Little Valley Speedway News

Bob Close Out-Duels Ron Davies In SLM Thriller At Little Valley
by Dave Sully

(Little Valley, NY) Veteran Bob Close, from Eldred PA, who semi-retired a couple of years ago, is back big time. He scored his second Super Late Model victory of the season at Little Valley Speedway on Sunday, May 26th, before a large crowd, on a night that his company, Close Racing Supply, sponsored the event. Following a win at McKean County Raceway earlier in the season, Close drove an inspired race this night, in a race which came down to a battle through lap traffic with former WOO Rookie of the Year and acknowledged master of Little Valley, Ron Davies.

Starting seventh on the grid, Close blasted to the front, taking the lead following a lap two restart, getting a great jump from third to vault past leader Bump Hedman and Mike Knight in the process. Meanwhile, Davies, who started eleventh, was up on the wheel early as well, grabbing third after a lap 5 restart, caused when brother Dutch lost an engine.

The top three of Close, Knight and Davies separated themselves from the field and commenced to battle each other for the top spot. Davies got by Knight on lap nine, and then flew past Close a lap later, immediately opening a good lead. Close and Knight didn’t go quietly, as they battled each other for the right to chase Davies. Close cleared Knight on lap 12 and set sail for Davies, who entered lap traffic on lap 14. He caught the 71D of Davies on lap 20 and then slipped by on lap 21.

Davies returned the favor on lap 22, before Close once again seized the advantage. From there, Davies tried desperately to regain the lead, but Close was able to hold him off to score the hard-earned victory. Davies settled for second, followed by Knight, defending track champion Jason Dupont, and veteran Dick Barton to complete the top five.

A very pleased Close exulted, “If you can beat Ron Davies here, you’ve done something. This thing got up off the corner a ton. All I had to do was not screw it up going in and slide up too fast, but man, but if I could keep it square coming off the corner, it just drove like crazy.” As to whether he could have caught Davies without the lap traffic, he added, “I think I could have. I really screwed up when he got by me. I didn’t get off the corner good, and I was just being patient. He was running high and would hit the bumps and get a little sideways, and I’d gain a little each lap. I just tried to stay smooth. The lap cars did help. There’s no doubt about it. It would have been a good race.”

The Crate Late Model Feature went to Justin Tatlow, from Franklinville, who came from eighth to vie for the top spot with Doug Ricotta, who had driven to the lead on a lap six restart.. Tatlow worked his way to the runner-up spot following a lap nine caution and then proceeded to hound Ricotta relentlessly for several laps, finally squeezing in front on the inside in turn two on lap 16. From there, he was able to drive away over the final four laps.

Ricotta finished second, followed by Adam Sixt, Wayne Robertson, and Brad Mesler to round out the top five. On the struggle with Ricotta, Tatlow observed, “He was opening up the bottom in the middle of the corner, hitting the berm. I was just waiting for it. I just had to be in the right position so I could strike when he opened it up.”

The BRP CanAm Series Feature went to John Waters, from Whitesville, who came from twelfth, using a fast race car and some early cautions, which kept things tight. By lap six he was lying fourth behind leader Glenn Writenour, who had paced the field from the start. A caution on lap 12 put him on Whritenour’s bumper for the restart, from where he got underneath and then finally eased into the lead coming out of turn four. He was able to hold off Writenour on a final restart on lap 14 of the race, which was shortened to 15 laps from the scheduled 20, following some extensive early delays for cautions and a flip.

Jermey Wonderling made a brilliant charge from 25th to finish third, while his father Mike and Bob Close completed the top five. On the pass for the lead, Waters observed, “On that restart, I knew there was a good chance. I really didn’t want him getting his momentum if he got going. I saw him leaving the bottom open a little bit, so I knew I had to hug right up on his quarter panel, and make my move in the first corner and luckily it got in there and the car stuck. I think we lost our front brakes, so it was a little difficult getting going, and I couldn’t go in as hard as I wanted to, but it definitely worked out for me tonight.”

The E-Mod Feature turned into a two car battle between Steve Dixon, from Smethport, PA, and Ron Davies, doing double duty this night. Dixon took the lead from the outside pole and opened up a sizable advantage, only to see Davies, who had just completed the hotly contested Super Late Model event, chase him down after starting seventh, actually reaching Dixon’s bumper on lap six. However, a bobble on lap seven cost Davies valuable territory and Dixon was able to pull away after that.

