By RICH VLECK
BATAVIA, NY – On a day that was forecasting 100% likelihood, the “Vortex Theory” around the Genesee County Fairgrounds was strengthened as major storms dodged the 1/3-mile and somehow allowed an amazing night of racing to occur.
An amazing 114 cars filed in to the pit area at Genesee was one of the few tracks in the Northeast to race on Saturday Night. A pre-race drizzle, coupled with a brief drizzle during the features kept everyone on their toes, while the addition of fresh clay to the bottom groove of the corners made the track one of the raciest it’s been all year.
Two touring series kicked off their 2018 seasons on Saturday Night which brought in a host of invaders making the long tow.
James Henry, of Niagara Falls, captured the BEI Lightning Sportsman Series 40-lap Feature win on Saturday Night at Genesee Speedway. It was his second win in as many starts at the 1/3-mile oval this season. On Saturday Night he had a whole different racetrack to tackle in order to score the victory.
“I’m Shocked,” admitted Henry in Victory Lane. “I thought starting in fifth I was a sitting duck.”
Dave Conant got out in front of the field at the drop of the green flag, but Chad Chevalier moved underneath him on lap six. The race ran caution-free to lap 17. On the ensuing restart, Dave Conant drove back around Chevalier to take the lead again. On the next restart on lap 29 though, Conant restarted on the outside lane and could not hold off Henry who would power into the top spot on the bottom. From that point on “Oh Henry” would never look back, moving to the top line and driving away to his second win of the year at Genesee.
“As much as I want to see Dave win, I had to go get it,” added Henry. “He is my partner in this but it is what it is.”
An impressive 41 cars packed the pits for the first BEI Lightning Sportsman Series race of the year. With 25 cars in the feature, only 3 single-car cautions were displayed to keep the race moving at a feverish pace. Conant would hang on to second while James Michael Friesen would drive up by Chad Chevalier to finish in third. Kyle Inman rounded out the top five with a charge forward.
Another special event on Saturday Night was the lone appearance by the Northeast Late Model Alliance Series. This series, running their inaugural event, featured cars from Fulton, Humberstone and Brighton Speedways and saw a driver making one of the longest tows scoring the win.
Charlie Sandercock, of Belleville, Ontario, snagged the lead from fellow Canadian Kyle Sopaz on lap eight and then drove away from track regular Bill Holmes to capture the $1,000 top prize. Sandercock, who had only seen the Genesee Speedway one other time back in 2016, was fast out of the box and was able to utilize the low line to get up to the front before moving to the top side when needed. Holmes appeared to have something for the No. 57 after driving to second on lap 10 but could not run him down over the final 18 laps, which were run caution-free. As Holmes hung on to second, Kyle Sopaz settled for third in his first start in Batavia. Jeremy Wonderling charged to fourth while JJ Mazur completed the top five.
Dave DuBois was able to achieve his “Drive for Five”, as the multi-time 360 Late Model champion scored his fifth win in as many races this season. DuBois jumped out in front of the pack and appeared to win the 15-lap feature walking away, but John Zimmerman started to reel him in in the closing laps and made it a battle down the stretch. DuBois was too strong though and force Zimmerman to settle with second. Tommy Kemp rallied from early race issues to complete the podium in third.
Kurt Stebbins scored his first win at Genesee Speedway in the 20-lap Street Stock Feature, but it was a good thing the race wasn’t any longer. Stebbins led from the outside pole over defending champion Byron Dewitt ad held a comfortable advantage throughout the race, but on the final lap, he was barely able to limp home to the finish with just enough of an advantage to score the win. Byron Dewitt worked hard to hold off Dennis Cummings late in the race to finish in second and gnaw in to the point lead. Ryan Allen and Kenny Begnouche drove up to finish in the top five.
Just when it looked like Chris Leone was not able to keep his winning streak alive in the Mini Stock Division, an opportunity opened up on the final two laps to allow him to three-peat. Leone, of Niagara Falls, moved by Eric Weis on the final circuit after the leader sailed in to turn one too far and drifted over the banking. Leone had stalked the XXX car for the first 14 laps without success and was more focused on holding off Dante Mancuso when Weis missed his mark in turn two and allowed Leone to pull even coming to the white flag. Weis knew he had to go in strong to take the lead back and Leone held true to come out in front. Dante Mancuso would settle for second with Weis sliding back to third. Cole Susice and Chuck Cala completed the top five.
