Glenn Whritenour Dominates Gene Dewitt Memorial at Genesee
Jeremy Wonderling and Dave Conant Add to Win Totals
Rich Vleck, BATAVIA, NY, (August 27, 2022)- After a week off from racing, perhaps the best weather day of the season saw perhaps the best car count on a “regular night” and one of the raciest surfaces of the season, creating for plenty of storylines throughout.
A 34-lap Street Stock Feature with over $3000 in bonus money put in to it for the Gene Dewitt Memorial was the highlight race of the night, but in the end it was one driver putting on a clinic to leave no doubt who was the class of the field on the night.
Glenn Whritenour, of Jasper, took the lead on lap 7 from Dennis Cummings and set sail to cruise to a comfortable win of over 7 seconds. On a surface that was racy but also a little slick, it was critical to have a car that would stay underneath each competitor and that is exactly what Whritenour found in his No. 15.
Whritenour went from fourth to second on a lap five restart and just two laps later had the lead. He was able to keep his car pointed straight while others struggled to find the grip.
“I actually think we overtightened the car but it was able to come to us a little bit,” he said after the race. “Late in the race I lost by power steering though so that made things less than smooth sailing.”
It was the first win in Batavia for Whritenour since early in 2018, due in large part to his limited appearances on the 1/3-mile oval. This was just his second time at Genesee this season.
Early leader Dennis Cummings would hold on for second while Mike Kelly ran a fine race to fend off Brandon Sherwood for third. Tommy Kemp made a late charge to round out the top five, just ahead of point leader Bill Taylor.
Jeremy Wonderling came in to Saturday Night having won the feature each of the four nights he won his qualifying heat, so when the No. 3J took the checkered flag in his heat, he felt he had to keep that streak going and that is just what he did at the end of the night.
Wonderling, of Wellsville, took the lead from Chad Homan coming to complete lap 8 and then held him off down the stretch for his sixth feature win of the year at Genesee. Wonderling and Homan came together on the frontstretch sending Homan’s No. 91 down in to the infield before he was able to return to form. Homan would run down “Mr. Excitement” as the duo reached lapped traffic but Wonderling was able to navigate through to reestablish his margin despite some wild moments.
“Lapped traffic is part of the game right,” Wonderling said in Victory Lane. “I bounced off the wall when the one car drifted up but we were able to move through pretty well.”
After clearing the lapped traffic better than Homan, only a caution flag could give Homan a chance to claim the win, and that’s what happened three laps shy of the finish. Wonderling did not worry too much about the restart though.
“I knew our car was pretty good and if we hit our marks we’d be fine,” he added afterwards. “This was probably the best I’ve seen this track this year so it was a blast to race on.”
In the final three-lap sprint to the finish Homan closed on Wonderling but would have to settle for second, good enough for his best finish at Genesee in his last six starts. Doug Ricotta tallied a strong point night with a heat win and a third place effort. Dave DuBois had a much-needed top five finish, coming across in fourth, just ahead of David Pangrazio.
The Sportsman Feature was perhaps the most drama-filled feature of the night, with race leaders and championship contenders falling out, falling back, or driving forward. Point leader Phil Vigneri III seemed to have the best car early on, driving from eighth to third in the opening three circuits, until his car broke on lap five, ending his night and putting a dent his point lead. Ray Bliss, who had led from the drop of the green flag, was working hard to hold off Dave Conant for the lead when he blew the motor on lap 18 to end his night. That would hand over the top spot to Conant, who had the knowledge, and the race car, to stay out in front and pick up his third feature win of the season.
“I’m not sure if I would have been able to get by Ray but it would have been close,” said Conant after the 25-lap event. “I could run the bottom but he was still pretty good up top. I hate to see him break but there were some guys going good behind me.”
Over the final eight laps of the feature, the main competition for “Cadillac” was Canadian Cody McPherson, who had go from the 10th starting position up to second, but was unable to stay with the 44 on the final three restarts and would have to settle for a runner-up showing. Jim Harbison was a close third while Kyle Richner and Ryan Barrett each put together hard chargers to round out the top five. Richner went from 12th to fourth while Barrett went 15th to 5th.
Olivia Coniber captured her second Mini Stock Feature win of the season, as she held off the point leader James Gayton all 15 circuits to claim the victory. Coniber, of Corfu, had to fend off Gayton early on as the No. 10 pressured on the bottom then saw him change his line but to no avail as he could not find a way around the No. 004. As those two duked it out for the win, heat winner Cole Susice was able to outduel Brandon Shepard to finish third in his first night in a new ride for the former champion. Shepard was fourth in his first race at Genesee in 2022 while Cody Wise, the winner last time out, rounded out the top five.
