BATAVIA, NY – A breezy night in Batavia saw nearly 100 cars battle a unique race surface with six championship battles on the line. In the end, two invaders claimed their first wins at Genesee Speedway in 2020 while four other drivers went to Victory Lane and claimed the Track Championship along with it.
Jason Genco’s first trip to Genesee Speedway in 2020 showed that recent track time is not always the most important factor in going to Victory Lane, all it takes sometimes is a good car, along with some good fortunes along the way.
Genco took the lead on a lap six restart from Beamer Guzzardi and then set the car on cruise the rest of the way for his first win on the 1/3-mile since 2018. Genco was in danger of falling back to third on the initial lap 6 restart but when that lap was negated due to a caution in turn one, the veteran driver of the No. 29J corrected things to put himself out front on the next restart.
“I pushed up in to Beamer on the first restart and I thought I might even have cut down a tire but we were about to lose a spot to Jimmy (Johnson) and we were in trouble,” admitted Genco after the race. “When that restart got called back I saw that the bottom of turn four had a crazy amount of bite and went down lower and got the launch I needed to get along side and once we got to turn two I got the drive off to get in front.”
Genco’s power move to take the lead off the bottom of turn two gave him breathing room as Guzzardi and Jimmy Johnson battled for the runner-up spot. With Johnson also looking to lock up the Track Championship, that duo battled cleanly throughout most of the race, with Guzzardi coming home in second for the second straight week.
Johnson’s third place effort was more than enough for him to wrap up the division title. Johnson was disappointed his pass of Genco on the initial lap six restart was negated but was still happy to fulfill a dream and become a champion at the track he has grown up at.
Steve Dixon’s first appearance at Genesee in 2020 resulted in a fourth place finish while Austyn Fugle scored a fine finish rounding out the top five.
Brett Senek dominated the 25-lap Sportsman Feature, shooting to the lead from the outside of the front row and driving away from the pack to shake off his string of bad luck in Batavia to break though and visit Victory Lane. Senek had a hard crash in his only other appearance at Genesee this year but was prolific down the stretch in a race that went caution-free for the final 16 laps.
As Senek cruised to the win, an incredibly dramatic championship battle played out behind him. When it was over, Cameron Tuttle had scored his first career Sportsman Track Championship by virtue of his third place finish and some help along the way.
“I didn’t expect to be here tonight (the champion in Victory Lane),” admitted Tuttle in Victory Lane. “The car wasn’t perfect tonight but it doesn’t matter because we did it.”
Tuttle started on the pole and fell behind Senek on the opening lap, but on lap three the complexion of the race changed when the caution flew for the first time when last week’s winner Zach George got sideways and collected Kyle Inman. Inman, who entered the night as the point leader, had to play catch up from that point on but things would not get better or the four-time champion though as he and George got caught up again in an incident on lap 9 as well that would relegate Inman to the back once again where he could only salvage an 11th place finish.
With Inman out of the equation for the title, the championship battle came down to Tuttle and Dave Conant. Conant closed in on the championship chase by virtue of his heat race win and had a chance to pass Tuttle on a lap 10 restart when the No. 35T slid high in turn three and had to run side-by-side with Conant for three laps before finally clearing him. As the race wore on though, Conant would reel Tuttle back in but could not get by, coming up just .013 seconds short at the line for third place. That pass would not have changed the result of the championship but would have brought the margin down to 1 lap. Ray Bliss was able to move by Tuttle when he slipped up on lap 10 and finished in second. After Tuttle and Conant was AJ Custodi, who ran solidly inside the top five throughout the race.
The Street Stock Championship came down to the last lap and even that couldn’t separate things. Jesse Qutermous led all 15 laps to pick up the win, with Bill Taylor finishing second, which meant that those two drivers finished tied atop the point standings and are declared co-champions for 2020. For Qutermous, it was his first win since 2017 on what he called the most nerve-racking day of his life. After blowing up his engine last week, Qutermous put a borrowed motor in the No. 2q which showed its strength right from the start in the feature as he took the lead from the outside pole. Bill Taylor quickly moved in to second early in the feature and while he wasn’t sure if a runner-up finish would be enough to gain a share of the championship so he had to play a delicate balance of offense and defense throughout the event as he wanted to go after the leader but down the stretch had to fend off the advances of John Zimmerman and Josh Pangrazio, who finished third and fourth, respectively. Dan Schulz rounded out the top five.
Brad Whiteside had solid results all season in the Mini Stock division and had the track championship locked up after the heat races, so with that already secured he just went for the win in the feature and did that as well. Whiteside, of Caledonia, held off the late-race challenges of Dante Mancuso to score his first win of the season. Whiteside led all 15 laps and had a slew of drivers battle him for the top spot, but the No. 46 never wavered. Mancuso would settle for second while Cole Susice ran solidly in third. Don Whiteside and James Gayton completed the top five.
