BATAVIA, NY – A pop up shower moved across the Genesee County Fairgrounds an hour before Saturday’s program and had the event in jeopardy, but what it ended up doing was providing the moisture needed to make for a fast and thrilling race night.
The seven features saw a total of just eight cautions, including a 23-lap run to the finish of the Sportsman Feature that had everyone on the edge of their seat.
Phil Vigneri III admitted that his results over the last month had him down in the dumps, but his run in Saturday Night’s Sportsman Feature should keep him on cloud nine for quite some time. Vigneri, of Elba, scored his third feature win of the season, moving by Ray Bliss for second on lap 21 and then taking the lead from Jim Harbison two laps later to capture the victory.
“We have been struggling over the last month and threw something at the setup tonight and it worked,” said Vigneri in Victory Lane. “The track was fast but I saw everyone starting to get loose on top and even as I was battling with Zeke (Ray Bliss) for second I could see we were closing in on Jimmy (Harbison) and as soon as I think two laps after I took second I took the lead.”
Despite starting in third, Vigneri had dropped back to fourth after a lap three restart and had to patiently work the bottom to clear Jacob Bansmer for third and then spent nearly 10 laps to pass the No. 27z. That duo would close on leader Jim Harbison and once Vigneri got the drive off the bottom on Bliss for lap 21 he immediately closed on the leader and made a similar pass in swifter fashion for the top spot.
Vigneri became the first sportsman driver to score his third feature win of the season and gained ground in the point race. Harbison would hold off Bliss at the finish for second while Noah Walker finished in fourth. Jacob Bansmer finished in fifth for his third-straight top five finish.
Mikey Wonderling had only run a Crate Late Model on a handful of occasions at Genesee, but after his run on Saturday Night he wondered out loud if he should be coming more often. Wonderling, of Scio, led all 25 laps to claim his first win at Genesee in the division and his first win on the 1/3-mile since a 360 Late Model win in September 2016.
“We’ve only raced the car about nine times this year so to get a win is pretty good,” said Wonderling after picking up the win. “I knew I wasn’t pulling away and guys were close but it was good enough.”
Early in the race, Wonderling had to fend off local Jon Rivers. After a lap two restart that saw Carl Shelter take a wild ride down the frontstretch wall, Wonderling only had a few car lengths on Rivers as the race got back underway and it appeared the No. 85 may have something for him until lap 15 when Rivers broke and his car went straight off the top of turn one. This would hand over the runner-up position to point leader Doug Ricotta, who took two bids for the lead but was unable to stay close enough to the No. 18 to make a dive to the bottom for the lead. Ricotta would cross in second while David Pangrazio finished in third. Bill Holmes and Paul Grigsby completed the top five.
Bill Taylor won his fourth Street Stock Feature of the season in dramatic fashion as the point leader had to fend off Byron Dewitt right down to checkered flags. Taylor, of Arcade, saw his lead of over 3 seconds evaporate when the only caution flag of the race appeared on lap 10. From that point on, Dewitt would stalk the No. 1 for the final 10 laps, but was unable to complete a pass to the low side of the defending champion. Taylor bobbled just once but Dewitt was unable to capitalize and would have to settle for the runner-up spot for the second straight Saturday. Last week’s winner Dennis Cummings finished in third while Damian Long was fourth for his first top five of the season. Mike Kelly won his first heat race early in the night and rounded out the top five in the feature.
James Gayton won his sixth-straight Mini Stock Feature, his seventh overall in 2022, after making a pass on Rocco Conte to complete lap 10 and holding on the rest of the way. Gayton was less than a tenth of a second ahead of Conte at the completion of lap 10 when the caution flag flew for the only time in the 15-lap feature, which forced a single-file restart that gave Gayton the cushion he needed to lead the final five laps comfortably. Conte had taken the race lead from Eric Brumsted on the second circuit and was fighting hard to hang on to the lead but would cross in second, ahead of Code Wise, Olivia Coniber and first-time heat winner Alexis Traxler.
George captured her fifth feature win of the season in the Novice Sportsman as she led all 15 laps in dominating fashion. George, of Wilson, also won her heat race earlier in the night which oddly enough was her first career win in a heat race at Genesee. Both Allison Dewitt and Casey Jonathan fell out while running in second, allowing George to expand her lead throughout much of the race. Two late cautions would enable John Livingston Jr. a pair of chances to take away the win, but he would have to fend off Mike Taddonio at the line for second, which he would do by a car length.
