Lawson Dominates Woodhull Modifieds During Independence Day Races
Race Report by Steven Ovens – July 6th, 2020 – Joe Kaminski Jr. photo –
Media Contact: Steven Ovens - firstname.lastname@example.org
(WOODHULL, NY) – Louies Gun Shop and the local Addison Eagles Club presented a night of racing that fans will not soon forget- whether they attended in the pits or watched from afar on the Woodhull Raceway Twitch streaming channel. Woodhull held their fourth points race of the season with their grandstands closed to the public.
Donnie Lawson and Brian Doolittle led the field to Tony Van Pelt’s green flag for the 25-lap Insinger Performance Modified feature event. Several yellow flags slowed the field before a second lap was drawn on the Border Drive Heating lap board.
Lawson looked to take advantage of his pole starting position from the feature redraw and would bring the field back to green for a single file restart. Lawson put a couple car lengths on Doolittle on the restart but the field was beginning to be set ablaze from “The Deuce.”
21-time track champion Billy Van Pelt took to the outside lane, right on the outside cushion, and started picking cars off one at a time. First it was Josh Keesey on lap 4, then Doolittle on a daring outside move on lap 7. The yellow would slow the field on that seventh lap for a two-car tangle in Turn 2.
A lap 7 restart saw Doolittle power back by on the Delaware Double File restart going into the first turn, but Van Pelt reclaimed the runner up spot just two laps later after returning to the cushion. All the while, the flying school teacher out of Woodhull, NY went to work in building a 2 second lead in slower traffic.
As the leaders battled traffic, Mike Bills, Cory Costa and Dillon Groover started their march to the front of the pack. With just four laps to go, Lawson started catching traffic again and Van Pelt closed the gap to less than a second but would see a yellow flag slow the field again.
On the final restart with just three to go, Lawson went to digging the ditch on the bottom as he had all race long, while Van Pelt pounded the cushion. A classic Woodhull battle would see Lawson get the better of Van Pelt with no room to spare at the doubled checkered flag.
“I knew we were in good shape. I just got hot at the end and it started overheating so hopefully we can get this cooled down without any damage,” noted Lawson.
Restarts were the big difference on this night and Lawson highlighted something that he remembered and utilized to get this week’s win.
“He (Van Pelt) tried to jack rabbit the start a couple weeks ago and I wanted to show everyone what a good restart was and we did it tonight and it got us the win. It’s great to get a win here on our nation’s birthday.”
Next on the docket of racing was the NAPA Crate Sportsman 25-lap feature go and it would be veteran Teddy Morseman and Chris Clemens bringing the field to green. With just one lap on the board, the yellow flag would fly as an incident took place in Turn 3 involving Tracy Dunn, Ajay Potrzebowski and others. The yellow flag would get a workout in this feature race.
On the restart Isabel Barron and Kenny Peoples Jr. started their mission to the Top 5. Barron started fifth in her Elmira Heat Treating No. 4 and stuck her nose down into Turn 3 three-wide to make a great move to put her up to the runner up spot. Peoples started next to Barron in sixth and made a similar move into Turn 1 to move up to third.
Yellow would fall on lap 4 for an incident involving last week’s winner Kreg Crooker and Cole Youse. Youse’s night ended on the hook, Crooker would continue from the tail. Just as the field came back to green, the race’s first red flag of the night fell as Dale Welty was turned the wrong way in front of the pack with several cars piling in including both Blake and Cayden Lawson and Art Goodier.
The middle portion of the race was littered with cautions, too many to list those involved. But yellow flags aside, the finish of the race was well worth the price of admission.
Race leader Morseman had held off Kenny Peoples Jr.’s advances on the bottom line of the racetrack time after time. People threw everything at Morseman that he had. As the pair came to Turn 3 with the white flag in sight Peoples bucked the trend and went to the top shelf and the under utilized cushion in this race, with Ajay Potrzebowski now closed in on the leaders from his 21st starting position.
