WOODHULL, NY – If Saturday night at Woodhull Raceway was any indication, the battle for the Insinger Performance Modified title in 2018 is going to be a dandy of a finish.
Universal Plant Services made the trip in to Woodhull from Trout, La. to sponsor Veterans and Active Duty Armed Forces night, with each veteran checking in for free admission receiving a commemorative Veterans Night t-shirt. Dave’s Custom Logging and Pizza N Stuff, both out of Westfield, Pa. would also serve as nightly sponsors for the first time.
Corning, NY shoe Cory Costa and 19-time Woodhull track champion Billy Van Pelt put on a battle for the ages with Mike Bills that had fans on the edge of their seats for 25 laps around “New York’s Toughest Bullring.”
Costa started fifth, right behind Bills who went away from the third starting spot. Van Pelt had a longer road to hoe from the eleventh starting spot due to his handicap score. Veteran Kevin Chilson, driving the Instant Heat Wood Pellets, Two Rivers Timber Co. No. 13 would show the way for the race’s opening five laps.
Last weekend’s ‘Jake Davis Memorial King of the Ring’ winner Russell Morseman quickly inserted himself into the runner up position. But Bills was making quick work of things up top. Bills made his way around Morseman and eventually Chilson to take the top spot on lap 6.
A caution on lap 8 between Brian Doolittle, who had checked up for Donnie Lawson, slowed the field and bunched everyone up for a Delaware Double-File restart. On the restart Van Pelt and Costa started a battle for the second spot, which for the time being took the pressure off of Bills.
But the battle had only just begun. Van Pelt and Costa traded slide jobs and cross over moves and closed in on Bills to make it a three-car battle for the lead.
At one point, Van Pelt’s right front tire climbed the front stretch concrete with the No. 2 gaining a few High Banks Flyer Miles underneath the flagstand. Just laps later, Van Pelt and Costa came together as Van Pelt tried the high-low switch off turn 4 to cross Bills over but Costa was already along side Van Pelt. The two made contact and raced on to turns 1 and 2.
A pivotal restart with six laps remaining put Costa on the outside lane and gave him the momentum on the restart to quickly take the second position and set his sights on Bills. Another yellow inside five laps to go made it a single file restart.
Costa tried the low lane on the restart but Bills was too fast on the cushion as they took the white flag. But entering the apex of turns 1 and 2 on the final lap, Bills suffered his only bobble in that corner all night- allowing the new Modified point leader to sweep by on the bottom. Costa would claim his second victory of 2018 and break the tie for the points lead in the process.
“We exchanged spots four or five times there with Billy and Mike and it was a lot of fun,” said Costa post-race. “The track was awesome after intermission, props to Teddy and the track crew for that.”
A rough and tumble NAPA Crate Sportsman feature event would see Horseheads, NY pilot Brandon Butler snag his first feature win of 2018, besting Stacey Jackson and Jake Dgien.
Youngsters Cole Youse and Jordan Bacon led the field to Tony Van Pelt’s green flag, with Bacon leading the opening handful of laps. Bacon would surrender the lead to Jackson before halfway, as the point leader Dgien would close the gap on the lead bunch from his tenth starting spot.
Invader Cory Cormier, in the Interstate Batteries No. 20, would get up over the edge in turns 3 and 4 early on but recover to drive back through the field to finish fourth. As Cormier was slicing through the field and the carnage, Butler was advancing from his sixth starting spot to get into a battle and eventually get by Jackson for the lead and the victory.
Dgien would have to settle for third over Cormier and a best career Sportsman finish for Bacon finishing fifth.
Tempers flared on and off the track in the SWL Awards and Photos Crate Late Model division. Kurt Stebbins completed the Stebbins family sweep, as he won both the Late Model and Street Stock features with Kane Stebbins claiming the 30-lap special in the Mini Stocks.
But Stebbins’ Late Model win didn’t come without trading a little paint and facing some boo birds in Victory Lane. Stebbins was aggressive on the cushion early and often to take the lead early from his fourth starting spot, as Joe Layfield and Darin Horton got caught up down on the low side of the raceway.
But as the race wore on, Jason McGregor would make a race of it for the lead. On the backstretch with just a few circuits remaining, McGregor and Stebbins collided sending both cars off the backstretch and drawing the yellow flag. While McGregor came to a stop on the access road off the backstretch banking, Stebbins kept his 26 machine moving.
Due to Stebbins not stopping through the entirety of the incident and the field being set based on the last completed lap, Stebbins reassumed the lead while McGregor was forced to restart at the tail of the field. Stebbins would hold off Jason Knowles for the remaining lap to secure his second late model victory of the season. Knowles, Steve LeBarron, a rare appearance by Rich McNeal and Greg Mrzywka rounded out the top five.
