McCreadie Has Great Canandaigua Memories
CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. – Tim McCreadie has seen – and done – a lot at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.
Between watching his superstar father, ‘Barefoot’ Bob McCreadie, wheel around the half-mile fairgrounds oval in a DIRTcar big-block Modified as a kid to forging his own driving legacy there as an adult, T-Mac has spent hundreds of nights at the ‘Land of Legends.’ It’s effectively his home-away-from-home, a bastion of familiarity that sits two-and-a-half hours southwest of his native Watertown, N.Y.
As the World of Outlaws Late Model Series heads to Canandaigua on Tuesday night (June 25) for a 40-lap, $8,000-to-win A-Main sponsored by the Sweeteners Plus corporation owned by McCreadie’s team owner Carl Myers, the 39-year-old standout can’t help but think about his years at the track. The nostalgic moment would seem like a perfect time for the former WoO LMS champion and current regular on the national tour to detail his top five Canandaigua memories – a list that appears below.
No. 5: His Modified debut. In April 1996, McCreadie launched his dirt-track career at Canandaigua. He entered the track’s big-block Modified season opener as a 22-year-old with a no-frills, self-owned 358-Modified that he would run at facilities closer to his Northcountry residence for the remainder of the season.
“Can-Am (Motorsports Park in Lafargeville, N.Y.) wasn’t open yet so we went to Canandaigua with our small-block car with no paint because I didn’t have it lettered yet,” remembered McCreadie. “I ran two weeks there before we went racing back home. I got lapped on like lap 10 or 11 both weeks and immediately pulled in because I didn’t want to be in anybody’s way, but I got enough laps to get my feet wet. A few weeks later I won my first 358 (Modified) race at Brockville (Ontario Speedway).”
No. 4: A 358-Modified Series score. In 2003 – McCreadie’s first season driving for the Sweeteners Plus team – he concentrated on big-block Modified racing. But when the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series had a special mid-week event at Canandaigua on Aug. 20 of that year, he pulled a small-block engine out of the corner of the Sweeteners Plus headquarters, bolted it in his No. 39 and promptly won the extra-distance feature.
“We took the oldest motor we had in the shop that hadn’t been run in like a year-and-a-half,” said McCreadie. “We had to free it up with some of that mystery oil to make sure it wasn’t seated in, and then we fired it up, put in the trailer and went over to Canandaigua and won. It was one of the only small-block races I ran all year.”
No. 3: His father’s most unlikely victory. ‘Barefoot’ Bob won 99 DIRTcar big-block Modified features at Canandaigua from 1983-2002 – a total that ranks him second on the track’s alltime win list – but none stand out in his son’s mind more than his 50-lap Bobby Allison Night triumph on Aug. 18, 1984.
“He won the big-block race with a small-block (engine) because he didn’t have any more big-blocks to run,” remembered McCreadie. “Those were 320 (cubic inch) small-blocks back then and they couldn’t really compete with big-blocks, but everything lined up for him that night.
“That was pretty exciting for me,” he continued. “I had nothing to do with it – I was just up in the stands watching – but for him to go there and beat all those big-block guys with (NASCAR Sprint Cup star) Bobby Allison in the place running a Miller American Modified that night was pretty amazing to me.”
No. 2: First big-block triumph. On Aug. 28, 1999, McCreadie broke through to register his initial big-block Modified feature win at Canandaigua. He will never forget the circumstances surrounding the victory.
“When I started going to Canandaigua regularly my crew guys from home couldn’t go that far away so I would go down there every week by myself,” said McCreadie. “My dad’s guys would help me a little, but they were busy with their own stuff so I was basically on my own.