The Big-Block Modifieds at Lands of Legends Raceway in Canandaigua, New York have been racing on a knife’s edge this season, with many race dates being washed out by rain. The harder the driving, the harder the incidents it seems, a hypothesis that got some validity when Justin Haers went for a huge tumble in turn three late last month.
Unfortunately the Canandaigua clay claimed another race car, this time belonging to Max McLaughlin and HBR Racing this past Saturday night. This time the accident occurred during feature racing, when Chris Daugherty slowed with mechanical problems while the field was bunched up, with McLaughlin not seeing him in time.
“It was all on the first lap of the race. They have a handicap system, like most weekly tracks up here, where the highest guys in points start in the back. I started 18th, first lap it’s a little dusty with everybody bunched up. I was behind Jimmy (Phelps), a broken car couldn’t get off the track in time, by the time I saw him it was too late,” McLaughlin told Speed51.com.
“It was a big one, pretty vicious. Jumps up to the top of the list in a lot of categories. The car is killed. There’s a couple of things we can use when we put the new car together, but most everything is finished. The good news is that I got out of it.”
Thankfully, McLaughlin walked away. Even more amazing, he was back on Sunday night in a different car, racing at Weedsport Speedway. While he was happy with his Dirt Modified, luck still seemed to escape him in regards to a good finish.
“I was a little uncomfortable in the seat, but not too bad. I thought I was good enough to race. We were pretty good there last night. It was a pill draw race for the heats and I drew dead last, like normal. Started in the back, there wasn’t much passing in the heats. Started right in the back for the feature, 40-laps with no cautions. We had one of the fastest cars, but with no cautions, only 40 laps, and a slick track, there’s not a whole lot you can do.”
Meanwhile at Canandaigua, the spill may have ended a chance at a possible points comeback after missing a race to drive asphalt Late Models in South Boston, Virginia in May. Going forward, McLaughlin and HBR are only focusing on collecting trophies from here on.
“We missed one week, when I was at South Boston, we were fourth in points when I left. That messed us up for the points anyways, but we’re going to keep digging to get back up there, and get as many wins as we can rack up there. We lost a good race car this weekend, but I’m pretty confident the way we’ve been running lately we can put a new one together and go right out front with it.”
Friday night competition at Brewerton Speedway has also been a bit of a grind this season for the No. 6H team. But they have also learned a lot going into this coming Friday, which instead of being for track points, will be the second points round of the rain-plagued 2018 Super DIRTcar Series.
“Brewerton has been hammer down every week. We’ve been good but we haven’t really been spectacular. But I think with the Series race this week, 100 laps, there’s no way some of these guys can go flat out the whole race. I think we’ll get a good shakedown for where our car is this week.”
McLaughlin also hopes to use Friday’s Showdown at Sundown 100, coupled with a runner-up in the opening SDS round at Weedsport in May, as a springboard for the bulk of the Series schedule which will have 14 races in six weeks stretching from late June to the middle of August.
“I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve only run one Series race this year and we ran second to Friesen. Even then I didn’t get to second until Lap 50 and then our car really came on. I’m super happy with how our cars have been in 100-lap races, and I think we really have something for the Series this year.”
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos