Matt Sheppard Collects $4,000 In ‘Scoppo Special’ At Land Of Legends
Tribute to late pit steward Mike Scoppo makes Saturday truly spectacular in Canandaigua
*Daniel Kerrick victory lane photo attachment by Shawn Greene
Canandaigua, NY – June 3, 2023 – Tom Skibinski, Land of Legends Raceway PR
Maguire Ford Of Canandaigua presented the big five-star card on June 3 helping carry on the 70th Anniversary celebration of auto racing at the Ontario Co. Fairgrounds. This night was about so much more, however, as Land Of Legends Raceway once again came to life in honor of popular pit steward Mike Scoppo.
A Rochester NY native, Scoppo passed away unexpectedly at his home in Davenport, Florida on Dec. 7, 2022 at the age of 63. He was most often recognized aboard his trusty 4-wheeler roaming around DIRTcar core member tracks in Canandaigua and Weedsport along with assisting teams pitside at Rolling Wheels Raceway and the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse.
In tribute to his many years of service in Canandaigua, a “Scoppo Special” for Big-Block Modifieds headlined Saturday’s show with Matt Sheppard pocketing a cool $4,000 for his 30-lap feature win. After opening the event with her singing of the national anthem, wife Cathy Scoppo provided ‘Hard Luck’ awards in the four primary divisions by evening’s end with Mike’s grandson Ryan even waving the initial green to begin the Modified main.
While Tim Fuller ($200 Big-Block prize), Justin Henderson ($200 Sportsman), Ron “Bundy” Metcalf ($100 Street Stock) and Brian Lloyd ($100 Hobby Stock) were hit with some of the hardest luck, recently retired racer Nick Guererri from NG Promotions joined in the festivities, giving eventual winner Matt Janczuk a $150 ‘Hard Charger’ bonus after improving 14 positions on the final Stirling Lubricants Sportsman scoresheet.
Not to be outdone, while Farmington Cemetery Foundation was recipient of the weekly 50/50 benefit fund, major sponsor Maguire Ford donated a 65-inch Smart TV that was taken home by the 2nd-place 50/50 prize winner.
Also finding their way into the winner’s circle in the ‘Saturday Spectacular’ were
full-fender veteran Marc Minutolo (Eldredge & Sons Scrap Recycling Street Stock),
rising star Daniel Kerrick (Lloyd’s Contracting Hobby Stock) and clay queen Kennedy Payne (Maguire Ford of Canandaigua New Legends Sportsman). While 2nd-generation drivers Minutolo and Payne both scored their first wins of the season on May 13, this weekend was highlighted by the first career triumph at the historic half-miler for 3rd-generation chauffeur Kerrick.
“Its a big race for us, I know what Mike meant to Canandaigua and Northeast racing in general,” remarked Sheppard, 40, after making LOLR the seventh different track he has won at in 2023 to give him 10 checkered flags early in the season. “When we saw this race we certainly scheduled it on the calendar. Its a great honor to be standing here in victory lane on a night celebrating Mike’s life.”
The handicapped start put Sheppard 15th in the 24-car line-up yet that did little to affect the final outcome as his potent dark blue C.C. Performance-powered #9S Hurlock Auto&Speed-Westmoreland Golf Glub-St.Lawrence Radiology/Bicknell entry was on rails from lap one. Pole-sitter Ricky Newton raced out to a sizable lead in the early stages yet when Dave Allen broke and Tim Fuller got tangled to force out a yellow flag on lap 8, ‘Super Matt’ was already cruising in sixth-place.
Danny Johnson charged high out of turn four to steal first from Newton on the ensuing restart with Sheppard cracking the Top-5 just as fast. The Waterloo native continued his rush to the front, overtaking 4th-running Alan Johnson on lap nine, shooting past Kyle Coffey for third on lap 10, then disposing of Newton on lap 11. Upstart Alex Payne suffered a right-rear flat tire to incur the second and final caution period on lap 15 and that’s all Sheppard needed back under green to duck under Danny with still half the race to go.
