Jason Dupont Scores Long Sought SLM Win at Little Valley
by Dave Sully
(Little Valley, New York) Jason Dupont, from Cyclone, PA, scored the win he
has been seeking since the track re-opened for racing in 1997, claiming the
30 lap Super Late Model win at Little Valley Speedway on Sunday, May 27th
before a large and appreciative crowd. Dupont, whose only other SLM win was
at Freedom several years ago, has always been fast. He has had chances to
win at Little Valley, but misfortune has always dogged him at the fast half
mile. This night, he would not be denied.
Dupont served notice that he would once again be a factor, streaking to the
front from fifth to win his heat. In the feature, Bump Hedman took the lead
from the outside pole, while Dupont was on the charge from the get-go,
claiming third by lap three, after starting seventh and then setting out
after Hedman and Boom Briggs.
The only caution of the event flew on lap eight, when defending track
champion Dick Barton broke, putting Dupont, who had gotten past Briggs,
right on Hedman’s bumper for the restart. Dupont got a great jump and
dispatched Hedman coming out of turn two. He then proceeded to open a
commanding lead as Hedman, Briggs, Mike Knight, and Ron Davies fought a
pitched battle for second.
Dupont increased his lead to almost a straightaway over the remaining laps,
surviving a scary encounter with two lap cars on lap 25. At the line, it was
Dupont well in front, followed by Knight, Briggs, Hedman, and Davies the top
An emotional Dupont declared, “Back when David Scott ruled this place, we
had him covered a couple of times, and we broke. We’ve been snake-bitten so
many times. I’m just happy to break the curse. It means a lot. We’ve been
here since the day they opened. We’ve been decent, but it means a lot to
finally get one here.” On his success this night, he added, “We made the
right changes, didn’t over-adjust. It was perfect. I lost my brakes with
eight to go, and the car was just absolutely perfect. I didn’t know I had a
straightaway lead. I thought I heard them beeping on me, so I was going as
hard as I could go. This is the highlight of my career. I’d like to come
back here in August and do this with the Outlaws.”
The 20 lap BRP 360 Late Model Feature saw Dusty Waters, from Portville,
claim the victory in a wild finish. After many time Little Valley winner,
Bruce Miller surged to the front on lap 12, when leader John Waters blew a
power steering hose, it became a two car battle between Miller and defending
BRP champion Jeremy Wonderling for the top spot.
Miller was able to maintain a lead of several car lengths, but as the laps
wound down Wonderling closed in. On the final lap Wonderling made a hard
move on Miller in turn three and the two main serious contact. Both cars
went sideways, allowing Waters and Dave Dubois to tip-toe through the melee.
Miller and Wonderling were able to finish.
At the checkered flag, it was Waters, Dubois, Wonderling, Mikey Wonderling,
and Bob Close, but Jeremy Wonderling was penalized for getting into Miller
and was placed sixth. Miller was scored fifth in the final accounting.
It was Waters’ second Little Valley career win. He had a clear look at what
transpired in front of him, explaining, “I watched Jeremy taking it in
harder and harder trying to get under Bruce. I saw the laps counting down. I
knew he was going to push it harder. That’s Jeremy. He pushed it in there
hard, and I saw him going. I almost backed off because Bruce was coming
toward me, but I knew it would be worth the win if I got by. He (Miller) got
me a little bit in the door, but that’s just a dent. I can pound that out. I
was a little worried going into the race because we didn’t have much
traction coming off. We made a few changes, and they were the right ones.”
The 25 lap E-Mod Feature saw veteran Randy Hall, from Olean, take the win.
Starting fifth, the race quickly became a battle between Hall and defending
track champion, Rich Michael Jr. The two, who have a sometimes stormy past,
diced for the lead early with Michael grabbing the lead on lap six in turn
one and Hall claiming the top spot in turn three on the same lap.
