Alex Payne Tops SDS Stalwarts Williamson & Sheppard In '24 LOLR Lid-Lifter

Written on 05/05/2024

Upstart Payne Shuffles Stacked Deck In 2024 Canandaigua Lid-Lifter

Sobotka follows suit as Parrow, Grant & Burnell share 61st season-opening checkers


Canandaigua, NY – May 4, 2024 – Tom Skibinski, Land of Legends Raceway PR


Neither wind or rain nor 'Super Matt' or 'Money Mat' could stop Alex Payne on Saturday night as the open-wheel upstart from nearby Hopewell dominated to score a convincing win in the Pepsi Big-Block Modified main. On this occasion Payne provided a truly 'Saturday Spectacular' performance leading all but the initial five circuits en route to the memorable opening night triumph.


“This win is huge, ran second last night (Outlaw Speedway) and now a win tonight,” remarked Payne, 18, not allowing the light rain to dampen any spirits as he celebrated with family and friends in the elusive winner's circle. “Have to thank everybody that makes this possible, the Nardozzis, my mom and dad, just a dream.”


Also cracking the winner's circle in the 61st annual lid-lifter presented by Rushco Gas Company and Jack Howell Properties was two-time reigning Stirling Lubricants Sportsman points king Zach Sobotka. The trio of veteran wingman Bobby Parrow (MighTea Boba 305 Sprint Car) and full-fender favorites Jimmy Grant (Eldredge & Sons Scrap Recycling Street Stock) and Tyler Burnell (Lloyd's Contracting Hobby Stock) each captured their respective division openers for a second straight season.


First-year driver Chase Spoor was credited with first-place in the lone Maguire Ford of Canandaigua New Legends Sportsman heat before persisting rain and wet track conditions forced the 12-lap finale to be postponed until May 18. Kyle Ridley took the checkered flag first before coming up light crossing over the post-race scales.


Beneficiary of the opening night 50/50 drawing, the Keuka Comfort Care collected its own share of winnings as part of the weekly program activities held trackside.


Continuing to contend with springtime climate conditions, the '24 lead-off event originally scheduled for April 27 marked the sixth time in his seven years of operation that LOLR Promoter Paul Cole lost out to Mother Nature before the month of May arrived. Only the initial program staged April 30, 2022 was not lost due to weather issues or even the mandated CoVid-19 restrictions. Despite an ever-changing forecast throughout the week, a hardy grandstand crowd greeted over 90 racers as the new season officially kicked off at the historic half-miler.

An extra week of anticipation hardly mattered for second-generation standout Payne as his sleek Billy The Kid-powered #70A Nardozzi Paving & Construction-Batzel's Auto-Bilstein Shocks/Bicknell entry was a rocketship from the start. Qualifying heat winner Kevin Root took advantage of the 'heads-up' feature start format to take an early lead from outside row one yet Payne charged by on a lap six restart to forge the lone lead change.


Former track champ Erick Rudolph slid to the infield to incur the initial slowdown while Dalton Martin slowed in turn four to require a second caution on lap eight. Chief starter Scott Hixson unfurled the final yellow flag with a dozen laps scored as falling rain gained strength around the speedway.


Back under green following the brief delay, Payne pulled away at will ahead of sixth-place starter 'Money Mat' Williamson while Root, Alan Johnson and 'Super Matt' Sheppard secured top-five spots in the early stages. At the halfway mark of the 30-lap headliner, '23 opening day winner Peter Britten moved into the fray with Rudolph dialed in fast forward after his early race pit stop.


Sheppard, currently the Northeast's hottest Modified driver, ducked under Johnson for third on lap 13 and set his sights on the two leaders ahead. Having already reached double-digits in the 2004 win column, Sheppard was looking for his 91st career Big-Block win in Canandaigua while Canadian hotshoe Williamson, the defending Super DIRT Week champion and recently crowned Florida Tour high points man was primed to make his first LOLR victory lane appearance.


Sheppard finally tracked down Williamson on lap 24 but a slidejob between turns one and two came up short leaving the Waterloo warrior settling for third three miles from the finish line. Under the checkers it was Payne authoring a comfortable three-quarters straightaway advantage over Super DIRTcar Series stars Williamson and Sheppard while Rudolph and Johnson rounded out the final front-five as mechanical issues dropped Britten from fourth to tenth on the final lap.


