Zach George and Jason Knowles Find Glory at Genesee

Genesee Speedway - Zach George

BATAVIA, NY – A mild July night and a brief sprinkle during intermission provided a tacky surface at Genesee Speedway, which was the perfect recipe for excellent racing to kick off the holiday weekend in style.

On Stirling Lubricants Night, the Stirling Lubricants Sportsman ran for a bolstered $750 top prize which only intensified the action in their 25-lapper.

Zach George was sidelined for the first month of the racing season with an injury and if he was not already a strong enough driver, the thirst for winning grew even more for him during that time off. In just his second appearance in Batavia in 2021, George was on a mission in his Sportsman and found a way to get back to Victory Lane.

“That time out of the car made me want it even more,” stated George in Victory Lane. “It was that little extra ‘umph’ to get us to this point.”

George, of Wilson, started on the outside pole but fell to second after Jim Harbison took over the top spot from the pole position. After a tight battle on the ensuing restart, George found bite on the bottom of turns 1 and 2 on a lap 4 restart and took the lead back from Harbison. Harbison would fall back to third on that lap but would find his way back in to second on lap 10 and started to reel back in the leader. On a lap 15 restart, Harbison would apply pressure on George’s No. 36M and took multiple peeks underneath the leader. The momentum up on the top was just enough to allow George to hold off Harbison’s bids and retain the lead.

“I never saw anyone down there but I wanted to just keep my focus in front of me and hit my marks,” noted George when asked if he saw Harbison peaking underneath him.

In his only prior appearance at Genesee in 2021, George ran to a second place run, a strong performance after two wins in an abbreviated 2020 season.

As George was holding a healthy lead through the middle of the race, an incredible three-car battle was on for second. Dave Conant and Jim Harbison traded multiple slidejobs, which allowed defending champion Cameron Tuttle to reel them in. With less than five laps to go, Harbison slipped up, allowing Tuttle to take over second and finish in that spot. Point leader Phil Vigerni III ran up to finish third, just ahead of Harbison and Conant, who held on for top five finishes.

Jason Knowles made the late decision to come up to Batavia after his weekly track rained out, and the decision paid off as he led all 25 laps to claim his second Late Model Feature win of the year at Genesee.

Knowles, of Addison, took command of the race from the outside pole and then held a steady distance over the pack in a race that featured just one caution. The key to being fast at that point of the night was riding the cushion and that was just what “The Jet” was able to do.

Knowles had some tricky moments in lapped traffic, but after the race’s only caution on lap 13 gave him a breather he set out to another healthy advantage. With 8 laps remaining, Doug Ricotta was able to move by Austin Hauser for second and was nearly a half-second per lap quicker than Knowles, but with almost four seconds to make up he ran out of time without the aid of a caution and would have to settle for second after starting in eighth. Hauser would hold off Austyn Fugle for third in a fierce battle that seemed to rage on the entire event. Last week’s winner Paul Grigsby drove up from his 10th starting position to round out the top five.

Josh Pangrazio made his first appearance at Genesee in 2021 count in a big way, as he dominated both his heat and the feature to win the Street Stock event. Pangrazio, of Elba, took the lead from the outside pole and never looked back as his No. 7 was dominant despite having to endure a host of restarts in the 20-lap event. The 2-time track champion used the high line to perfection and kept a healthy distance over point leader Bill Taylor, who finished in second. Brandon Sherwood had to work hard to hold off John Zimmerman for third while Dan Schulz completed the top five.

The race of the night came in the Mini Stock feature as their 15-lap event ran off caution-free and came down to a photo finish. Andrew Gayton took over the lead on the opening lap when polesitter Cole Susice drifted over the berm in turns three and four. Gayton got reeled in quickly by Eric Weis who stalked the No. 10A for the entirety of the race but could not got a clean run under to take the lead. On the final circuit, the duo ran down two lapped cars which allowed Weis to make a move to the inside and attempt a slide job in turn three. Weis dove his XXX under Gayton to take the lead momentarily but could not hold his car low enough, which enabled Gayton to drive back underneath him and outduel his car builder to the finish line to win by just .081 seconds. Dante Mancuso had a front-row seat for that battle for the win, as he finished in third. James Gayton held off Brad Whiteside for the fourth position.

Jake Bansmer claimed his eighth feature win of the season in the Novice Sportsman Division, but there was a moment in the middle of the race that put the victory in serious jeopardy. On lap seven, race leader Allison Dewitt spun around just in front of Bansmer, who appeared destined to crash in to the No. 16. Bansmer stabbed the break and veered to the right to miss the leader, allowing him to inherit the top spot. From that point on, Bansmer would drive off to a comfortable win over Tyler Guzzardi and Brandon Close, who completed the podium positions.

