Can-Am Speedway

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LAFARGEVILLE, NY - Join us Friday April 12th and Saturday April 13th for the THUNDER IN THE 1000 ISLANDS!

Can-Am Speedway 2024! Article 9/50

Can-Am Speedway 2024! Article 9/50

LAFARGEVILLE, NY - The 2024 Golden Jubilee Season is closing quickly and opening day is right around the corner. Opening day will feature stars in three open wheel DIRTCar Series to kick off the year. One of those being the DIRTCar 358 Modified Series, which has been a part of Can-Am from the very start and has been important part of the 50 year track history.

Jubilee Schedule Highlights

Jubilee Schedule Highlights

LAFARGEVILLE, NY - On June 14th 1974 the doors opened for the very first time at the Can-Am Speedway (then called Winner’s Circle Speedway) in Lafargeville New York. Jim Clark won the first ever Modified feature event and Gordie Dobbins won the Stocker feature and helped lay the foundation for the speedway, which is still going strong heading into its 50th year.




Golden Jubilee: Laurie Handschuh - The Can-Am Speedway History Maker


Can-Am Speedway

Golden Jubilee: Laurie Handschuh - The Can-Am Speedway History Maker

A lot of drivers have passed through the gates at the Can-Am Speedway and as we look back on the past 50 years, one driver left a lasting impression with the fans and was also one of the most well respected drivers in the pits, her name is Laurie Handschuh.

“Oh my God what did I just do”, were the words uttered by Redwood New York’s Laurie Handschuh as she wheeled her number 21 Street Stock on to the speedway for her first laps at Can-Am in the early 90s.

She knew she had a lot of work ahead of her to get it figured out but it never slowed her down. “I knew we could do it, so we just kept learning every week” Handschuh said as she recalled her first few seasons behind the wheel in the division.

Competing against the likes of Bill Gill, Al Pitts, Matt Butler, Harry Lamoree, John Papin, Darwin and Dave Keefer, Steve Woodward, Bryan Rogers and Billy Eisle Jr., she knew it was going to be tough.

“We just kept learning each week and got some confidence and eventually got into a groove”, Handschuh said as she strived to get stronger every week, which led to her contending for wins in the years ahead.

Handschuh had put together a solid 1997 season, which saw her finish in the top 5 4 times, including a career best finish of second on July 5th to eventual track champion Al Pitts. This moment led to fans, fellow drivers and others asking the question, when will she finally win a race?

1998 started good as Laurie put together a solid season, but August 8th would go down in history as the biggest moment in her career and a first for the Can Am Speedway.

Handschuh would fend off one of the best Street Stock fields in the Northeast to score her first career win and marking the first time a female driver had ever won a points paying feature in the history of Can-Am.

“Oh my it was huge for my family and crew.” Handschuh said of the win. “I knew I could do it but you start doubting yourself, so when we got that first win it was awesome”

She adds, “my dad Norris was smiling ear to ear and it meant as much to him, my mom and the crew, I couldn’t have done it without them, especially with the help of Crew Chief Ronnie.”

Handschuh competed in her final event in 2000, the final year for the Street Stock class and yes she made her third and final trip to victory lane that season.

So does she miss being out there racing?

“Oh yes I do miss it from time to time but that was my time back then,” Handschuh said. “I enjoy watching the next generation of women doing their part out there”

Since then, drivers like Kim Mallette, Jessica Power, and Jessica Friesen have been to victory lane on multiple occasions at the Speedway but Handschuh will forever be known as the first one to do so.

Handschuh like other drivers who have hung up the helmet over the years, do miss racing but Laurie misses the drivers the most.

“I miss all the drivers we competed with back then, they were awesome.” Handschuh said as she took a look back at her favorite memories in her career.

She also went on to say, “we were competitive on the track but behind the scenes we would always help each other out and it was a great place to race.”

The Golden Jubilee season is on the way as the Thunder in the 1000 Islands weekend will kick off the 50th year of operation for the track, highlighted by the opener for the Super DIRTCar Series and DIRTCar 358 Modified Series April 12th and 13th.

Stay tuned to our website at and the track Facebook page for more feature stories on drivers, special events and historical moments that have all been part of the 50 years at Can-Am Speedway in Lafargeville New York.

Article Credit: Tim Baltz

Submitted By: Tyler & Michelle Bartlett

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