Media Contact: Steven Ovens - firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 729-3825 For Immediate Release – May 1st, 2016 –
(WOODHULL, NY) – Grant Hilfiger made the three and a half hour drive to Woodhull Raceway from Canadensis, PA on Saturday night as he often does to support his Grant Hilfiger Racing team led by driver and seventeen-time Woodhull track champion Billy Van Pelt. But on this night, it was the bossman taking the victory in the season opener for the 370 Modifieds.
Eric Fisher and Mike Bills would lead the field to Scott Lyon’s green flag and although Fisher led the opening circuit, Hilfiger was charging from his fourth starting spot. A daring three-wide move on the outside of Turn 3 would see Hilfiger take the lead as the field clicked off lap number two.
Hilfiger set a torrid pace out front while the battle for second place was a good one between Alan Rudalavage, Dillon Groover, Kenny Peoples Jr and Boyd McTavish. ‘The Maniac’ Mike Bills drove through the pack several times in his No. 21m as he fought some handling issues on the cushion, as Mother Nature’s rain the night before provided drivers with a heavy, tacky racing surface.
As the race wore on, Hilfiger continued to lead but Addison, NY driver Kenny Peoples Jr began his charge to the front of the pack. Peoples was utilizing the extreme bottom of the speedway, while Hilfiger was using the middle to top lanes to pace the field.
With just five laps remaining, Peoples turned the wick up and began to pour a heavy dose of pressure on Hilfiger for the lead- several times pulling a wheel along the rear quarter panel of the No. 78.
As the leaders streaked across the line with two laps to go, Peoples arced his family-owned No. 5k hard into Turn 1. It looked as though Peoples had the momentum needed to take over the lead from Hilfiger, but caught the implement tire on the inside of the speedway when he hit the apex of the corner. The contact sent Peoples spinning to a stop- ending what was an exciting run that had the Woodhull faithful on their feet.
“I seen him once and I thought in my head man he showed it too early,” said Hilfiger of Peoples’ challenge. “Then to come around and see him turned- I just hate it because he’s got a hard working family. I want to beat him, but I would have rather seen him finish second. He’ll be here the rest of the year, just like Boyd and the rest of them.”
That set up a chilling restart with just two laps to go, putting McTavish on the back bumper of the Walker Plumbing, Hilfiger Contracting, Instant Heat Wood Pellets No. 78. On the restart, Hilfiger pulled away slightly. As the duo entered three and four for the final time, McTavish pulled up to the bumper but could do no more as Hilfiger went on to score the victory.
In Victory Lane, Hilfiger was quite emotional, retelling a story of a family friend that came into some health struggles and inspired him to keep working harder at his craft.
“I went to see her and she was working her heart out,” said Hilfiger. “She said life is going to be different but I just have to work harder. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of the Campbell family…and it feels good to come represent them with a win.”
McTavish started out his full-time effort with Brad and Kim Herrington in probably the second best way he could after also winning a heat race. Rudalavage had a strong showing for third, while Brady Fultz and Groover rounded out the top five.
Chris Daugherty used some last minute heroics to take the win last week in the NAPA Crate Sportsman, but this week was much less heroic and quite a bit more dominant. Daugherty started in the twelfth position on the starting grid after the win last week by rule, but used several early cautions to move up through the field quickly.
The event got off to a scary start as Stacey Jackson took a hard hit when he got crossed up sideways, facing traffic in Turn 1. He would get hit at nearly full speed and spun around, but would climb from his No. 22J that had significant damage to the frame.
Once the race got started and into a rhythm, Jake Dgien took the early lead as he would pace the field for the opening nine circuits. Daugherty stalked his way into the top five on lap four and into the runner-up spot by lap five. Once Daugherty caught Dgien, it was around the Avoca driver’s No. 3 and away Daugherty went.
At one point, Daugherty had stretched out to a full straightaway advantage. He would have to encounter one final scare though before the checkered flag waved on the Williams Construction and Sprayfoam 22jz. Entering Turn 4 for the final time, a lap car drove into the back of Daugherty, nearly spinning him around. A couple handfuls of steering wheel and quick work of the brakes saved Daugherty’s car and the victory.
Dgien had a great run to take the runner-up spot, Josh Sawyer was strong in his No. 01 for third, while David Mayo and Mike Jackson rounded out the top five.
“I had to earn that one tonight,” said Daugherty after hopping down from doing a roof dance and salute to the crowd. “There’s a lot of nights here where slower is faster. I had a few spots given to me (with the accidents) and we had to make the outside work a few times and the track surface helped tonight too.”
Bruce Miller turned a podium finish last weekend into a dominating performance to take the victory in the SWL Awards 360 Late Models on Saturday night. But to say that Miller was dominant would take away a little from the performance that Jason McGregor put on in his No. 67 ride.
For more than half the race leading to the checkers on lap twenty, McGregor worked the middle groove under Miller, who was working the cushion all the way around the bullring. Had Miller made just one mistake, McGregor would have blown by for the victory.
