Little Valley Speedway News

Franek and Blair Win Headliners at Little Valley

By DAVE SULLY

LITTLE VALLEY, NY- Davie Franek, from Wantage, NJ, made his first Patriot Sprint Group trip to Little Valley Speedway a winning one, while Max Blair, from Centerville, PA, continued his dominance in the Super Late Models, as he cruised to his second win in two starts on Friday, July 1st.

Franek's win came in wild fashion, as the leaders danced with lap traffic, which led to a chaotic ending in a real crowd pleaser. The race had an inauspicious start. Seconds after the green flag, which saw Scott Kreutter beat polesitter Jared Zimbardi to the first turn, Dave Just took a wild ride on the back stretch, enduring a scary looking flip. After a brief delay, Just emerged from his car and walked unaided to the ambulance to be checked out.

On the complete restart, Kreutter once again got the jump on local favorite Zimbardi to take the lead, with Franek quickly jumping into third after starting fifth. Kreutter opened a lead, while Zimbardi, Franek,and Mark Smith, up from sixth battled for position. Two early cautions, one on lap three for a spin by Steve Collins, and one on lap six, when Joe Trenca's motor gave way, kept things close, while Kreutter continued to set a blistering pace, opening close to a half straightaway lead by lap ten.

Things changed when he entered lap traffic on the 12th circuit of the 25 lap race. With slower cars sometimes running side by side, Kretter's advantage quickly dissolved and he was almost taken out on lap 16. On lap 18, Zimbardi closed dramatically, as Kreutter swung wide in turn two and brushed the wall. With lap cars all around them Zimbardi grabbed the lead on lap 20, with Franek sneaking into second.

With one lap to go, Franek got a run on Zimbardi on the bottom to take the lead and the win. Zimbardi settled for second, with Smith, Kreutter, and Kyle Drum rounding out the top five. Franek wasn't really sure what happened at the end, declaring, “It's all a blur to me to be honest with you. There were so many lap cars in there, I wasn't sure if I was racing normal cars or lap cars. I knew I wasn't that good on the top, so I had to kind of roll the bottom. Basically, the last two laps I was going where Jared wasn't. He kind of over drove it on the last lap, and it worked out for us. I was getting a little worried during the middle of the race. We ere kind of settling in. I said, 'I've got to wait for lap traffic', and it came our way. I couldn't be happier ” The first place check of $4,000 will make him even happier.”

For his part, Zimbardi revealed, “Kreutter was real good in clean air. His motor really pulled off the starts there, and I couldn't stick the middle. About looped it on the start. Got another chance, but he was just too strong. I knew we had a shot when we got in lap traffic. We caught him and ended up getting the lead. I lost brakes with two laps to go. I went down to try to block Franek on the bottom, but with no brakes, you need the brakes to slow the car down, so I pretty much watched four grand go out the window. I think we could have had it if that hadn't happened, but I'm glad it was a good show for the fans.”

The 25 lap Super Late Model Feature didn't have the same drama, as Blair, who started third, swept past polesitter Jason Dupont to take the lead and never looked back. He built nearly a straightaway lead before the only caution flew on lap six, when Kirk Bradley rolled to a stop in turn four. Dupont pressured him down low on the restart, but the high line was working well, and he held his ground before driving away to win by a wide margin.

The finish was a family affair, as his father Robbie, who started fourth, finished in the runner-up spot. He was followed by Dupont, Bump Hedman, and Dutch Davies to complete the top five. Blair observed, “We've had a string of good luck here. We're trying to hit some stuff and been running really well. The track was super tonight. I was actually worried that the top was going to be a little too dominant. That wasn't the case though. There was still enough brown on the bottom getting off both ends. That was a lot of fun. It's really cool that my dad ran second.”

Jeremy Wonderling, from Scio, made it two in a row at the facility, winning the 20 lap Bill Law Memorial for the Crate Late Models, but needed a lucky break to get it. Polesitter Damian Bidwell led from the drop of the green,while Wonderling had to slog his way into contention from sixth. He claimed second on lap ten and then began to reel in Bidwell, who was cruising at the front, drawing within three car lengths by lap 18. It appeared that Bidwell had enough to hold him off, but as he entered turn two on the final lap, his car shot toward the wall, allowing Wonderling to streak past on the bottom to take the lead and the win. It was revealed later that he had run through water left when the 91 of Brian Haggerty blew his radiator.

Bidwell righted the ship to finish second, followed by Bill Holmes, TJ Downs, and Chad Silleman. Wonderling remarked, “I finally got to Damian. Once in a while I'd catch him a little bit. Then I changed lanes and started running the bottom in the corners and I was gaining on him. I drove harder and harder and then I saw him slide the nose up the race track and I was already committed to the bottom. It just worked out pretty good for me on the last lap.”

