Dutch Davies Wins RRS LM Finale at Little Valley, Andrews Champ (Little Valley, NY) Dutch Davies continued his late season heroics, winning the final Regional Racing Late Model Series 30 lap event at Little Valley Speedway on Saturday,...
Dutch Davies Wins RRS LM Finale at Little Valley, Andrews Champ
(Little Valley, NY) Dutch Davies continued his late season heroics, winning the final Regional Racing Late Model Series 30 lap event at Little Valley Speedway on Saturday, September 25th and pocketing the winner's check of $3,000. Todd Andrews from eldred, PA, by virtue of a near miraculous third place finish, clinched the track championship by a mere three points over Davies. Andrews drove the last seven laps with a flat left rear tire, which he expected would explode at any moment, but for some reason didn't, and he took the title.
Davies, from Warren, PA, led all 30 laps in the spirited affair that saw Andrews start in eleventh place after the redraw and needing to finish fifth or better to clinch the title and the $3,000 bonus for also winning the RRS title, which he had clinched two weeks before. Despite leading the entire distance, the issue was in doubt for Davies until he took the checkered flag as eight cautions punctuated the event, forcing Davies to get everything he could out a race car which was tightening up as the race wore on. He explained, "The car gave me some problems toward the end of the race. It got a little bit tight. I was getting worried about Ronnie (his brother). I know how good he is here, but we were able to hold on."
With Dutch moving out to a commanding lead early, attention moved to Andrews in his quest for the crown. He obliged immediately, rocketing up from his eleventh place starting spot to lie sixth after only two laps. It took him six more laps to claim fourth after battling Bob Close and Brent Rhebergen for position. After a lap 13 restart for a spin by Travis Asel, Andrews sent after Bill Cunningham for third after Ron Davies moved past Cunningham into second on lap 12. The battle lasted nearly nine laps before Andrews took the position.
The order stayed that way until lap 25 when the race took a dramatic bend. Coming out of turn two, Dutch got sideways and almost spun, allowing brother Ron to close right in. Cautions on lap 26 and lap 27 gave Ron two more chances to beat Dutch to the punch, but he couldn't quite complete the job. Ron gave it one final try on the final lap. Getting a good run off of turn four, he went outside and drag raced Dutch to the line, with Dutch holding on by half a car length. Ron noted, "That's the way racing goes. I just needed another half a lap. We needed to have a little harder tires on. It took a long time to get them going. After the last restart I finally got something going. I thought we had a shot. Another lap I think we would have. It was close right to the end." About the final drag race to the finish, he added, "It was all or nothing then. I just drove it in way harder and used the cushion, bounced off of that and then all of a sudden I was right there. I just needed to do it a bit quicker probably, but with the caution right at the end with three laps to go, it takes a lap to get your momentum going and get settled into a spot."
Dutch commenting about the large number of cautions by the usually steady handed late model drivers, said, "It's always frustrating when you're leading to have all those restarts. The car was real good. I was hanging on a little bit there at the end, but we were pretty consistent throughout the whole race." About the final run to the flag he noted, "With a couple laps to go I saw him underneath me, and then I heard him on the last lap on the outside. I knew he was doing everything he could, but that's what this us all about, racing as hard as you can."
Andrews revealed what almost cost him the title. "On lap twenty-three I felt the tire going low, and the left rear tire was completely flat with three laps to go. I expected it to explode. The track worker on the back told me during that last caution. Hell, I knew a long time before that it was going down. I was just hoping to finish where I was. When I pulled in, it was right on the rim."
Following Andrews across the line were Cunningham, and Dick Barton, who started sixteenth and has been having a decidedly sub-par year. He was driving a new car out of the Dutch Davies racing stable. Barton, who will be driving this car for the remaining races of this season, scotched rumors that he and car owner Ron Neilson were parting company by saying that they have signed an agreement for next season.
The DIRT 358s were on hand as well, running for a $2500 winner's share and guaranteed starting spots in the 358 event at Syracuse or the Victoria All Star race at Fulton. Billy Van Pelt from Westfield, PA, who has been the bridesmaid at Little Valley several times, but never the bride, finally came home a winner, making a late race pass of Merrittville regular Scott Wood from St. Catharines, Ontario, and going on for the win. Wood had taken the lead from fellow Canadian Todd Gordon on a lap one restart after a pileup involving Van Pelt, last year's winner Tim Murdock from Georgetown, Ontario, and Stacy Jackson. Heat winner Rob Pietz from Gasline, Ontario, and Frank Dunning from Lindley, NY, were also involved, spinning to avoid them.
Wood and Gordon set the pace while positions from third on back were hotly contested, with Pietz, who was back up to fifth by lap 10, Ransomville regulars Rich Richner and Robbie Krull, plus Van Pelt, the chief contenders. A lap 20 restart erased a sizable lead enjoyed by Wood and set the stage for the final action, with Wood, Gordon, Pietz, Van Pelt, and Richner lined up nose to tail at the front. Van Pelt got a good jump and passed Pietz. Two laps later he was in the lead, driving past Wood on the outside and going on for the win. Wood, who was using the Brodix aluminum spec head motor that Pete Bicknell is touting at Merrittville, and which he campaigned for most of the season, held on for second, with Gordon, Pietz, and Richner rounding out the top five.
Since Van Pelt already had obtained guaranteed spots for both Syracuse and the Victoria All Star race, Gordon, next in line, chose Syracuse, with Pietz getting the Victoria spot. Van Pelt was understandingly relieved to finally win at Little Valley, exclaiming, "It's about time I finally did it. I've been second here so many times." He added, "This is our Syracuse motor that's in here right now. It's our first time out with it. We wanted to shake it down to make sure everything was going to go good."