Meanwhile, points leader Erick Rudolph was also making tracks to the front after starting 14th on the grid, finally grabbing second from Johnson on lap 19 yet falling nearly a straightaway behind under the checkered flag. Two-time defending points champion Justin Haers snagged third from Danny with three laps lap left while Coffey completed the front-five.
“After the heat we made a couple small adjustments and a few laps into the feature I thought ‘man, we might have something here’ when we were able to get by the best (cars) Canandaigua has to offer there in the beginning,” noted nine-time LOLR points champion Sheppard, following his 88th career Big-Block win (4th all-time) at the fairgrounds with 10 more in Sportsman competition. “Just kept picking our way up through after that.”
“A little bit of a quirky track surface tonight. A lot of bite in some spots, very slippery in other spots but this car was flawless. Have to thank everybody that helps out, we’ve been working so hard and racing so much. Its nights like tonight that keep us moving on,” added Sheppard, with nine more victories posted at Accord, Delaware, Lebanon Valley, Orange County, Utica-Rome and Weedsport speedways in ’23. He earned another $100 in the Prouty’s Bar bonus program for ending Rudolph’s run of two straight wins.
Although its been three seasons since Janczuk last visited victory lane at LOLR, the seasoned Sportsman invader from Durhamville hasn’t forgotten the fastest way around the Canandaigua oval, especially behind the wheel of a custom-made machine unlike any other in the 28-car field.
“The track was super racy, a little bit challenging early on there but this (car) was awesome for the feature,” beamed Janczuk, 39, who won all three previous races at Canandaigua in 2020. His latest victory was in a new TEO Pro Car version incorporating a RXD chassis design from the Hearn —Brett, Bobby & Matt— clan as well as himself. “Only two of these things right now and man, this is promising. We got three wins now in five races and should’ve won a fourth but ran out of gas the first time out so it was heartbreaking.”
After advancing from eighth to second in his qualifier, the #33x Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux-Ted’s Body Shop/TEO mount never missed a beat. Come feature time, row #8 was the place to be for open-wheel winners on Saturday night as Janzcuk also charged from 15th starting spot en route to the decisive 25-lap victory.
A pair of cautions slowed the action early on and by the time a single lap could be recorded, sixth starting Justin Henderson had taken the lead. Two more slowdowns over the first five circuits forced head flagman Scott Hixson to align the field single-file with Janczuk already settling into the Top-10.
While Henderson was busy building a big lead over top chasers Paul Guererri and Kane Bristol, Janczuk was just as steadfast in his rally to the front, taking over sixth from Zach Sobotka on lap seven before rolling past both Nick Cooper and Tim Lafler on lap nine. The night of success suddenly came to a halt for Henderson as contact with the lapped car of Dalton Doyle ripped off the right-side sheet metal from his black #18H Bicknell car resulting in a cut rear tire soonafter with still 10 laps on tap.
Third-place Janczuk was quick to pounce on the opportunity, blowing past both Guererri and Bristol on the lap 15 restart and opening up a commanding 3/4-straightaway lead after five more times around. The final margin of victory was a comfortable 4.7-seconds, with weekly contenders Guererri, Bristol and Lafler crossing the line next. Reigning LOLR points king Sobotka settled for fifth to close within 11 points of two-time track champion Matt Guererri, who finished tenth.
“The first lap I made some good headway getting through (turns) one and two, just able to pick away at the bottom running with Sobotka for awhile,” Janczuk said. That #35 (Cooper) was ripping the top in three and four and thought I’ve got to move up. We were good on the bottom early, just had to move up at the end to get it done and then could go anywhere after that.”