But Miller showed a great deal of poise, having never strayed from hitting his marks in the money corner in Turns 3 and 4. Miller would never give McGregor the chance, not even on a late race restart, to score his first victory of 2016. McGregor was docked two spots at the end of the race for jumping that last restart, handing second and third to Steve LaBarron and Kurt Stebbins.
LaBarron was strong once again in the Troups Creek Auto Parts No. 29 and had been awarded the Driver of the Week award during intermission Saturday night.
“He gave me a little bit more pressure than I expected,” said Miller about holding McGregor off for the win. “He made me work for it tonight. This is the kind of conditions I prefer…when there’s a nice cushion up there you don’t have to slow down so much for the corner.”
Last week, Dylan Cecce felt the lowest that any racer could probably feel. He had come off a victory in Week 1, only to have a piston break and destroy an engine on the backstretch in Week 2. Cecce and car owner Dylan Potter spent a lot of late nights in the shop to build a new engine, only having the chance to fire it at 11PM on Friday night.
There were no expectations coming into Saturday night, they just wanted to finish the race without issue. They did that, and much much more. Cecce rebounded in the best possible way he could have, taking the lead from Kurt Stebbins on lap four of the Joe Willcox Performance Automatics Street Stocks 20-lap feature and never looking back.
Once out in front, Cecce never faced a challenge except for a few lap cars at the end of the event enroute to his second victory in three weeks.
“All the work we put in it this week, we didn’t think we were going to come back,” said Cecce. “It was late, was a stressful week, a lot of money, we spent the whole week in the garage. My buddy Mike came through big for us this week to be able to get back out here.”
Stebbins had a fast race car, leading the first four circuits and running a solid pace in second once Cecce got by for the lead. Brett Marlatt keeps building positive momentum and brought the No. 99 home in the third position. Glenn Whritenour continued his Street Stock success in 2016 with a fourth place run while Willie Rice finished fifth driving Zane King Jr.’s Z car.
There were great comeback stories all around on Saturday night as it was Karl Born taking his first career Woodhull Raceway win in the Daugherty Auto Sales Mini Stocks. Born taking this win just one week after leading nineteen and three-quarter laps out of twenty, before being passed in the last corner by Chris Woodard. The driver out of Williamsport, PA would not let that happen again on Mountain Dew and Pepsi Night.
Born started 2016 with two runner-up finishes, leaving him wondering what it was that he had to do in order to break down the gates to Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane. It took some hard driving, and a little bit of luck to secure the win after twenty hard fought laps.
The drama in the event focused in on a rivalry that has been brewing at Woodhull Raceway for several seasons. Anyone following Rich Sharpsteen and Ron Dailey Jr. know there is no love loss between these two drivers and it all came to a head on Saturday night at ‘New York’s Toughest Bullring.’
Sharpsteen led the first sixteen laps of the feature event from his outside pole starting position. Dailey charged from his fourth starting spot and stalked one of the toughest competitors sitting between him and a potential track championship in 2016.
When Dailey was able to get by while working lap traffic, Sharpsteen took offense to what he thought was a little extracurricular contact. When the duo dove into Turn 3, Sharpsteen admittedly stood on the gas and spun Dailey’s No. 76 around in Turn 4.
Both drivers were sent to the back for the restart, but not before bumping each other for almost a full lap while under the caution flag. Both drivers were given a strong warning by the Race Director for their actions under the yellow, but were allowed to continue from the back of the pack. Dailey continued on to finish tenth, while Sharpsteen elected to call it a night relegating him to a fourteenth place finish.
While all of that drama was unfolding, Karl Born saw the lead position get dropped into his lap for a two lap dash to what could be his first career win on the High Banks. Born would have to hold off the strong advances of John Hand Jr., but Born was up to the challenge.
“Tonight I was lucky,” said Born in Victory Lane. “I thought I was going to get stuck with second place again. Now I’ve got a good story from last week and an even better story from this week. There are several tracks around our home in Williamsport, but this is the best one I’ve seen in (or near) Pennsylvania.”
Hand Jr. finished second, JJ Kreidler brought home the third spot, Rick Amidon who is now sharing the No. 2 with Brody Amidon finished fourth and Chris Hand completed the top five.
Shawn Gleason has been working hard this season to get his No. 26 running fast and handling to the best of his crew’s ability and it all culminated on Saturday night with his first win of 2016. The driver out of Elmira, NY had a hellacious battle with outsider Casey Burch in the black and green No. 55, with both drivers putting on an excellent show for the fans.
Burch was entering the corners low and slide-jobbing his opponents to make passes when the front end would plow out in the center of the corner. As the race wore on, Gleason stayed committed to the bottom lane of the speedway- nothing was going to break Gleason of his line and strategy. He was rewarded for that commitment with a checkered flag in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane to celebrate with his family, friends and crew.
