WOODHULL, NY – At a track where Bicknell Racing chassis have been king and have powered one driver to 20 track titles in the modern era, one chassis manufacturer from Goshen, NY has been making a lot of noise in the Southern Tier.
That noise reached a pinnacle on Saturday night in Steuben County. Mike Bills raced his way to a $3,000 pay day in the Big Block/Small Block Modified Bullring Challenge, while Jake Dgien scored his first career 911 Restoration Grit Racing Series victory to make it a Hig Fab Chassis sweep.
A couple of chassis built by the shop led by Modified veteran Jerry Higbie would claim the top prizes. For Bills, it was also a race where he hulk-smashed the bad luck jinx that has been on him and the Herrington Motorsports team since the season got underway back in the spring.
Bills has had mechanical failures and most times had them while leading feature races this season. The handicap system often put Bills up front for the features during the regular season due to their bad luck, but the Brad and Kim Herrington prepared ride couldn’t find the keys to Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane.
That all changed when Bills drew the third position for Saturday night’s 40-lap Bullring Challenge. He would show the fast way around the racetrack and continued to show the speed that led him to a heat win as well, taking the lead on lap 1.
Bills started getting a fierce challenge from Alan Barker, who was making his first career start at Woodhull Raceway. Barker would take the lead on lap 9 but a flat tire under a lap 11 caution ended Barker’s shot at heading home 1-for-1. With Barker headed pit side, Billy Van Pelt would advance from his ninth starting position to Bills’ back bumper in a fight for the lead.
Fellow Hig Fab chassis driver Brian Doolittle flexed his muscle in his No. 7. Doolittle won his heat, drew the pole and ran inside the top five all night long and headed back to Beaver Dams with a top five finish to end his 2018 season.
Donnie Lawson also appeared poised to challenge Bills for the lead and the win. Lawson had his long run setup in the Morgan’s Auto Repair No. 11, but would fade in a late race restart to finish fourth.
Cory Costa started fourteenth and worked his way into the top three late in the going but Bills had the race well in control at that point. Bills fought off heavy lapped traffic in the final two laps to seal the huge win for his team.
“This is awesome,” Bills simply stated in Victory Lane. “I want to thank everyone that helps out this team. Brad and Kim Herrington gave me this awesome ride, we should have been here a few more times this year.”
Van Pelt, Costa, Lawson and Doolittle filled out the top five.
Jake Dgien drew the outside pole to start alongside Dale Welty’s No. 123. The 2017 track champion would start pole to face off against the 2018 track champion in a battle for Grit Racing Series supremacy.
Dgien would see Welty take the early lead in the event but would slowly start gaining ground and eventually start mounting challenges on corner entry. Where the difference was appeared to be Dgien’s ability to charge the entry hard and see his Kim Lattimore CPA No. 3 rotate the apex of the corner just a tick better than Welty.
Dgien would get by to take the lead and leave Welty to contend with Grit Racing Series Southern Riders division points leader Tommy Collins Jr. and his No. 713. The final restart saw Dgien pull out to half a straightaway advantage at the end, with Collins getting the best of Welty to finish in the runner up spot.
Welty, Cory Cormier and Horseheads, NY shoe Brandon Butler would round out the top five finishers.
Kurt Stebbins proved why he is the king of the 100-lap Street Stock events, winning the ‘Woodhull 100’ in convincing fashion. The driver out of Wellsville, NY led 99 of the scheduled 100 laps enroute to a $1,000 pay day on top of multiple cash and contingency prizes that sweetened the pot. It was his second victory in the 100 at Woodhull, to go along with multiple victories in Outlaw Speedway’s Street Stock 100 as well.
Two time and defending Woodhull Street Stock track champion Dylan Cecce would lead the opening lap by a whisker over Stebbins. But ‘Mr. High Line’ himself would put the Cummings Trucking, KB Graphics & Wraps No. 26 on the cushion and leave it there for the opening 50 laps.
Brett Marlatt, Glenn Whritenour, Teddy Morseman and ‘Mick the Quick’ Seeley spent a majority of those 50 laps racing each other for position, collecting lap money that was recycled throughout the top seven running positions.
At the lap 50 fuel stop, nobody at the front of the pack chose to change tires, leaving much of the top ten positions the same for the green flag on lap 51. Stebbins charged out to the lead, but Marlatt started to finally show his cards in the RLB Trucking No. 99.
Marlatt starting putting immense pressure on Stebbins with 35 laps to go, trying to force Stebbins into a mistake on the cushion. The driver out of Canisteo would eventually get by Stebbins for the lead, but a caution flag would erase Marlatt’s shot at leading the event for the first time.
The ‘Precision Move of the Race’ went to Stebbins, who then changed his line on the ensuing restart, dropped down to the bottom lane and held off Marlatt over the course of the final dozen laps. Stebbins went on to win over Marlatt, Morseman, Whritenour and Cecce who came back to finish fifth after suffering a flat tire before halfway.