Peoples got a monster run off Turn 4 and closed in on Morseman in a hurry. As the leaders took the white flag, Peoples’ left front tire leaped into the air after contact with Morseman’s right rear. Peoples never cracked the throttle and bounced it off the cushion into Turn 1. Meanwhile, Morseman took the middle lane trying to keep pace with the run Peoples was getting up top.
That opened the door wider than a Mac Truck for Potrzebowski to dive down low- putting the top 3 drivers three wide and even terms coming off Turn 2. Peoples ran out of room off Turn 2 and had to run the Lyle Sherwood line to bring the car back on track and on the cushion into Turn 3. Potrzebowski overcooked Turn 3 and found himself in the middle and Morseman attempted the crossover into Turn 4 on the bottom.
Potrzebowski and Morseman were locked into a drag race for the win off the final turn, made contact, with Potrzebowski winning by a wheel at the line. Morseman had to settle for second, Peoples Jr. third, Adam Taft from 28th starting place to 4th and Dale Welty with a great recovery for fifth.
“Yeah, I knew Peoples had to do something soon because we were faster I think, than the 44, but we just couldn’t get the position on him,” said Potrzebowski of the move that opened the door.
“We put harder tires on tonight and we just never got more than a few laps into a green flag run so I definitely needed luck to get things to go our way.”
Potrzebowski reflected on a true up and down night that started with a terrible run in the heat, winning the consi, getting in a lap 1 jingle and ending up in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane.
“We won the consi but were in the pits on lap 1. It takes a lot of luck to come from as far back as we did. We have a fast hot rod, but the driver is maybe getting a little rusty. My son turns the wrenches and got us going tonight.”
The first feature of the night really set the tone for the excitement that would be seen as Steve Dixon used the cushion to perfection to win the Cummings Trucking RUSH Crate Late Model feature. Dixon dominated the race out front after fending off challenges from both the Knowles boys- Jason and Brian.
Brian Knowles led the battle early with Dixon, in a race that was referred to as a slobber knocker by the announcing crew in the ‘nut hut.’ Kurt Stebbins was right there with Knowles in the chase for the lead from Dixon.
Knowles kept making runs at Dixon into Turn 1 using a slider line but could only get to the back bumper. As the trio came to the two laps to go signal, Dixon started struggling just a bit on the cushion. Jason Knowles snuck by Brian at the white flag to take over second.
Knowles would get one final run at Dixon and pulled alongside in Turn 3, but Dixon won the race to the stripe to get his first Woodhull Raceway victory in 2020.
“I made a couple mistakes up top and it was only my second night in this car, so we will take a win any way we can get it,” said Dixon.
“This Crate deal is all about who makes the least amount of mistakes.”
The Joe Willcox Performance Automatics Street Stocks 20-lap affair would hit the track next and it would be Wellsville, NY’s Kurt Stebbins sharing the front row with Brett Crowford to Tony Van Pelt’s green flag. Stebbins would dominate the race early as the race would go ten straight laps without a caution- Luke Boom spun to a stop in Turn 1 in his No. 00.
The restart would see Branden Morseman make an aggressive move to the inside toward turn number one, but the car pushed hard on corner entry, allowing Stebbins to drive away. But Crawford would reel in Stebbins as Crawford was rotating the center of the corner quite well with Stebbins taking the advantage on the exit of the corners.
It would be a test of wills as Stebbins was keeping up great momentum through the middle, Crawford running the bottom lane and Brett Marlatt sneaking his way into the conversation in third. Glenn Whritenour had to start 12th on the grid and took nearly 15 laps to get his way up to fourth- all setting up for a classic finish.
Crawford had one of his best opportunities with just five laps remaining. Crawford went low off turn 4 and drew to even terms with Stebbins for nearly a full lap but couldn’t get by. But as the top four worked to Turn 4 coming to the two-to-go signal, Stebbins drifted high opening the door not only to Crawford but Marlatt too.