“The track is phenomenal out here, Ted and Brandi do such a great job with this track,” said Gleason. “We have six cars in the garage, if it wasn’t for everybody here we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing.”
Burch finished second while Joe ‘Puddin’ Birdsall, last week’s winner Codie Baker and Jay McConnell filled out the top five finishers.
Next week at Woodhull Raceway the Joe Willcox Performance Automatics will race 35 laps in distance on Kickin’ Country 105.3FM Night. The Street Stocks will be joined by the Insinger Performance 370 Modifieds, NAPA Crate Sportsman, SWL 360 Late Models, Daugherty Auto Sales Mini Stocks, Woodhull Auto Supply Front Wheel Drives and Daugherty Auto Sales Warriors.
Pit gates will open at 3:30PM with general admission gates opening at 4:30PM with Scott Lyon’s first green flag of the night waving promptly at 6:30PM. General admission is just $11 for adults 13 and up, $6 for Seniors and ages 8-12 with children 7 and under always free at Woodhull Raceway.
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 mid-August.
Woodhull Raceway Quick Results, Mountain Dew & Pepsi Night 04/30/2016
INSINGER PERFORMANCE 370 MODIFIEDS, 17 Cars (25 Laps): GRANT HILFIGER (1), Boyd McTavish, Alan Rudalavage, Brady Fultz, Dillon Groover, Billy Van Pelt, Art Goodier, Frank Dunning, Eric Fisher, Cory Costa, Russell Morseman, Joe Dgien, Mike Bills, Kenny Peoples Jr, Brian Doolittle, Donnie Lawson
Lap Leaders: Fisher 1, Hilfiger 2-25
H1: McTavish, Fultz, Fisher
H2: Van Pelt, Peoples Jr, Rudalavage
H3: Hilfiger, Groover, Mike Bills
NAPA CRATE SPORTSMAN, 27 cars (25 Laps): CHRIS DAUGHERTY (2), Jake Dgien, Josh Sawyer, David Mayo, Mike Jackson, Jerry Aldrich, Zach Cary, Mark Benson, Brandon Butler, Collin Brown, Tim Schram, Josh Keesey, Tracy Stanford, Brandon Martin, Tim Guild, John Sekoll, Garett Rushlow, Eric Williams, Mickey Wilbur, Scott Tubbs, Bob Johnson, Dayton Brewer, AJ Costley, Mike Williams, Cole Clark, Stacey Jackson
DNS: Bobby Peoples
Lap Leaders: Dgien 1-9, Daugherty 10-25
H1: Sawyer, Benson, Cary
H2: Daugherty, MJackson, Dgien
H3: MWilliams, Johnson, Butler
H4: Costley, Martin, Guild
SWL AWARDS 360 LATE MODELS, 9 cars (20 Laps): BRUCE MILLER (1), Steve LaBarron, Kurt Stebbins, Jason McGregor, Rick Loucks, Jacob McConnell, JJ Rutkowski, Glenn Whritenour, Mickey Seeley
Lap Leaders: Miller 1-20
H1: Miller, Seeley, Loucks
H2: Whritenour, McGregor, Stebbins
JOE WILLCOX PERFORMANCE AUTOMATICS STREET STOCKS, 15 cars (20 Laps): DYLAN CECCE (2), Kurt Stebbins, Brett Marlatt, Glenn Whritenour, Willie Rice, Jason Gleason, Gary Archer, Jeredd Dennis, Allison Pierce, Branden Morseman, Ron Gardner, Jared Hill, Tracy Dunn, Trevor Tompkins, Teddy Morseman
Lap Leaders: Stebbins 1-4, Cecce 5-20
H1- Cecce, Whritenour, Stebbins
H2- Dunn, Gardner, Hill
DAUGHERTY AUTO SALES MINI STOCKS, 17 cars (20 Laps): KARL BORN (1), John Hand Jr, JJ Kreidler, Rick Amidon, Chris Hand, David Whetham, Mike Stone, Brian Grant Jr, Chip Warner, Ron Dailey Jr, Scott Lehman, Derrick Puryear, Mike Navone, Rich Sharpsteen, Chris Woodard, Jeff Daugherty, Corky Grant
Lap Leaders: Sharpsteen 1-16, Dailey 17-18, Born 19-20
H1- Kreidler, Hand, Warner
H2- Dailey Jr, Hand Jr., Lehman
WOODHULL AUTO SUPPLY FRONT WHEEL DRIVES, 15 cars (20 Laps): Shawn Gleason (1), Casey Burch, Joe Birdsall, Codie Baker, Jay McConnell, Matt Prescott, Nick Brown, Lindsey Carlson, Dave Richmond, Nate Freeland, Eric Farnham, Jordan Keefer, Carl LaBarron, Wes Houghtaling, Adam DelGrosso
Lap Leaders: Burch 1-3, Gleason 4, Burch 5-14, Gleason 15-20
H1- Gleason, Birdsall, Houghtaling
H2- Baker, Burch, DelGrosso