WOODHULL, NY – It was a hot night on and off the track as 127 cars shoehorned their way into Woodhull Raceway’s pit area. Saturday night made it five point races to go before championships would be decided and it also was a final tune up for this week’s Short Track Super Series event.
Russell Morseman was best in the sixth annual Jake Davis Memorial King of the Ring (press release to follow) and with him starting on the pole for the 25-lap feature- all eyes were on Morseman.
Morseman and Mike Bills would lead the pack to Tony Van Pelt’s green flag and Morseman would come away with the early lead. The CP Carrillo No. 44 was fast early and often, setting the pace for the first 16 laps.
But Dillon Groover was picking his way to the front from his fifth starting spot. Groover was third by lap 8 and began a fierce battle with Joe Dgien on laps 11 through 15. A restart at the midpoint of the race allowed Groover to get by Dgien for the runnerup position with ten laps to go.
As the race wore on, it appeared that Morseman wasn’t able to keep his No. 44 glued to the bottom as well as he had in the King of the Ring. That allowed Groover to back up his corner and rotate the center to pull up alongside on lap 17.
Groover would get by and Morseman would have a problem in turn three bringing out the yellow. Point leader Billy Van Pelt would try and go over the cushion to avoid contact with Morseman, but he would get collected and have to restart at the tail of the field.
Though Groover gapped the top three cars on the restart, Joe Dgien found a line to his liking all the way on the top edge of the track. Dgien visibly closed the gap from five car lengths to one car length with two to go. As the pair circled three and four for the final time, Dgien got a run coming down hill off turn four but Groover took the top line away in the drag race to the double checkers.
Groover got the win over Dgien, Ron Cartwright Jr., Brian Doolittle and Brady Fultz.
“He (Joe Dgien) is a really strong competitive driver,” said Groover afterwards. “I just had to keep my cool to run the bottom. You really have to tell yourself to slow down, you can’t be overaggressive.”
As Groover and Morseman battled for the lead together, the two made contact. Groover spoke to the contact
“I was racing Morseman hard for the lead. I don’t think he probably liked getting touched for the lead, but that’s racing and they make these babies (touching his nerf bar) every day.”
Donnie Lawson picked off 12 spots after starting to 24th, to pick up the Dgien Trucking Hard Charger Bonus of $100.
The pressure is definitely on many as the point season comes to a close. But one driver had a little extra pressure on him going into Saturday night and that was Kenny Peoples Jr. Peoples wanted nothing more than to be able to win on the night memorializing his nephew Jake Davis.
He would deliver.
Peoples started in position number nine and scratched and clawed his way into the top five early in the going. But the story early on was the amazing run that Crate Sportsman rookie ‘Sponge Bob’ Butcher was putting in driving the No. 99.
While Butcher led the field in the first half of the event, Peoples and Jake Dgien were putting on a show getting to the front. Dgien was working hard to try and get the second spot and make a run at butcher. It would have been a big night for the family on Dgien Trucking night- but that storyline wasn’t meant to be on this night as both the Dgien family of racers would come home as the runner up on this night.
Racing hard with Dgien, Peoples took over the second spot on lap 13 and then set his sights on the leader Butcher. Peoples caught Butcher in slower traffic and started applying the pressure. The Micro Solutions, Southern Tier Customs No. 5k would get that run down to the bottom and Butcher was doing his best to shut the door and protect the bottom.
But on lap 16, Peoples got that run and didn’t allow the door to be shut- tossing an elbow to the No. 99 on his way by. Butcher took exception to the elbow and hip checked Peoples under the flagstand, sending Peoples airborne and Butcher sliding sideways toward the first turn implement tire. People somehow regained control of the car without hitting the implement tire himself, while also maintaining the lead over a fast-closing Dgien before the yellow flag was displayed.
The contact and incident was certainly a polarizing moment in the race, with the fans split right down the middle on how they felt. From there on, it was a battle between Peoples and Dgien for the remaining nine laps, with Peoples taking the victory. Dgien, the Dgien Trucking Hard Charger earning $100 Stevie Hartman III who suffered a failed coil in his heat race third and great runs for sophomore competitor Ajay Potrzebowski Jr. fourth and a top five for Chris Fisher in his Bully Hill Vineyards No. 37.
“Every time I got under somebody coming off turn four they’d turn left and get into me,” remarked Peoples on working his way up through the pack. “I got into Jake and I apologize for that, I don’t like running like that. He’s a hell of a wheelman and who we’re battling right now. I guess Butcher didn’t like what I did and (next thing I know) I’m up in the air.”
Steve LeBarron and Jason Knowles battled hard for the victory in the SWL Awards Crate Late Models. LeBarron had a good lead on Knowles in the closing laps, but Knowles used the ultimate equalizer in slower traffic to make a run at the lead with two laps to go.
