BATAVIA, NY – On a chilly night that is technically still part of summer, six drivers got to use this postseason race to capture their first wins at Genesee in 2020.
Speedway promoter Jim Johnson is always aiming to put on a good for the fans, however on Saturday Night he may have failed in that goal while succeeding in another. Johnson returned to the seat of a late model for the first time in two years and blew the field away.
Johnson led all 25-laps driving his son’s car. Johnson certainly has innate talent, but in his first race at his hometown track in five years he was quick to recognize it wasn’t all him that made it possible.
“Jimmy has this car set up so perfectly,” declared Johnson after the race. “The car rotates so effortlessly and doesn’t fight or bind up. He also drew the pole for me which always helps”
Johnson’s night started off on the wrong foot when coming to the green flag of his heat race he and a fellow competitor banged off one another. The racer in him wanted to bring out the caution to catch up to the field but the promoter in him knew he had to keep going. As it turned out, the caution flag would appear a few laps later and Johnson got back up to a redraw spot.
With eight laps remaining, the second and final caution flag would wave setting up one last chance for Doug Ricotta and the rest of the pack to chase after the No. 39J.
“You never do the same thing on a restart twice; I learned that a long time ago,” he noted afterwards. “I had gone fast on the other ones and that one went slower and it was a little different.”
Ricotta nearly got to the bumper of the leader as the duo entered turns one and two, but Johnson was too strong and Ricotta would have to settle for second. Kyle Murray moved up through the pack to finish third while Bill Holmes moved by Paul Grigsby on the final lap as they rounded out the top five.
Phil Vigneri III claimed the win in the Sportsman Feature for his first victory at Genesee since May of 2016. It wasn’t the way he would have expected it to play out but regardless led the entire way to park it in Victory Lane and for him it all felt the same. Vigneri, of Elba, was declared the winner after a caution flag on lap 16 put the event over the time limit and thus made the race complete.
“We definitely had luck go our way tonight,” said Vigneri in Victory Lane. “We drew well, the car was good, and the race was shortened but sometimes that’s what you need to win these.”
Before the final restart, the field was alerted the next caution flag would end the race which made for some eventful racing for the win. Noah Walker, who returned to the track after a hard wreck last month, gave Vigneri everything he could handle down the stretch but would have to settle for second. Track Champion Cameron Tuttle was able to drive up around Dave Conant for third while AJ Custodi rounded out the top five.
The RUSH Pro Mods made their first appearance at Genesee Speedway on Saturday and saw some of their elite drivers battle it out for the win. Steve Dixon, of Smethport, PA, had been to Genesee before in a number of other vehicles but had been winless, until Saturday Night, when he put that track experience to good use to lead all 20 laps to capture the victory. Dixon, who finished fourth in a RUSH Late Model at Genesee in August, had to withstand the late-race advances of Dennis Lungar Jr, who peaked to the inside of the No. 42 on multiple occasions but Dixon held true on the preferred outside groove to take it to Victory Lane. Lunger would cross in second while Adam Ashcroft crossed in third. Chad Carlson and CJ Irons completed the top five.
Dennis Cummings put on a dominating performance to lead all 20 laps of the Street Stock Feature to capture his first win of the year. Cummings, of Wellsville, became seventh different winner in the division in 2020. The 2018 Track Champion had to withstand a final lap challenge from Pat Powers, who made a last-ditch effort on the top of turns three and four but came up a car-length short in second. Invaders Mike Welch and Adam Depuy placed third and fourth, respectively, while regular Mike Kelly completed the top five.
Brad Shepard his car owner Eric Weis put on a great performance for the lead in the Mini Stock Feature, with Shepard making a move to the inside of Weis coming to the white flag and then driving off for his first win of season. Shepard, the three-time Track Champion from LeRoy, attempted a move for the lead on the outside on a lap 13 restart then crossed over a lap later and dove underneath Weis when his XXX drifted up the track with a connection issue. Shepard then had to worry about 2020 Track Champion Brad Whiteside on the final lap as he stalked the No. 1p but would come up just short at the line. The win for Shepard made it eight straight seasons he has scored a win at Genesee. Rich Conte, Brandon Shepard and Matt Hornquist completed the top five.
