Ray Bliss Rockets to First Genesee Win Since 2019 while Jeremy Wonderling Wins the Late Model Duel with Brother Brady
Rich Vleck, BATAVIA, NY, (August 11, 2022)- Despite being called a Thursday Night Thunder program, a Chamber of Commerce Night presented five divisions getting the final midweek show of the season in at a brisk pace.
One of the highlights of Stirling Lubricants Night came in the Sportsman Feature as veteran Ray Bliss scored his first feature win in nearly three years. Bliss, of Warsaw, started on the pole and jumped out to the early lead, but after a lap five restart Canadian Billy Bleich Jr. charged from third to challenge Bliss for the lead. Coming to complete lap six, Bleich’s No. 108 was .010 seconds ahead at the line but that was when “Zeke the Streak” roared back to the life and jumped back out in front.
“When I saw (Bleich) I figured it was time to get going,” said the soft-spoken Bliss in Victory Lane. “We finally got some things figured out and have been running better.”
Once getting back in front of Bleich for the lead, defending Novice Sportsman Champion Jacob Bansmer also got back by him to regain the runner-up spot. Bansmer would find himself more than two seconds behind the No. 27z though and while he closed the gap almost every lap, he was never able to cut it under a second as Bliss would hang on to become the eighth different winner in the Stirling Lubricants Sportsman this season. Bansmer’s second-place run was a career-best for the youngster, who now has four-straight top five finishes. Bleich would hang on for a third-place run in his second appearance of the year in Batavia. Behind that trio were some incredible battles with the top nine drivers in the points, with Ryan Barrett slicing his way through to finish fourth, just ahead of Phil Vigneri III, who made two big moves in the closing laps to round out the top five, and take over the point lead in the process.
The Late Model Feature was a battle between the Wonderling Brothers for much of the 25-lap feature, with Jeremy finding a way by Brady with six laps remaining to claim his fifth feature win of the season.
Wonderling, of Wellsville, got a powerful run off of turn four to complete lap 18 to set up a slidejob on Brady entering turn one and was able to run off from there to score the win in his new car. While the move was made in the matter of a straightaway, it was one that “Mr. Excitement” had been setting up for laps.
“The track was drying up to the point where I kept showing him my nose on the bottom over and over to try to get him to move down so that I could get a run off the top and once I did that I knew I could slide him without having him doing something reckless,” said Jeremy after the race. “It’s just great to run against someone who you respect so much and want to race with and know they will respect you back.”
Brady Wonderling had jumped out to the early lead over TJ Downs, who was battling for second with Jeremy Wonderling on lap four when the No. 33 came around. The restart allowed invader Bryce Davis to inherit third to make it a trio flying around the 1/3-mile. As they started to weave through lapped traffic, that’s when Jeremy set up Brady for the pass with Davis trying to find a way by them as well. At some point, the right rear of the No. 3J made contact with a lapped car and was crunched up but he kept on going to make the pass on lap 19.
As Jeremy and Brady ran to a 1-2 finish, on the final circuit a lapped car would spin and collect Bryce Davis in the process. Jon Rivers would move up a spot to finish in third. Rivers had started in 10th but had taken over fourth by the end of lap five. Point Leader Doug Ricotta finished in fourth while David Pangrazio rounded out the top five.
The Hobby Stock division invaded for their lone appearance of 2022 and did not disappoint with fierce battles throughout the pack with drivers from both the Southern Tier and Niagara County. Jerred Dennis took advantage of leader Kaiden Dgien choosing the bottle line on a lap 2 restart and jumped in front of the pack and would lead the rest of the way to pick up the victory. Dgien would give pressure for a number of laps after losing the top spot but after slipping over the banking in turn two would fall back to third until taking it back from Greg Young coming to the white flag. Dgien would cross in second while Young would hang on to the podium. On the final lap, a few cars would drift over the banking in turn one, enabling Chris Dziomba to drive up to fourth. Heat winner Joe Birdsall would round out the top five.
Mini Stock Point Leader James Gayton wasted no time getting in front of the field in the 15-lap feature as he took front row starters Rocco Conte and Robert Knapp three wide off the second corner to inherit the lead from the fourth starting spot by the time they hit the backstretch. It appeared it would be smooth-sailing for Gayton but a broken component on his left front wheel would make things interesting down the stretch. In the end, he was able to park his No. 10 in Victory Lane for the seventh consecutive race, his eighth overall this season. Rocco Conte ran to a solid second-place finish while Olivia Coniber rallied from early race issues to get back on the podium.
The Bandit Division ran a feature-only format on the night, which worked out just fine for 13-year-old Tyler Foster, who captured his first career feature win. Foster, of Lockport, took the lead from Morgan Coniber on a lap 2 restart and then had to fend off point leader Seth Johnson on a lap five restart and then all the way to the finish to park his No. 53 in Victory Lane. Johnson peaked to the inside on multiple occasions but would have to settle for second while Nicholas Lipome rounded out the podium in third.
Racing returns in fast order as a full card is on tap for this Saturday with all six weekly divisions being joined being joined by the Classics on Dirt Vintage Stock Cars. Race time for that show is 6:00 with perfect weather in the forecast. For more information, visit www.Genesee-Speedway.com.
Genesee Speedway Results: 8/11/2022-
Stirling Lubricants Night
Cornerstone Eye Associates RUSH Late Model Feature (25 Laps)- JEREMY WONDERLING, Brady Wonderling, Jon Rivers, Doug Ricotta, David Pangrazio, Chad Homan, Chris Fleming, Dave DuBois, JJ Mazur, Alan Chapman, Paul Grigsby, Billy DuBois, Bryce Davis, Jim Mazur, Brian Kotarski, Aaron Miller, Todd Chapman, TJ Downs, Dave Stolzenberg.
Lap Leaders- B. Wonderling 1-18, J. Wonderling 19-25.
Heat Winners- D. DuBois, J. Wonderling, Homan.
Stirling Lubricants DIRTcar Sportsman Feature (25 Laps)- RAY BLISS, Jacob Bansmer, Bill Bleich Jr., Ryan Barrett, Phil Vigneri III, Kyle Richner, Dave Conant, Noah Walker, Larry Vick, Brandon Michaud, Cameron Tuttle, Mike McCarthy, Tyler Guzzardi, Gordy Hermanson Jr., Jim Harbison, Greg Mrzwyka (DNS), Jessica Kriegisch (DNS).
Lap Leader- Bliss 1-5, Bleich 6, Bliss 7-25.
Heat Winners- Bliss, Conant.
Invasion of the Hobby Stock Feature (20 Laps)- JERRED DENNIS, Kaiden Dgien, Greg Young, Chris Dziomba, Joe Birdsall, Brandon Birsdall, Brandon Conklin, Adam Leuber, Brent Williams, Mike Spencer, Glenn VanCise, Jon Almekind, Jaren Israel.
Lap Leaders- Dgien 1-3, Dennis 4-20.
Heat Winners- J. Birdsall, Dgien.
The Detail Shop Mini Stock Feature (15 Laps)- JAMES GAYTON, Rocco Conte, Olivia Coniber, Jessica Schleede, Mike Dinehardt, Cody Wise, Tom Knapp, Robert Knapp, Eric Brumsted, Shawna Knapp (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Gayton 1-15.
Heat Winners- Conte, Gayton.
DML Sealing Bandit Feature (10 Laps)- TYLER FOSTER, Seth Johnson, Nick Lipome, Joey Swick, Morgan Coniber, Jonathan Logsdon.
Lap Leaders- Coniber 1, Foster 2-10.