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Donnie Lawson & AJ Costley Rebound For Needed Woodhull Victories

Media Contact: Steven Ovens - For Immediate Release – June 26th, 2017 – Joe Kaminski photo -

(WOODHULL, NY) – Saturday night was a banner night for Woodhull Raceway. A picture perfect forecast, along with a standing room only crowd was treated to racing that saw 122 cars fill the pit area for Instant Heat Wood Pellets Inc./Two Rivers Timber Night.

Along with the racing- Woodhull put on the best fireworks show in New York State with the assistance of Farrzarelli’s Fireworks. A massive, twenty-one-minute Fireworks display wowed the crowd with the display mirroring a grand finale display during the entire show, and a gas bomb felt through the glass of the officials tower. It truly had something for everybody.

To say that Donnie Lawson had an awful weekend last weekend, and AJ Costley an awful start to 2017 would definitely be the understatements of 2017. But both pushed their collective ways through diversity to break into the win column for the first time on Saturday night- just when both needed it the most.

Lawson spent last weekend enduring what he described as his worst weekend in racing, after losing an engine on Friday night in Dundee and then having his Woodhull motor seize up before even the green flag last Saturday night. That left the family-owned team with their third engine, strapped into a 2017 chassis that they’ve used very little on the High Banks of Woodhull Raceway. In fact, the team’s normal Woodhull chassis is a 2007 that Lawson admitted wouldn’t last forever in victory lane.

But a pole position starting spot due to the handicap was the perfect time to see what the new chassis had to offer. Lawson started on the hammer and held off the advances of Brian Doolittle, Russell Morseman and eighteen-time track champion Billy Van Pelt.

Once Van Pelt got to the second spot from starting seventh, he simply had nothing for Lawson. Even on a mid-race restart, Lawson kept Van Pelt at bay running his preferred groove on the bottom lane. Late in the going though, Lawson motored away from the rest of the field to leave no doubt on Saturday that this team may have been down but were far from out of it.

“It’s part of racing, you have troubles like that (last weekend),” said Lawson in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane.

“You race against a tough group of guys here (at Woodhull) and I’ll be honest- I had to make the car as wide as I could from about halfway on.”

Lawson didn’t gloss over how badly the team needed a win and who had been integral parts of their success.

“We needed this win bad. I have to thank my dad and Ron’s Engine Science, all our great sponsors and my family. I don’t think I was home more than ten minutes all week.”

Van Pelt was able to hold on to second, but his nephew Dillon Groover was charging hard from the back twice to finish third. Kenny Peoples Jr. won a heat race and brought home yet another top five finish in the Peoples Bakery No. 5k. Frank Dunning spent most of his night racing in the top five and would round out Saturday night’s Top 5 finishers.

In the NAPA Crate Sportsman, it was another story of a driver getting a win when he needed it the most. AJ Costley has had everything go wrong this season it seems like. From mechanical woes, to getting caught up in messes not of his own doing. Hell, even the roof oddly ripped apart down the middle and tore off the car last week enroute to a sixth place finish. If it could happen, it has happened to the No. 40 machine.

But Costley sent the bad luck bug packing on Saturday night, advancing from his fourth starting spot to take the lead on an early caution in the twenty-five-lap affair. Costley had lady luck on his side for the first time in 2017, and he rode that train all the way to victory lane.

Bobby Peoples did not make it easy for Costley though. Peoples looked low, lap after lap, after lap but could not get by the Ridge Runner Café ride. Costley ran a half-lane off the bottom of the track that opened the door for Peoples, but helped Costley keep his momentum up enough to win the drag race on the straights.

However during the final laps of the race, Costley let the rough side drag and ran all the way on the outside of the raceway and was heavy on the gas trying to break through for his first win of the year. Dayton Brewer advanced from the eleventh starting spot and kept his nose clean all night to finish third- a feat not many others could claim when all was said and done. Tim Guild, now up to third in Sportsman American Racer Cup standings, won a spirited battle for fourth over special guest pilot of the Lawson team’s No. 11 car Josh Sawyer.

“It’s been bad- real bad,” said a much-relieved Costley, whose face said it all.

“I’ve got to thank my dad and my stepmother for staying behind me on this thing. The memories of previous wins help keep you going (when things are going bad). Somehow we always seem to pull one out (when we need it) and we did tonight.”

