By: Steven Petty
BATAVIA, NY – The Genesee Speedway remembered Rich Conte and Mike Holford Saturday night with the running of the Conte/Holford Memorial. The colors purple and yellow were seen throughout the grandstands and cheering for members of Wise Guy Racing.
Both Rich Conte and Mike Holford ran Street Stocks at the 1/3rd-mile Genesee Speedway. Both men were taken too soon and the speedway has honored their memory since the mid-2000s.
The Wise Guy Racing team had a match race between Rich Conte Jr in his Street Stock and Bill Weller Jr in his 4 Cylinder Mini Stock. The duo would battle for seven laps, with Conte picking up the win.
Dave DiPietro from North Tonawanda, NY in his second Genesee Speedway start of the season was able to park it in victory lane after the 25-lap feature for the DIRTcar Sportsman. “I’ve been wanting to win here for a long time. Ray MacIver got his first Sportsman win here and it’s cool that I got my first Genesee win here tonight,” stated DiPietro. DiPietro was at the right place at the right time to take the lead following a lap 20 restart and was able to pick up the win. “I got into Jim (Harbison) going into turn three and it was as if his car just stopped. I knew I had to get him on a restart because he was faster than me all race,” DiPietro said.
Brad Rouse and Noah Walker led the 19-car Sportsman starting field to the green flag for their feature event with Rouse taking the early lead. Eventual winner DiPietro would fall back to fifth on lap four as he was passed by 2021 Novice track champion Jake Bansmer. By lap 10, DiPietro would make his move towards the front of the field. Rouse and Walker would trade slide jobs multiple times just after the halfway mark, and on lap 20, Walker would take the lead going into turn one and then spun after contact with Rouse. Rouse took his 18r to the pits, while Walker rejoined the back of the field. The ensuing restart would see DiPietro take the lead away from Jim Harbison as the two made contact in turn three. The caution lights would immediately come back on as a multi-car incident took place in turn four. DiPietro would survive the restart to pick up the win over Phil Vigneri III, Cameron Tuttle, Jake Bansmer, and Adam Hilton.
RUSH Late Model veteran Paul Grigsby made a return visit to Genesee Speedway victory lane after winning the main event. An upfront starting spot propelled Grigsby to the lead early and would never relinquish the lead. “Momentum is king here and that’s what I had to rely on,” Grigsby said in victory lane. Grigsby outdueled reigning track champion Bill Holmes, who would settle to finish in second place, followed by Jeremy Wonderling, Doug Ricotta, and David Pangrazio. Multi-time race winner in 2022 Chad Homan had a top-five run going but had mechanical issues and pulled off the speedway surface with three laps remaining, giving Pangrazio the final spot in the top five.
Other winners at Genesee include Bill Taylor in the Street Stocks, James Gayton in the Mini Stocks, Seth Johnson in the Bandits, and Casey Jonathan in the Novice Sportsman. A total of 63 cars signed in pitside. Genesee is back in action on July 30 with the Clayton Downs Memorial, paying $1533 to win for the RUSH Late Models.