Michael stalked Hall from there, with the two going side by side on laps 11
and 12 before Michaels ended the suspense when he broke on lap 16. From
there Hall took care of his car and cruised to the win over a fast closing
Brent Rhebergen and Steve Dixon, who made a gallant run from 19th to finish
third. Shane Crotty and Leonard Enos completed the top five.
Hall, who has teamed with Vic Vena this season, observed, “We’ve been
struggling the last couple of years, so it’s nice to come out here and win.”
Of the race with Michaels, he noted, “It must have been exciting to watch
because we swapped the lead a couple of times there. He’d get by me, and
then I could by him again. I couldn’t driver this thing any harder. At the
end, I think if I had pushed it, something bad would have happened.”
Regarding the storied enmity between the two, he remarked, “He actually won
last week, and I finished second. I told him,’Good job,’ and he gave me a
thumbs up. We just race each other hard. Most times it’s not a problem. One
there’s a problem, the reputation follows you.”
Finally, Andy Michael, from Alleghany, cruised to the win in the 15 lap
Street Stock feature after taking the lead from Butch Talbot, with whom he
battled for several laps. Adam Ashcroft was closing in at the end. Michaels
noted, Butch ran a good race. He slipped up a couple of times, and I was
able to get underneath. I saw Ashcroft once or twice, but we held him off.
That’s the main thing.”
NOTES: The fine crowd in attendance belied the fact that rain was in the
forecast and some fans drove through heavy rain to get to the track……17 late
models, 24 BRP late models, 17 street stocks, and 31 E-Mods graced the
pits……….The track is back at it on Friday, June 8th, at 7:00, with the Super
Lates, BRP 360 Dart Challenge, E-Mods, Street Stocks, and Crate Late Models
on the card.
Super Late Models: (30 laps) Jason Dupont, Mike Knight, Boom Briggs,
Bump Hedman, Ron Davies, Dutch Davies, Greg Oakes, Chad Valone, Denny
Fenton, Chris Hackett, Paul Grigsby, Brady Wonderling, TJ Downs, Jeff
Hoffman, Brent Rhebergen, Dick Barton, and Bob Close. Heat winners were Ron
Davies, Dupont, and Dutch Davies.
BRP 360 Late Models: (20 laps) Dusty Waters, Dave Dubois, Mikey
Wonderling, Bob Close, Bruce Miller, *Jeremy Wonderling, Mike Wonderling,
Jason Knowles, Brian Knowles, Steve Watson, Quinn Sutherland, Jim Johnson,
Buck Payne, Steve LaBarron, Bob Stilson, DJ Krug, Carl Cleveland, Jared
Hill, Glen Whritenour, Jon Rivers, Wally Wade, John Waters, Alan Wais, and
Ron Wilkins. (*Crossed line third, placed sixth for rough driving.) Heat
winners were Miller, Mikey Wonderling, and Rivers.
E-Mods: (25 laps) Randy Hall, Brent Rhebergen, Steve Dixon, Shane
Crotty, Leonard Enos, Carl McKinney, Kyle Inman, Kyle Bedell, Vic Vena,
Butch Southwell, Justin Carlson, Dan Davies, Chad Silleman, Chad Carlson,
Nathan Hill, Brian Fardink, John Boardman, Kirk Bradley, Rich Michael Jr.,
Ken Zimmer, Tim Peterson, Jabon Hill, Al Brewer, and John Woodward. Heat
winners were Vena, Hall, Michael, and Boardman. B Main winners were Davies
Street Stocks: (15 laps) Andy Michael, Adam Ashcroft, Levi Watson,
Butch Talbot, Randy Taylor, Jeff Woodward, Chris Austin, Josh Wilcox, Ted
Mascho, Rob Stromecki, Critter Hemphill, Joe Chamberlain, Steve Sklar, Chuck
Pruden, Bill Witter, John Woodward, and Andrew Eastman. Heat winners were
John Woodward and Michael.