“Knew I had something there at that point,” noted Payne, describing his early race pass of Root on the way to Big-Block career win number two at the fairgrounds. “Knew he was gonna try and obviously block the middle, that's really the only way I could have a run. Luckily I had just enough room to squeeze by, then just kinda set my pace after that.”


“Seen Williamson get right by those guys on the same restart or something close to that and him and (Sheppard) were moving up through. Knew if I just kept doing what I was doing, think I had a good enough car. But at the same time those are some serious guys behind you,” added Payne, eluding to perennial touring pros Sheppard and Williamson who finished 1-2 in the final '23 Super DIRTcar Series points chase.


Sobotka was even more efficient in the 25-lap Sportsman feature, grabbing the lead from pole-sitter Nick Root at the drop of the green and covering the entire distance untouched.


“The track was pretty good, there were multiple grooves out there,” assessed Sobotka, 23, who also won the 2021 LOLR opener and now has 11 wins at the same Ontario County oval. “Hit the set-up for this track so it worked out pretty good.”


A pair of early yellow flags kept the 24-car starting field tight with Sobotka and Root setting the pace ahead of returning regular Tyler Corcoran, Frank Guererri Jr. and two-time track titlist Matt Guererri. Plenty of green flag racing ensued, pushing the leaders into heavy traffic by lap 15 yet the front-runners failed to budge.


The lone shake-up came on lap 23 when Matt Guererri looped his mount exiting turn four, opening the door for Tim Lafler to gain ground in the final mile dash to the checkers. At the wire it was still the no. 38 Stirling Lubricants-O.L.T. Logging-Under Or Above Construction/Bicknell ride of Parish NY pilot Sobotka by eight car-lengths ahead of Root, followed by Corcoran, Frank Guererri Jr. and Lafler while Matt Guererri improved to ninth on the final scoresheet.


“Didn't change one thing but the gears after last night,” divulged Sobotka, who won the Sportsman main on Friday at Brewerton Speedway north of Syracuse. Kinda hard going into the first week not really knowing what to do. To be honest, I'm definitely shocked that we didn't really change much coming in.”


Mirroring Sobotka from start to finish, Parrow darted from outside row one and was never challenged as he topped the 305 A-Main in decisive fashion.


“Didn't know if we were gonna get (race) in tonight but it worked out pretty good,” smiled Parrow, 55, who also matched Sobotka with his own 11th career victory at LOLR. In a role reversal next weekend, Sobotka hinted that he may be steering a winged machine Saturday at Canandaigua possibly teamed with Blake Warner. “I could smell (rain) when I was sitting waiting to get on the track. Nothing fell during the race but it was always there.”


Parrow led off the card with a command performance aboard his potent orange #80 Seneca Meadows Inc-Re/Max Revolution-Proctor Enterprises/Shaw mount, winning his heat to join first qualifying race winner Alysha Bay on the front row. Despite a handful of caution periods and a red flag to clean up a turn one tangle on lap nine, the Waterloo driver ran uncontested all 20 circuits to also equal his 2021 opening day success.


Finishing 15 car-lengths behind at the stripe, all-time LOLR winner Darryl Ruggles advanced from eighth to second ahead of Randy Years, hard-charging Matt Rotz who rallied from a lap 13 spin, and Steve Glover who filed in 15th on the starting grid.


Over the years success for both Parrow and Sobotka have rewarded each with nearly a dozen first-place prizes at their Saturday night hangout. 2023 was a banner season for Grant as the prince of Penn Yan cracked the winner's circle 11 times alone. Now add one more piece to the trophy case after he kicked off the show rolling flag-to-flag for his 23th career checkered flag in Canandaigua.


“We got a little work to do, (car) is gonna be better,” downplayed Grant, 38, whose brand-new no. 36 Fratto Curbing-Washburn Excavating Chevrolet Camaro sporting a CRS chassis remained the class of the field. “This is a group effort. Its not just my race car, its all of ours. I'm just blessed to be here.”