Next to the Sprints, the best race of the night was the E-Mods, where young Dan Davies, from Warren, PA, son of Little Valley SLM legend Ron, ran down a dominating David Scott, ironically one his father's best friends in racing, to win the 15 lap feature. Starting fourth, Davies saw Scott drive away at the front while he battled into second on lap three. From there he used the high line, made famous by his dad, to close the gap, reaching Scott's back bumper and then drawing along side before taking the lead on the final lap.

Scott, who has won often in the E-Mods this year, finished second, followed by Al Brewer, Tim Peterson, and Kirk Bradley in the abbreviated field. Davies opined, “This is crazy. I'm not quite sure why he gave me the top like he did. The cushion's very treacherous. You hit it wrong and you're hitting the fence, like I did once, but I gave it all I had and it worked out. It stuck, and we didn't hit the fence again.”

The 360 Late Model 15 lap Feature went to many-time winner Bruce Miller, from Wellsville, who took the lead from Tom Kemp on lap three and, following a lap four caution, drove away over the remaining laps. A spirited battle for second went to Kemp over previous race winner Dave Dubois. Miller, who missed the setup in the previous race, explained, “The first night out, I wasn't prepared for the track conditions. I was trying some of my Woodhull setup and it didn't work here, so I went back to my baseline Little Valley setup.”

Finally, Jimmy Kennerknecht, a former fixture and track champion at Little Valley, wired the field from the pole to win the 15 lap Street Stock Feature, holding off a challenge from Critter Hemphill in the latter stages of the race and through two restarts. He reported, “I was getting nervous. I saw him up there. He's a good guy to race with. We raced each other clean.”

NOTES: The weathermen took their toll once again, as rain predicted all week to hit the area on Friday never materialized, affecting the car count and the crowd, just as it did for the ROC race at Lake Erie a few weeks ago...................Little Valley is now on hiatus until September 16th and 17th, when a two day show will end the season, highlighted by the Super Late Model/358 Modified doubleheader on the 17th.

Results:


Patriot Sprints: (25 laps):- 1. Davie Franek 2. Jared Zimbardi, 3. Mark Smith, 4. Scott Kreutter, 5. Kyle Drum, 6. George Suprick, 7. Steve Collins, 8. Paulie Colagiovanni, 9. Jimmy Stitzel, 10. Paul Habeck, 11. Dane Lorenc, 12. Tyler Graves, 13. Darryl Ruggles, 14. Josh Azzi, 15. Steve Glover, 16. Dan Bennett, 17. Joe Trenca, 18. Scott Just, and 19. Dave Just. DNS: Steve Hutchinson Jr. and Justin Barger. Heat winners were Barger, Zimbardi, and Trenca. Dash winner was Suprick.

Super Late Models: (25 laps) – 1. Max Blair, 2. Robbie Blair, 3. Jason Dupont, 4. Bump Hedman, 5. Dutch Davies, 6. Chad Valone, 7. Brent Rhebergen, 8. John Lobb, 9. Ward Schell, 10. Nathan Hill, 11. Terry Porter, 12. Mike Robinson, 13. Kirk Bradley, and 14. John Lacki. Heat winners were Max Blair and Valone.

Crate Late Models: 20 laps) – 1. Jeremy Wonderling, 2. Damian Bidwell, 3. Bill Holmes, 4. TJ Downs, 5. Chad Silleman, 6. Mike Wonderling, 7. Andy Michael, 8. Paul Grigsby, 9. Jon Rivers, 10. Brad Mesler, 11. John Haggerty, 12. Chad Showers, 13. Randy Ralyea, 14. Garrett Mott, 15. Nick Snayczak, and 16. Brian Haggerty. Heat winners were Bidwell and Jeremy Wonderling.

360 Late Models: (15 laps) - 1. Bruce Miller, 2. Tom Kemp, 3. Dave Dubois, 4. Steve LeBarren, 5. John Zimmerman, 6. Brian Kotarski, 7. DJ Krug, 8. Wally Wade, 9. Alan Wais, and Greg Hallett. Heat winners were Miller and Dubois.

E-Mods: 1. Dan Davies, 2. David Scott, 3. Al Brewer, 4. Tim Peterson, 5. Kirk Bradley, 6. Jeff Johnson, and 7. Brian Mohawk. DNS: Kyle Bedell.

Street Stocks: (15 laps) – 1. Jimmy Kennerknecht, 2. Critter Hemphill, 3. Butch Talbot, 4. Chris Cokeinhour, 5. Nick Mohawk, 6. Tom McFall, 7. Butch Zimmerman, 8. Steve Sklar, 9. Bob Babbitt, 10. Ron Richter, 11. Dustin Goss, 12. Ted Mascho, 13. Ed Coast, and 14. Dana Maybee.

For more information, call the Speedway office at 716-938-9146.


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