The Bandits put on a wild feature which resulted in a new feature winner. With one lap remaining, a caution came out for second place Seth Johnson slowing, which stacked up the field behind race leader Ridge Cobb, who had his left front tire going soft before the restart. As he took the field down the backstretch, Cobb’s No. 28 slowed, which stacked up second-place Alexis Traxler and allowed Ian Paul to make a bonsai-move from third underneath the top 2 and take the lead in the final set of corners to capture his first career feature win. As Paul made the bold move to take the win, Traxler was able to move around Cobb for second as Cobb limped his car across the line in third in his first start at Genesee.

Genesee is back in action this Thursday, July 8 with the only appearance by the Big Block/Small Block Modifieds in the 2021 edition of “The Gladiator”. The ULMS Late Models, RUSH Pro Mods and Mini Stocks are also on the card, which will start at 7:00. Genesee will be off next Saturday, July 10. For more information, visit

Genesee Speedway Results: 7/3/2021-

Stirling Lubricants Night

Cornerstone Eye Associates RUSH Late Model Feature (25 Laps)- JASON KNOWLES, Doug Ricotta, Austin Hauser, Austyn Fugle, Paul Grigsby, David Pangrazio, Chris Fleming, Jimmy Johnson, Jon Rivers, Bill Holmes, Beamer Guzzardi, Austin Allen, Dave DuBois, TJ Downs, Bill Button, Billy DuBois, Todd Chapman, Alan Chapman, Kurt Stebbins, Jim Buck, Mark Sundt, Carl Shetler, Jonathan Stockdale.

Lap Leaders- Knowles 1-25.

Heat Winners- Rivers, Fugle, Fleming.

Stirling Lubricants DIRTcar Sportsman Feature (25 Laps)- ZACH GEORGE, Cameron Tuttle, Phil Vigneri III, Jim Harbison, Dave Conant, Brandon Michaud, Kyle Richner, Ray Bliss, Byron Dewitt, Noah Walker, Ryan Barrett, Jordan Moden, TJ Newton, Adam Taft, Tim Nies, Dan Kolb, Jessica Kiegisch, Larry Vick, Michael McCarthy, Gordy Hermanson Jr.

Lap Leader- Harbison 1-3, George 4-25.

Heat Winners- Harbison, George, Conant.

Yasses Trucking & Construction Street Stock Feature (20 Laps)- JOSH PANGRAZIO, Bill Taylor, Brandon Sherwood, John Zimmerman, Dan Schulz, Shawn Hazlett, Kurt Stebbins, Neil Patterson, Jesse Qutermous, Dan Brumsted, Damian Long, Dale Rissinger, Zach Walsh, Jacob Vick, Phil Schepis, Mike Kelly, Chuck Mogavero, Robert Knapp.

Lap Leaders- Pangrazio 1-20.

Heat Winners- Zimmerman, Pangrazio.

Pellegrino Auto Sales Mini Stock Feature (15 Laps)- ANDREW GAYTON, Eric Weis, Dante Mancuso, James Gayton, Brad Whiteside, Brian Johnson, Andy Schumaker, Brandon Shepard, Curtis Rung Jr., Cole Susice, Olivia Coniber, Eric Brumsted, Robert Knapp, Jessica Schleede.

Lap Leaders- A. Gayton 1-15.

Heat Winners- Mancuso, A. Gayton.

Champion Racing Oil Novice Sportsman Feature (15 Laps)- JAKE BANSMER, Tyler Guzzardi, Brandon Close, Allison Dewitt, Casey Jonathan, John Livingston, Bailey Logsdon.

Lap Leaders- Dewitt 1-6, Bansmer 7-15.

Heat Winner- Bansmer.

DML Sealing Bandits (10 Laps)- IAN PAUL, Alexis Traxler, Ridge Cobb, Morgan Coniber, Seth Johnson, Jonathan Logsdon, Hailey Weis, Grayson Harding, Nicholas Lipome, Joey Swick.9

Lap Leaders- Cobb 1-9, Paul 10.

Attached Photos: Genesee_2021_0703_…

…Bandit- Ian Paul captured his first career Bandit Feature win driving from 3rd to 1st on the final lap

…LM- Jason Knowles claimed his second Late Model win at Genesee in just his 3rd start at Batavia this year

…Mini- Andrew Gayton held off Eric Weis by just .081 seconds for his second Mini Stock Feature win of the year

…Novice- Jake Bansmer scored his eighth Novice Sportsman win in just 10 races this season

…Sport- Zach George claimed the $750 top prize in the Sportsman Feature

…Street- In his first start at Genesee in 2021, Josh Pangrazio claimed the Street Stock Feature win