WOODHULL, NY – “The Jet” Jason Knowles has as much history on the High Banks of the Woodhull Raceway as any other track he’s ever competed at. Knowles dialed back several years to draw from that experience and took a bad fast No. 4 Crate Late Model to victory in the Close Racing Supply 30 Saturday night.
Knowles was in a class all of his own in the debut of the Crate Late Models at Woodhull Raceway, but would have to come from the third starting spot on the starting grid. Steve LaBarron and Mike Wonderling would lead the field to Scott Lyon’s green flag.
Knowles took the lead as he and LaBarron clicked off lap number two and it was essentially all over from that point on. The driver out of Addison, NY put on a clinic of shutting down the car early and keeping the car straight as an arrow along the bottom lane of the raceway to extend a lead over second place running TJ Downs.
Downs was making his first ever Woodhull start Saturday and found the quick way around ‘New York’s Toughest Bullring’ far too late to make a run on Knowles. LaBarron maintained a solid third place finish over Brad Smith and Darin Horton within the top five.
“The track is a little tricky right now and is a lot different than it was in the heats,” said Knowles in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane.
“You just have to be really patient, run your race and see what happens. My wife is going to be mad- she went to the beach (and missed this).”
Twenty-five NAPA Crate Sportsman entries filled the pit area for Opening Night and a test and tune session before next weekend’s $1,000-to-win Crate Sportsman special. Stacey Jackson started off the season the best way he could by narrowly holding on for the win over his teammate Tim Guild.
Jackson started on the pole for the event, while Guild started back in the fifth spot. The Addison, NY driver Jackson would lead every lap of the race, but Guild made it a real race for the win after working his way to second place on lap five.
Guild battled with defending track champion Chris Daugherty, who didn’t seem to have the magic he carried throughout the 2016 season as he would ultimately finish third. Jake Dgien charged from the ninth starting spot to finish fourth in his brand new Hig Fab Chassis, while Dale Welty finished an eventful twenty-five-lap race in the top five.
“I have to quit telling (Tim) my secrets apparently,” joked Jackson in Victory Lane.
“I really hit on something at the end of last season and we really went on a tear. We just like this car and drawing the front row really helps. It was better on the long runs and I couldn’t hear anyone back there.”
The start of 2017 was quite different than the start of 2016 for Jackson.
“A year ago I was destroying cars, flat tires, I couldn’t finish. Dad always told me if you can win on Opening Night it really sets the tone for the season.”
In the Joe Willcox Performance Automatics Street Stocks it was Brett Marlatt who claimed stake to the season opening victory. Marlatt being another driver who had mixed results last year, that really came out strong to start a brand new year on the High Banks.
Defending division champion Kurt Stebbins and an invading Jared Hill led the field to green for the twenty-lap contest. Stebbins took the lead for the opening two circuits, but a big move on the outside allowed Hill to blast by to take the lead on lap three. All the while, Marlatt had positioned himself in the third spot after taking the green from the sixth spot.
Just two laps later, Marlatt was up to second and charging hard on Hill for the lead. At the halfway point of the race, the handle went away on the Beauty Craft Hair Fashions No. 93, with Hill searching high and low for a way to keep Marlatt at bay. Marlatt wouldn’t have any of it.
Laps eight through thirteen entertained the fans as the leaders battled side by side for the top spot, with Marlatt showing the way on corner exit of turns one and two on lap thirteen. Whritenour would get by Hill in the closing laps, but Marlatt would take the double checkers over Whritenour, Hill, Dylan Cecce and Earl Zimmer who unfortunately drew number twelve in the redraw.
“I was pretty excited in the heat race because I knew our car was working well,” noted Marlatt in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane.
“The bottom lane really worked well in the feature too, which helped us get the lead.”
Ron Dailey Jr. started his 2016 campaign with a victory that nearly carried him to a track championship. Dailey is hoping that his Opening Night win in 2017 will propel him one spot higher in the point race come season’s end, after winning a battle with Corky Grant in the Daugherty’s Auto Sales & Service Mini Stocks.
Grant was making his last Opening Night start, as it was announced earlier in the week that the friendly and popular driver of the No. 46 will call it a career after the 2017 season. He nearly started off the ‘last ride tour’ with a victory, leading laps four five and six before Dailey took over on lap seven.
From there it was just a race of survival of carnage and plenty of restarts for Dailey. Dailey would have what it took to take his first checkered flag of the season over Grant, Brian Grant Jr., early race leader John Hand Jr and Derrick Puryear in the Valley Auto Center No. 6.
“This is actually my fiftieth win on this chassis here at Woodhull, so this is a special win,” admitted Dailey.
“I’m building a new chassis, this is actually going to be my boy’s car, so I wasn’t sure I’d even have a chance to get number fifty on this car.”
Shawn Gleason and Codie Baker ended the 2016 season first and second in points, respectively, in the Woodhull Auto Supply Front Wheel Drive division. That is exactly how they finished on Saturday night, after Gleason put an old-fashioned butt-whipping on the rest of the thirteen car field to get the victory.
The race was never in question, as Gleason had the Daugherty’s Auto Sales & Service, Comfort Zone Heating, Williams Construction & Sprayfoam No. 26mk tuned to perfection right off the trailer. Baker was able to maintain pace about a half-straightaway back of Gleason, but could not close the gap in the waning stages of the race.
