BATAVIA, NY – With a cool but rain-free early spring night presented, the 2022 season at Genesee Speedway fired off with a quality car count, an overall smooth surface, and some great racing to get everyone their return to racing they so desperately craved.
Back in 2016, when Jim and Pam Johnson took over the reigns at Genesee Speedway, it was Doug Ricotta who scored the late model win on their first night at the helm, on Saturday Night, in the inaugural event under the management of Kurt and Bonnie Stebbins, Ricotta would once again visit Victory Lane to begin a new era of racing in Batavia.
Ricotta, of Perry, took the lead back from Jeremy Wonderling on lap 18 when the No. 3J lost power down the backstretch. Even before Wonderling broke though, Ricotta’s No. 01 was reeling in the leader. It was just the luck that the veteran needed to capture his first feature win at Genesee since 2019.
Ricotta used a smooth line on the top of the track to keep his momentum up and click off fast laps in the final race of the night. Wonderling, who took the lead on lap 8 when he moved under defending division champion Bill Holmes on a restart, brought Ricotta with him and stretched out a healthy advantage only to see it shrink and then evaporate.
“I was reeling (Wonderling) in and felt I could get to him,” Ricotta reflected afterwards. “I’m not sure if I would have been able to get by him but we were going to have a chance.”
As Ricotta cruised to the win, Dave DuBois ran strong to a second-place result. Steve LeBarron ran well all night to place in third, while former division champions JJ Mazur and Jimmy Johnson were inches apart at the finish line to round out the top five.
Phil Vigneri III and Adam Hilton put on a spirited duel in the Sportsman Feature, with Vigneri outlasting Hilton to capture the win in the 25-lap event. Vigneri, of Elba, started in third but took the lead from Hilton on lap 10 while the duo worked through lapped traffic. Once getting out front though, Hilton would not let the No. 12v get away as he reeled him back in in the next pocket of lapped cars as the first caution of the race waved on lap 22. On the ensuing restart, Hilton stayed tight to the leader and sent his No. 1R in deep on the top of turn three, but it would not stick and Hilton looped his car around to draw what would be the final caution of the race. Vigneri would not be pressured in the final two laps and to get his season off to a hot start. Brandon Michaud was able to take over second after Hilton’s spin and would finish there for a fine result. Early in the race, Jim Harbison got sideways and lost three spots but kept going to keep the race green, he would rally to bring his 18w home in third. Kyle Richner and Dave Conant battled each other hard throughout the race with Richner winning the battle to finish in fourth.
Dan Schulz finished last season on a hot-streak finishing in the top four in the final four regular season Street Stock events; he picked up in 2022 where he left off as he led wire-to-wire to claim the win. Schulz, of Newfane, withstood a late-race charge from defending champion Bill Taylor to score the victory in his 66. Schulz, normally a driver who prefers the bottom line, found some tackiness on the top groove and ran primarily in that line throughout the race. Schulz was particularly strong throughout the many restarts to keep his lead healthy. Taylor would peek to the inside off the final corner but had to settle for second while Dennis Cummings drove up to third. Sherman Gage and Rich Conte each rebounded from early race spins to round out the top five.
James Gayton dominated the Mini Stock Feature, leading all 15 laps to score the win. Gayton held a comfortable lead throughout with a new engine behind the rails of the #10. Another big story of the race was Olivia Coniber, who held off the challenges of a slew of top drivers to come home in the runner-up spot, her best career finish in the division. Brad Whiteside, the two-time and defending champion, was just behind her in third. Andy Schumaker and Brian Johnson rounded out the top five.
Allison Dewitt equaled her win total from 2021 on opening night in the Novice Sportsman Feature as she moved around leader Robert Henning on lap 11 off of turn 2 and drove away for the victory. The LeRoy driver had to survive two late-race cautions while out front but was comfortable to the finish. Henning would drive back up to second while Paul Mayhall rounded out the top three.
The first feature of the night was won by Seth Johnson, who took the lead from Jonathan Logsdon on a lap 3 restart and would drive away to score the win the Bandit Division. Johnson, of Castile, was a four-time winner last year and despite switching to a new race car had the field in control once getting out in front. Tyler Foster would drive up to finish in second while Logsdon rounded out the top 3.
Genesee is back in action next Saturday, with the NY6A Micro Sprints joining the six weekly divisions at 6:00. For more information, visit www.Genesee-Speedway.com.
Genesee Speedway Results: 4/30/2022-
Royal T Trucking Night
Cornerstone Eye Associates Late Model Series Feature (25 Laps)- DOUG RICOTTA, Dave DuBois, Steve LeBarron, JJ Mazur, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Holmes, Billy DuBois, TJ Downs, Jeremy Wonderling, Brian Johnson, David Stolzenberg, Chuck LaFleur.
Lap Leaders- Holmes 1-7, Wonderling 8-17, Ricotta 18-25.
Heat Winners- Ricotta, D. DuBois.
Stirling Lubricants DIRTcar Sportsman Feature (25 Laps)- PHIL VIGNERI III, Brandon Michaud, Jim Harbison, Kyle Richner, Dave Conant, Cameron Tuttle, Adam Hilton, Ryan Barrett, Jordan Moden, Noah Walker, Larry Vick, Byron Dewitt, Jessica Kriegisch, Tyler Guzzardi, Ray Bliss, Greg Mrzywka, Dan Kolb (DNS), Michael McCarthy (DNS), Jacob Bansmer (DNS).
Lap Leader- Hilton 1-9, Vigneri 10-25.
Heat Winners- Hilton, Vigneri III.
Yasses Trucking/Construction Street Stock Feature (20 Laps)- DAN SCHULZ, Bill Taylor, Dennis Cummings, Sherman Gage, Rich Conte, Dale Rissinger Jr., Chuck Mogavero, Bobby Lippa Jr., Cassie Logsdon, Mike Kelly, Brandon Sherwood, Brian Monahan Jr., Jesse Qutermous, Kenny Begnouche, Shawn Hazlett, Zack Walsh (DNS), Jacob Vick (DNS), Byron Dewitt (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Schulz 1-20.
Heat Winners- Sherwood, Taylor.
The Detail Shop Mini Stock Feature (15 Laps)- JAMES GAYTON, Olivia Coniber, Brad Whiteside, Andy Schumaker, Brian Johnson, Curt Rung, Chris Leone, Cole Susice, Bill Weller Jr., Bob Palmer, Jessica Schleede, Tom Knapp, Eric Brumsted, Travis Hayes, Ashley Mackey, Alexis Traxler, Cody Wise, Robert Knapp II.
Lap Leaders- Gayton 1-15.
Heat Winners- Rung, Gayton.
Novice Sportsman Feature (15 Laps)- ALLISON DEWITT, Robert Henning, Paul Mayhall, Casey Jonathan, Bailey Logsdon.
Lap Leaders- Henning 1-10, Dewitt 11-15.
Heat Winner- Dewitt.
DML Driveway Sealing Bandit Feature (10 Laps)- SETH JOHNSON, Tyler Foster, Jonathan Logsdon, Morgan Conbier, Vincent Dickinson.
Lap Leaders- Logsdon 1-2, Johnson 3-10.