Grant bested weekly rival Mike Welch at the start and led all 20 laps to score his third opening triumph. His lead-off round one feature wins in 2021 and '23 ultimately sent him on his way to season point championships when Labor Day arrived.


All-time LOLR stock car winner Welch ran runner-up the entire way while C.J. Guererri passed Patrick Hobbs for third on lap 14. Circling the hallowed half-miler for  more than a quarter century, Hobbs placed fourth at the stripe in front of Rick Crego.


With intermittent raindrops continuing to fall, the 15-lap Hobby Stock finale produced the closest finish of the night as Burnell outlasted Marc Minutolo by a half car-length under the checkers.


“This is the best this car has ever felt,” declared Burnell, 22, after the second-generation driver from Waterloo recorded his 12th pure stock victory at the fairgrounds. “Now that I have brakes I can actually go faster.”


Burnell needed to muster up all the speed he had to stave off a final lap charge from Minutolo, last year's points champ with 67 stock car wins of his own chronicled in Canandaigua. While Burnell led from the start, lap after lap the best show was witnessed right behind him as Justin Eldredge and Minutolo traded paint as they swapped spots much of the way.


Minutolo secured second for good on lap 11 and chased down Burnell's home-built #57jr. Chevrolet Camaro-bodied Peck Electric/Phelps Cement Products-sponsored car as the remaining laps dwindled. Rounding turn four on the final circuit Minutolo moved high and as the pair crossed the line 0.179-sec. was the only separation as bragging rights were once more afforded Burnell, for at least another week.


A late rally moved Nate Peckham past Eldredge for third with Daniel Kerrick in fith.


“Couldn't figure out what the brake issue was the last two years,” revealed Burnell, who claimed the first “Hobby” stock crown under Cole in 2020. “Cut off the 'bump stops' or whatever you call them and now we have no brake problems. Finally have brakes in every corner (of the track), and when I hit 'em they're there!”



The second 'Saturday Spectacular' of the month is slated for May 11 with A-Verdi Storage Containers presenting a big five-star card headlined by the MighTea Boba 305 Sprint Cars contesting for top honors in the first of three CRSA tour events scheduled at the fairgrounds. Last yeat LOLR averaged 30 wingmen in the sprint series specials with eventual Canandaigua points champion Jordan Hutton (2) and Dalton Herrick earning A-Main accolades.


Pepsi Big-Block Modified, Stirling Lubricants Sportsman, Eldredge & Sons Scrap Recycling Street Stock and Lloyd's Contracting Hobby Stock classes join the action with the first qualifier going green at 6:30pm. Pit gates open at 3:30pm, spectators gain entrance at 5 o'clock and hot laps start at 5:30 on the fast fairgrounds half-miler.


Round two of the DisBatch Brewing Company CRSA mini-series in Canandaigua covers the July 4 holiday with the third leg filling out the LOLR season-finale on Sept. 28. Check out the most updated info regarding the series, schedule, results and points by visiting throughout the season.



Spearheaded by award-winning executive producer Art Rorick, the talented LOLR TV broadcast team boasting production assistants Makenna Hansen & C.J. Miller, graphics coordinator Mark Rore, camera operators Mike Yawney, Jim & Michelle Mullen, and veteran voices Steve Ovens (PA announcer) and Doug Elkins (pit reporter) is 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 2024. On-line registration at for a free account is the only step to take.


Also available for download is the LOLR mobile app found at Google Play or

App Store 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.



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 ($220) or 50 ($475) and Pit bundles of 20 ($700) or 50 ($1,700) must be pre-ordered to be used during the upcoming season.


Regular weekly G.A. ticket prices stay set at $15 Adults and $13 Seniors while Kids 16 yrs. and under (must be accompanied by an adult) remain FREE. Pit passes are $40. For those youngsters needing pit access, a Child Season Pit Pass is $50 for tykes under 2 yrs. and $150 each for kids 2-13. Camping is FREE at all race events.


To purchase ticket and pit pass bundles or discuss marketing opportunities available at the track in 2024, please contact LOLR Director of Marketing & Operations Tana Robinson via e-mail or cell 716-799-5669.


Check out often as the latest news and season schedule information will be posted right up to raceday.


