WOODHULL, NY – The Groover family started their Saturday race day not thinking about race cars, set ups and checkered flags, but by remembering a young man from Lodi, NY who lost his life just one week prior in a traffic accident. Cameron Nichols, a fellow coworker of Dillon Groover’s father and crew chief Duane, was remembered on Saturday morning with the Groover team arriving at Woodhull Saturday night with heavy hearts.
Groover channeled his heavy heart and showed off his heavy right foot in the Insinger Performance 370 Modified twenty-five-lap feature event. He would wrestle the lead away from Brian Dootlittle and Kenny Peoples Jr. in the opening laps, and survive tough lap traffic to score his second career Modified victory and second of 2017.
The ‘Highside Hustler’ started on the outside of row two, putting him right where he wanted to be to make an early bid for the lead in the event. Track conditions provided a racy outside lane that was just as good, if not better, than the preferred short way around the third-mile Woodhull Raceway early on in the night.
Doolittle kept pace with Peoples and Groover, but Peoples would show the way ahead of Groover. Groover’s car was tight in the opening laps, especially on corner entry, but that was of no concern to Groover.
“We actually set the car up that way to start, so it would come to me as the race wore on,” noted a confident Groover in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane.
Peoples led the first eight laps of the race, before Groover made his move on the outside to take the lead on lap nine. Peoples left just enough room for Groover to get by, but Groover had a minor brush with the wall while taking the lead at the line. Not to be denied, Groover charged hard around the outside after the contact to take command of the event.
Peoples continued his recent solid performances with another podium finish, but slower traffic almost gave the driver of the Peoples Bakery, Southern Tier Generators No. 5k the chance to make it a race. Groover had to battle hard with Ryan Tracy and Stacy Jackson to put those cars one lap down. But Groover would eventually get by and take the pressure off by putting more cars between himself and Peoples.
While Groover raced away to the green-to-checkered feature victory, the traffic late in the race allowed Billy Van Pelt the opportunity to catch Peoples to battle for second after starting in the twelfth spot.
“I was really comfortable on the top side of three and four,” said Groover post-race. “One and two was a little different, but once we were out front I was confident I could keep it there.”
Groover didn’t let the morning escape his mind though.
“I’m bummed that our buddy Cam couldn’t be here to see this and celebrate this. Our thoughts are certainly with his family and we as a team want to dedicate this win to him. It was a tough way to start the day but we really wanted to end this day like this- parked in Victory Lane.”
Other notable Modified finishers were Brian Doolittle who scored another top five finish after starting in the pole position. Donnie Lawson also scored another top five finish after starting in the fifth spot.
There were many great stories at Woodhull on Saturday night, but one division winner made his own history during the NAPA Crate Sportsman feature. Veteran racer Dale Welty picked up career win number one hundred on Saturday, after besting Josh Keesey for the lead with just two laps to go.
Welty started in the ninth position, while several poor finishes over the last three races landed Keesey and AJ Costley on the front row for the twenty-five-lap A-Main. Keesey jumped out to the early lead, while Welty methodically picked his way through traffic.
A caution flag with eleven laps to go saw Adam Taft facing the wrong way in his No. 4x. At that point Keesey led the way ahead of point contender Tim Guild, last week’s winner Dayton Brewer, Costley and Welty.
Brewer took to the whip on the restart, appearing to have the fastest car on the track. Brewer was just not able to complete the pass on Keesey. Meanwhile, Welty made his way to third on lap seventeen to battle with the young driver Brewer for the runner up spot.
Connor Brown brought out the final caution flag of the event on lap twenty, setting up a five-lap dash for the win between Keesey and Welty who was able to get by Brewer just a lap before. The restart saw Welty open up a full-on assault on Keesey for the top spot. Keesey had a fast car, but Welty was rotating the center of the corner better than anybody on the racetrack.
With two to go, Welty cleared Keesey for the lead and streaked away to his one hundredth career win. A win that spans over Modifieds, Super Stocks, 360 Late Models and Crate Sportsman Modifieds.
“We won two features right off the bat and have been running top five,” said Welty holding a sign his crew made up in preparation for the milestone victory.
“Woodhull is a different animal, but Darrel did a great job on the shocks tonight. I could come off turn two like a house of fire on the inside of those guys.”
Welty thought their tire choice was the difference in the end.
“I saw Josh (Keesey) was getting looser and looser off the corner, so I was hoping we could keep the heat in his tires and not have that late caution. We went with a little harder tire tonight. It would fire right off the bat and I just had to keep myself calm enough to not overcharge the corner and keep hitting the bite off the bottom in one and two.”
The rest of the top five included Keesey, Brewer, Stevie Hartman III and Guild.
Several weeks ago, Steve LeBarron said in Victory Lane after winning an SWL Awards and Photos Crate Late Model feature that he liked winning races, but they would be pretty neat to win them when some of the RUSH Late Model boys are in town. Namely, his teammate and perennial RUSH Late Model powerhouse John Waters.
