By RICH VLECK
BATAVIA, NY – Three weeks ago, Jimmy Johnson had not won a heat or feature at his hometown Genesee Speedway; Saturday Night he won both to become the first repeat winner in the crate late models in 2017. Johnson led all 20 laps by riding the top of the track to perfection to win the race uncontested. Despite having a feature win under his belt the driver of the No. 39J still felt the pressure in the late stages of the event.
“It never gets any easier. These crate late guys are tough,” noted Johnson in Victory Lane after his second feature win in four weeks. “We blew the engine last week and had to go get a new one this week, without that we wouldn’t be here.”
While Johnson was dominating the event, some thrilling racing was going one elsewhere in the top five. TJ Downs made an impressive move to get by Doug Ricotta for second and would hold on to that spot for his best finish in Batavia. Ricotta was swapping the third spot with point leader Bill Holmes for much of the race but pulled off with two laps remaining, allowing homes to cross in third. Zack Carley would finish in fourth while JJ Mazur rounded out the top five in a new ride a week after a hard crash.
Andrew Smith made it five different feature winners in as many races in the sportsman events this season, dominating the 20-lap feature. Smith, of Lockport, took the lead on a lap 3 restart underneath Ray Smith and never looked back, building a lead of nearly 6 seconds. A caution with three laps left to go made the pressure build for Smith, who saw a win go away at Skyline Friday when a wheel came off his No. 1. He missed his mark in turns one and two but was still strong enough to claim the win by hitting his marks on the bottom. Ray Bliss drove up to finish second while point leader Kyle Inman finished third for the fourth time this season. Ray Smith and Matt Steffenhagen completed the top five.
The NY6A Micro Sprint Tour made their first of two appearances at the speedway in 2017 on Saturday, with defending track mini series champion Matt Smith scoring the win. Smith, started sixth, but took the lead on a lap five restart with a daring 3-wide move entering turn one. Once assuming the lead, Smith pulled out to a healthy advantage, but in the final five laps, Nick Groff began to reel in the No. 1. With three laps remaining, Groff pulled even with Smith off of turn four, but Smith changed up his line and was able to hold on for the win. The win was especially rewarding for Smith because despite winning the Genesee title last year, he did not have a win in Batavia. Groff got the “thumbs up” from Smith for finishing second. Johnny Kolosek led the first four laps and finished fourth while sprint car veteran Scott Kreutter was fourth. Mickey Ciliberto rounded out the top five.
Street Stock Point Leader Byron Dewitt led all 20 laps of their feature to become the first repeat winner in the division in 2017, but he had to work until the very end. With one lap remaining, a caution flew allowing Jesse Qutermous a final bid at snatching away the win, but Dewitt, of LeRoy, held his line steady to hang on for the victory. A lap earlier, Dewitt thought he had a tire going down, as his No. 34 drifted high in both sets of corners, but he had enough to make it to the end. Qutermous, last week’s winner, crossed in second, but was disqualified in post-race tech, handing second to Butch Zimmerman, Dalton Martin, Mike Jackson and Kenny Begnouche rounded out the top five.
The final race of the night was arguably the most exciting as Dante Mancuso waited until the final lap to get by John Mosher to steal the win in the 15-lap mini stock feature. Mancuso, of Batavia, stalked Mosher’s No. 22 for nearly five laps before finally pulling even with the leader coming to the white flag. Mancuso was happy to score the win on his sponsor, Kohorst Custom Homes, night. Mosher would have to settle for his second-straight runner-up finish while Mike Taddonio, Eric Brumsted and James Gayton recorded top five finishes.
Marcus Jackson not only was able to score his first win of the season in the bandit division, he was able to hold off his brother, Adam, in the process. Jackson, of LeRoy, first took the lead on lap 2, only to lose it to point leader Jessica Traxler on lap five. On a lap nine restart though, Jackson noticed a mechanical issue on Traxler’s No. 34J, made a move by her and drove back to the lead, bringing his brother with him. Adam applied pressure on the final lap but would have to settle for second. Olivia Coniber rounded out the podium positions. Traxler spun in the final set of corners, allowing to Trinity Reynolds and Bailey Logsdon to complete the top five.
The action keeps on rolling next Saturday Night with a “Super 6 at 6:00 Program” featuring a return of the 360 Late Models. For more information, visit www.Genesee-Speedway.com.
Genesee Speedway Results: 6/17/2017-
Kohorst Custom Homes and Pepsi Night
MHL Performance Crate Late Model Feature (20 Laps)- JIMMY JOHNSON, TJ Downs, Bill Holmes, Zack Carley, JJ Mazur, Andy Boozel, David Pangrazio, Jon Rivers, Nick Snayczuk, Billy DuBois, Little Carl Shetler, Mark Sundt, Doug Ricotta, Val Stephens, Colton Ledingham, Josh Pangrazio,
Lap Leaders- Johnson 1-20.
Heat Winners- Johnson, Ricotta.
Cornerstone Eye Associates Sportsman Feature (20 Laps)- ANDREW SMITH, Ray Bliss, Kyle Inman, Ray Smith, Matt Steffenhagen, Greg Mrzywka, TJ Newton, Sarah Johnson, Damian Long, Ray Bliss Jr., Tony Muscato, Tony Pangrazio, Tim Downs, Shane O’Grady, Chuck Kuhn, Mark Loveland, Carl Inman.
Lap Leader- R. Smith 1-2, A. Smith 3-20.
Heat Winners- A. Smith, R. Smith.
NY6A Micro Sprint Tour Feature (20 Laps)- MATT SMITH, Nick Groff, Johnny Kolosek, Scott Kreutter, Mickey Ciliberto, Matt Farnham, Brian Vetter, Shelby Ogozaly, Eric Wise, Tori Kaplin, Cheyenna Ling, John Kreckman, Dan Knoll Jr., Lisa Kratzer, DJ Forbes, Gary Kratzer, Jordan Noody (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Kolosek 1-4, Smith 5-20.
Heat Winners- Kreutter, Groff.
Yasses Trucking & Construction Street Stock Feature (20 Laps)- BYRON DEWITT, Butch Zimmerman, Dalton Martin, Mike Jackson, Kenny Begnouche, Tommy Cooper, Jason Babbitt, Ryan Allen, Roy Amadick, Morgan Dewitt, Lee Zimmerman, Jesse Qutermous (DQ).
Lap Leaders- Dewitt 1-20.
Heat Winners- Zimmerman, B. Dewitt
Pellegrino Auto Sales Mini Stock Feature (15 Laps)- DANTE MANCUSO, John Mosher, Mike Taddonio, Eric Brumsted, Eddie Kowalczyk, Tom Urban, Tony Kulesza, Steven Krawczyk, Ryan Allen, Cole Hicks, Gary Hopkins, Lee Hicks, Jenn Galbo, Ruben Coffey, Paul Monroe, Donald Newton (DNS), Chris McGuire (DNS), Bobby Dickinson (DNS), #3 (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Mosher 1-14, Mancuso 15.
Heat Winners- Taddonio, Mancuso.
DML Sealing Bandits (12 Laps)- MARCUS JACKSON, Adam Jackson, Olivia Coniber, Trinity Reynolds, Bailey Logsdon, Jessica Schleede, Jessica Traxler, Allison Ryder, Allison Dewitt.
Lap Leaders- A. Jackson 1, M. Jackson 2-4, Traxler 5-8, M. Jackson 9-12.
Heat Winners- Traxler