Minutolo was good from the opening green, bolting from sixth to second in a dramatic four-wide scramble down the back chute to chase lap one leader Aksel Jensen across the stripe. Steering his favorite color ‘electric’ blue ImageX-wrapped #25B Honeoye Auto Parts-Real Estate By Jenn-Big Mike’s Auto ride with the new Damian Long-designed Thasher Chassis Sporting a Chevrolet Camaro front clip, the Newark wheelman moved to the point on lap two and outlasted points leader Jimmy Grant to secure the popular 20-lap victory.
“Didn’t think I was ever gonna win in this division again,” divulged Minutolo, 31, fighting to find words to describe his 65th career full-fender win on the fairgrounds. His 10th Street Stock win is the first since August of 2019 with the remaining 55 registered in the Hobby/Pure Stock ranks. “We made a deal on this car in the off-season and agreed we wouldn’t bring it out until it was ready. Man, the last two weeks its been awesome and the track was great, it really came around.”
Last week’s winner C.J Guererri followed Minutolo into second on lap two while 10th starting Grant joined the fray by lap eight. Sandwiching Metcalf in a daring three-wide dash exiting turn four, Grant slid low dropping Guererri to third at the stripe halfway through. Guererri retaliated but Grant regained the runner-up spot for good on lap 14 and set his sights on Minutolo up front.
As the laps dwindled caution-free, so did Grant’s deficit, yet time finally ran out on the Penn Yan pilot as he finished two car-lengths shy of Minutolo in the closest contest of the night. Guererri placed third ahead of Mike Welch and Rick Crego.
“Seen (#36 Grant) once, tried to navigate lapped traffic and just keep my cool,” figured Minutolo, who sealed the new car deal in January before starting work on it in February alongside his faithful father, Mike, himself owner of 33 stock car checkered flags at the fairgrounds. Usually I get passed by him halfway through, so with two to go its like ‘where is he.’ Tried not to watch the leader board but its hard not to. These guys are top-notch, a lot in our field can go anywhere and win.”
“Have to thank my dad for all his help and Honeoye Auto, they stepped up huge this year and they’re the reason we got this car. Its built off a Camaro clip, a little more advanced, but now we finally have what everybody else has. Big thanks to the Eldredge group as well, they helped out a lot before we were able to get this new car to the track,” added Minutolo, who proved it was definitely worth the wait.
The wait for Kerrick also came to a happy ending Saturday as the talented 20 year-old led all 15 laps to register the memorable win in just his second full-season of competition in Canandaigua. But not before surviving a heated battle with defending track champ and last week’s Hobby Stock winner Frank Burnell Jr.
“Feels amazing, don’t even have words for it,” uttered a choked up Kerrick as the tears and cheers from family flowed freely in victory lane following the elusive win. Kerrick’s father Clair ‘Bubby’ Kerrick raced stocks and sprint cars —finished 4th in the ESS A-Main held in Aug. 2006 at LOLR— while his late grandfather Clair Kerrick Sr. —whose birthday on Friday was remembered Saturday— raced at Canandaigua in the 1970s as well. “Was just running my own line and kept it out front.”
Unable to find the words to express his latest achievement in post-race activity, Kerrick let his sleek black No. 61 Fratto Curbing-Mike O. from Geneva Truck Repair Chevrolet Camaro with a Potter chassis do all the talking on the speedway. Rocketing from fourth to first on the opening circuit, the Stanley speedster built a big lead before Phil Barone spun in turn two to require caution and erase the 3.0-second advantage.
Seventh starting Burnell held down second on the lap eight restart with Parker Smith and father Blane Smith bookending fourth running Marc Minutolo at the halfway mark. The top-three ran together for a short time until Kerrick was able to pull away over the last two miles.
The final victory margin was a solid five car-lengths with Burnell and Minutolo rubbing bumpers as they crossed the line in front of Nate Peckham and Parker Smith. Last-place starter Justin Eldredge persevered to finish sixth driving his brother Jamie’s car for the distance.
Leading all but the opening circuit en route to her first win in mid-May, Payne snatched the lead away from Matt Smith riding the high line out of turn four on lap nine and the Hopewell hotshoe sped on to a convincing victory in the 12-lap Legends finale.
