BATAVIA, NY – A fast, yet technical racetrack put a variety of drivers in Victory Lane on Championship Night; some were drivers that had already secured their 2021 title, some who locked it up on Saturday, while others were drivers just happy to be back holding the checkered flag.
Dave Conant broke through for his first Sportsman Feature win in over three years and drove an incredible race to withstand Cameron Tuttle’s many advances to prevail in the 25-lap event.
“We needed this. We needed this one bad,” stated an emotional Conant in Victory Lane. “I ran the race kind of backwards from what I’m used to as I like the bottom (groove) but ran up on the top for most of the race until the end.”
The results will show that Conant led the final 23 laps, the but reality is that the lead was up for grab for nearly 10 laps of the race. After taking the lead on lap 3 from Jessica Kriegisch, “Cadillac” broke out to a healthy lead. By lap 10, Cameron Tuttle had sliced his way up to second and had begun to reel in the leader. A caution on lap 14 would erase the margin and on the ensuing restart Tuttle would dive underneath the No. 44 heading in to turns 1 and 2 and keep it that way until the next caution flag waved on lap 22. As the duo raced side-by-side, Conant knew his chance to win was in peril.
“Each lap he would gain on me by a quarter of a car-length every lap on the bottom,” said Conant. “A few times I thought he had me but I knew the bottom was a little tougher to run so I tried to keep him pinned down there.”
While under caution on lap 22, Conant changed up his plan by moving to the bottom of the track once they got back racing. The move caught Tuttle off guard and allowed the No. 44 enough breathing room to run off to his first win since July of 2018.
Tuttle’s second-place effort was enough to secure his second-straight track championship. Phil Vigerni III, the other championship contender, struggled in his heat but ran up to third in the feature. AJ Custodi finished fourth in his first start at Genesee this season, while Jessica Kriegisch put together her best run of the year, rounding out the top five.
Defending Late Model Track Champion Jimmy Johnson knew this year’s title was no longer within reach, but that didn’t slow him down in the feature as he ran off to lead all 25 laps and win his second event of the season. Johnson took the lead from the pole position and ran off and hid in a caution-free event that was completed in under eight minutes. While his lead was never in doubt, his engine was more questionable.
“About 10 laps in I saw the pressure gauge fluctuating and I started smelling (smoke),” noted Johnson afterwards in front of his still-smoking No. 39J. “Then I noticed it wasn’t coming back up fully so I don’t know if we cooked a motor or not but I just tried to get it to the end.”
2021 Track Champion Bill Holmes had started to reel in “Kid Lightning” around the point that the leader starting pushing water, but over the second half of the race Johnson started to build his lead to run off to his second win in the last four starts.
With the championship already in hand, Holmes experimented with his No. 8 on the night and was pleased with his second-place effort. Jon Rivers had a solid car to score a season-best third place finish. Doug Ricotta and JJ Mazur rounded out the top five.
Last season, Bill Taylor was a co-champion in the Street Stocks, but only won a single feature; on Saturday Night he led all 20 laps of the feature to win his sixth feature and lock up his second straight championship in style. Taylor, of Arcade, capitalized on a lucky break he got in his heat race where he snuck in to the redraw on the final lap, then he grabbed the pole position and then was untouched in a race where he could not afford a mistake in. In a year he characterized as his best year, as well as his worst year (when it came to mechanical luck), Taylor kept Dan Schulz, last week’s winner, a healthy distance behind him throughout the event, as “The Golden One” was never pressured. Schulz would hang on for second, while a fierce battle took place for third, with John Zimmerman finishing in that position. Chuck Mogavero finished fourth for his best result of the season while Brandon Sherwood rounded out the top five.
Bill Weller Jr. was the class of the field in the Mini Stocks as he dominated to win his second feature in the last four weeks. “Wild Bill Jr.” had a lead of over four seconds midway through the race and was on cruise control even with Dante Mancuso chopping down his lead in the closing laps. As those two were out in front of the pack, Brad Whiteside was just behind them locking up his second-straight track championship with a third place effort. Whiteside just edged Rich Conte at the line for the third spot, while Olivia Coniber completed the top five finishers.
