Mackey goes from checkers to wreckers

Published Jul 8, 2018 at 9:00am

Last weekend, I did what I like to call the “trifecta” — I attended Brewerton, Fulton and Utica-Rome speedways. Why? Why not. I didn’t care that there was severe heat warnings, when we’re dealing with snow up to our hips and temperatures that freeze our eyelids, I have this weekend to warm my thoughts if nothing else.

Rome’s Chris Mackey won his second sportsman feature race of 2018 at the “D” Shaped Demon last Friday night. Mark Yorker won a makeup feature in the sportsman division and, also, Rich Townsend won for the first time. The mighty big-block modified A-main was won by Tim Sears Jr. followed by Ronnie Davis III who continues to impress everyone racing his small block against the big blocks.

I think of Brewerton as a “aahhhh, we’re done with work for the week, so now we can play” night. A really love the family atmosphere of the track and the kind of decompression you get to go through as you transition from work mode to play mode.

And, by the way, Brewerton has some of the best hamburgers at any track I’ve gone to.

Next up, Fulton Speedway- probably my favorite track of all time just because it’s one of the first dirt tracks I ever went to way back when. Also at the end of the season they have the Outlaw 200 which IS my favorite race of the season in any form of racing. I haven’t been to Monte Carlo yet for the Formula 1 race so I can’t compare it to that yet but...some day. 

The heat turned up a notch laat Saturday night as the stands were remarkably empty of fans. That didn’t stop the racers though, many of whom had spent long hours after racing the night before to prepare their car to do a second night of racing on Saturday.

Topping the Fulton features were first time winner Brett Belden in the late model division who raced pro stocks for years and moved up to the late models recently. Brandon Ford and Alan Fink won their respective sportsman A-main. A special nod goes to Jimmy Moyer for his solid fourth place finish in the “Moyer the Mover” 602 crate. A lot of people were very happy for Jordan McCreadie to win his first 358 modified feature at Fulton Speedway. McCreadie is the brother of Late Model star Tim McCreadie and the son of the legend “Barefoot” Bob McCreadie.

Finally, last Sunday night at Utica-Rome Speedway. Easily the hottest day of the weekend. Hydration, ice, fans, air conditioning and shade were at a premium at the Vernon facility. There were a lot of pop up canopies making shade Sunday night. 

But, beating the heat was only a small part of the night as there was some serious racing to get to. 

The 2nd Annual Gene Kotary Memorial Pro Stock Challenge took center stage and it was Westmoreland’s Pete Stefanski taking home the beautiful trophy presented to him by Marcia Kotary and a $1,000 check.

A Birnie Bus was loaded up with a few dozen friends and family of the late racing legend and were treated to a race that went 30-laps green to checkered.

The King of Dirt 358-modified race with $2,000 on the line was won by Billy Dunn. Dunn and Rocky Warner had a great race for the lead during the 40-lap race with Dunn finally wrestling the lead from Warner in lapped traffic and driving away for the big win.

In Victory Lane the power went out at the track — people are not the only ones affected by the hot weather. The track generator over heated and had to be reset. Once power was restored a stout field of 28 cars were ready to do battle in King of Dirt Sportsman Series 30-lap race.

The action got started right away as Brian Hudson spun in front of a bunch of cars and collected Corey Barker and Chris Mackey. Mackey ended up flipping off the banking of turn one coming to rest on his roof. Mackey was okay and the car, remarkably, other than the bent up body sheet metal was ok and he was ready for Brewerton on Friday. But what a cruel sport. Mackey took it all in stride though stating simply,”Win Friday, lid Sunday.”

Dave Marcuccilli put the hammer down and won the race with Matt Janczuk coming home in second place.

What’s the take away from racing three nights in a row? It’s a lot of fun! The fans, the racers, the track officials they’re all there to have fun and make the experience from top to bottom postive.

As we talk more and more about what is grassroots — this is it — this is what you to go to each week to get your racing fix. This is what I want to go to to get my racing fix.

So I have successfully put the past weekend into a compartment in my brain. The smell of racing fuel, grilled burgers and the sight of low hanging hot summer sun with dust rising from the track is firmly etched. 

See you at the races.