Allison Dewitt showed how fearless she is in the Bandit Feature as she ran down point leader Bailey Logsdon and then threaded the needle in lapped traffic to take the lead on lap 10 and then drive away to win her second-straight feature. Dewitt also made a nifty move on Logsdon to win the heat race. Invader Dayman Clark completed the podium.
Racing action continues next Saturday as US Chrome presents a Super 6 at 6:00 program. For more information, visit www.Genesee-Speedway.com.
Genesee Speedway Results: 6/23/2018-
County Line Stone Night
BEI Lightning Series Sportsman Feature (40 Laps)- JAMES HENRY, Dave Conant, James Friesen, Chad Chevalier, Kyle Inman, Dave DiPetro, Brett Senek, Cody McPherson, Adam Leslie, Garrison Krentz, Austin Susice, Brad Rouse, Jim Harbison, Zack George, Jonathan Reid, Cam Tuttle, Brian Bellinger, Josh Wilcox, Trevor Wright, Chris Burek, Sarah Johnson, Ray Bliss, AJ Custodi, Justin Sharp, Austyn Fugle.
Lap Leader- Conant 1-5, Chevalier 6-17, Conant 18-29, Henry 30-40.
Heat Winners- Leslie, Conant, Chevalier, Inman, Friesen.
Consolation Winners- Sharp, Bellinger.
Low Cash Dash- D. Martin.
Did Not Qualify- Matt Steffenhagen, Adam Chaddock, Ray Bliss Jr, Tony Pangrazio, Ed Cain, Alan Bratek, Tony Muscato, Zack Sam, Robbie Johnston, TJ Newton, Shane O’Grady, Chuck Mogavero, Rick Martin, Mike Denning, Chase Matteson, Dalton Martin.
MHL Performance Crate Late Model Northeast Alliance Feature (30 Laps)- CHARLIE SANDERCOCK, Bill Holmes, Kyle Sopaz, Jeremy Wonderling, JJ Mazur, Kyle Murray, Damian Bidwell, Dale Caswell, David Pangrazio, Sam Pennacchio, TJ Downs, Greg Mrzywka, Alan Chapman, Jimmy Johnson, Nick Snayczuk, John Pinsonneault, Billy DuBois, Robby Wilson, Jon Rivers, Beamer Guzzardi, Andy Mayhew, Dante Mancuso, Brandon Mowat, Doug Ricotta (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Sopaz 1-7, Sandercock 8-30.
Heat Winners- Caswell, Pennacchio,
Johnson Automotive 360 Late Model Feature (15 Laps)- DAVE DUBOIS, John Zimmerman, Tommy Kemp, Zack Carley, Jacob McConnell, Tom Baker, Rich Hale (DNS).
Lap Leaders- DuBois 1-15
Heat Winners- DuBois.
Yasses Trucking & Construction Street Stock Feature (20 Laps)- KURT STEBBINS, Byron Dewitt, Dennis Cummings, Ryan Allen, Kenny Begnouche, Vic Behrens, Mike Kelly, Roy Amadick, Doug Jones, Josh Pangrazio, Mike Jackson, Bob Babbitt, Phil Schepis.
Lap Leaders- Stebbins 1-20.
Heat Winners- Stebbins, Pangrazio.
Pellegrino Auto Sales Mini Stock Feature (15 Laps)- CHRIS LEONE, Dante Mancuso, Eric Weis, Cole Susice, Chuck Cala, Eric Brumsted, Dylan Strade, Olivia Coniber, Trinity Reynolds, Kane Stebbins, Joe Kilby, Jessica Schleede, Tony Kulesza, Ruben Coffey, James Gayton, Joshua Oles, Chris Walton (DNS), Donnie Clemmons (DNS), Chris McGuire (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Weis 1-14, Leone 15
Heat Winners- Weis, Mancuso.
DML Sealing Bandits (12 Laps)- ALLISON DEWITT, Bailey Logsdon, Damyan Clark, Jessica Traxler, Greenley George, Randy Gregory, Alexis Traxler, Brian Gregory, Riley Gordon, Adam Jackson (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Logsdon 1-9, Dewitt 10-12.
Heat Winner- Dewitt.