Dylan Duhow claimed the Novice Sportsman Championship in style as he dominated the 15-lap feature to win his second race of the season. Duhow, 16, of Appleton, stormed to the front of the field on lap two, moving by Tim Nies and then checking out from the pack under green flag conditions. Duhow had secured the title by taking the green flag in the feature but was a dominant throughout the event. Nies, along with last week’s winner Scott Wolfe finished second and third, respectively, but not after those two got together on a lap 4 restart and had to charge back from the pack to get back inside the podium positons.
Jake Bansmer continued his dominance in the Bandit Division as he won his eighth feature in nine races this season to win the Track Championship in style. Bansmer was pressured early in the event by Brian Gregory but as the race wore on the No. 71 saw his lead expand to win comfortably over Gregory and Tyler Guzzardi, who moved up to finish in third.
While the point season is over, racing will look to continue on September 19 after a few weeks off. For more information, visit www.Genesee-Speedway.com.
Genesee Speedway Results: 8/29/2020- Johnson Automotive Night
Cornerstone Eye Associates RUSH Late Model Feature (25 Laps)- JASON GENCO, Beamer Guzzardi, Jimmy Johnson, Steve Dixon, Austyn Fugle, Bill Holmes, JJ Mazur Paul Grigsby, Dave DuBois, Alan Chapman, Brian Kotarski, Billy DuBois, Tim Schram, Austin Hauser, Greg Mrzywka, Mark Sundt, Brett Ritter, DJ Krug, TJ Downs, Doug Ricotta, Todd Chapman.
Lap Leaders- Guzzardi 1-5, Genco 6-25.
Heat Winners- Guzzardi, Holmes, Genco.
2020 Division Champion- Jimmy Johnson
Stirling Lubricants DIRTcar Sportsman Feature (25 Laps)- BRETT SENEK, Ray Bliss, Cam Tuttle, Dave Conant, AJ Custodi, Tony Velez, Dalton Martin, Kyle Richner, Ricky Newton, Sarah Johnson, Kyle Inman, Phil Vigneri III, Dan Kolb, Dan Michaud, Sam Hoxie, Larry Vick, Jessica Kriegisch, Jordan Moden, Gordy Hermanson Jr, Zach George, TJ Newton, Tom Richau Jr, Byron Dewitt.
Lap Leader- Senek 1-25.
Heat Winners- Conant, Velez, Senek.
2020 Division Champion- Cameron Tuttle
Yasses Trucking & Construction Street Stock Feature (20 Laps)- JESSE QUTERMOUS, Bill Taylor, John Zimmerman, Josh Pangrazio, Dan Schulz, Pat Powers, Brandon Sherwood, Damian Long, Dan Brumsted, Dale Rissinger, Mike Kelly, Shawn Hazlett, Randy Gregory, Tommy Kemp, Phil Schepis.
Lap Leaders- Qutermous 1-20.
Heat Winners- Pangrazio, Zimmerman.
2020 Division Co-Champions- Jesse Qutermous and Bill Taylor
Pellegrino Auto Sales Mini Stock Feature (15 Laps)- BRAD WHITESIDE, Dante Mancuso, Cole Susice, Don Whiteside, James Gayton, Andy Schmaker, Ryan Allen, Rich Conte, Eric Weis, Eric Brumsted, Rocco Conte, Brandon Shepard, Matt Hornquist, Jessica Schleede, Brian Johnson, Brad Shepard, Bailey Logsdon, Cody Griffin, Joe Bieber, Thomas Lodwick, Curtis Rung, Ashley Harbison, Olivia Coniber.
Lap Leaders- Schumaker 1-4, B. Whiteside 5-15.
Heat Winners- Ri. Conte, Mancuso, B. Whiteside.
2020 Division Champion- Brad Whiteside
Novice Sportsman Feature (15 Laps)- DYLAN DUHOW, Tim Nies, Scott Wolfe, Michael McCarthy, Allison Dewitt, Brandon Close, John Livingston Jr, Jordyn Jermyn, Becky Michaud, Orval Harris, Jacob Vick.
Lap Leaders- Nies 1, Duhow 2-15.
Heat Winner- Duhow.
2020 Division Champion- Dylan Duhow
DML Sealing Bandits (12 Laps)- JAKE BANSMER, Brian Gregory, Tyler Guzzardi, Alexis Traxler, Hailey Weis.
Lap Leaders- Bansmer 1-12.
Heat Winner- Guzzardi.
2020 Division Champion- Jacob Bansmer