By RICH VLECK
BATAVIA, NY – After his win on Saturday Night in the preliminary Late Model feature, Jason Genco declared that he had unfinished business to take care of, looking for redemption on his heartbreak in 2017; on Sunday Night he refused to give up the lead and score a win that was his primary race to win in 2018.
Genco, of Jamestown, NY, held off three fierce challenges from Brady Wonderling to win the Late Model portion of the 2nd Annual Topless Crate Nationals. Along with sweeping the weekend and picking up the $3,000 payday, Genco was able to pick up his fifth-straight win at Genesee.
“We took care of business,” declared a jubilant Genco in Victory Lane. “I wanted this one more than any other race and just so glad to have it.”
Genco started the night off a little slow, only timing fourth fastest in his group, but good fortune allowed him to get a restart on the outside of the front row and win his heat and gain a redraw opportunity, which put him on the outside pole for the 40-lap event. After quickly jumping to the lead and pulling ahead smoothly, Brady Wonderling started to reel him in during the long green flag runs that dominated the race. On three occasions, the Z1 would charge to the inside, but just could not move by the No. 29J to steal away the win.
“I used a 25 (softer tire) and he was on a 55 (harder tire), so I knew I was a sitting duck late in the race and had to play defense,” admitted Genco, the Rush Series Point Leader. “His car just kept coming on and the lapped traffic was really tricky.”
One year ago in the Sunday Night finale, Genco was penalized with two laps remaining for contact with the leader while running second. He and his team took that in stride and now end the season with five wins in eight races at the 1/3-mile oval.
Brady Wonderling would fight hard all the way to the finish but would have to settle for second. Early in the race, Wonderling would have to hold back the advances of Max Blair, who would fall in to the clutches of Mike Pegher Jr., who moved by the No. 111 late to claim third. Behind Blair was Beamer Guzzardi, who rounded out the top five.
When Kyle Inman’s wife redrew the 10th starting spot in the 10-car sportsman redraw, he said things were quiet around his pits before the feature, but there was plenty of noise being made when he parked his No. 20k in Victory Lane after winning the 40-lap feature.
Inman, of Darien, scored the $3,000 top prize after making a nifty move on a lap 23 restart to get by second place Josh Wilcox and then leader Cody Wolfe a lap later. It was a vintage move the three-time champion as he wound his momentum up on the top of the track, the groove that was not the primary lane to be in during longer green flag runs.
“This track was awesome tonight,” stated Inman in Victory Lane, echoing Genco’s sentiments from earlier. “It was a racer’s track tonight and put it back in our hands.”
As Inman drove off to the victory, Cody Wolfe would hang on to second, which felt like a win for the rookie driver. Wolfe had built over a six second lead by the halfway point in the race when he slammed in to the frontstretch wall with his No. 80. Wolfe was still able to continue but admitted after the race his car was not right from that point on. Josh Wilcox was also solid, crossing in fourth, while Saturday Night winner Brad Rouse moved up to fourth in the final two laps, bringing fellow Canadian Jay Mallory with him to complete the top five.
Chad Ruhlman swept the weekend in the inaugural appearance of the Rush Sprint Cars to Genesee Speedway. Ruhlman, of Bemus Point, NY, took the lead from Brian Woodhall on lap seven with a well-timed pass, a lap after getting by Zack Bealer with a narrow pass down the backstretch. Bealer would eventually move up to second while Woodhall finished third for the second straight night. Rounding out the top five were Zach Morrow and Shawn Smith. A scary moment earlier in the night occurred when Joe McEwen flipped his No. 9J in heat race action. He was able to walk away.
Doug Jones was able to sweep the weekend as well in the Street Stock division, which allowed him to win his last four races at the track. Jones, of LeRoy, took the initial lead but then lost it to Pat Powers on lap 3. On a lap 7 restart Jones was able to get back by and never looked back to claim the $1,000 top prize. Powers fought off Josh Pangrazio to hold on for second while Dennis Cummings got by Ryan Allen late as they rounded out the top five.
To complete the night, Dante Mancuso moved by Chris Leone on lap 12 of the 20-lap Mini Stock Feature to win his fifth race of the season. Mancuso, the 2018 Track Champion from Batavia, survived a host of restarts to win on Topless Crate Nationals Weekend for the second year in a row. Things got wild on the final lap as Brandon Shepard drove back up to finish in second, ahead of Casey Burch, who was disqualified in post-race technical inspection. Inheriting third place was Bill Weller Jr., who also moved by Chris Leone on the final circuit. Andrew Gayton drove up to complete that top five.