Stebbins’ domination of the night didn’t stop in just the late model portion of the program though. The Just One More Bar, Cummings Trucking No. 26 would also take top honors in the Joe Willcox Performance Automatics Street Stock 20-lap feature. Stebbins started from position number eight and would take half the race to pick his way through and take the lead.
Leading the first nine laps of the event was a strong-running Dan Gardner, whose handicap put him on the outside pole even after a solid third place finish last weekend. Gardner, driving the Bryan’s Auto Body No. 62, paced the field keeping his car locked down on the inside lane to hold off the likes of Dylan Cecce and Teddy Morseman.
But once Stebbins got on the cushion and took the lead at the race’s halfway mark, it was smooth sailing. Cecce worked hard on the inside lane, but just couldn’t get the run off the corner that Stebbins could get on the outside.
Morseman, Marlatt and Gardner rounded out the top five finishers.
The Woodhull Auto Supply Hobby Stocks saw a repeat winner in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane on Saturday night, as ‘The Mole’ Carter Dennis dug his way to the checkered flag over Les Smith. Dennis started the race in position number six and was quickly in the thick of things with Smith, Greg Young and early race leader AJ Niedermaier.
However, problems for Niedermaier sent him pit side well before the finish of the race. This set up a great battle for the lead as new race leader Joe Birdsall would snag the lead away from Les Smith in his Tribute to Legends No. 8x.
It would not be the night to be the race leader, as Birdsall would toss a driveshaft in his orange No. 63. This was after talks earlier in the night of how his motor was fixing to blow up, with trails of smoke coming from his machine on entry to the corners. Birdsall retains the points lead with just three races remaining.
This set up a great battle for the lead with Dennis running the low lane to perfection and Smith working the top shelf along the cushion. Smith was fighting a loose condition up high and Dennis was smooth as glass on the bottom- easily powering off the exits of the corners to take the lead and the victory. Smith, Young, Brandon Birdsall and Brent Williams filled out the top five.
Chris Woodard all but had the 30-lap Daugherty’s Auto Sales & Service Mini Stock special event. The name was half-written on the check with six laps to go as Woodard had stretched his advantage to nearly half a track.
Then smoke showed off turn two. Followed by a massive amount of smoke, a broken piston and the Dependable Disposal No. 32 slowing to a stop in turn four. Fate had taken one back from Woodard as the engine’s internal components would let loose- handing the lead over to Kane Stebbins.
Even prior to the engine coming apart for Woodard, a fierce battle had ended sourly for the early race leader. Josh Webster’s No. 3J led from the drop of the green flag and would show the way for the opening eleven laps of the event. But on lap 11 entering turn 1, Ray Hyer and Webster came together sending Webster for a spin and sending both drivers to the tail for the restart.
After Woodard led laps 12 through 24, the motor let loose and Stebbins took over. Stebbins would hold off a whale of a battle from Ron Dailey Jr. who gave Stebbins everything his No. 73 had to get by. Stebbins would complete the Stebbins Sweep, just one week after finishing runner up to Hyer.
In the Bear’s Auto Body Front Wheel Drives, the title contenders Codie Baker and Adam DelGrosso battled it out with DelGrosso taking a six-point margin into the A-Main. After Baker did yeoman’s work holding off the relentless challenges from DelGrosso to win the race, Baker sliced that lead down to a single point at night’s end.
Baker will now trail by a single point to DelGrosso with just three points races remaining. The wick has been turned up, as the title appears to be heading to a sudden death feature event for the third-straight season. Baker has been on the good and bad end of the previous two, with DelGrosso still searching for that elusive third championship with his last coming back in 2015.
Nate Freeland tried to make it a race at the end, but had to settle for third. Scott Lehman Jr.’s strong runs continue as he finished fourth and Nick Brown completed the top five.
For the second week in a row, the Woodhull Warriors saw a face in Victory Lane that was not that of division point leader Carter Crooker. Crooker’s feature came after the Mini Stock feature on Saturday night, sidelining his familiar No. 32, in exchange for Chris Woodard’s back up car No. 97.
Brody Amidon took full advantage of Crooker being in an unfamiliar ride, as he powered his No. 2 to his second career victory and first victory of the 2018 season. The Amidon team debuted a brand new mount in 2018, but have certainly struggled to create that comfortable feeling young Brody has needed to get back to the winner’s circle.
If Saturday was any indication, more wins could be coming the ‘2 car’s way in the next three Warrior races. Ronnie Dailey, with a missing front bumper cover, was third behind Amidon and Crooker. Josh Isaman and Austin Labar completed the top five.
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 in May and July and the Short Track Super Series Modifieds in early-August.
