EVANS MILLS, NY – The weather was perfect for the inaugural John Burr Classic on the 3/8-mile oval at Evans Mills Raceway Park and fans responded in large numbers. By race time, the lot was full, and vehicles were parked alongside the Steinhilber road entrance lane to be part of the festivities.
Nostalgia style programs were even available, right down to the mini pencil used to score the results. A personal message from the Burr family was on the inside cover. Over 60 cars spread out amongst four classes filled the pit area.
After eleven heat races were run, the first feature out was the Sport Compacts. On the first lap, the #03 of Andre Roggie got sideways and was hit by another car to bring out the caution. Roggie quickly went to the pits but returned before the drop of the green flag to provide fans the opportunity to see if he could come from the back to win. Trevor Halliday in the #61x and points champion Craig Caskinette in the #19 took turns battling for the lead for the first half of the race. But after running mid-pack for a while, Roggie began to turn up the wick and shot into the lead on lap 11. At the end of the 20 laps, it was Roggie for the win followed by Halliday and Caskinette.
The New York Super Stocks came out for their second event of the year at Evans Mills and provided their usual bumper to bumper and side by side battles throughout the field. Jacob Gustafson in the yellow #5 tailed early leader AJ Potrzebowski in the #172 but managed to get by to take the lead. Unfortunately, a spin collected Gustafson and the front end of the car was t-boned by another machine. Gustafson would go to the pits, make repairs, and return in time for the green flag to make an amazing run from the back of the field. At the finish, it was Potrzebowski for the win followed by Jason Dinzler in the #37 for second and Gustafson back up through the field for third.
The visiting Small Block Supermodifieds from Oswego came out for their 35-lap feature and suffered a caution through the first turn that took out the #90 of Greg O’Connor. After that, it was a fast green to checker run for the open cockpit machines with Mike Bruce in the #04 taking the win, followed by Russ Bartlett in the #02 for second and an impressive run by Griffin Miller for third in the #03 in his first drive ever in a small block super. Winner Mike Bruce complimented the large crowd and the facility, drawing applause when he said he hopes the SBS traveling series can add a couple races next season at Evans Mills.
21 Caskinette Ford Modifieds were on hand for the inaugural 75 lap John Burr Classic. A unique format divided the field into two segments. At the end of 30 laps, Kevin Timmerman was in front in the #17 followed by Mike Ramos in the #09 and Randy Brunelle in the #007. All three were paid bonus money from Tiger Chapman for their positions at the end of 30 laps. Pit crews were invited on to the track to work on their cars and a young fan drew a #6 card out of the hand of race director Jamie Jeffers, inverting the top six for the remaining 45 laps. After the resumption of the race, two grinding accidents caused a delay, with Casey Sykes slamming the #1 into the front stretch wall and was fortunately uninjured. Later, Brad Winters in the #92 would get out of shape and spin off the track into the Evans Mills fire truck parked high off of turn three. The remainder of the night featured the intense racing competition that has been common all year in this class. Points champion Mason Spencer in the #30 had been steadily moving up through the field and took the lead with about 30 laps left. Mike Ramos and Kevin Timmerman were right there to put on some pressure. Timmerman would lose traction into the high groove and get passed by Brunelle and Ramos would also later get out of shape, moving Brunelle to second. The moving car toward the end of the race was Tony Pettinelli in the #2ny. At the end, it was Mason Spencer for the win with a slam bang finish between Brunelle and Pettinelli. The two would make contact coming out of the final turn, with Pettinelli spinning across the line in a shower of sparks for second. Mike Ramos in the #09 would be scored in third place to complete the podium.
Overall it was an amazing night of racing with a 50/50 jackpot of nearly $1400 going to the winning ticket. T-shirts and lapel pins featuring the John Burr classic were available, and many were seen throughout the stands. A large number of John’s extended family were in attendance and many racing old timers as well. It was a great tribute to a great man.
One more event will close out the Evans Mills calendar this Saturday, Sept. 28. It’s the Excel Tower Services Day of Destruction with spectator races, enduro competitions, another skid plate race, a mini-van race, a figure 8 race, and a big demolition derby to close out the day. Gates open at 12:30 pm and racing starts at 2 pm. It promises to be fun end to an amazing first racing season under the direction of the Gill family. We hope to see everyone this Saturday September 28!
CASKINETTE FORD MODIFIEDS
|4||11||Ricky Knapp Jr|
|12||51||Bobby Lippa Jr|
|4||1V||Josh Verne Jr|
NY SUPER STOCKS
OSWEGO SMALL BLOCK SUPERS
|14||1||Ken Moody Jr.|