By: Steven Petty
BATAVIA, NY – The fifth season of the Jim and Pam Johnson leadership at the Genesee Speedway came to an end on Saturday night. In a season that was unprecedented, the stars were aligned as 2020 track champions Cameron Tuttle (DIRTcar Sportsman) and Jimmy Johnson (RUSH Late Models) each scored another checkered flag. Second-generation driver John Zimmerman won the $500 to win Street Stock event. James Gayton won the Mini Stock feature for his first win in a couple of seasons.
2020 Genesee Track Champion Cam Tuttle and Roy Susice shared the front row for the DIRTcar Sportsman main event with Tuttle showing the way. Noah Walker worked his way to the number two spot early with Dave Conant racing in third place. The lead trio would check out on the field. A couple of “quickie cautions” would slow the pace of the 25-lap affair, and as the lead trio of Tuttle, Walker, and Conant pulled away, Phil Vigneri III and AJ Custodi raced inside the top five. Tuttle would pull away from Walker to score his second win of the season.
“I never expected to see a track championship on top of my wins this year”, said Tuttle. Tuttle is planning on running all of DIRTcar Racing’s OktoberFAST. “The plan is to run all the Sportsman races starting at Albany-Saratoga and finishing at Weedsport. I am looking forward to Weedsport. They have a phenomenal facility and really looking forward to racing there.”
“I think we found something to come back with next year”, stated runner-up finisher Noah Walker. Walker explained that track position was key and starting in sixth, Walker had to move up through the field while race winner Tuttle had a front row starting position. “Cam was fast all night and he hit his marks and a well-deserved win”, Walker added. “I have to thank all my sponsors and family for their support. Without their support, we wouldn’t be racing and would have been able to return after the wreck we had in August.” Dave Conant, Phil Vigneri III, and AJ Custodi completed the top five. Dave Conant, Byron Dewitt III, and Cam Tuttle won the qualifying events.
Making his return to driving after a few years off was Roy Susice. Roy finished third in his Sportsman qualifying event to make the redraw and he redrew on the outside of the front row for the feature event. The night would quickly end for the Ransomville resident, as the steering broke on his racer, ending his return to the wheel. It has been nearly 30 years since Roy has been behind the wheel of a racecar. Roy is the father of “The Ransomville Renegade”, 358 Modified pilot Ryan Susice.
Qualifying heat race winners Bill Holmes and 2020 track champion “Kid Lightning” Jimmy Johnson shared the front row for the RUSH Late Model feature, with Holmes showing the way. With the top two pulling away, Dusty Waters, Jason Knowles, and “Mr. Excitement” Jeremy Wonderling raced in the top five. “Kid Lightning” would take the lead away from Holmes on lap 11 after pulling the slide job on Holmes on the exit of turn three. After a lap 11 caution, Johnson would pull away from the field as Holmes and Wonderling gave chase. Johnson put on a clinic and pulled away from the field and as he encountered lap traffic, he continued to increase his lead over the field.
“I really can’t picture how 2020 went and winning five races was amazing”, stated Jimmy Johnson. “This car works well in the slick and the track was fast.” With 2021 coming up soon, Johnson is not putting 2020 in the rear-view mirror. “We plan on racing more in 2020 so going to go travel and hopefully pick up a few more wins.” Johnson thanks his crew, mom and dad, sponsors, and girlfriend Kiersten for all their support.
John Zimmerman and Damian Long led the field to the green for the 25-lap Street Stock feature with Zimmerman showing the way. Track co-champion Jesse Qutermous spun in turn two to slow the field down for the first time on lap four. Zimmerman would continue to show the way as Pat Powers challenged Long for second and at the same time, Dale Rissinger, Andy Eastman, and Tom Kemp battled for fourth place. Rissinger and Eastman made contact and spun in turn two to bring out the caution just two laps later. Long would take the lead away on lap seven as Tom Kemp went to work on Zimmerman for second place. Long, Zimmerman, Kemp, and Pat Powers pulled away from the field and would settle the race amongst themselves. Zimmerman would fight lap after lap to regain the lead as Long used the top side of the track to keep the momentum and the lead. While working lap traffic, Kemp went over the edge of turns three and four, bringing out a caution with three laps remaining. Kemp’s night came to an end on the hook of the tow truck. Zimmerman would regain the lead off the restart and went on to score the win over Pat Powers and Jesse Qutermous. Fourth place finisher Damian Long was the recipient of the drum of fuel from Bill Button Racing and MHL Performance. Mike Kelley based off lap positions received over $300 in lap money. Shawn Hazlett was the promoter’s choice of the Hard Luck Award, but Shawn gave the award to Tom Kemp. Billy Bird was the recipient of the Hard Charger Award after gaining eight positions from the start to the finish of the race. Heat races were won by John Zimmerman and Tom Kemp.
Spearheaded by Shawn “Squints” Hazlett, the Street Stocks had a $500 to win special with over $1,900 in lap money and other contingencies being distributed throughout the field. Hazlett would like to thank everyone that bought a lap and sponsored a contingency award. Lap sponsors included Custom Shocks and Suspension, Angie Newton & James Bell, Hermanson Racing, Serenity Property Maintenance, Bellinger Electric, Bliss Racing, S&S Excavating and Blacktop, Jesse Qutermous Racing, a lap in memory of Brian Ace, Mike Logsdon Racing, Callahan Towing, NY Super Stock Series, Wise Automotive & Diesel Repair, James Gayton Racing, Tom Baker Racing, Dale Valley Die Cast, BDK Construction, Shawn Hazlett Racing, MHL Performance, Damo Fabrication, GFY Motorsports, Wise Choice Towing, Tommy Kemp Racing, M&D Motorsports, JMR Racing, Kyle Inman Racing, Don Ryan Builders, Kelly Newton & Peter Meyers, Ron and Newts Garage, Thrasher Chassis, and Old Homestead Gift Shop. Contingency awards included a drum of fuel from Bill Button Racing/MHL Performance. Gary Smith sponsored a fuel jug to the leader of the race at the halfway point. The Hard Luck Award was presented by BDK Construction. The Hard Charger was sponsored by Ron & Newts Garage. Other contingencies included the 10th place finisher receiving $100 from former track Promoter, announcer, and former Director of the DIRT Pro Stocks Dave “Speady” McCready. The 11th place finisher was sponsored by Billy Burd Racing and Tom Baker Racing sponsored the last place finishing racer.
James Gayton picked up the win in the Mini Stocks. For Gayton, it was his first win in several seasons at the Batavia oval. Brandon Shepard, James Gayton, Rich Conte collected qualifying event wins.