Track regular Michael McCarthy scored his first career feature win in the Novice Sportsman event. McCarthy, of Corfu, won his heat race and led wire-to-wire to become the seventh different winner in the new class in 2020. McCarthy had to hold his nerves together on a final lap restart and was able to keep a steady line while Allison Dewitt challenged hard for the win and came home in second. John Livingston Jr. was third.
A total of 94 cars were in action for this bonus event. Next Saturday will be a similar situation as Genesee Speedway will be back in action with all of the weekly divisions in action except the bandits. For more information visit www.Genesee-Speedway.com.
Genesee Speedway Results: 9/19/2020-
Close Racing Supply Night
Cornerstone Eye Associates RUSH Late Model Feature (25 Laps)- JIM JOHNSON, Doug Ricotta, Kyle Murray, Bill Holmes, Paul Grigsby, Alan Chapman, Ward Schell, Austin Hauser, Billy DuBois, DJ Krug, Austyn Fugle, Greg Mrzywka, Todd Chapman.
Lap Leaders- Johnson 1-25.
Heat Winners- Mrzywka, Hauser.
Stirling Lubricants DIRTcar Sportsman Feature (Race Shortened to 16 Laps)- PHIL VIGNERI III, Noah Walker, Cameron Tuttle, Dave Conant, AJ Custodi, Austin Susice, Emmett Waldron, Gordy Hermanson Jr., Tim Nies, Dan Kolb, Ricky Newton, Jordan Moden, Brian Harris, Jonathan Reid, Dylan Duhow, Tom Richau Jr, Byron Dewitt, Kyle Richner, Ray Bliss, Mike Martin, Dustin Gorhan, Clayton Cain (DNS).
Lap Leader- Vigneri 1-16.
Heat Winners- Susice, Richau, Vigneri.
RUSH Pro Mods (20 Laps)- STEVE DIXON, Dennis Lungar Jr, Adam Ashcroft, Chad Carlson, CJ Irons, Al Brewer, Justin Chaddock, Adam Peterson, 7*, Nick Mohawk, Brian Mohawk, Tim Peterson, Matt Putt.
Lap Leader- Dixon 1-20.
Heat Winners- Dixon, Carlson.
Yasses Trucking & Construction Street Stock Feature (20 Laps)- DENNIS CUMMINGS, Pat Powers, Adam Depuy, Mike Welch, Mike Kelly, Andy Eastman, Brandon Sherwood, Dale Rissinger, Dan Schulz, Pat Dell, Sherman Gage, Phil Schepis, Bill Taylor, Ted Mascho, Chip Wood, Matt Tracey (DNS), Adam Chaddock (DNS).
Lap Leader- Cummings 1-20.
Heat Winners- DePuy, Powers.
Pellegrino Auto Sales Mini Stock Feature (15 Laps)- BRAD SHEPARD, Brad Whiteside, Rich Conte, Brandon Shepard, Matt Hornquist, Brian Gregory, Andy Schumaker, James Gayton, Eric Weis, Ashley Harbison, Jessica Schleede, Curtis Rung Jr., Jeff Wynes, Jason Anasiewicz, David Dussault, Bailey Logsdon, Joe Bieber, Chris Wolcott, Donald Hermanson, Olivia Coniber, Cole Susice, Eric Brumsted, Randy Gregory, Jeremy Surowy (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Weis 1-13, Brad Shepard 14-15.
Heat Winners- Whiteside, Conte, Brandon Shepard.
Novice Sportsman Feature (12 Laps)- MICHAEL MCCARTHY, Allison Dewitt, John Livingston Jr., Jordan Jermyn.
Lap Leader- McCarthy 1-12.
Heat Winner- McCarthy.