“One of the biggest things for me is learning to pass cars,” revealed Payne, 16, following her half-track win ahead of Bruce Batzel in the green-to-checkers nightcap. “This (class) has a smaller car count but I knew after seeing (Smith) run a few laps that he was going to choose the bottom and was going to need to move up to pass him. Once I felt like I knew I was catching him, I knew that was my chance. Had to work a little harder for this one.”
Rookie racer Kyle Ridley took down the show position followed by Elizabeth Nugent who was filling in for her brother Evan in the black No 25N, while Smith was scored fifth in his debut ahead of opening night winner Angel Sperring.
“A lot of thanks go out to a lot of people for getting me back here,” said Payne, after tacking on her second win aboard the #31K SVN Realty Performance-Deck Tech-Speed Connection/Troyer car. “My mom and Tony from Troyer couldn’t be here but Bob from SVN and Bruce from Batzel’s Automotive give me plenty of support. And of course my dad (Eldon), his own Speed Connection business has been able to give me a lot of what I need.”
The first month of summer continues in Canandaigua with Ryan Phelps Auto Sales and LSI Solutions anchoring the June 10 card from high atop the turn four towers. Pepsi Big-Block Modifieds remain the heavy hitters, joined by Stirling Lubricants Sportsman, MighTea Boba 305 Sprint Cars, Eldredge & Sons Scrap Recycling Street Stocks, Lloyd’s Contracting Hobby Stocks and Maguire Ford of Canandaigua New Legends Sportsman, with Rochester Spinal Association the weekly 50/50 beneficiary. Pit gates open at 3:30pm, spectators can enter at 5 o’clock and hot laps start at 5:30 followed by the first qualifier at 6:30pm.
Led by award-winning executive producer Art Rorick, the LOLR TV broadcast team embodied by production assistant Makenna Hansen, graphics coordinator C.J. Miller, chief camera operators Mike Yawney, Jim & Michelle Mullen, and veteran voices Steve Ovens (PA announcer) and Doug Elkins (pit reporter) are once again on-site to provide LIVE video coverage of every event through Land of Legends TV, with LIVE streaming continuing to be offered FREE in 2023. On-line registration at https://landoflegendstv.com/orders/customer_info for a free account is the only step to take.
Also available for download is the LOLR mobile app found at Google Play
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/land-of-legends/id1508128970?uo=4 to secure your raceday pass today.
In addition to LOLR’s weekly racing being simulcast on Land of Legends Raceway TV, each show will also be broadcast live on DIRTVision and highlighted by the mighty DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. To watch, sign up for an annual Platinum FAST PASS with DIRTVision and experience every event either online or through the DIRTVision App.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TICKET BUNDLES & PIT PASS PACKAGES IN 2023
General Admission Ticket and Pit Pass bundles continue to be offered to LOLR fans and race teams while providing a great opportunity to save money in the process. G.A. packs of 20 ($200) or 50 ($450) and Pit bundles of 20 ($700) or 50 ($1700) must be pre-ordered to be used during the upcoming season.
Regular weekly ticket prices remain set at $15 Adults, $13 Seniors, Kids 16 yrs. and under FREE. Pit passes are $40. For those youngsters needing pit access, Child Season Pit Passes are $50 for 2 yrs. & under and $150 for kids 3-13. Camping is FREE at all race events.
To purchase ticket and pit pass bundles or discuss marketing opportunities available at the track in 2023, please contact LOLR Director of Marketing & Operations Tana Robinson via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or cell 716-799-5669.
Check out www.landoflegendsraceway.com often as the latest news and season schedule information will be posted right up to raceday.
Land of Legends Raceway is located on County Road 10 at the Ontario County Fairgrounds, just 1-1/2-miles north of Routes 5&20, and is easily accessible from the NYS Thruway (I-90), taking Exit 43 (Manchester, Route 21 South) traveling from the east or Exit 44 (Farmington, Route 332 South) coming from the west.