Not only did Costley have lady luck on his side- he drew the winning 50/50 ticket from Saturday that made one lucky race fan $3,100+ richer! One other note from this race was that point leader Stevie Hartman III was involved in a mid-race jingle that will hand the point lead back to Dale Welty who now also leads the points in the Sportsman American Racer Cup standings courtesy of Lias Tire/American Racer.

Kurt Stebbins had some of the best in the RUSH Crate Late Model touring game to compete with on Saturday night, and he beat them all to nail down his first points win in the SWL Awards & Photos Crate Late Models of 2017. The Wellsville, NY pilot won a thriller earlier in the season, but this one was without doubt in the end.

Jason Knowles had speed in his No. 4, but fell just a little short of passing Stebbins. Last week’s winner and King of the Ring winner John Waters was third, ahead of ‘Porkchop’ Brian Knowles and Steve LeBarron in the Troups Creek Auto Parts No. 29.

“I couldn’t ask for a better car, I was happy to see a dry-slick track tonight,” said Stebbins in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane.

In the Joe Willcox Performance Automatics Street Stock twenty-lap feature go, it was again Stebbins and Dylan Cecce doing battle for the victory. Stebbins appeared to have the car capable of fending off Cecce, as he would run a lane off the bottom and keep the car nice and straight on exit to maintain the lead.

Come lap thirteen though, Cecce finally got a run to the bottom and took the lead with seven laps to go. Stebbins didn’t let Cecce get away, but the damage was done. Cecce took off and picked up his fourth Woodhull victory of 2017.

That will help cut into Teddy Morseman’s point lead, but Morseman and crew put on a heroic performance to fix a badly damaged nose and hood from an accident. The No. 44 crew got Morseman back on track and scored valuable points, turning a potential twentieth place finish into a sixth place finish.

The top five finishers included Cecce, Stebbins, Glenn Whritenour, Brett Marlatt and Josh Sawyer in place of Jeredd Dennis still recovering from a recent operation. Cecce, Stebbins, Whritenour and Marlatt all had a great battle late in the race, with Sawyer joining the fun in the closing laps.

“It was tough when we had that jingle (on lap two),” said Cecce who barely missed a four-car pileup in turn one.

“Once we had open track and a green flag run when I got to second, I just toyed with him a little bit. I knew I had a fast car and I thought we were better than him tonight. It was just going to be a clean pass, so I had to set it up a little as the car had great forward bite and side bite.”

The Daugherty’s Auto Sales Mini Stocks had two winners on Saturday night. One winner who turned left around the third-mile Woodhull Raceway and one who was the fastest to make eight laps turning right. John Hand Jr. won the twenty-lap feature for the second week in a row, while Jason Ketrow won a special ‘Backwards Dash’ that paid out $200 for the winner sponsored by division sponsor Chris Daugherty.

Ketrow drew the front row for dash and was able to keep up enough speed on the straights to keep the advances of his competitors who were faster on corner entry. The fans cheered and screamed at the unique format and for the action on the track, as drivers really got the hang of it at the end.

“It was a little different and fun, but took awhile to get used to,” said Ketrow post-race.

“That was fun, but man do my arms kill right now,” said Mini Stock Rookie Dylon Gleason who finished third in the dash.

After a win last week, John Hand Jr. had to start seventh in the lineup for the Mini Stock feature event. It wouldn’t take Hand long to get to the front though, as he would take command of the event by halfway and keep the competition at arm’s reach the rest of the way.

Ketrow tried to make it a sweep of the night in the Mini Stocks, but would fall just one spot short in the Lawson’s Garage, Woodhull Auto Supply No. 11. Scott Lehman had a great run in the Valley Auto Center No. 6x to finish third over Gleason in fourth and point leader Chris Woodard in fifth.

The Woodhull Auto Supply Front Wheel Drive feature was an absolute dog fight on Saturday night between teammates Codie Baker and Adam DelGrosso. DelGrosso appeared to have the power problems fixed on the Valley Auto Center, Kevin Flynn Law Office No. 11, but Codie Baker found the outside lane in the closing laps to sweep past DelGrosso to get the win.