Waters and the Knowles boys would be in town for this weekend’s event, but it would be Kurt Stebbins and LeBarron that would lead the field to green in the twenty-lap feature event. LeBarron charged the outside of the raceway hard and took the lead from the green flag and led the entire distance of the race.
What was interesting to watch though, is Waters was able to move into the second position on lap six around Stebbins. But on that same lap, LeBarron changed lanes and starting racing right through the middle of the track instead of pounding the outside of ‘New York’s Toughest Bullring.’
After changing lanes LeBarron and Waters were equally fast on this night, as Waters could not close the gap on his teammate. LeBarron would get his second checkered flag of the 2017 season over Waters, Stebbins, Brian Knowles and Jason Knowles.
“Last week I had a win in our grasp and I messed up,” said LeBarron referring to a photo finish with Stebbins getting the win the week before.
“I definitely messed up last week and I wasn’t going to let that happen again.”
LeBarron talked to Jerry Symonds in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane about changing his line to secure his lead and the victory.
“I couldn’t tell where he (Waters) was, I could see a few of them back there but I didn’t want to back off much.”
Hands down, the best race of the entire night was seen in the Joe Willcox Performance Automatics Street Stock division, as two gladiators battled for the win. Glenn Whritenour and Dylan Cecce raced side-by-side, door-to-door for nearly fifteen of the twenty-lap feature event. Jared Hill and Whritenour brought the field to Scott Lyon’s green flag from the front row, with Whritenour leading the first lap after going three-wide with Hill and Cecce.
Hill raced in the top five for most of the remainder of the event, but the battle was up at the front of the pack. Whritenour had perfected the middle lane of the raceway, while Cecce was racing in the bottom lane as close to the inside yuke tires as one could be.
A caution on lap thirteen slowed the field and set up a seven-lap dash to finish the race. Cecce continued to put pressure on Whritenour for the lead and got a great run with only three laps to go as it was a dead heat at the line for the lead.
However, two more perfect corners for Whritenour gave the lead back to his No. 15 with one lap remaining. On the final lap, Cecce set up for a perfect corner in turn three to pull alongside Whritenour. But as Cecce got completely door-to-door, the Whritenour machine quickly fell off the pace.
Cecce took the lead for the first time at the double-checkered flags to get the win. Whritenour finished second with a flat right rear tire. Kurt Stebbins had the best seat in the house for the race of the night and finished third. Brett Marlatt took a swing at Teddy Morseman’s point lead to finish fourth and Buck Payne made it two top five finishes in a row.
“That really sucks for Glenn, he was fast tonight and I really had to drive it in hard to get (the car) rotated on the yuke tire so I could try and make a move,” said Cecce to a crowd of cheers after a hard-fought battle.
“Without trying to use him up, I did the best I could to get by but it’s tough. I thought it was good hard racing; we both gave just enough room and only touched a couple times. Racing with Glenn, he’s one of the best out here.”
James LaGrange started his rookie season in 2017 in the Daugherty’s Auto Sales & Service Mini Stock division at Woodhull. If you had told him he would have his first win before midseason, he may not have fully believed you. But the driver of the No. 87 has kept working and making adjustments with guidance from his crew and veteran Adam Austin and has finally hit on something.
LaGrange started on the outside pole for the Mini Stock twenty-lap feature event and left no doubt that he was the car to beat on this night. At times, LaGrange extended the lead to insurmountable lengths, even working slower traffic to maintain that gap.
LaGrange would get his first ever Woodhull win ahead of veterans like Ron Dailey Jr in second, Corky Grant third, division point leader Chris Woodard fourth and Jason Ketrow the top five.
“I kept looking in three and four, hoping they weren’t trying to get by on the inside,” said LaGrange about winning in a green-to-checkered race that only saw one caution with no laps on the Border Drive Heating lap board.
“This is amazing. I do this for him (pointing to his son) and to come out here and have fun. That’s all that matters. This is just unbelievable right now, I can’t explain it.”
After ripping off three feature wins in a row to start the 2017 season in the Woodhull Auto Supply Front Wheel Drive division, Shawn Gleason had been shut out for four straight. Gleason made some changes this week and changed all of that by taking his fourth overall victory and third points win.
Gleason started in the fourth position and had to race alongside Adam DelGrosso and eventually Matt Prescott to take the lead. But the driver out of Elmira, driving the Comfort Zone Heating and Air Conditioning, Williams Construction and Sprayfoam got the job done with the Williams crew in attendance as the night’s sponsor.
Gleason took the lead on lap four and would not look back for the win. Codie Baker tried to catch Gleason, and even used the bottom lane which fans don’t see Baker do very often. But line change and all, the Gleason No. 26mk was just too strong on Saturday night.
“It’s pretty nice to be standing back down here again,” said Gleason of the four-week hiatus.