Codie Baker completed the 2018 season sweep of the Bear’s Auto Body/C.B. Motorsports Front Wheel Drive Challenge Series. Baker collected $1,000 for his efforts with the victory.
The Open Mini Stocks saw a young man collect his first adult division checkered flag. The student took the mentor to school as young shoe Carter Crooker wheeled his Dependable Disposal No. 32 to the 20-lap victory over Ray Hyer.
Crooker rotated the bottom underneath Hyer to get the lead and then followed that up with a killer late race restart to seal the victory. This is surely going to be just the first of many victories for the 2018 Woodhull Warriors track champion.
Woodhull Raceway’s 2018 banquet is scheduled for December 1st and details will be posted on their website at www.woodhullraceway.com.
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.
Schweigart’s Sugar Shack Bullring Challenge Weekend Night 2- Sep. 29th, 2018
BIG BLOCK/SMALL BLOCK MODIFIEDS “Bullring Challenge”, 25 cars (40 laps): MIKE BILLS, Billy VanPelt, Cory Costa, Donnie Lawson, Brian Doolittle, Dillon Groover, Eldon Payne, Mike Bowman, Boyd MacTavish, Colton Wilson, Brandon Martin, Brady Fultz, Bob Reis, Wally Wade, Don Pompey, Alan Barker, Mark Frankenhouser, Bill Brewer, Patrick Hoopes, Chris Ostrowsky, Ron Cartwright, Dayton Brewer, Joe Dgien, Dan Michaud, DNS: Shannon Whaley.
H1: Brian Doolittle, Alan Barker, Eldon Payne
H2: Brady Fultz, Dan Pompey, Donnie Lawson
H3: Brandon Martin, Bob Reis, Shannon Whaley
H4: Mike Bills, Dillon Groover, Billy Van Pelt
911 RESTORATION GRIT RACING SERIES CRATE SPORTSMAN, 25 cars (30 laps): JAKE DGIEN, Tommy Collins, Dale Welty, Corey Cormier, Brandon Butler, Mike Bills, Randy Brokaw, Stacy Jackson, Todd Titus, Brett Buono, Mike Nagel Jr., Bob Butcher, AJ Costley, Daryl Krebs, Bob Buono, Cole Youse, Adam Taft, John Austin, Tim Guild, Chris Clemens, Moose Gulley, Kamdin Maby, AJay Potrzebowski Sr., Stevie Hartman III, Kenny Peoples Jr.
H1: Stacy Jackson, AJ Costley, Kenny Peoples Jr.
H2: Tommy Collins, Jake Dgien, Todd Titus
H3: Corey Cormier, Brett Buono, Randy Brokaw
OPEN STREET STOCKS “WOODHULL 100”, 34 cars (100 laps): KURT STEBBINS, Brett Marlatt, Ted Morseman, Glenn Whritenour, Dylan Cecce, Jared Hill, Jon Carpenter, Josh Sawyer, Earl Zimmer, Dave Matwiejow, Gene Sharpsteen, Mick Seeley, Jerry Lobdell Jr., Branden Morseman, Don Russell, Dan Gardner, Jeredd Dennis, Joe Birdsall, Buck Mills, Ray Lindquist, Gene Balmer, Quinn Sutherland, Jim Buck, Shane Wolf Jr., Trevor Dudley.
DNQ: Jim Weatherley, Brandon Birdsall, Brad Smith, Noah Talada, Trevor Tompkins, Jayson Smart, Dave Yehl & Rich Sharpsteen.
H1: Kurt Stebbins, 2d, Jared Hill
H2: Brett Marlatt, 2l, Jim Buck
H3: Teddy Morseman, 81, Dan Gardner
H4: Jon Carpenter, Dylan Cecce, Josh Sawyer
H5: Glenn Whritenour, Joe Birdsall, Mick Seeley
OPEN MINI STOCKS, 11 cars (20 laps): CARTER CROOKER, Ray Hyer, Ron Dailey Jr., Rick Amidon, Scott Lehman, Danielle Thomas, Jeremy Bunn, Ashlee Sutryk, John Hand, Tony Dickerson, Mike Navone.
H1: Ron Dailey Jr., Ray Hyer, Rick Amidon
H2: Carter Crooker, Mike Navone, Jeremy Bunn
BEAR’S AUTO BODY/C.B. MOTORSPORTS FRONT WHEEL DRIVES, 17 cars (25 laps): CODIE BAKER, Wes Houghtaling, Don Whiteside, Adam DelGrosso, Scott Lehman Jr., Brad Shepard, Matt McKernan, Devon Bailey, Brendan Schweigart, Casey Burch, Matt Prescott, Merle Shelley, Brian Shaffer, Jason Sullivan, Nick Brown. DNS: Kevin Williams, Eric Weis.
H1: Casey Burch, Scott Lehman Jr., Matt McKernan
H2: Adam DelGrosso, Codie Baker, Matt Prescott
H3: Nick Brown, Devon Bailey, Merle Shelley