Canandaigua Motorsports Park .... Fastlands of the Finger Lakes
Nestled in the heart of New York State's picturesque Finger Lakes Region,Canandaigua Motorsports Park stands as one of the most revered ovals on the entire Northeastern circuit. The hallowed half-miler on the Ontario County Fairgrounds has been in existence for well over a half-century, with 2012 marking the 36th successive season of stock car racing under the DIRTcar banner.
First opening on Memorial Day in 1953, the 'Fastlands of the Finger Lakes' gained instant notoriety with current Hall of Famers Dutch Hoag and Elmer Musclow turning the fairgrounds into a weekend home. Western New York standouts Billy Rafter, Kenny Meahl and Ed Ortiz as well as eastern invaders Pete Corey, Billy Wimble and Lou Lazzaro soon followed in victory lane, further showcasing some of the best Modified Sportsman talent in the country.
Future NASCAR national modified champion Jerry Cook captured the 1964 Canandaigua Speedlands' points crown before prominent promoter Les Harrison left his post and the track temporarily closed. Although an 1/8-mile dirt dragstrip operated in the 60s, it wasn't until 1972 that new management surfaced to refuel the oval racing program. Established Central New York track proprietor Millard 'Bub' Benway lasted less than two seasons before Dominic Tantalo assumed control in August of 1974. However, the untimely death of Tantalo in May of '77 signaled another changing of the guard and still more uncertainty in wine country.
Already established as an energetic promoter at nearby Weedsport Speedway and the creator of modern-day Super DIRT Week at the Syracuse Mile, DIRT of CNY founder Glenn Donnelly took control of the Ontario Co. Fairgrounds' speedplant in 1977 and offered instant stablility. And there he remained until the end of 2004 when the organization was acquired by a new group of investors, today officially recognized as DIRTcar Racing under the parent company World Racing Group based in Concord, North Carolina.
Names like 'Wiley' Will Cagle, 'Marvelous' Merv Treichler, 'Magic Shoes' Mike McLaughlin, 'A.J. Slideways' Alan Johnson, younger brother 'Doctor' Danny Johnson, 'Barefoot' Bob McCreadie, 'Hurricane' Steve Paine, 'Canada' Joe Plazek and 'Franklin Flyer' Billy Decker soon made the headlines, once and for all establishing the facility as the "Land of Legends" for generations to come
Paine and Danny Johnson remain among the biggest attractions today, and so do reigning Canandaigua Big-Block Modified points king 'Super' Matt Sheppard and rising stars Justin Haers, Rob Bellinger and Peter Britten, the first native Australian to compete weekly at the storied routes 5&20 speedplant.
Many more of the nation's top short track stars can be found in Canandaigua every Saturday night throughout the summer months. The premier DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds are joined weekly by open-wheel Sportsman Modified and full-fender Street Stock and Pure Stock divisions, with 305 Sprint Cars making their debut bi-weekly during the 2012 campaign.
A number of specials are mixed in between, with 1-on-1 spectator racing for grown-ups and kids' power wheel races, plus a slam-bang demolition derby and Mud-A-Palooza truck bogging extravaganza providing a full card of action-packed entertainment all season long.
***CMP RECORD BOOK (1953-2011)***
The compilation of All-Time Feature Winners and All-Time Point Champions lists for Canandaigua Motorsports Park has been conducted by area auto racing historians Gary Spaid and Tom Skibinski in an ongoing effort to chronicle all oval track activity occurring at the current Ontario County Fairgrounds site since 1953.
Statistical integrity of this record collection is predicated on the existence of verifiable dates for each victory and championship cited, while every available effort has been made to certify the accuracy and completeness of this information.
It will always remain possible that unknown events from the past may have caused inaccuracies, controversies and/or omissions, so to this extent, each list should ultimately be considered a work in progress. Further submission of any comments, questions or concerns regarding the material presented is strongly encouraged.