Land of Legends Raceway Event Summary – June 3, 2023
70th Anniversary Season Celebration
Maguire Ford Of Canandaigua presents Saturday Spectacular
Pepsi Big-Block Modified “Scoppo Special”
*Feature (30 laps): 1. 9s-Matt Sheppard ($4,000), 2. 25-Erick Rudolph, 3. 3-Justin Haers, 4. 27j-Danny Johnson, 5. 39-Kyle Coffey, 6. 14j-Alan Johnson, 7. 21a-Peter Britten, 8. 42p-Pat Ward, 9. 34-Kevin Root, 10. 27jr-Daniel Johnson Jr., 11. 7z-Zach Payne, 12. 70a-Alex Payne, 13. 11n-Ricky Newton, 14. 11j-James Sweeting, 15. 32r-Zach Sobotka, 16. 19w-Justin Wright, 17. 22g-Gil Tegg Jr., 18. 21-Derrick Podsiadlo, 19. 29ny-Greg Birosh, 20. 19-Tim Fuller, 21. 7-Troy Sperring, 22. 88-Dave Allen, 23. 57-Dalton Martin, 24. 1L-Jeff Lawrence(SB).
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Newton, Ward, D.Johnson, A.Payne, Rudolph, Tegg, Sobotka, Martin(DNS).
#2: Allen, Coffey, Sheppard, Z.Payne, Britten, Podsiadlo, Sperring, D.Johnson Jr.
#3: A.Johnson, Haers, Birosh, Root, Fuller, Sweeting, Wright, Lawrence.
Stirling Lubricants Sportsman Modified
*Feature (25 laps): 1. 33x-Matt Janczuk ($750), 2. 7-Paul Guererri, 3. 31-Kane Bristol, 4. 51-Tim Lafler, 5. 38-Zach Sobotka, 6. 113jr.-Frank Guererri Jr., 7. 20x-Kevin Ridley, 8. 32c-Kasey Coffey, 9. 10-Karl Comfort, 10. 12g-Matt Guererri, 11. 30-Nick Root, 12. 9-Tim Baker, 13. 21j-Justin Liecht, 14. 51k-Kreg Crooker, 15. 21x-Ryan Barrett, 16. 28-Mark Potter, 17. 21v-Tony Velez, 18. 2k-Anthony Kimble, 19. 34-Behr Grover, 20. 35x-Greg Crooker, 21. 35-Nick Cooper, 22. 18h-Justin Henderson, 23. 08-Dalton Doyle, 24. 22x-Mike Richmond, 25. 21-Loren Lincoln, 26. 7j-JT Sperring, 27. 29g-Steve Gray, 32-Carter Crooker(DNS).
Heats (8 laps)
#1: Potter, Bristol, Sobotka, P.Guererri, Cooper, Ridley, Barrett, Richmond, Gray, G.Crooker.
#2: Grover, Sperring, Coffey, Baker, Comfort, Liechti, Lincoln, K.Crooker, Doyle.
#3: Henderson, Janczuk, Lafler, F.Guererri, Root, M.Guererri, Kimble, Velez, C.Crooker.
Eldredge & Sons Scrap Recycling Street Stock
*Feature (20 laps): 1. 25b-Marc Minutolo ($500), 2. 36-Jimmy Grant, 3. cj1-CJ Guererri, 4. 00-Mike Welch, 5. 5c-Rick Crego, 6. 57j-Nick Dandino, 7. 9-Aksel Jensen, 8. 3-Patrick Hobbs, 9. 22-Carl Cleveland, 10. 122-Chris Beyea, 11. 12-John Burritt, 12. 74- Ronald “Bundy” Metcalf, 99-Adam DePuy(DNS).
Heats (6 laps)
#1: Jensen, Dandino, Minutolo, Beyea, Burritt, Metcalf, DePuy.
