WOODHULL, NY – Cory Costa was sitting just inside the top five with roughly fifteen laps to go in Saturday night’s 8th Annual Bullring Challenge. Though it didn’t look like he was going to capture the victory at the time, Costa proved the old adage true- never give up.
Costa watched ahead as Dan Pompey proceeded to lead 31 of the opening 32 laps of the event. He had a front row seat for Billy Van Pelt and Donnie Lawson throwing haymakers at Pompey, digging hard for a way by the driver who supports Penn Can as a weekly home.
But circumstances and a rare mistake by the nineteen-time Woodhull track champion, gave Costa a fighting chance to take home the $3,000 top prize and guaranteed starting spots for next Friday’s event at Five Mile Point Speedway and next Saturday’s show during the Short Track SuperNationals 10 at Afton Motorsports Park.
Pompey would get the jump off Scott Lyon’s green flag and go on to lead the opening five laps. But quickly moving through the pack was Billy Van Pelt, driving the Grant Hilfiger-owned No. 78. Van Pelt found himself working the outside to perfection and advancing to the second on lap two.
Van Pelt would sneak by Pompey to lead lap six, but Pompey would reclaim the lead on lap seven. The Woodhull regular from Westfield, PA was quick, but a miscue on lap 12 gave indications of a problem later in the race that would cost Van Pelt a shot at the win.
Entering turn one, the rear end would try and skate around into a near-spin. On that particular restart, the bobble would dropkick Van Pelt from second to fourth.
That gave Lawson and Costa and opportunity to try and set something up on Pompey but he was too strong to overtake. Van Pelt would eventually get back by Costa for position, but that would only last until lap thirty.
As Pompey and Lawson paced the field in first and second in the lower groove, Van Pelt changed lanes and went to the middle and outside lanes and made up a ton of ground. But once again turn one was a problem, opening the door for Costa to get by for third.
From there, Costa rolled through the middle and found bite where others had not previously used to success. Costa made relatively quick work of getting by Lawson, bringing the Woodhull crowd to their feet, as Costa from nearby in Corning, appeared to have the car to beat in the final ten circuits.
As Pompey completed lap 32, Costa was there in turn one and completed the pass down the backstretch into turn three. But while making the move for the lead, something misfired under the hood of the Costa’s Auto and Towing, Trackside Products, Dunning NAPA Auto Parts No. 02. The team speculated that Costa had finished and won the race on as few as five to six cylinders.
Fortunately for Costa, the race was only scheduled for 40 laps and not 45 or 50. Had the race gone any longer, young Modified rookie Dayton Brewer could have shocked the world with a win in the Bullring Challenge. Brewer used patience, a harder tire and a perfect handling car to work his way up to the third spot with one lap remaining. The youngster out of Jasper was setting up a move on Pompey at the checkered flag, but impressed everyone in attendance.
But motor trouble and all, Costa completed the mission in winning the Bullring Challenge. Pompey held off Brewer for second. Donnie Lawson finished fourth and Van Pelt had to settle for a top five finish.
“I just had to go where they weren’t,” said Costa after celebrating with a proper roof dance.
“I think we might have blown the motor up there with two to go. It wasn’t running on all eight- maybe five. It did it on lap 32 (making the move for the lead). Being slick (it probably helped) I couldn’t get it to spin at all.”
Pompey, who won this race the first time he visited Woodhull, has been close and finished second for the second time.
“I just ran out of tire there at the end,” said Pompey.
“I just went a little too soft. Car was too good too early and (we) really faded there at the end.”
Dayton Brewer was ecstatic to finish on the podium.
“I certainly wasn’t expecting to be standing here, only my third time in a Modified,” said Brewer to a crowd of cheers.
“The car was perfect tonight. I wish I would have gone to the outside a little earlier. I should have known that driving a 17 car here that I needed to be on the outside. I think had I gotten to the outside sooner than I did (with Lawson) I think I could have had second. We didn’t have anything for Costa tonight, he was really fast out front.”
Being the final Modified show of the year, the Bullring Challenge did not disappoint and left fans with a lot to talk about during the offseason. Woodhull Raceway will open the Modified rules up to Big Block and Small Block power for 2018.
Lawson took a fourth place finish in the Modified and channeled that good run into a win in the Super Gen Products Grit Racing Series 30-lap feature go. Lawson started sixth and quickly worked his way to the front after Brandon Butler and Dustin Jordan made heavy contact battling for the lead. Both drivers would continue to finish in the top five, but just a small opening was all Lawson needed.
Lawson was smooth and had a fast racecar powering the RLB Trucking, Woodhull Auto Supply No. 11. Lawson was driving a 2007 chassis as well, proving that not just new chassis can win races. The victory in the Grit Series Drifters Division, gave Lawson the point lead in that division. It was also the second straight Grit Series victory in a row for Lawson team, as they won the August running of ‘The Bulldozer’ on Short Track Super Series night.
Brandon Butler ran top five all night after starting on the pole, to finish up the night second to Lawson. Jake Dgien started eleventh, spun on the opening lap, went back to 22nd position and rebounded to finish up on the podium in third. Jordan and Brett Buono rounded out the top five finishers.