The trio went three-wide into Turn 1 with Marlatt taking second away from Crawford. Take it back into Turn 3 and Crawford sets up the cross over to swing low into the apex of the corner, Crawford and Marlatt get hooked together and would continue on. But not before losing the second spot to Whritenour who swept around the outside.
The tangle behind him gave Stebbins all the breathing room he needed to nail down his first win of 2020 in the Street Stocks.
“We just had too much bite in the corners tonight, but we had the horsepower off the corner.”
Stebbins felt like this night could be his night to turn his season around after pulling the pole for the feature in the redraw.
“I was hoping tonight was the night we would get this monkey off our back, it’s been a tough start.”
In the Woodhull Auto Supply Hobby Stock division, ‘Lightning Leo’ Eldridge and Chris Woodard led the field to green for 20 laps. Woodard in his Ford powered No. 97 would get the early jump and have control of the race but it was the late race dramatics that would be the fans’ takeaways from this one.
Lap 15 would see the red lights displayed as last week’s feature winner Scott Brown would spin sideway and nose first his No. 87 into the front stretch wall. Mike Carapella had nowhere to go, slamming into Brown’s ride causing significant front end damage on the Carapella No. 3. But Brown would get it even worse as his ride ended up coming to a stop on the driver’s side of the car on two wheels.
But Woodard was a master of the starts and restarts in this feature to race away to a 3.6 second advantage at the checkered over the course of the last 5 laps. Woodard parked his Ford Thunderbird in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane for his second feature win of the season.
“I knew the 121 would be right on me but I also knew I had to protect the bottom, it didn’t seem that the top would be there,” noted Woodard.
Woodard thought that his second win of the season was just a bit sweeter than his first was back on Opening Night June 13.
“We’ve done a lot of work to this thing over the winter which made this win that much sweeter.”
Dylon Morseman and Jason Warner brought the Wicked Tees Mini Stocks to green for their 20-lap dance. It would eventually be point leader Jason Ketrow who would take over the top spot, looking for his third win in four weeks.
But a young man out of Corning, NY was not about to let that happen. Woodhull Warrior feature winner and graduate Brody Amidon started eighth and had the hammer down searching for his first adult division victory.
Rick and Ron Amidon made the right adjustments during intermission because the “Black and Orange Deuce” was a rocketship on corner entry and the center of the corner. Once Amidon got to the back bumper of Ketrow, Ketrow was unfortunately a sitting duck. Amidon blasted by on the bottom ditch line just shy of halfway.
Not even an extended red flag and slower traffic could shake the skilled racer and high school bowler. Amidon drove away to his first Mini Stock points victory over Warner, Travis Webster, Ray Hyer and Ketrow.
“It’s been a lot of work from my dad and grandpa and it finally feels good to get one here in this class,” said Amidon.
Todd McClain and Codie Baker would lead the field of Johnson’s Automotive Front Wheel Drives to the green flag for their 20-lap feature event. Baker left no doubt early on, as he would lead every lap in the first half of the race. He would lead the second half of the race as well, but he would get a much tougher challenge in the final five.
Scott Lehman Jr. cut into Baker’s lead lap after lap, until the advantage was down to six-tenths of a second with two laps to go. Baker stayed committed to the middle lane but would drift higher on the final lap to take Lehman’s line away and secure the victory. Baker said his key to victory was watching an earlier division to see what the track would do.
“I watched the Mini Stocks tonight and tried to gauge where I needed to be on the track”
The final feature of the night would see the Big Jim’s Wicked Tees Warriors youth four cylinder division take to the track for their 10-lap feature. Levi Riley led the field to the green flag from the pole position in search of his first career Woodhull feature win.
In order to do it, he would have to fend off a fierce battle from the three-time winner in Jacob Tubbs. Tubbs made a big move to the bottom lane into Turn 3 but Riley simply kept his foot on the gas and rode the cushion off Turn 4 to see Tony Van Pelt’s checkered flag for the first time.
“I went into Turn 3 and decided I was just going to keep my foot on the gas and try to win,” said a soft spoken Riley.