Seth Johnson took the lead in the Bandit Feature on the opening circuit when Raiddan Wilson slipped up in turn three and never was challenged again as he scored his seventh feature win of the season. Johnson has now won the last four features, all of which were run at the end of the night in different track conditions. Wilson would finish in second in his first appearance at Genesee but would have a mechanical failure immediately after crossing the finish line. Tyler Foster would rebound from an early spin to round out the podium.
The NY6A 600 Micro Sprint Tour made their second and final trip of the season as well on Saturday and just like the first appearance, the feature event was dominated by local favorite Nick Groff as he pulled off the sweep of the 2022 season. Groff took the lead with a quick move around the outside of heat race winner Ivan Forney coming to complete lap 7 and drove away to a comfortable victory on a tacky surface. Forney would hold on for second while Will Fisher ran up to complete the podium positions.
Racing action will stay fast and furious as there will be two race nights this upcoming week. On Thursday Night, the Hobby Stocks will join in with most of the weekly divisions while the Vintage Cars will make their lone appearance with the weekly divisions on Saturday. For more information, visit www.Genesee-Speedway.com.
Genesee Speedway Results: 8/6/2022-
Cornerstone Eye Associates RUSH Late Model Feature (25 Laps)- MIKEY WONDERLING, Doug Ricotta, David Pangrazio, Bill Holmes, Paul Grigsby, JJ Mazur, Dave DuBois, Jim Mazur, Billy DuBois, Chad Homan, Jon Rivers, Carl Shetler,
Lap Leaders- Wonderling 1-25.
Heat Winners- Grigsby, JJ Mazur.
Stirling Lubricants DIRTcar Sportsman Feature (25 Laps)- PHIL VIGNERII III, Jim Harbison, Ray Bliss, Noah Walker, Jacob Bansmer, Ryan Barrett, Cameron Tuttle, Dave Conant, Brandon Michaud, Larry Vick, Tyler Guzzardi, Kyle Richner, Gordy Hermanson Jr., Greg Mrzywka, Jessica Kriegisch, Adam Hilton.
Lap Leader- Harbison 1-22, Vigneri 23-25.
Heat Winners- Harbison, Walker.
Yasses Trucking and Construction Street Stock Feature (20 Laps)- BILL TAYLOR, Byron Dewitt, Dennis Cummings, Damian Long, Mike Kelly, Dale Rissinger Jr., Bobby Lippa Jr., John Zimmerman, Simon Biffle, Rich Conte, Jacob Vick, Jesse Qutermous, Kenny Cook Jr., Scott DeRock (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Taylor 1-20.
Heat Winners- Zimmerman, Kelly.
The Detail Shop Mini Stock Feature (15 Laps)- JAMES GAYTON, Rocco Conte, Cody Wise, Olivia Coniber, Alexis Traxler, Jessica Schleede, Chris McGuire, Eric Brumsted, Robert Knapp, Tom Knapp, Mike Dinehardt (DNS), Cole Susice (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Brumsted 1, Conte 2-9, Gayton 10-15.
Heat Winners- Traxler, Gayton.
Ron & Newt’s Sales and Service Novice Sportsman Feature (15 Laps)- GREENLEY GEORGE, John Livingston Jr., Mike Taddonio, Noah Pangrazio, Paul Marshall, Casey Jonathan, Allison Dewitt.
Lap Leaders- George 1-15.
Heat Winner- George.
DML Sealing Bandit Feature (10 Laps)- SETH JOHNSON, Raiddan Wilson, Tyler Foster, Jonathan Logsdon, Joey Swick, Nicholas Lipome, Racelyn Lippa, Morgan Coniber (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Johnson 1-10.
Heat Winner- Lipome.
NY6A Micro Sprint Tour (20 Laps)- NICK GROFF, Ivan Forney, Will Fisher, Jerry Gurney, Jeff Tinkham, Matt Foster, Ron Vedder, Jason Moll.
Lap Leaders- Forney 1-6, Groff 7-20.
Heat Winner- Forney.