But just as LeBarron had challenges in traffic- so didn’t Knowles. In fact, Knowles’ No. 4 nearly planted it’s nose into the back of a lap car at the white flag, sealing the victory for LeBarron who logged a clean final lap. It was a big win for LeBarron, who sat just four points back of Knowles coming into the event. He will now lead Knowles by single point going into next week’s race.
“The car was perfect and the track was pretty well perfect too,” said LeBarron. “I could run everywhere I wanted to. I knew when (Jason) said he would be racing here all season, I’d be racing with him every week.”
Speaking of hitting on things at the right time of year to be doing so, Kurt Stebbins is finding his groove late in the year at Woodhull. Going into Saturday night, Stebbins only had three top five finishes to his credit on the 2018 campaign. A track championship may be out of sight at this point, but there are some big races upcoming (of which Stebbins has won three of the 100 lappers) as well as the Woodhull Street Stock Challenge Series starting this Wednesday.
Stebbins would start third based on his handicap score, but would waste no time taking the lead from Jeredd Dennis off turn two. From there, Stebbins rode what there was of a cushion after the Sportsman cars ran their feature. There were some pretty hairy moments up top, but the driver out of Wellsville had just enough of a lead that his ‘moments’ never allowed the rest of the top five to pounce.
In a race that was a battle of yellow flags and attrition, Stebbins would park the Cummings Trucking, How Bill Auto Parts, Just One More Bar, KB Graphics No. 26 in Victory Lane.
“We’ve struggled with this car quite a bit lately,” noted Stebbins. “We had a good run at Genesee last week and this car has definitely come around a lot.”
Stebbins guaranteed himself a starting spot inside the Top 10 for Wednesday night’s SS Challenge Series show. He would draw number 10, giving him the opportunity to start in the tenth spot. However, Stebbins can still make the redraw on Wednesday and have an opportunity to draw for a better starting spot. If he doesn’t make the redraw, he’s guaranteed to start tenth for the 25-lap affair.
In the Woodhull Auto Supply Hobby Stock feature, AJ Niedermaier used an incredible amount of patience to pick up his second victory of 2018. Niedermaier was running second to Greg Young’s No. 42 for most of the event, but it would be slower traffic that would make the difference in who won and who ran third.
Young had a choice to make, high or low, chose high and guessed wrong as that was where the slower traffic went as well. Niedermaier snuck by as well as the No. 8x of Les Smith. With Smith on his tail, Niedermaier put together some near-perfect laps to hold on to the great win that presented itself to him and his team.
“We’ve had some bad luck with tires, but we’re back and it feels good,” said a happy AJ Niedermaier in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane.
Ray Hyer and Kane Stebbins put on a show in the Daugherty’s Auto Sales & Service Mini Stocks. Stebbins, the NAPA Auto Parts Driver of the Week, was working high and low to get a run on Hyer. But Hyer proved to be too strong on the bottom lane, which has been a definite change in pace for Hyer in 2018 as fans are used to seeing him work the outside in a rather aggressive manner.
The battle within the top five was a good one with Karl Born shedding some bad luck to notch a top five and Jason Ketrow showing his No. 11 car’s strength to finish fifth. Ron Dailey Jr. has been knocking on the door for the last three races to finish third, showing that his win is coming soon.
Codie Baker had to patiently set up a pass on Scott Lehman Jr., but was able to finally made a pass for the lead on him near the halfway point and never looked back in the Bear’s Auto Body Front Wheel Drives. Lehman set a torrid pace to start the event, as he worked the outside lane.
But Baker was able to make a move on him to take the lead and stretch that lead late in the going. Baker said post-race that he found some things bent up on the No. 14 that are now all where they should be as the season winds down. Baker chipped into Adam DelGrosso’s point lead, who finished in third for a podium effort.
The Daugherty’s Auto Sales & Service Warriors held a 15-lap special event on Saturday night. The crews from the Crooker No. 32 and Amidon No. 2 chipped in to purchase hooded sweatshirts for the drivers of the Warrior division, which were passed out on Saturday night. A big thank you to both crews for supporting Woodhull’s next generation.
With the program running longer than expected following the King of the Ring, driver introductions for the Warrior feature was held off prior to their 15-lap feature. Plans for introductions to the fans prior to the heat races are planned for this Saturday night.
In the 15-lap special, Ronnie Dailey put on a performance worthy of the victory. Dailey used his Front Wheel Drive No. 76 on the top side to perfection and kept his momentum up all race long. Carter Crooker had problems in his No. 32 and would fill in driving the Hyer No. 10 car.
Crooker was fighting a “loose off” condition all race long, but could only get to the door on Dailey on corner exit when the back end didn’t break loose. It was a great battle for the lead and the win, but Dailey took the top spot over a late charging Brody Amidon, Josh Isaman, Crooker and Brooke McClain.
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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 in May and July and the Short Track Super Series Modifieds in early-August.
