podium at OktoberFAST at Canandaigua in 2020. What is it that is making him good?
“This track has the Thruway clay that races slick and is racey and fun,” Mahaney stated. “We run the same package at all of them. Whether we’re at Fulton, Brewerton, or here, it’s similar with tires and all we do is change gears. Fun week, easier than going to different tracks.”
Mahaney almost didn’t make it to the checkered flag. At the start, he stacked up the field entering turn one as he nearly hit a yuke tire. Despite that, he was able to lead the opening lap.
“I swerved at the last second,” Mahaney said. “Luckily, Jack saw it and gave me room at the same time. It wasn’t the comfortable entry, I think it was wet down low. Later cleaned off and had better entries.”