Jake Bansmer picked up his 2021 Track Championship in style as he captured his 12th win of the season in the Novice Sportsman. Bansmer took the lead from Andrew Joy on a lap five restart and never looked back as he ran off to a comfortable win, his second in a row. Andrew Joy’s runner-up finish was his sixth second place effort in his last seven starts. Tyler Guzzardi rounded out the podium positions.
Seth Johnson of Castile led all 12 laps of the Bandit Feature to win his fourth feature of the season. Johnson jumped out in front of 2021 Track Champion Alexis Traxler and while she would give good chase throughout, Johnson was strong enough to outlast her for his second consecutive win. As that duo battled for the lead, a feisty competition was up for the third spot with Grayson Harding coming away with that position. On the final circuit, DJ Goetz, who was making his first start, flipped his car but was thankfully able to walk away.
With the points now settled for 2021, attention now turns to the final weekend of the season, the Topless Weekend on September 24 and 25, featuring the RUSH Late Model and Sprint Car Tours, a $2,000-to-win Sportsman event, plus big shows for the Street Stocks and Mini Stocks. For more information, visit www.Genesee-Speedway.com.
Genesee Speedway Results: 9/4/2021- Dale Valley Diecast Night
Cornerstone Eye Associates RUSH Late Model Feature (25 Laps)- JIMMY JOHNSON, Bill Holmes, Jon Rivers, Doug Ricotta, JJ Mazur, Paul Grigsby, Beamer Guzzardi, Brian Kotarski, TJ Downs, Billy DuBois, David Stolzenberg, Chad Clement, Mark Sundt.
Lap Leader- Johnson 1-25.
Heat Winners- Kotarski, Ricotta.
2021 Track Champion- Bill Holmes
Stirling Lubricants DIRTcar Sportsman Feature (25 Laps)- DAVE CONANT, Cameron Tuttle, Phil Vigerni III, AJ Custodi, Jessica Kriegisch, Brandon Michaud, Ray Bliss, Ryan Barrett, Gordy Hermanson Jr., Kyle Richner, Noah Walker, Byron Dewitt, Tim Nies, Michael McCarthy, Jim Harbison.
Lap Leaders- Kriegisch 1-2, Conant 3-25.
Heat Winners- McCarthy, Walker.
2021 Track Champion- Cameron Tuttle
Yasses Trucking & Construction Street Stock Feature (20 Laps)- BILL TAYLOR, Dan Schulz, John Zimmerman, Chuck Mogavero, Brandon Sherwood, Damian Long, Jesse Qutermous, Shawn Hazlett, Neil Patterson, Phil Schepis, Bobby Lippa Jr., Pat Powers, Jacob Vick, Dale Rissinger, Mike Kelly.
Lap Leader- Taylor 1-20.
Heat Winners- Hazlett, Schulz.
2021 Track Champion- Bill Taylor
Pellegrino Auto Sales Mini Stock Feature (15 Laps)- BILL WELLER JR., Dante Mancuso, Brad Whiteside, Rich Conte, Olivia Coniber, Eric Weis, Andy Schumaker, Brian Johnson, Andrew Gayton, Jessica Schleede, Robert Knapp II, Curtis Rung Jr., Ashley Harbison, Brandon Shepard (DNS), Cody Wise (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Weller 1-15.
Heat Winners- Weller, Schumaker.
2021 Track Champion- Brad Whiteside
Champion Racing Oil Novice Sportsman Feature (15 Laps)- JAKE BANSMER, Andrew Joy, Tyler Guzzardi, Allison Dewitt, Casey Jonathan, CJ Palmer, Bailey Logsdon.
Lap Leaders- Joy 1-4, Bansmer 5-15.
Heat Winner- Bansmer.
2021 Track Champion- Jake Bansmer
DML Sealing Bandits (12 Laps)- SETH JOHNSON, Alexis Traxler, Grayson Harding, Morgan Coniber, Jonathan Logsdon, Meghan Zimmerman, DJ Goetz, Ian Paul, Kayley Bacon.
Lap Leader- Johnson 1-12.
2021 Track Champion- Alexis Traxler