The driver affectionately known as ‘Captain America,’ Todd West, led the opening lap in his blue No. 15. DelGrosso took the lead on lap five, but Baker took over the top spot from DelGrosso on lap twelve. It took DelGrosso three laps to get heat in his tires after a restart and reclaimed the lead on lap fifteen.

But another restart with less than five laps to go benefited Baker, who was great on the short runs, and blasted back by DelGrosso on the restart. From there, DelGrosso had to fend off the efforts of Nate Freeland for second, which he was unable to do. Freeland snuck in there for the runner up spot over DelGrosso, last week’s winner Matt Prescott and Shawn Gleason who had a tough night in traffic to finish fifth.

“The whole race was pretty much an epic battle between me and Adam,” said Baker in Victory Lane.

“I was burning the tires off it, so those restarts let me cool the tires down to be good again (on the short runs). (Adam) was running real well and I thought we were all going to wreck going four-wide with lap traffic. That was pretty hairy.”

Cole Youse has had to find a way to power through some pretty big struggles the last month and a half at Woodhull Raceway. They’ve been fast enough to start racking up wins in Dundee, but the sheep’s foot hadn’t followed them to Woodhull since April 29.

That all changed on Saturday, as Youse finally put a whole race together without bad luck and with four fully inflated tires to take the ten-lap Daugherty’s Auto Sales & Service Warriors feature win. Youse had to get the lead from early race leader Trevor Hamilton, but once Youse made the pass he put some distance on the field.

Rookie Carter Crooker in his blue and yellow No. 32 had his best race of the season finishing second. But Crooker didn’t just finish second; he made Youse work hard on the last lap to hold him off for the win. Crooker was running the bottom with success but had to settle for second over Devon Tarr, Brody Amidon and Ronnie Dailey.

“It feels awesome to finally catch a break and finally get back to Victory Lane here,” said Youse.

“I knew someone was there and that got me pretty nervous. I just had to run the car. It was an ‘uh oh’ moment when I saw that nose poke down there on the low side.”

Steve Simpson was one of the great stories of Saturday night at Woodhull in the Hobby Stock feature event. Simpson, a regular at Penn Can Speedway and Five Mile Point Speedway, had been having problems with his No. B17 and traveled three hours to the ‘High Banks’ to try and make sure they were resolved- mission accomplished.

Simpson was able to best the ‘Woodhull Hobby Stock Dominator’ Carter Dennis in the ten-lap feature event. The victory was much to the delight of Simpson’s little crew chief, who sprinted from the Flagstand to Simpson’s car for a high-energy high five! Simpson was in disbelief in victory lane.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever raced in front of this many people before, this is awesome,” noted Simpson about the large crowd on hand Saturday night.

“We’ve never even seen the place before, but this is great, I love this place. The track had so much bite; I thought I was getting a flat there when the tire laid over. I’ve never been on a track this nice, this was really cool. This is the first time my little crew chief S.J. has been in victory lane since he’s been coming to the races with us. We’re going to enjoy the rest of the night and the three-hour ride home.”

Izzabella Morseman was announced as the very first “Little Miss Woodhull,” after she raised the most donations of non-perishable items that would be donated to the Woodhull Food Pantry. In total, the program will see fifty-five boxes of food be donated to the local community for those in need. Morseman will be crowned, get a guided pit tour and pose for photos with each of the feature winners this Saturday night.

This coming Saturday at Woodhull Raceway is Patrick Hoopes Trucking Night with support as well from UGS. Woodhull welcomes both as first-time sponsors of weekly racing at the Steuben County third-mile.

NAPA Auto Parts will also present the Crate Sportsman King of the Ring this week.

The King of the Ring plus a regular show will take place for only a $12 general admission ticket for adults 13 and up, while senior passes and ages 8-12 are only $6. Children 7 and under are always free at Woodhull Raceway and camping is also free on the property.