Brett Marlatt proved last weekend in the Woodhull 100 that he had a strong car. He proved it again on Saturday night, winning the 20-lap Open Street Stock feature over Dylan Cecce. Cecce, who won the Friday night Street Stock feature, seemed to be just a tick off from Marlatt’s pace.
Teddy Morseman’s night saw many struggles early on, but Morseman caught a couple breaks and got in a groove to bring the Berm Valley Transport No. 44 home in the third position. Tracy Dunn rebounded from hard luck on Friday night to finish a strong fourth on Saturday night in the Golden Age Cheese No. 21. Mick Seeley fought handling in his No. 31 to finish fifth, all the while carrying the left front tire in the air almost all the way around the racetrack.
Doug Colton, in one week, went from standing in Mini Stock victory lane with a torn up racecar to standing in victory lane with a much better looking car and his second straight win in the division. Colton challenged Chris Woodard for the runner up spot, and got by Woodard on a late race restart that saw Woodard’s handling go away just a bit.
Colton then went to work on teammate Mike Koser, eventually getting by him on the last restart of the race to claim the win. Koser, Woodard, Karl Born and Rick Amidon rounded out the top five positions.
Five cars took the green in the Front Wheel Drive division, and they all proved that even a five-car field can put on incredible racing. Baker made a slick move to split the middle to take the lead in the 15-lap event.
Ryan Austin and Shawn Gleason certainly made things interesting, giving Baker a tough challenge for the win. Unfortunately for Austin, the move didn’t pan out and Baker streaked away to victory. Gleason, Matt Prescott, Ali Stebbins and Austin filled out the finishing order.
Racing action is complete and now all attention will turn toward the season ending awards banquet coming up on Saturday December 2nd at the Watson Homestead in Painted Post. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by contacting Woodhull’s website or calling Brandi at (607) 857-1337.
Race fans are encouraged to sign up for the fastest alerts from Woodhull Raceway’s Rained Out Alert system by sending the text message “WoodhullAlert” to 84483, message and data rates may apply.
For more information race over to www.woodhullraceway.com, Like Woodhull Raceway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WoodhullRaceway or Follow Woodhull on Twitter @WoodhullPR.
Woodhull Raceway is located in Woodhull, NY, just 30 minutes West of Corning, NY and competes weekly on Saturday nights from mid-April through Labor Day Weekend. The track offers several special events including the Patriot Sprint Tour 360 Sprints and the Short Track Super Series Modifieds in late-August.
Costy’s Energy Services Bullring Challenge Night2 Official Results September 30th, 2017
Big Block/Small Block Modifieds, 25 cars (40 laps): CORY COSTA $3,000, Dan Pompey, Dayton Brewer, Donnie Lawson, Billy Van Pelt, Danny Creeden, Brandon Martin, Dale Welty, Eric Fisher, Boyd MacTavish, Dillon Groover, Brady Fultz, Brian Doolittle, Josh Keesey, Mike Bills, Frank Yankowski, Kyle Vanduser, Bob Silvernail, Mark Frankhouser, Kenny Peoples Jr., Brian Malcolm, Ray Bliss Sr., Stacy Jackson, Ray Smith, Ron Cartwright Jr.
H1: Danny Creeden
H2: Dillon Groover
H3: Ron Cartwright Jr.
H4: Dale Welty
GRIT RACING SERIES CRATE SPORTSMAN, 23 cars (30 laps): DONNIE LAWSON, Brandon Butler, Jake Dgien, Dustin Jordan, Brett Buono, Tim Guild, Casey Pavlick, Stacy Jackson, Bobby Peoples, Eric Williams, Dalton Martin, Bryce Martin, Chris Fisher, Jordan Bacon, Adam Taft, Ajay Potrzebowski Sr., Cole Youse, David DuBois, Ray Bliss Sr., Mike Denning, Blake Lawson, Kinser Hill, Dale Welty
H1: Bobby Peoples
H2: Stacy Jackson
H3: Brett Buono
STREET STOCKS, 14 cars (20 laps): BRETT MARLATT, Dylan Cecce, Teddy Morseman, Tracy Dunn, Mick Seeley, Jeredd Dennis, Jared Hill, Kurt Stebbins, Ryan Krause, Bill Giles, Ed Goins, Dan Gardner, Jim Buck, TJ Frost
H1: Kurt Stebbins
H2: Dylan Cecce
OPEN MINI STOCKS, 15 cars (20 laps): DOUG COLTON, Mike Koser, Chris Woodard, Karl Born, Rick Amidon, Derrick Puryear, Wayne Shillingburg, Dakohta Button, Scott Lehman, ShiAnn Labar, Danielle Thomas, Mike Navone, Tim Bush, Larry Colton
H1: Doug Colton
H2: Karl Born
OPEN FRONT WHEEL DRIVES, 5 cars (15 laps): CODIE BAKER, Shawn Gleason, Matt Prescott, Ali Stebbins, Ryan Austin
H1: Codie Baker