By: Steven Petty
BATAVIA, NY – The shortened 2020-point season at Genesee Speedway came to an end on Saturday night. When the checkered flags fell, all six divisions saw first-time track champions at the 1/3rd mile oval.
Heading into the night, Kyle Inman had a five-point lead over Cameron Tuttle and an eight-point lead over Dave Conant in the DIRTcar Sportsman division. The 25-lap main event saw Cam Tuttle and Brett Senek on the front row with Senek, a two-time Ransomville track champion taking command of the field. Four-time and reigning champion Kyle Inman was involved with a lap three incident involving Zach George and Sarah Johnson. All three were able to continue racing, with Inman beginning his charge back towards the front, as did George. The yellow lights would come back out on lap nine, involving George, Inman, and TJ Newton. Phil Vigneri spun while running in the sixth spot spun in turn one. Tuttle would race with Dave Conant for third place at the halfway mark, as Senek would pull away from three-time track champion Ray Bliss Jr. Senek would pull away to earn his first Genesee victory. Bliss, Tuttle, Conant, and AJ Custodi completed the top five. Tuttle would edge out Conant not only by points but to finish on the podium by .013 seconds. Inman would finish the main event in the 11th position.
For Tuttle, it is his first Genesee title and his second open-wheel title, as he also earned the 2017 Novice Sportsman title at Ransomville. “It’s surreal right now, I can’t imagine this year being the champion,” Tuttle said. “We had a good car all year and we did what we needed to do tonight to get the title”, Tuttle added. “I cannot thank all my sponsors, family, crew, and friends for all their support and countless hours in the shop all season”, Tuttle said.
Race winner Brett Senek was ecstatic when he climbed out of his #111. “This car was on rails all night,” Senek said. “It feels good to finally get the monkey off our back here. We wrecked the car the first race here and tonight, everything fell into place.” Senek added.
Earlier in the week, Sarah Johnson posted on her social media that she was stepping away from driving after this week. The DIRTcar Sportsman pilot raced for 12 years, after starting in the track’s bandit and 4 cylinder divisions before moving up “I never thought I’d ever step away and I’ve honestly fought it for a while now” Sarah said. “I’m thankful to my parents who have allowed me the opportunities to be involved in this life and also thankful to my friends and family who have always helped on our cars and supported me throughout these last 12 years.” “A big chapter of my life and a big part of my identity came to an end.”
“Kid Lightning” Jimmy Johnson entered the night leading three-time and reigning RUSH Late Model divisional champion JJ Mazur by 15 points. The main event saw multi-time Pro Stock champion and inaugural Crate Late champion Beamer Guzzardi leading Jason Genco and Jimmy Johnson. Genco would take the lead on lap six from Guzzardi as Johnson would pressure Guzzardi for second. A mid-race caution would see a single-file restart as Genco continued to lead Guzzardi, Johnson, Steve Dixon, and Austyn Fugle. Genco would score the win as Johnson finished third to clinch his first career track champion. “This place is good to me” stated Genco in victory lane.
For Jimmy Johnson, he joins his father Jim as a track champion. “That was the plan all season. Win as many races as we could and win the title” Johnson said. “This car is phenomenal. It is 90% car and 10% me. The way that the track has been prepared all season, the car is always hooked up and I can race it anywhere” Johnson added. “I cannot thank my mom and dad for all they have done and for putting me in this type of equipment. My sponsors, Stirling Lubricants, Champion Oil, Domoy Farms, Freeman Fabrication, and Jim Johnson Motorsports.” “It sucks that the fans couldn’t be here and celebrate with us, but we will all celebrate when the fans are back” Johnson added. Jimmy’s dad Jim earned five track titles in his career. The duo joined another father and son earning Late Model track championships, Jim and JJ Mazur.
Bill Taylor and Jesse Qutermous were only separated by four points entering the night to claim the top prize in the Street Stock division. The two-point leaders would start the 20-lap feature in second (Qutermous) and fourth (Taylor) respectively. Qutermous would take the lead off the start around former DIRT Pro Stock track champion Dan Schulz. Taylor would move into second a couple of laps later and would battle with Qutermous for the lead and the title. Qutermous and Taylor and finish the race one-two and both drivers would have a share of the track title. “This is unbelievable. I’ve always dreamed about it” stated co-champion Jesse Qutermous. “I was at Port Royal last night and it was the longest four-hour drive of my life and it was well worth it”, Qutermous added. Qutermous used Doug Jones’ motor to get it to victory lane. Co-Champion Bill Taylor crossed the line in second. “We’ve had ups and downs all season”, Taylor said. “We were junk for three weeks straight but thanks to everyone that supports me to make this happen”. Both drivers thanked shock specialist Ed Galley for providing shocks and parts.
One track title that was essentially wrapped up before the night even began was Jacob Bansmer in the Bandit division. Bansmer was powered behind eight wins in nine starts to earn the track title for the second-generation driver. Brad Whiteside had a 31-point advantage heading into the Mini Stock feature, all that was needed for Whiteside was to take the green flag in his qualifying heat to earn the track title. Whiteside would also take the checkered flag in the 15-lap feature event to win the title in style.
Novice Sportsman driver Dylan Duhow won his qualifying heat race to lock up the track title in the division’s debut season. The graduate of the karting program at Ransomville Speedway won on opening night and then took the checkered flag on the final points night en route to the title. Tim Nies and Scott Wolfe rounded out the top three in the 15-lap main event.
98 cars signed in for the racing action. Genesee will be back in action following a couple of weeks off on Saturday, September 19.