It will be a complete show featuring 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, Like Woodhull Raceway on Facebook at 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 Instant Heat Wood Pellets Night Official Results June 24th, 2017

INSINGER PERFORMANCE 370 MODIFIEDS, 15 cars (25 laps): DONNIE LAWSON (1), Billy Van Pelt, Dillon Groover, Kenny Peoples Jr., Frank Dunning, Brandon Martin, Russell Morseman, Brady Fultz, Art Goodier, Brian Doolittle, Stacy Jackson, Ryan Tracy, Kevin Chilson, Jeffery Daugherty, Sheldon Gardner

H1: Kenny Peoples Jr., Donnie Lawson, Dillon Groover H2: Russell Morseman, Brian Doolittle, Brandon Martin

NAPA CRATE SPORTSMAN, 21 cars (25 laps): AJ COSTLEY (1), Bobby Peoples, Dayton Brewer, Tim Guild, Josh Sawyer, Jerry Aldrich, Kurt Stebbins, Josh Keesey, Connor Brown, Dale Welty, Brian Fish, Ajay Potrzebowski Sr., Chris Hall, Kirk Reynolds, Adam Taft, Dave Richmond, Blake Lawson, Stevie Hartman III, Jake Dgien, Brandon Butler, Mike Jackson

H1: Brandon Butler, Bobby Peoples, Dale Welty

H2: Stevie Hartman III, Dayton Brewer, Jake Dgien H3: Jerry Aldrich, AJ Costley, Dave Richmond

SWL AWARDS CRATE LATE MODELS, 7 cars (20 laps): KURT STEBBINS (2), Jason Knowles, John Waters, Brian Knowles, Steve LeBarron, Darin Horton, Brad Smith

H1: Kurt Stebbins, Steve LeBarron, Darin Horton

H2: John Waters, Jason Knowles, Brad Smith

JOE WILLCOX PERFORMANCE AUTOMATICS STREET STOCKS, 21 cars (20 laps): DYLAN CECCE (4), Kurt Stebbins, Glenn Whritenour, Brett Marlatt, Josh Sawyer, Teddy Morseman, Dan Gardner, Tracy Dunn, Jared Hill, Mick Seeley, Jayson Smart, Jim Weatherley, JJ Kreidler, Branden Morseman, Gary Preston, Trevor Tompkins, Glenn Vancise, Matt Hamilton, Buck Payne, Mike Williams

H1: Buck Payne, Dylan Cecce, Brett Marlatt H2: Tracy Dunn, Teddy Morseman, Dan Gardner

H3: Glenn Whritenour, Josh Sawyer, Jared Hill

DAUGHERTY AUTO SALES MINI STOCKS, 24 cars (20 laps): JOHN HAND JR. (2), Jason Ketrow, Scott Lehman, Dylon Gleason, Chris Woodard, Karl Born, Alan Crooker, Brian Grant Jr., Corky Grant, Derrick Puryear, JJ Kreidler, Rick Amidon, Mike Stone, Mike Navone, Chris Hand, Ray Hyer, ShiAnn Labar, James LaGrange, Billy Bowers, Chip Warner, Ron Dailey Jr. DNS: Jason Warner, Brett Bacon, Mike Koser

H1: Alan Crooker, Jason Ketrow, Chris Woodard H2: Ron Dailey Jr., Rick Amidon, Dylon Gleason

H3: Scott Lehman, Jason Warner, James LaGrange

Mini Stock ‘Backwards Dash’ Winner: JASON KETROW

WOODHULL AUTO SUPPLY FWD, 16 cars (20 laps): CODIE BAKER (3), Nate Freeland, Adam DelGrosso, Matt Prescott, Shawn Gleason, Carl LeBarron, Sam Crevling, Todd West, Ed Goins, Brendan Schweigart, Scott Lehman Jr., Bill Giles, Robert Haynes, Chris Stives, Robert Gardner DNS: Kennedy Courter

H1: Codie Baker, Matt Prescott, Nate Freeland

H2: Shawn Gleason, Adam DelGrosso, Robert Gardner

DAUGHERTY’S AUTO SALES & SERVICE WARRIORS, 12 cars (10 laps): COLE YOUSE (3), Carter Crooker, Devin Tarr, Brody Amidon, Ronnie Dailey, Noah Talada, Garrett Wilson, Brooke McClain, Trevor Hamilton, Jordan Bacon, Ashlyn Gardner, Dustin Skinner

HOBBY STOCKS, 6 cars (10 laps): STEVE SIMPSON (1), Carter Dennis, Brent Williams, Allison Pierce, Aaron Rumchuk, Billy Joe Birdsall

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