Golden Jubilee: Remembering Tony Corcoran’s Famous 12 In A Row
The Golden Jubilee season is fast approaching at the Can Am Speedway in Lafargeville New York. We look back at some of the memorable moments and some of the notable drivers who did some great things at Can Am in the 50-year history. One of the drivers that left his mark in a big way was Elginburg Ontario’s Tony Corcoran.
From the time he turned his first laps in a Modified in 1979, Tony Corcoran fell in love with auto racing and especially the Can Am Speedway, which in those years was a giant 5/8-mile oval.
“The place was so big and so fast and it helped me get adjusted to the cars and we didn’t get into much trouble on the track.” Corcoran said while looking back through the years of photos and trophies at his family’s race shop.
“The straightaways were so long it felt like you drove to Watertown and back every lap” Corcoran said jokingly.
Can-Am was a place Corcoran saw his Modified career take off winning his first small block modified feature in 1981, where he bested Charlie Watson, John Barker, Ron White and Terry Bushbacker on that evening.
During his short but dominant run at Can-Am, Corcoran would win a total of 24 features in a span of three years, which also included the 1982 Pabst Shootout, but it was 1983 when he turned in a season that is still unmatched some 40 years later.
During the 1983 season from May 28th through August 13th, Corcoran won an amazing 12 consecutive Modified feature events in his Troyer Engineering chassis, a feat that has never been duplicated in the history of the speedway.
“It was humbling, we had so many things go our way and we were really good some nights and other nights we were very lucky to come away with the win” Corcoran added as he recalled some of the lucky moments he had during that stretch.
“One night I broke a wheel while leading and spun in turns 1 and 2 and I thought we were done.” A lengthy caution flag would allow his team to fix the wheel and come from the tail of the field to take one of the dozen wins in that stretch.
Chatting with Tony in his shop, he added that “when you win like we did all eyes are on you and drivers, crews and fans watch everything you do.”
His brother Danny said “it was to a point where you could put a red sticker on the car and the next week everyone would show up with a red sticker on their cars because they thought “well that must be making them go faster, so let’s do that!”
“They put a bounty on us the night we went for the 13th win and we broke recalled Corcoran, still, it was pretty humbling that we accomplished what we did”
After winning the 1983 track championship, his third in a row, Corcoran polished off that dream season winning the first ever Mr. DIRT 320 Modified championship, now known as the DIRTCar 358 Modified Series. In total he won nearly 30 features in the 1983 season.
From there Corcoran tried his hand at the NASCAR North Tour in 1984 before returning to the Small Block ranks a couple years later, before eventually closing the book on his dirt racing career.
These days Tony still makes his way to Can-Am the odd Friday to watch the racing action and watch some of the tops stars who compete these days. He also spends most of his time in his family shop working on classic cars, and various other projects. He also gets behind the wheel in road racing events with his brother Dan with the Canadian Auto Sport Committee, which holds events at venues such as Shannonville Motorsports Park and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville Ontario Canada.
“They are fun races but you know how us old racers get when we get together for fun!” Corcoran said jokingly, we like to have fun but it can get pretty serious at times too!”
So the big question is, would he ever get behind the wheel of a Modified again? The answer is…….
“No”, he quickly replies with a chuckle,
“We had our time in the spotlight and accomplished so much, I still love watching the races and knowing people still remember what we did and that we are still talked about, even after so many years away from it, means so much to me and my family.”
The Golden Jubilee season is drawing near and although there may be snow on the ground, the 2024 season schedule is now out and soon so will the sounds of roaring engines at Can-Am.
2024 Golden Jubilee Schedule: https://www.racecanam.com/schedules/
Stay tuned all season as we continue to look back at more historical moments and legendary drivers, that have added to the history of Can Am Speedway.
Article Credit: Tim Baltz
Submitted By: Tyler & Michelle Bartlett