Land of Legends Raceway is located at the Ontario County Fairgrounds, east of the city on Town Line Road (County Road 10), with easy access off either Exit 43 (Manchester, Route 21 South) or Exit 44 (Farmington, Route 332 South) of the New York State Thruway, just ½-hour southeast of Rochester.


Land of Legends Raceway Event Summary – May 4, 2024

Saturday Spectacular

Rushco Gas Company & Jack Howell Properties present 61st Season-Opener

Pepsi Big-Block Modified

*Feature (30 laps): 1. 70a-Alex Payne ($2,000), 2. 6-Mat Williamson, 3. 9s-Matt Sheppard, 4. 25-Erick Rudolph, 5. 14j-Alan Johnson, 6. 27j-Danny Johnson, 7. 34-Kevin Root, 8. 98h-Jimmy Phelps, 9. 42p-Pat Ward, 10. 21a-Peter Britten, 11. 7z-Zach Payne, 12. 11j-James Sweeting, 13. 19w-Justin Wright, 14. 21-Derrick Podsiadlo, 15. 17-Marcus Dinkins, 16. 21j-Daniel Johnson Jr., 17. 18k-Dalton Martin, 18. 7s-Torrey Stoughtenger, 3-Justin Haers(DNS), 39-Kasey Coffey(DNS).

Heats (8 laps)

#1: A.Johnson, Rudolph, Phelps, Z.Payne, D.Johnson, Podsiadlo, Dinkins, D.Johnson Jr., Stoughtenger, Haers(DNS).

#2: Root, A.Payne, Williamson, Wright, Sheppard, Ward, Britten, Martin, Sweeting, Coffey(DNS).


Stirling Lubricants Sportsman Modified

*Feature (25 laps): 1. 38-Zach Sobotka ($750), 2. 30-Nick Root, 3. 64-Tyler Corcoran, 4. 113jr.-Frank Guererri Jr., 5. 51-Tim Lafler, 6. 44-Dave Conant Jr., 7. 21j-Justin Liechti, 8. 7-Paul Guererri, 9. 12g-Matt Guererri, 10. 18h-Justin Henderson, 11. 10-Karl Comfort, 12. 42-Colby Adamczak, 13. 21-James Henry, 14. 26-Greenley George, 15. 9-Tim Baker, 16. 711-Nick Ventura, 17. 87-Brad Sawyer, 18. 55-Dillon Adamczak, 19. 7t-Tyler Guzzardi, 20. 31k-Kennedy Payne, 21. 2-Mike Taylor, 22. 00-Sam Hoxie, 23. 28j-Jordan Moden, 24. 28-Mark Potter, 35-Nick Cooper(DNS), 32c-Kasey Coffey(DNS).

Heats (8 laps)

#1: Root, Corcoran, Hoxie, Comfort, P.Guererri, C.Adamczak, Henderson, Cooper, Potter.

#2: Sobotka, M.Guererri, Liechti, Payne, George, Sawyer, Guzzardi, D.Adamczak, Coffey.

#3: F.Guererri, Lafler, Moden, Baker, Henry, Conant, Ventura, Taylor.



MighTea Boba 305 Sprint

*Feature (20 laps): 1. 80-Bobby Parrow ($500), 2. 48jr.-Darryl Ruggles, 3. 2-Randy Years, 4. 77-Matt Rotz, 5. 121-Steve Glover, 6. 18c-Dan Craun, 7. 48a-Alysha Bay, 8. 14-James Layton, 9. X-Dan Bennett, 10. 9-Alan Buchanan, 11. 23-John Smith, 12. 33z-Sydney Wetherbee, 13. 14x-Lance Dusett, 14. 26j-Johnny Kolosek, 15. 17e-Ethan Gray, 16. 8-Dillon Paddock, 17. 29-Tori Kaplin.

Heats (8 laps)

#1: Bay, Kolosek, Layton, Rotz, Smith, Dusett, Buchanan, Glover, Kaplin.

#2: Parrow, Years, Paddock, Ruggles, Gray, Craun, Bennett, Wetherbee.