Davies finished second, followed by John Woodward, Ed Carley, and Vic Vena. Dixon observed, “I saw that Ron was in second when it came up on the board, and a crew member signaled that he was getting close. I was kind of taking it easy. I heard Ron coming up behind me. I knew he’d be on the bottom, so I went to the high side and pulled away from him. It seemed like the top was a little better tonight.”

Finally, the Street Stock Feature went to Adam Ashcroft, from Sardinia, who prevailed in an intense battle with Don Wolfer, swapping the lead three times before finally taking the lead for good on lap 10. Wolfer lost second late in the race to Brad Ullman. Ashcroft declared, “Don’s car was working good on the top. I tried up there. It wasn’t as good. I went back to the bottom and finally got some drive. Somebody lost a radiator hose, and I saw him hit it. He had to let off going into the corner and that’s when I snuck by him.”

NOTES: Ninety cars were on hand for the Little Valley opener, on a cool crisp evening, including 16 Super Late Models and 27 BRP CanAm Series cars……….Barry Payne, from Troupsburg, went flying on lap six of the BRP Feature, with the car ending up on its roof. Payne was uninjured ion the scary looking crash…………. Little Valley’s next show is on Friday, June 7th at 7:00PM, when the Super Lates, BRP CanAm Series, E-Mods, and Street Stocks will appear, sponsored by Emerling Resale and Gowanda Ford.


Super Late Models: (30 laps) 1. Bob Close, 2. Ron Davies, 3. Mike Knight, 4. Jason Dupont, 5. Dick Barton, 6. Greg Oakes, 7. Bump Hedman, 8. Brent Rhebergen, 9. Jeff Hoffman, 10. John Volpe, 11. Terry Porter, 12. John Lacki, 13. Boom Briggs, 14. Jon Rohacevich, 15. Jim Mason, and 16. Dutch Davies. Heat winners were Dutch Davies and Hedman.

Crate Late Models: (20 laps) 1. Justin Tatlow, 2. Doug Ricotta, 3. Adam Sixt, 4. Wayne Robertson, 5. Brad Mesler, 6. Bryce Davis, 7. Dustin Waters, 8. Chad Silliman, 9. Paul Grigsby, 10. Cody Mason, 11. Dave Norton, 12. Garrett Stephen, 13. Bill Mesler, 14. Doug Gavette, 15. Derek Frank, 16. Zack Carley, 17. Brian Knowles, and 18. Ward Schell. Heat winners were Ricotta, Carley, and Robertson.

BRP Late Models: (15 laps) 1. John Waters, 2. Glenn Whritenour, 3. Jeremy Wonderling, 4. Mike Wonderling, 5. Bob Close, 6. Mikey Wonderling, 7. Brady Wonderling, 8. Bruce Miller, 9. Jason Knowles, 10. Brian Knowles, 11. Cecil LaBarron, 12. Steve LaBarron, 13. Jon Rivers 14. Jay McConnell, 15. Ray Bliss, 16. Jimmy Johnson 17. Kevin Olinger, 18. Bob Babbitt, 19. Neil Patterson, 20. Wally Wade, 21. DJ Krug, 22. Quinn Sutherland, 23. Jared Hill, 24. Brad LaBarron, 25. Barry Payne, 26. Ron Wilkins, and 27. Jim Johnson. Heat winners were John Waters, Whritenour, and Brian Knowles.

E-Mods: (20 laps) 1. Steve Dixon, 2. Ron Davies, 3. John Woodward, 4. Ed Carley, 5. Vic Vena, 6. Kyle Bedell, 7. Ken Zimmer, 8. TJ Downs, 9. Jeff Johnson, 10. Justin Carlson, 11. Carl McKinney, 12. Brian Fardink, 13. Carl Ballinger, 14. Josh John, 15. Dan Sasso, 16. Tim Peterson, 17. Nathan Hill, and 18. Dan Davies. DNS: Jeff Johnson (Car 27). Heat winners were Bedell, Ron Davies, and Dixon.

Street Stocks: (15 laps) 1. Adam Ashcroft, 2. Brad Ullman, 3. Don Wolfer, 4. Andy Michael, 5. Rob Stromecki, 6. Levi Watson, 7. Butch Talbot, 8. Joe Chamberlain, 9. Andrew Eastman, 10. Dan Scharf, and 11. Josh Wilcox. DNS: Darryl Greene. Heat winners were Michael and Ashcroft.