The BRP Can Am Super Stocks were also on hand, running their final series race and this one had plenty of drama, as three drivers had a chance for the title. Ed Carley marched to the front from his ninth place starting position, took the lead from Bob Babbitt on lap eight and cruised to an easy win in the Kyle Bradigan machine. It was Carley's third win in the series. While Carley was flexing his muscles, the battle for the title was waging behind him. Bob Dixon held an eight point lead over Andy Miller and a twenty-two point edge over Todd Rice. Rice started tenth, with Miller going off eleventh, and Dixon twentieth.
With the race slowed only twice for cautions on laps twelve and fourteen, the contenders had to earn their way to the front, and they did. Andy Miller finished behind Carley in second. Dixon, who had the steepest climb, took third, while Rice finished a respectable sixth. When the smoke cleared, it was Dixon defending his title by a mere three points over Miller, who had led much of the year, with Rice remaining third.
The fourth division to race this night was the street stocks, with Ryan Learn entering the contest with a respectable lead. Andy Michael from Allegany took the top spot from Jason Schoonmaker on lap one and was never headed, though he was kept honest by veteran Tom McFall from Allentown, who moved into second on the third lap and challenged Michael the rest of the way. Twice McFall drew alongside, but he was never able to get by the determined Michael, who recorded his first ever Little Valley win. Michael explained his battle with McFall, saying, "It was kind of slick on the bottom and I was trying to hold him off on the top. I was just trying to stay in my lane and not let up. He gave me a good race. I saw him there a couple times on the bottom. I got Schoony on the top, so I just stayed on the top. I was just hoping to finish good and see if I can get third in points." (He did, by one marker over Lance Palmer).
NOTES: Track champions, in addition to Andrews in the late models were Rice in the super stocks, and Learn in the street stocks......There were 105 cars in the pits, with 23 late models (22 started the feature), 39 super stocks, 37 street stocks, and 26 358 modifieds........Aside from Van Pelt, who was running his Syracuse engine and eight place finisher Stacy Jackson, eight of the top ten were from Ransomville and Merrittville.....A near capacity crowd was on hand on a beautiful evening for racing......The most spectacular event of the night was a wild flip by Wade Mohawk in the second street stock heat. Mohawk made contact with another car in turn one and was launched skyward, flipping at least twice before coming down on the track. Mohawk was shaken up but otherwise seemed OK. He was taken by ambulance to be checked out......During the super stock feature, Jason Dupont suffered a broken drive shaft that entered the cockpit and injured his arm, and he was taken for treatment. The race was red-flagged to allow medical personnel to assist him..........The most notable drive of the night was turned in by Ron Davies, who started last in his heat, got turned sideways on the first lap causing him to fall further back, righted the ship and roared back to win. Davies actually took the lead on lap six and drove away from the field in the caution free eight lap race.
Late Model Finish: (30 laps) Dutch Davies, Ron Davies, Todd Andrews, Bill Cunningham, Dick Barton, Bob Close, Brent Rhebergen, Mickey Wright, Steve Hollabaugh, Dave Hess, Dave Lyon, Mike Wonderling, Paul Briggs, Steve Halpainy, Jay Watson, Travis Asel, Doug Ricotta, Steve Rickard, Ed Carley, Kirk Bradley, Moose Dunnewold, and Kevin Santee. Heat winners were Dutch Davies, Rhebergen, and Ron Davies.
358 Finish: (25 laps) Billy Van Pelt, Scott Wood, Todd Gordon, Rob Pietz, Rich Richner, Tim Murdock, Robbie Krull, Stacy Jackson, Tim Jones, Rick Hoctor, Dylan Dewart, Dave DuBois, Lyle Sherwood, Bryan Terwilliger, Dave Charczuk, Brad Rouse, Vern Wasson, Joe Kubiniec, Allen Willoughby, Ron Cartwright Jr., Jr. Green, Ron Cartwright, Fred Carleton, Sam Crogan, Mike Jackson, and Frank Dunning. Heat winners were Van Pelt, Pietz, and Gordon.
Super Stock Finish: (20 laps) Ed Carley, Andy Miller, Bob Dixon, Bill Holmes, Bruce Miller, Todd Rice, Jeremy Wonderling, AJ Young, Bob Babbitt, Tim Rockwell, Darren Kish, Matt Cobb, Tim Walden, Alan Wais, Ron Baker, Butch Talbot, Shuan Freeland, Jr. Peters, Jim Johnson, Dave DuBois, Tim Schram, TJ Shaw, Tim Dunham, Rick Hale, Jason Dupont, and Mike Wonderling Jr. Heat winners were Shaw, Bruce Miller, Carley, and Rice. Consi winners were Freeland, and Wais.
Street Stock Finish: (15 laps) Andy Michael, Tom McFall, Jason Schoonmaker, Mike Numeracki, Lance Palmer, Ryan Learn, Tony Colantino, Chris Austin, Rob Stromecki, Steve Dixon, Art Peterson, Mike Holford, Josh Smallidge, John Williams, Chris Couchenour, Ron Hebner, Jason Dobson, Mort John, Chad Silliman, Ted Pierce, Bruce Mowery, Colin Kulpa, Robert Ayers, Wade Mohawk, Mike Coast, and Lee Wulff. Heat winners were Schoonmaker, McFall, Michael, and Holford. Consi winner was Pierce.