Universal Plant Services, Pizza-N-Stuff, Dave’s Logging Night Official Results
INSINGER PERFORMANCE MODIFIEDS, 24 cars (25 laps): CORY COSTA (2), Mike Bills, Billy Van Pelt, Joe Dgien, Josh Keesey, Dillon Groover, Brady Fultz, Dayton Brewer, Kevin Chilson, Colton Wilson, Brian Doolittle, Frank Dunning, Chris Ostrowsky, Ron Cartwright, Larry Keegan, Bob Silvernail, Dan Michaud, Ryan Tracy, Russell Morseman, Patrick Hoopes, Tony Pangrazio, Donnie Lawson, Jimmy Holden, John Venuto.
H1: Dayton Brewer, Brady Fultz, Frank Dunning.
H2: Billy VanPelt, Kevin Chilson, Ron Cartwright
H3: Cory Costa, Dillon Groover, Joe Dgien.
NAPA CRATE SPORTSMAN, 21 cars (25 laps): BRANDON BUTLER (1), Stacy Jackson, Jake Dgien, Corey Cormier, Jordan Bacon, Brett Buono, AJ Costley, Cole Youse, Adam Taft, Connor Brown, Tim Guild, Jerry Aldrich, Kenny Peoples Jr., Blake Lawson, Bob Butcher, Stevie Hartman III, Ajay Potrzebowski II, Andy Krall, Chris Hall, Brandon Michaud, DNS: John Austin.
H1: Kenny Peoples Jr., Jake Dgien, Brandon Butler.
H2: Brett Buono, AJ Costley, Corey Cormier.
H3: Cole Youse, Jordan Bacon, Jerry Aldrich
SWL AWARDS CRATE LATE MODELS, 11 cars (20 laps): KURT STEBBINS (2), Jason Knowles, Steve LeBarron, Rich McNeal, Greg Mrzywka, Darin Horton, Ron Watson, Joe Layfield, Zach Wiech, Jamie Freeman, Jason McGregor.
H1: Kurt Stebbins, Jason Knowles, Jason McGregor
H2: Steve LeBarron, Darin Horton, Joe Layfield.
JOE WILCOX PERFORMANCE AUTOMATICS STREET STOCKS, 17 cars (20 laps): KURT STEBBINS (2), Dylan Cecce, Ted Morseman, Brett Marlatt, Dan Gardner, Brett Crawford, Jared Hill, Tracy Dunn, Jeredd Dennis, LaVerne Knickerbocker, Mike Williams, Mick Seeley, Ryan Krause, Jim Weatherley, Bill Tice, Noah Talada, Branden Morseman.
H1: Dan Gardner, Ted Morseman, Kurt Stebbins.
H2: Mick Seeley, Tracy Dunn, Ryan Krause
H3: Dylan Cecce, Jared Hill, Jeredd Dennis.
WOODHLL AUTO SUPPLY HOBBY STOCKS, 9 cars (20 laps): CARTER DENNIS (2), Les Smith, Greg Young, Brandon Birdsall, Brent Williams, Brendan Schweigart, Jim Sargent, AJ Niedermaier, Joe Birdsall.
H1: Joe Birdsall, Carter Dennis, Brandon Birdsall
H2: AJ Niedermaier, Les Smith, Brendan Schweigart.
DAUGHERTY’S AUTO SALES & SERVICES MINI STOCKS, 16 cars (30 laps): KANE STEBBINS (1), Ron Dailey Jr., Scott Lehman, Greg Crooker, Jason Ketrow, Ray Hyer, Derrick Puryear, Josh Webster, Travis Webster, Rick Amidon, Karl Born, Jeff Stone, Chris Woodard, Adam Austin, Ted Morseman, Joshua Oles.
H1: Chris Woodard, Ron Dailey Jr., Adam Austin.
H2: Ray Hyer, Jason Ketrow, Ted Morseman
BEAR’S AUTO BODY FRONT WHEEL DRIVES, 12 cars (20 laps): CODIE BAKER (5), Adam DelGrosso, Nate Freeland, Scott Lehman Jr., Nick Brown, Todd West, Matt Prescott, Kevin Williams, Ryan Austin, Cara Pitts, Mike Webster, DNS: Carl LeBarron.
H1: Matt Prescott, Nick Brown, Scott Lehman Jr.
H2: Adam DelGrosso, Codie Baker, Nate Freeland.
DAUGHERTY’S AUTO SALES & SERVICE WARRIORS, 10 cars (10 laps): BRODY AMIDON (1), Carter Crooker, Ronnie Dailey, Josh Isaman, Austin LaBar, Brooke McClain, Garrett Wilson, Jordan Costley, Tess Johnson, Dylon Morseman.
H1: Brody Amidon, Austin LaBar, Dylon Morseman.
H2: Ronnie Dailey, Josh Isaman, Tess Johnson.