#2: Grant, Hobbs, Crego, Welch, Guererri, Cleveland.
Lloyd’s Contracting Hobby Stock
*Feature (15 laps): 1. 61-Daniel Kerrick, 2. 57b-Frank ‘Bubba’ Burnell Jr., 3. 25b-Marc Minutolo, 4. 90-Nathan Peckham, 5. 55p-Parker Smith, 6. 17jr-Justin Eldredge, 7. 55b-Blane Smith, 8. 57jr.-Tyler Burnell, 9. 36x-Brighton Grant, 10. 22-Craig Dingy, 11. 88-Justin Jacoby, 12. 718-Phil Barone, 13. 13b-Brian Lloyd, 14. 11-Dan Korpanty.
Heats (6 laps)
#1: Kerrick, Peckham, T.Burnell, Minutolo, B.Smith, Korpanty, Grant.
#2: F.Burnell, Lloyd, P.Smith, Dingy, Jacoby, Barone, Eldredge
Maguire Ford of Canandaigua New Legends Sportsman
*Feature (12 laps): 1. 31k-Kennedy Payne, 2. 57j-Bruce Batzel, 3. 20k-Kyle Ridley, 4. 25n-Elizabeth Nugent, 5. 57m-Matt Smith, 6. 56a-Angel Sperring
Heat (6 laps)
#1: Smith, Sperring, Payne, Batzel, Nugent, Ridley.
NEXT EVENT: Saturday Spectacular, June 10 @ 6:30pm; Ryan Phelps Auto Sales and LSI Solutions present Big-Block Modified/Sportsman/305 Sprint/Street Stock/Hobby Stock plus New Legends Sportsman with Rochester Spinal Association Benefit.
Track Instant Info
Live Stream: https://landoflegendstv.com/
Along with recognizing its weekly 50/50 raffle fund beneficiaries, Land of Legends Raceway is proud to salute several sponsors and corporate partners that continue to help bring its fans the best Saturday night racing show in the Northeast. Listed alphabetically are 2023 division sponsors Eldredge & Sons Scrap Recycling, Pepsi Geneva Club Beverage, Lloyd’s Contracting, Maguire Ford of Canandaigua, MighTea Boba, Stirling Lubricants; event sponsors Admar Construction Equipment & Supply Company, Auction Direct USA, Auto Value Parts Stores, A-Verdi Storage Containers, Busch Light, DC Rauscher Contractor, Ferris Mowers, Genesee Beer/Coors Light/Twisted Tea, Geneva Club Beverage/Pepsi, Honeoye Auto Parts, Jack Howell Properties, iFreeze Storage & Distribution Center, Maguire Ford of Canandaigua, Nardozzi Companies, Phelps Cement Products, Prouty’s Bar & Grill, Regional Truck & Trailer, Ryan Phelps Auto Sales, Seneca Auto Sales & Service, Seneca Meadows Landfill, Sherwin Williams Paint, Tradition Automotive Group, VP Racing Fuels; promotional partners Always Locked Self Storage, American Woman Designs, Auto Wash Car Wash, Baker’s Externinating, Champion Power Equipment, Disbatch Brewing Company, Elab Smokers Boutique, Emerson Oil Company/Castrol, Enertech Global, FLX BBQ Company, Geneva Club Beverage, Hoosier Racing Tire, IndyKart Raceway, LSI Solutions, Legott’s Club 86, Mac’s Dairy Bar & Mini Golf, Maguire Ford of Canandaigua, Meyer’s Finger Lakes RV, Mike Emhof Motorsports, Ontario County Fairboard, On The Rocks Bar & Grill, Phelps Community Center Head Start Program, The “Original” Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, Schultz Heating & Cooling, Spectrum, Stop DWI NYS, Superior Plumbing Service, Turn 5 Media, Vance Metal Fabrication, Weedsport Hall of Fame, Wicked Tees.