Teammates Matt Prescott and Nate Freeland followed each other across the line in third and fourth, while Nick Brown completed the top five.
“It’s awesome to start off (this season) the way we finished last season,” said Gleason.
“With these new tires, it is awfully fast out there.”
When last year’s runner up in the division, Cole Youse, suffered motor problems for the second day in a row in the Daugherty’s Auto Sales & Service Warriors ten-lap feature- the fans were guaranteed a new winner in Victory Lane. Enter Trevor Hamilton, stage left.
Hamilton dropped the hammer in his beautiful No. 60 machine, and left no doubt that this season’s championship will have to go through him as he drew first blood in 2017. It is Hamilton who has the most starts of any of the drivers in the Warrior class as he made several starts in 2015, before making his first full season go of it last year.
“I have to thank Davis Racing for all the great work on this car,” said Hamilton in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane.
“Tracy Dunn put a great body on this thing and I gave it all I had. It was great!”
The Hobby Stocks were added for 2017 as a weekly division at Woodhull, as a trial basis to gauge interest in the division for future seasons. Carter Dennis brought out his No. 22 on Saturday and picked up the victory in the division. It wasn’t without struggle though, as Dennis literally drove the tires off the car, suffering a flat right rear tire which required his machine to get a tow into Victory Lane.
More Hobby Stocks are expected to join the raceway as the season goes on, with Dennis showing the fans just how fun and affordable this class can be.
This Saturday at Woodhull Raceway will be Lias Tire/Insinger Performance Night which includes a $1,000-to-win thirty-lap Crate Sportsman challenge. The Sportsman will be joined by the Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, Front Wheel Drives, Woodhull Warriors and Hobby Stocks. The Crate Late Models will have the week off due to a RUSH Series race scheduled for out of state. Race time is set for 6:30PM.
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.
Woodhull Raceway Close Racing Supply Night Official Results April 15th, 2017
SWL AWARDS CRATE LATE MODELS $1,000-to-Win, 9 cars (30 Laps): JASON KNOWLES (1), TJ Downs, Steve LaBarron, Brad Smith, Darin Horton, John Waters, Randy Raylea, Kurt Stebbins, Mike Wonderling
H1- John Waters, Jason Knowles, Randy Raylea
H2- Steve LaBarron, Mike Wonderling, TJ Downs
NAPA CRATE SPORTSMAN, 25 cars (25 Laps): STACEY JACKSON (1), Tim Guild, Chris Daugherty, Jake Dgien, Dale Welty, Donnie Lawson, Dayton Brewer, Billy Van Pelt, Josh Keesey, Jeffery Daugherty, Brandon Butler, Dave DuBois, Jerry Aldrich, Mike Buchanan, Bryce Martin, Dave Richmond, Boyd MacTavish, Mike Jackson, Mickey Wilbur, Adam Taft, Blake Lawson, Kirk Reynolds DNS: AJ Costley, Brandon Clark, Stevie Hartman III
H1- Stevie Hartman III, Brandon Butler, Donnie Lawson
H2- Boyd MacTavish, Jake Dgien, Jerry Aldrich
H3- Chris Daugherty, Tim Guild, Stacey Jackson
JOE WILLCOX PERFORMANCE AUTOMATICS STREET STOCKS, 18 cars (20 Laps): BRETT MARLATT (1), Glenn Whritenour, Jared Hill, Dylan Cecce, Earl Zimmer, Kurt Stebbins, Jeredd Dennis, Dennis Cummings, Tracy Dunn, Doug Stack, Jim Weatherley, Dan Gardner, Kane Stebbins, Teddy Morseman DNS: Branden Morseman, Trevor Tompkins, Joe Bennett, Mick Seeley
H1- Jeredd Dennis, Kane Stebbins, Dan Gardner
H2- Kurt Stebbins, Glenn Whritenour, Dennis Cummings
H3- Earl Zimmer, Dylan Cecce, Brett Marlatt
DAUGHERTY’S AUTO SALES & SERVICE MINI STOCKS, 13 cars (20 Laps): RON DAILEY JR. (1), Corky Grant, Brian Grant Jr., John Hand Jr., Derrick Puryear, Karl Born, Rick Amidon, Josh Webster, James LaGrange, Ajay Potrzebowski Jr., Dylon Gleason, Scott Lehman, Chris Woodard
H1- Chris Woodard, Josh Webster, John Hand Jr.
H2- Ron Dailey Jr., Corky Grant, Dylon Gleason
WOODHULL AUTO SUPPLY FWD, 14 cars (20 Laps): SHAWN GLEASON (1), Codie Baker, Matt Prescott, Nate Freeland, Nick Brown, Jeremy Warren, Rich Wagner, Derrick Evans, Ryan Stermer, Kenneth Evans III, Scott Lehman Jr., Brendan Scheigart, Robert Haynes, Adam DelGrosso
H1- Shawn Gleason, Nate Freeland, Jeremy Warren
H2- Nick Brown, Codie Baker, Matt Prescott
DAUGHERTY’S AUTO SALES & SERVICE WARRIORS, 6 cars (10 laps): TREVOR HAMILTON (1st Career Win), Ronnie Dailey, Brody Amidon, Braden Buchanan, Noah Talada, Cole Youse
HOBBY STOCKS, 1 car: CARTER DENNIS (1)