Eldredge & Sons Scrap Recycling Street Stock

*Feature (20 laps): 1. 36-Jimmy Grant, 2. 00-Mike Welch, 3. cj1-CJ Guererri, 4. 3-Patrick Hobbs, 5. 5c-Rick Crego, 6. 93-Jared Hill, 7. 57j-Chris Woodard, 8. 18-Wayne Ellison, 9. 12-John Burritt, 10. 25b-Marc Minutolo, 11. 74- Ronald “Bundy” Metcalf.

Heat (6 laps)

#1: Welch, Grant, Hobbs, Guererri, Crego, Woodard, Hill, Minutolo, Burritt, Ellison, Metcalf.


Lloyd's Contracting Hobby Stock

*Feature (15 laps): 1. 57jr.-Tyler Burnell, 2. 25b-Marc Minutolo, 3. 90-Nathan Peckham, 4. 25j-Justin Eldredge, 5. 61-Daniel Kerrick, 6. 36x-Brighton Grant, 7. 11-Dan Korpanty, 8. 18-Blane Smith, 9. 88-Justin Jacoby, 10. 67-James Werner, 11. 22c-Craig Dingy, 12. 8j-Jeff Rex, 13. 22j-Randy Johnson, 14. 97-Kevin Schrader, 15. 69j-Heather Auble-Gray, 24k-Kevin Lloyd(DNS), 59-Justin Finger(DNS).

Heats (6 laps)

#1: Eldredge, Grant, Jacoby, Korpanty, Werner,Auble-Gray, Johnson, Schrader(DNS),

#2: Burnell, Minutolo, Kerrick, Smith, Rex, Dingy, FingerDNS), LloydDNS), Peckham(DNS).


Maguire Ford of Canandaigua New Legends Sportsman

*Feature (Starting Line-Up / Rain-Delayed to May 18 (12 laps): 1. 57j-Bruce Batzel, 2. 25n-Elizabeth Nugent, 3. 29g-Evan Gray, 4. 20-Nick Galusha, 5. 41s-Chase Spoor, 6. 20k-Kyle Ridley.

Heat (6 laps)

#1: Ridley(DSQ), Spoor, Galusha, Gray, Nugent, Batzel(DNS).


NEXT EVENT: Saturday Spectacular, May 11 @ 6:30pm; A-Verdi Storage Containers presents Big-Block Modified/Sportsman/CRSA 305 Sprint Tour/Street Stock/Hobby Stock with Farmington Cemetery Foundation Benefit.


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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 2024 division sponsors Eldredge & Sons Scrap Recycling, Lloyd's Contracting, Maguire Ford of Canandaigua, MighTea Boba, Pepsi Geneva Club Beverage, Stirling Lubricants; event sponsors Auto Value Parts Stores, AMS Enterprises, A-Verdi Storage Containers, Busch Light/Lake Beverage, Cargill, Disbatch Brewing Company, DC Rauscher Contractor, Ferris Mowers, Honeoye Auto Parts, Hoselton Auto Mall, Jack Howell Properties, iFreeze Storage & Distribution Center, Labatt/Wright Beverage, LSI Solutions, Maguire Ford of Canandaigua, Pepsi/Geneva Club Beverage, Phelps Cement Products, Prouty's Bar & Grill, Regional Truck & Trailer, Rushco Gas Company, Ryan Phelps Auto Sales, Seneca Auto Sales & Service, Seneca Meadows Landfill, Smith Drywall, Tradition Automotive Group, Wilbert's Premium Auto Parts; promotional partners Always Locked Self Storage, American Woman Designs, Auto Wash Car Wash, Baker's Exterminating, Champion Power Equipment, Close Racing Supply(CRS), Disbatch Brewing Company, Ed's Garage/Krown Undercoating of Ransomville, Elab Smokers Boutique, Elderlee, Emerson Oil Company/Castrol, Fox Pest Control, Hoosier Racing Tire, Legott's Club 86, Mac's Dairy Bar & Mini Golf, Meyer's Finger Lakes RV, Mike Emhof Motorsports, Ontario County Fairboard, On The Rocks Bar & Grill, The "Original" Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, Schultz Heating & Cooling, Speed Connection, Stop DWI NYS, Turn 5 Media, VP Racing Fuels, Weedsport Hall of Fame, Wicked Tees.