Dgien Trucking / Carapella’s Collision Night- August 4th, 2018
INSINGER PERFORMANCE MODIFIEDS, 25 cars (25 laps): DILLON GROOVER (2), Joe Dgien, Ron Cartwright Jr., Brian Doolittle, Brady Fultz, Brandon Martin, Cory Costa, Brett Tonkin, Ryan Tracy, Dayton Brewer, Phil Vigneri III, Donnie Lawson, Kevin Chilson, Josh Keesey, Billy VanPelt, Wally Wade, Chris Ostrowsky, Russell Morseman, Patrick Hoopes, Larry Keegan, Bob Silvernail, Mike Bills, Eric Fisher, Frank Dunning, DNS: Bobby Davis.
H1: Bobby Davis, Dillon Groover, Ron Cartwright Jr
H2: Billy VanPelt, Joe Dgien, Brett Tonkin
H3: Russell Morseman, Mike Bills, Brian Doolittle
H4: Brandon Martin, Brady Fultz, Eric Fisher
NAPA CRATE SPORTSMAN, 25,cars (25 laps): KENNY PEOPLES JR (1), Jake Dgien, Stevie Hartman III, AJay Potrzebowski II, Chris Fisher, Brett Buono, Connor Brown, Dale Welty, Jerry Aldrich, Tim Schram, John Sekoll, Blake Lawson, AJ Costley, Bob Butcher, John Austin, Cole Clark, Adam Taft, Andy Krall, Tim Guild, Lee Bills, Brandon Butler, Stacey Jackson, Jordan Bacon, DNS: Cole Youse, Reid Stiles.
H1: AJay Potrzebowski II, Bob Butcher, Tim Guild
H2: Brett Buono, Jake Dgien, Lee Bills
H3: Brandon Butler, AJ Costley, Dale Welty
H4: Kenny Peoples Jr., Jerry Aldrich, Chris Fisher
SWL AWARDS CRATE LATE MODELS, 10 cars (20 laps): STEVE LEBARRON (3), Jason Knowles, Jason McGregor, Brian Knowles, Darin Horton, Kurt Stebbins, Joe Layfield, Dave Richmond, Whitney Horton, Jamie Freeman.
H1: Steve LeBarron, Kurt Stebbins, Darin Horton
H2: Jason Knowles, Brian Knowles, Jason McGregor
JOE WILCOX PERFORMANCE AUTOMATICS STREET STOCKS, 15 cars (20 laps): KURT STEBBINS (1), Mike Williams, Dan Gardner, Brett Marlatt, Dylan Cecce, Jeredd Dennis, Mick Seeley, Zane King Jr., Jim Weatherley, Jared Hill, Clint Button, Branden Morseman, Noah Talada, Tracy Dunn, Ted Morseman.
H1: Jared Hill, Tracy Dunn, Branden Morseman.
H2: Dylan Cecce, Mike Williams, Brett Marlatt.
WOODHULL AUTO SUPPLY HOBBY STOCKS, 12 cars (20 laps): AJ NIEDERMAIER (2), Les Smith, Greg Young, Joe Birdsall, Carter Dennis, Aaron Miller, Jason Thomas, Brandon Birdsall, Brent Williams, Cliff Miller, Jim Sargent, Brendan Schweigart.
H1: Jason Thomas, Les Smith, Greg Young.
H2: AJ Niedermaier, Joe Birdsall, Aaron Miller.
DAUGHERTY’S AUTO SALES & SERVICE MINI STOCKS, 18 cars (20 laps): RAY HYER (1), Kane Stebbins, Ron Dailey Jr., Karl Born, Jason Ketrow, Travis Webster, Chris Woodard, Scott Lehman, Rick Amidon, Derrick Puryear, Clay French, Josh Webster, Brian Grant Jr., John Hand, Danielle Thomas, Jason Warner, Adam Austin, Shiann LaBar.
H1: Ray Hyer, Rick Amidon, Clay French
H2: Adam Austin, Josh Webster, Karl Born
H3: Kane Stebbins, Ron Dailey Jr., Travis Webster
BEAR’S AUTO BODY FRONT WHEEL DRIVES, 12 cars (20 laps): CODIE BAKER (4), Scott Lehman Jr., Adam DelGrosso, Matt Prescott, Nick Brown, Nate Freeland, Mike Ferris, Todd West, Kevin Williams, Ryan Austin, Justin Neal, Cara Pitts.
H1: Nate Freeland, Nick Brown, Scott Lehman Jr.
H2: Codie Baker, Adam DelGrosso, Mike Ferris.
DAUGHERTY’S AUTO SALES & SERVICE WARRIORS, 10 cars (10 laps): RONNIE DAILEY (2), Brody Amidon, Josh Isaman, Carter Crooker, Brooke McClain, Garrett Wilson, Dylon Morseman, Austin LaBar, Tess Johnson, DNS: Kendra Stebbins.
H1: Garrett Wilson, Tess Johnson, Austin LaBar
H2: Ronnie Dailey, Josh Isaman, Brody Amidon