“A little frustrating to not win (for a few weeks), but the competition level in this class is tough. Codie, when he gets up on the outside, is hard to beat. He really hangs it out up there.”
The Super Gen Products CRSA 305 Sprint Tour was in town for their first event on the High Banks of Woodhull Raceway. Orange County Speedway driver Tyler Boniface was able to pass and hold off Jeff Trombley to score the victory. Geoff Quackenbush, Kyle Smith and Brett Jaycox completed the top five.
This Saturday at Woodhull Raceway will see the Crate Late Models compete in their annual head-to-head King of the Ring event. There will also be Power Wheels races for the youngest of racing fans with age groups 5 and under and ages 6 through 10.
They will be joined by the 370 Modifieds, Crate Sportsman, Crate Late Models, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, Front Wheel Drives, Woodhull Warriors and Hobby Stocks. Race time is set for 6:30PM.
Race fans are encouraged to sign up for the fastest alerts from Woodhull Raceway’s Rained Out Alert system by sending the text message “WoodhullAlert” to 84483, message and data rates may apply.
For more information race over to www.woodhullraceway.com, Like Woodhull Raceway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WoodhullRaceway or Follow Woodhull on Twitter @WoodhullPR.
Woodhull Raceway is located in Woodhull, NY, just 30 minutes West of Corning, NY and competes weekly on Saturday nights from mid-April through Labor Day Weekend. The track offers several special events including the Patriot Sprint Tour 360 Sprints and the Short Track Super Series Modifieds in late-August.
Woodhull Raceway White’s Repair/Williams Construction & Sprayfoam Night
Official Results June 10th, 2017
INSINGER PERFORMANCE 370 MODIFIEDS, 13 cars (25 laps): DILLON GROOVER (2), Billy Van Pelt, Kenny Peoples Jr., Brian Doolittle, Donnie Lawson, Chris Daugherty, Art Goodier, Frank Dunning, Brady Fultz, Russell Morseman, Stacy Jackson, Kevin Chilson, Ryan Tracy
H1: Art Goodier, Brady Fultz, Brian Doolittle
H2: Dillon Groover, Donnie Lawson, Kenny Peoples Jr.
NAPA CRATE SPORTSMAN, 23 cars (25 laps): DALE WELTY (2), Josh Keesey, Dayton Brewer, Stevie Hartman III, Tim Guild, Brandon Butler, Jake Dgien, Bobby Peoples, AJ Costley, Jerry Aldrich, Jeffery Daugherty, Dave Richmond, Connor Brown, Kirk Reynolds, Adam Taft, Blake Lawson, Dave DuBois, Mike Jackson, Brandon Clark
H1: Brandon Butler, Josh Keesey, Tim Guild
H2: Dale Welty, Stevie Hartman III, Jerry Aldrich
H3: Bobby Peoples, Jake Dgien, Connor Brown
SWL AWARDS CRATE LATE MODELS, 8 cars (20 laps): STEVE LEBARRON (2), John Waters, Kurt Stebbins, Brian Doolittle, Jason Knowles, Darin Horton, Matt Ford, Zach Wiech
H1: Jason Knowles, Kurt Stebbins, Brian Knowles
H2: Steve LeBarron, John Waters, Zach Wiech
JOE WILLCOX PERFORMANCE AUTOMATICS STREET STOCKS, 16 cars (20 laps): DYLAN CECCE (3), Glenn Whritenour, Kurt Stebbins, Brett Marlatt, Buck Payne, Jared Hill, Teddy Morseman, Mick Seeley, Jeredd Dennis, Tracy Dunn, Gene Balmer, Glenn Vancise, Jim Buck, Dan Gardner, Jim Weatherley, Branden Morseman
H1: Dylan Cecce, Dan Gardner, Glenn Whritenour
H2: Tracy Dunn, Brett Marlatt, Jared Hill
DAUGHERTY AUTO SALES MINI STOCKS, 15 cars (20 laps): JAMES LAGRANGE (1), Ron Dailey Jr., Corky Grant, Chris Woodard, Jason Ketrow, Dylon Gleason, Karl Born, Brian Grant Jr., Scott Lehman, Derrick Puryear, Chip Warner, Chris Hand, Rick Amidon, John Hand Jr., Jason Warner
H1: Dylon Gleason, Ron Dailey Jr., Corky Grant
H2: Jason Ketrow, Chris Woodard, Rick Amidon
WOODHULL AUTO SUPPLY FWD, 11 cars (20 laps): SHAWN GLEASON (4), Codie Baker, Matt Prescott, Nate Freeland, Adam DelGrosso, Scott Lehman Jr., Todd West, Robert Gardner, Carl LeBarron DNS: Brendan Schweigart, Ryan Stermer
H1: Codie Baker, Adam DelGrosso, Shawn Gleason
H2: Matt Prescott, Scott Lehman Jr., Todd West