By RICH VLECK
BATAVIA, NY – A heavy band of thunderstorms was positioned five miles north of the Genesee Speedway all afternoon, but when she hit the fairgrounds at 8:00 P.M., nobody was ready to call it a night and the defiance paid off.
Batavia Downs Gaming, Casino and Hotel night at the Genesee Speedway saw 90 cars pack the pits for the six divisions in competition. The heat races rattled off in short order, but at the end a storm cell set its track on the 1/3-mile oval and put the show in hurry-up mode. A feature and a half were run before the skies opened up, producing a 30-minute gusher, which included some hail. When the rains finally subsided, surveil of the racetrack recognized that the hard-packed surface was not far off; that fact, along with the eagerness of teams to get the racing in before a week off allowed the night to make it to the finish.
Despite being the Crate Late Models being the final feature of the night, the track was still wicked-fast, which made passing even more arduous than it normally is. Zack Carley got the jump on Brad Mesler on the opening circuit from the outside of the front row, but just before halfway, Carley slipped up out of his line in turn four and allowed JJ Mazur, along with Mesler, to hustle on by. The race would run the final 14 laps without a yellow, bringing dense lapped traffic in to the fold. Mazur would make some impressive moves to weave through the field and drive away to score his second win of the year. Two weeks ago, Mazur had won a make-up feature only to destroy his chassis in the second feature at the end of the night. A drive to Indiana and a week later, the Batavia driver was back in Victory Lane. Mesler would place in second in his third start of the year at the track, while Carley held on for third. Bill Holmes and Jimmy Johnson climbed their way through the pack to round out the top five.
For the second year in a row, Kyle Inman was one of the first cars to go out on the track to help run the surface in after the rain and parlayed it in to a Sportsman feature win. Inman, of Darien, took full advantage of his outside front row position on a lap 3 restart, and he powered by polesitter Greg Martin, then utilized a long green flag stretch to build the lead over Martin, and then hold him off in lapped traffic. Martin would settle for second in his first start at Genesee in 2017. Andrew Smith moved up to finish in third, passing Matt Steffenhagen late in the race maneuver. Ray Bliss completed the top five.
As the rain was approaching, the 360 Late Models hustled out on a slick track for their 20-lap feature; four cars were duking it out for the win late in the going, but it was Brian Kotarski who held off the field for his first feature win in two years, and the first win for the No. 29 360 Late Model in more than 15. Kotarski, from Alabama, started on the outside pole but outdueled defending champion Dave DuBois in to turns one and two and refused the give up the top spot despite numerous challenges the No. 012. DuBois would cross in second, holding off John Zimmerman who came from the back to finish third. Tom Baker had a strong run to finish fourth while Rich Hale was steady to complete the top five.
Mike Jackson thought he might have his first Street Stock win of the year after 13 laps when the skies opened up but had to earn it the hard wait, waiting more than 90 minutes to hold off the field to claim the victory after the full 20-lap distance was completed. Jackson, of LeRoy, was about the only driver in the race not to have an issue. He took the lead from Kenny Begnouche on lap three but late in the race Begnouche pressured him for the lead. Down the stretch, Jackson pulled out to a healthy advantage for his first win in more than a year. Begnouche held on for second, while Morgan Dewitt had a career-best third place showing. Tommy Cooper was a fine fourth, with Bill Tice completing the top five.
A wild Mini Stock ended with three-time and defending champion Brad Shepard scoring his first win of the year. Shepard, back in his familiar No. 1p, inherited the lead on lap 12 when leader Mike Taddonio lost the lead after an incident with Dante Mancuso. Mancuso was place in second and could not get back by Shepard in the closing circuits. The race was cut short a lap early after a hard flip by Eric Brumsted in turns one and two. John Mosher would cross in third, ahead of Cole Susice and Ryan Allen, who completed the top five.