The Novice Sportsman had the best car count in their 3-year history on Saturday Night and put on a thrilling feature. Andrew Joy was a regular in the division last year, scoring six runner-up finishes, but on Saturday Night, in his first start of the year, he was able to get break through and score his first feature win. Joy took the lead from Greenley George on a lap 7 restart and then drove off to park his No. 76m in Victory Lane. George and Joy made contact coming to the green flag on the restart and it may have effected George’s No. 26 as she fell back to fourth before rebounding late to run back up to score a runner-up finish, moving by John Livingston Jr. on the final lap. Point leader Allison Dewitt and Casey Jonathan rounded out the top five.
The Bandits had a tight finish right down to the wire with Tyler Foster pressing leader Seth Johnson on the final circuit. Foster dove to the inside of the No. 85 entering turn one but got a little loose when they made contact and fell back allowing Johnson to run off to his ninth win of the year, his second in-a-row. With Foster getting loose and nearly spinning, Morgan Coniber was able to move on by to claim second while Foster gathering himself up to finish in third.
Racing returns next Saturday Night as longtime track supporter Dale Valley Diecast presents a Super 6 at 6:00 program. For more information, visit www.Genesee-Speedway.com.
Genesee Speedway Results: 8/27/2022-
Gene Dewitt Memorial Night presented by BW’s
Cornerstone Eye Associates RUSH Late Model Feature (25 Laps)- JEREMY WONDERLING, Chad Homan, Doug Ricotta, Dave DuBois, David Pangrazio, Billy DuBois, JJ Mazur, Paul Grigsby, Bill Holmes, Dan Bennett, Jon Rivers, Jim Mazur, TJ Downs.
Lap Leaders- Homan 1-7, Wonderling 8-25.
Heat Winners- Wonderling, Ricotta.
Stirling Lubricants DIRTcar Sportsman Feature (25 Laps)- DAVE CONANT, Cody McPherson, Jim Harbison, Kyle Richner, Ryan Barrett, Sam Hoxie, Randy Chrysler, Noah Walker, Jacob Bansmer, Cameron Tuttle, Gordy Hermanson Jr., Jessica Kriegisch, Tyler Guzzardi, Brandon Michaud, Ray Bliss, Greg Mrzywka, Mike McCarthy, Phil Vigneri III, Mason Worth, Larry Vick (DQ), Jericho Gurney (DNS).
Lap Leader- Bliss 1-5, Conant 6, Bliss 7-17, Conant 18-25.
Heat Winners- Vigneri, Hoxie, Chrysler.
Gene Dewitt Memorial Yasses Trucking and Construction Street Stock Feature (34 Laps)- GLENN WHRITENOUR, Dennis Cummings, Mike Kelly, Brandon Sherwood, Tommy Kemp, Bill Taylor, Dan Schulz, Dale Rissinger, Byron Dewitt, Rich Conte, Bobby Lippa Jr., Sam Hoxie, Ian Travis, Scott DeRock, Jesse Qutermous, Jacob Vick, Jeff Sonnenberg, Kenny Cook, Pat Powers.
Lap Leaders- Cummings 1-6, Whritenour 7-34
Heat Winners- Long, Kelly, Powers.
The Detail Shop Mini Stock Feature (15 Laps)- OLIVIA CONIBER, James Gayton, Cole Susice, Brandon Shepard, Cody Wise, Eric Brumsted, Alexis Traxler, Tom Knapp, Jessica Schleede, Aric Schosek, Caleb Wolcott, Mike Dinehardt, Robert Knapp, Mike Taddonio.
Lap Leaders- Coniber 1-15.
Heat Winners- Susice, Gayton.
Ron & Newt’s Sales and Service Novice Sportsman Feature (15 Laps)- ANDREW JOY, Greenley George, John Livingston Jr., Allison Dewitt, Casey Jonathan, Bailey Logsdon, Joe Mickay, Noah Pangrazio, Paul Marshall, Cory Sawyer, Dillon Adamczak, Mike Taddonio.
Lap Leaders- George 1-6, Joy 7-15.
Heat Winners- Joy, George.
DML Sealing Bandit Feature (10 Laps)- SETH JOHNSON, Morgan Coniber, Tyler Foster, Jonathan Logsdon, Nick Lipome, Racelyn Lippa, Joey Swick.
Lap Leaders- Johnson 1-10.
Heat Winner- Foster.