April 20, 2014 — story by Race Chaser New York correspondent Steven Ovens — Jeremiah Fish photo — CENTRAL SQUARE, N.Y. — Gary Tomkins drew first blood in 2014 at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night.
Tomkins took home the win in the Jan Corcoran Memorial 64-lap Big Block Modified feature at the Land of Legends.
Tomkins road to victory lane, however, would not be quite so simple. Steve Paine used his fourth place starting position to ride the ‘Paine Lane’ around the outside of Turns 3 and 4 on the opening lap and take the lead for the first 20 laps of the event.
Tomkins held him within arm’s reach when the leaders first hit traffic on Lap 12 and then eventually overtook Paine on Lap 20.
Also moving his way up to the fifth position by Lap 20 was 2013 Syracuse 200 winner Billy Dunn. Dunn methodically picked off car after car early in the race and maintained pace with the leaders as the race wore on. By Lap 40, Tomkins led Paine, Danny Johnson (running with a small-block power plant), Dunn and Matt Sheppard in the Heinke-Baldwin Racing #9H.
Lap 42 saw the first caution flag of the night as Danny Johnson lost a right rear tire and had to head to the attention of his ‘Old School 27J’ pit crew. Tomkins maintained the lead on the restart but Dunn marched his way quickly to second place, proceeding to go after Tomkins and throw everything but the kitchen sink at him, to no avail.
Lap 50 saw Jimmy Phelps move into the top five, taking fourth from his HBR teammate Sheppard, but just seven laps later, the next yellow flag of the event flew as Vic Coffey’s Sweeteners Plus ride took a hit against the unforgiving Turn 4 wall.
Coffey would drive away and go pitside, but the yellow would set up the seven lap dash for the win.
Tomkins would be challenged heavily by Dunn and Phelps throughout the main but he would not be denied on this night. Tomkins streaked to the flag followed by Dunn and Phelps on the podium. Sheppard finished in fourth and Billy Decker rounded out the top five.
Six through ten was Paine, Tim McCreadie, Justin Haers, Chris Hile and Mike Mahaney.
Paul Guererri took home the win in the Sportsman division. He beat Danny Weisner, Matt Guererri, Nick Guererri and Ron Davies to the line.
Pete Stefanski took home the win in the Pro/Street stock division.