Chris Thurston has many fond memories of Can-Am Motorsports Park in LaFargeville. With his family background, he hasnt missed many race nights the past 20 years, racing either on the track or the go-kart track adjacent to the speedway.
His grandfather, Robert Thurston Sr., was a co-owner and, later, owner of the speedway for nearly 30 years beginning in the mid-1970s. His father, Robert Jr., raced at the track for many years and later served as general manager of the facility.
Chris watched the races from the pits or in the stands when he was a young boy. He later raced a go-kart for a number of years, winning track championships at the track and at the Route 58 go-kart track near Gouverneur.
I guess I raced a go-kart for about nine years before I began racing an IMCA modified, Chris said. I guess the highlight of my IMCA racing career was winning the track championship in 2008.
When the IMCA modified class was disbanded in 2010 due to a low car count, Chris decided to move up to the sportsman class.
While he has had a number of fender benders over the years, he managed to escape any serious accident until last season.
Last season I was in an accident when my car hit the wall head on, Chris said. About the only thing we could save from the mangled race car was the engine and the drivers seat. I missed about a month of racing as we had to put another car together.
Chris said that last year was a learning season for him as he was competing in a different race class. His goal this season is to try to make the top five in points. He would also like to qualify for the sportsman race at Super DIRT Week in Syracuse in October.
He had some advice for young drivers just starting out in driving a race car or thinking about getting into the sport.
Go out there and get some seat time, he said. Dont worry where you finish but get familiar with the race track.
Can-Am returns to racing this weekend after a week off. The big-block/small-block modified will race for $1,500 to win. There is also racing in the sportsman, late models, pro street, thunder cars and mod lites. Racing will begin at 6:30 p.m. On Thursday night, there is a 30-lap enduro race with $1,000 to win based on a 20-car field.
Mohawk International raceway in Akwesasne will have a full race program tonight. Evans Mills Speedway will take the weekend off from racing. Oswego Speedway resumes racing Saturday night with racing in the supermodified and small-block modified divisions.