For the second night in a row, over 130 cars filled the sun-baked pits at Genesee. There is one race left on the docket in 2018 with the Big Block Modifed “Gladiator” Highlighting the five-card event on Saturday, October 13. For more information visit www.Genesee-Speedway.com.
Genesee Speedway Results: 9/16/2018-
Champion Racing Oil/ Stirling Lubricants Topless Crate Nationals Night #2
Topless Late Model Feature (40 Laps)- JASON GENCO, Brady Wonderling, Mike Pegher Jr, Max Blair, Beamer Guzzardi, JJ Mazur, John Waters, Kurt Stebbins, Chris Fleming, David Pangrazio, Dave DuBois, Andy Proper, Jason Knowles, Ward Schell, Jeremy Wonderling, Bill Holmes, Wayne Robertson, Brian Knowles, Kyle Murray, Steve LaBarron, Billy DuBois, Jamie Freeman, Jon Rivers, Paul Norman, TJ Downs.
Did Not Qualify- Doug Ricotta, Randy Ralyea, Darin Horton, Ryan Hoolihan, Mike Jackson, Scott Gurdak.
Lap Leader- Genco 1-40.
Heat Winners- Guzzardi, Pegher Jr., Genco, J. Wonderling.
Consolation Winner- B. Knowles.
Topless Sportsman Feature (40 Laps)- KYLE INMAN, Cody Wolfe, Josh Wilcox, Brad Rouse, Jay Mallory, Brett Senek, Zack Sam, Brian Bellinger, Ray Bliss, Jim Harbison, James Henry, Austin Susice, Jonathan Reid, Robbie Johnston, Austyn Fugle, Anthony Muscato, Jimmy Johnson, Ricky Newton, Luke Carleton, Zach George, Scott George, AJ Lloyd, Dave Conant, Bryan Faulkner, Cameron Tuttle.
Did Not Qualify- Brian Sadler, Kyle Wendt, Tony Pangrazio, Dave DiPietro, Jim Zimmerman, Mike Denning, Orval Harris, Rick Martin, Matt Steffenhagen, Shawn Hazlitt, Bill Taylor, Gordy Hermanson Jr, Noah Walker, Ray Bliss Jr, AJ Custodi
Lap Leader- Wolfe 1-33, Inman 34-40.
Heat Winners- Inman, Newton, Senek, Wolfe, Reid.
Consolation Winners- Harbison, Sam.
Rush Sprint Cars Feature (20 Laps)- CHAD RUHLMAN, Zack Bealer, Brian Woodhall, Zach Morrow, Shawn Smith, Brian Ruhlman, Brandon Hawkins, Dave Hawkins, Gale Ruth Jr., Steve Pedley, Scott Hawkins, Arnie Kent, Steve Cousins, Kevin Mohney, Brad Blackshear, Joe McEwan (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Woodhall 1-6, C. Ruhlman 7-20.
Heat Winners- D. Hawkins, Bealer.
Topless Street Stock Feature (20 Laps)- DOUG JONES, Pat Powers, Josh Pangrazio, Dennis Cummings, Ryan Allen, Dan Brumsted, Jason Quigley, Bob Babbitt?, Kurt Stebbins, Glenn Whritenour, Matt Tracey, Brandon Sherwood, Phil Schepis, Jesse Qutermous, Darren Phippen, Bill Demick, Adam DePuy, CJ Guererri, Nate Arnold (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Jones 1-3, Powers 4-6, Jones 7-20.
Heat Winners- Pangrazio, Guererri.
Mini Stock Feature (20 Laps)- DANTE MANCUSO, Brandon Shepard, Bill Weller, Chris Leone, Andy Gayton, Chad Jesso, James Gayton, Anthony Hermanson, Craig Vlasic, Randy Gregory, Tony Kulesza, Cole Susice, Brandon Close, Nick Tarnowski, Eric Weis, Brian Gregory, Olivia Coniber, Dalton Martin, Brad Shepard, Josh Dietrick, Chris Walton, Eric Brumsted, Jessica Schleede (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Leone 1-11, Mancuso 12-20.
Heat Winners- Leone, Susice, Brandon Shepard.