Jessica Traxler scored her fourth win in the last five weeks in the Bandit feature, taking the lead from Adam Jackson on lap six after Jackson lost the right front tire and held off a series of strong challenges from Allison Dewitt to grab the checkered flags. Dewitt was able to hold on for second while Bailey Logsdon crossed in third. Completing the top five were Olivia Coniber and Trinity Reynolds.
The Genesee Speedway will allow Mother Nature to get the win next Saturday Night, as their will be no racing at the Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 1. The teams will be able to get ready for a busy stretch with four races in 15 days, kicking off with the long-awaited return of the ULMS Super Late Models on Thursday, July 6. The event will include a $1000-to-win Sportsman race, $250-to-win Mini Stock race, plus bandits and fireworks. A special race time is slated for 7:00 P.M. For more information, visit www.Genesee-Speedway.com.
Genesee Speedway Results: 6/24/2017-
Batavia Downs Casino and Hotel Night
MHL Performance Crate Late Model Feature (20 Laps)- JJ MAZUR, Brad Mesler, Zack Carley, Bill Holmes, Jimmy Johnson, TJ Downs, Carl Shetler, Rob Pietz, David Pangrazio, Kyle Murray, Doug Ricotta, Brady Raynor, Val Stephens, Alan Chapman, Jon Rivers, Billy DuBois, Matthew Sipes, Mark Sundt, Don King Jr., Josh Pangrazio.
Lap Leaders- Carley 1-9, Mazur 10-20.
Heat Winners- Ricotta, Mesler, Downs.
Cornerstone Eye Associates Sportsman Feature (20 Laps)- KYLE INMAN, Greg Martin, Andrew Smith, Matt Steffenhagen, Ray Bliss, Austin Susice, Ray Smith, Tony Muscato, Greg Mrzywka, TJ Newton, Chuck Kuhn, Ray Bliss Jr, Sarah Johnson, Tim Downs, AJ Custodi, Shane O’Grady Adam Ashcroft, Carl Inman (DNS).
Lap Leader- Martin 1-2, Inman 3-20.
Heat Winners- Martin, A. Smith.
Ken’s Charcoal Pits BBQ 360 Late Model Feature (20 Laps)- BRIAN KOTARSKI, Dave DuBois, John Zimmerman, Tom Baker, Rich Hale, Tommy Kemp, Carl Shetler, Austin Kotarski, Shawn Hazlitt, Bob Bartlett, Zack Carley.
Lap Leaders- B. Kotarski 1-20.
Heat Winners- A. Kotarski, Kemp.
Yasses Trucking & Construction Street Stock Feature (20 Laps)- MIKE JACKSON, Kenny Begnouche, Morgan Dewitt, Tommy Cooper, Bill Tice, Byron Dewitt, Butch Zimmerman, Tiffany Rumsey, Roy Amadick, Bill Button, Jason Babbitt, Ryan Allen, Jesse Qutermous, Jordan Moden, Pat Powers, Dalton Martin.
Lap Leaders- Begnouche 1-2, Jackson 3-20.
Heat Winners- Jackson, Dewitt.
Pellegrino Auto Sales Mini Stock Feature (14 Laps)- BRAD SHEPARD, Dante Mancuso, John Mosher, Cole Susice, Ryan Allen, Tony Kulesza, Gary Hopkins, Tom Urban, Steven Krawczyk, Ruben Coffey, Jenn Galbo, Mike Taddonio, James Gayton, Eric Brumsted (DQ), Donald Newton (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Gayton 1-3, Taddonio 4-11, Shepard 12-14.
Heat Winners- Mancuso, Taddonio.
DML Sealing Bandits (12 Laps)- JESSICA TRAXLER, Allison Dewitt, Bailey Logsdon, Olivia Coniber, Trinity Reynolds, Marcus Jackson, Jessica Schleede, Allyson Ryder, Adam Jackson, Drew Westmoreland (DNS).
Lap Leaders- A. Jackson 1-5, Traxler 6-12.
Heat Winner- Traxler