Woodhull Raceway Results – Louies Gun Shop/Addison Eagles Night - July 4, 2020
Insinger Performance Modifieds (16 cars)
Heats: Mike Bills, Billy Van Pelt
Feature (25 Laps): DONNIE LAWSON, Billy Van Pelt, Brian Doolittle, Mike Bills, Cory Costa, Josh Keesey, Dillon Groover, Joe Dgien, Dayton Brewer, Brady Fultz, Ajay Potrzebowski II, Jake Dgien, Russell Morseman, Bob Silvernail, Sheldon Gardner, Brayden Bills
NAPA Crate Sportsman (28 cars)
Heats: Kenny Peoples Jr, Cayden Lawson, Kreg Crooker, Chris Clemens
Consi: Ajay Potrzebowski
Feature (20 Laps): AJAY POTRZEBOWSKI (2), Teddy Morseman, Kenny Peoples Jr, Adam Taft, Dale Welty, Bob Butcher, Tracy Dunn, Christian Zschoche, Blake Lawson, Aiden Grover, Isabel Barron, Connor Brown, Chris Clemens, Kaiden Dgien, Steve Schrader, Art Goodier, Cayden Lawson, Noah Talada, Carter Crooker, AJ Costley, David Mayo, Kreg Crooker, Danielle Thomas, Reese Hackett, Cole Youse, Dylan Gilbert
NAPA Auto Parts King of the Bullring:
Kenny Peoples Jr. over Carter Crooker in Final Round
Cummings Trucking RUSH Late Models (14 cars)
Heats: Kurt Stebbins, Jason Knowles
Feature (20 Laps): STEVE DIXON, Jason Knowles, Brian Knowles, Clayton Tarabori, Steve LeBarron, Kurt Stebbins, Darin Horton, Jim Buck, Jason McGregor, Chuck LaFleur, Tony Kelley, Matt Kitts, John Haggerty, Joe Layfield
Joe Willcox Performance Automatics Street Stocks (14 cars)
Heats: Kane Stebbins, Brett Marlatt
Feature (20 Laps): KURT STEBBINS, Glenn Whritenour, Brett Marlatt, Brett Crawford, Branden Morseman, Dan Gardner, Kane Stebbins, Ted Morseman, Sherman Gage, Luke Boom, Mick Seeley, Aaron Miller, Jared Hill
DNS: Mike Williams
Woodhull Auto Supply Hobby Stocks (16 cars)
Heats: Chris Woodard, Mike Spencer
Feature (20 Laps): CHRIS WOODARD, Carter Dennis, Jeredd Dennis, Les Smith, Mike Spencer, Dick Wallace, Leo Eldridge, Lee Bills, Mike Carapella, Scott Brown. Matt Sullivan, Bill Williams, Spencer Drake, Nathan Kriner, Riley Gordon
Big Jim's Wicked Tees Mini Stocks (12 cars)
Heats: Josh Webster, Jason Ketrow
Feature (20 Laps): BRODY AMIDON, Jason Warner, Travis Webster, Ray Hyer, Jason Ketrow, Josh Webster, Dylon Morseman, John Hand Jr, Tyler Houghtaling, Chris Hand, Josh Snyder, Kenny Evans
Johnson's Auto Supply Front Wheel Drives (12 cars)
Heats: Scott Lehman Jr, Codie Baker
Feature (20 Laps): CODIE BAKER (3), Scott Lehman Jr, Nate Freeland, Matt Prescott, Todd Mclain, Garrett Wilson, Philip Hollowell, Scott Bateman Jr, Jacob McConnell, Richard Moore, Carl O'Dell
Big Jim's Wicked Tees Woodhull Warriors (8 cars)
Heat: Levi Riley
Feature (10 Laps): LEVI RILEY, Jacob Tubbs, Tierney White, Ethan Decker, Marshall O'Brian, Jaden Stone
DNS: Jordan Costley, Bradley Morseman