Woodhull’s ‘Mr. Small Block’; Van Pelt Wins 200th Small Block Race Of Career In Lyle Sherwood Memorial
Story By: STEVE OWENS / WOODHULL RACEWAY MEDIA
Photos By: S&L AWARDS
WOODHULL, NY- September 12, 2016 – There were plenty of great stories to share when it came to the 2016 running of the Lyle Sherwood Memorial. Woodhull Raceway honored the late driver of the No. 17, who lost his life in a race on the High Banks after suffering a massive heart attack.
Billy Van Pelt won his first ‘Lyle Sherwood’ the year we lost Sherwood, back in June of 2005, and added his third straight Lyle Sherwood Memorial to go along with his 200th Small Block Modified victory of his career. But Jeff Daugherty wouldn’t let Van Pelt take the entire spotlight, winning his first career Crate Sportsman feature- in his first career start.
Van Pelt drew the tenth starting position for the thirty-five lap event, that was led early by Penn Can Speedway track champion Alan Rudalavage. In fact, the first four positions in the redraw saw Penn Can’s Rudalavage, Five Mile Point’s Jeff Crambo, Outlaw Speedway’s Ron Cartwright Jr. and Woodhull Raceway’s Ryan Tracy lead the field to Scott Lyon’s green flag.
Rudalavage took the early lead, but it was fifth place starter and Outlaw Speedway owner Tyler Siri who quickly moved up to the runner-up spot to challenge Rudalavage for the top spot. Van Pelt was working the outside lane to perfection while the top two battled, as a majority of the starting field worked the bottom lane to find traction.
‘Captain Quick’ Curt Van Pelt was making a rare start, in a backup Grant Hilfiger-owned machine, and also found the outside to his liking while making passes. While his brother Billy was a comfortable distance behind Rudalavage and Siri, a timely lap sixteen caution flag slowed the field and would bunch them back up for a Delaware double-file restart.
But before that restart could take place Siri would head to the pit area with problems and gave up the second position. Siri did not return for the restart. Donnie Lawson also went to the pits with what appeared to be a flat tire, dashing his chances at a Lyle Sherwood victory.
On the lap sixteen restart, Van Pelt went to work on Rudalavage for the lead trying to make it three-straight Lyle Sherwood Memorial wins for car owner Grant Hilfiger. Van Pelt had earlier in the week, announced that he and Kevin Chilson will once again team up for the 2017 season.
Van Pelt was scored as the leader on lap twenty-two after finally clearing Rudalavage on the outside. Another caution would fly two laps later, a four-car melee including Crambo, Joe Dgien, Dylan Dewert subbing for Frank Dunning and Kenny Peoples Jr.
Once the green flag came back out, Van Pelt set sail. Nobody was going to take away career Small Block win number two hundred. Van Pelt scored the win over Rudalavage, Cartwright Jr., Curt Van Pelt who recovered to fourth and Eric Fisher the top five after a fierce battle with Brady Fultz.
“This is one of the races that we really really love to win,” said Van Pelt in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane. “We still miss Lyle, ‘Mr. Outside’.”
Van Pelt spoke to the intense battle for the lead with Rudalavage, who had a stout race car Saturday night.
“He (Rudalavage) was squeezing me pretty hard. But he was doing everything he could to try and win the race. I was going to do whatever he wasn’t going to do.”
Winning this race was an important one to check off the list, again, before Van Pelt and Hilfiger’s time together as a team came to an end.
“This is one of the biggest races that Grant always wanted to win, and we’ve won it three years in a row. Super happy for him, I have to thank Grant even for the opportunity to drive this hot rod.”
The Modifieds led off the night’s features on a night where changing forecasts had race officials concerned on just how many features would be able to take the green flag. But for one young man out of Elmira- Mother Nature holding off created the biggest night of his young racing career.
Jeffery Daugherty took the leap from the Mini Stocks, where he won his first career feature earlier this season, to the Crate Sportsman Modifieds on Saturday night on the High Banks. He jumped into a car his team purchased about halfway through the season, and has had a handful of practice sessions after a night’s racing card had concluded. The team took a patience approach to debuting Daugherty in the division, which paid off big as Daugherty would knock his first start out of the park.
Daugherty finished third in his heat race and showed his fellow competitors and fans alike that he wasn’t there to just poke around and log laps- he was there to race. During the redraw, Daugherty picked the number two spot putting him outside pole for the start of the twenty-five-lap feature.
Daugherty started alongside Woodhull veteran Kenny Peoples Jr, who was piloting the No. 6x for David Mayo. Although Peoples had a strong car, Daugherty powered to the lead on the initial green flag and set the early pace.
Chris Daugherty, 2016 NAPA Crate Sportsman track champion, quickly moved himself into the runner-up spot and found himself behind his son pacing the field.
“My expectation for him was a top ten finish and put it back in the trailer in one piece,” said Daugherty of his expectation of his son’s first Crate race. “This is a night to remember right here.”
It’s safe to say that the fourteen year old exceeded his father’s and his own expectations on this night. Daugherty fought off charges from not only his father, but from Peoples as well with the top three running nose-to-tail for a majority of the event.
“My expectation was to just come out, have some fun, learn something about the car and if it was fast let ‘er eat,” said Jeffery post-race.
While Daugherty was leading, his father was putting the pressure on him to earn it. But most in attendance had that feeling that if you were going to get the lead in this one, you were going to have to not only go through the No. 01, but Chris’ No. 22jz as well. Surely a win by Daugherty’s son in his first race, would be just as if not more special than a win himself on this night.
Peoples through everything but the kitchen sink at Chris to try and get by for second place. He tried high, he tried low, he tried running up against the infield yuke tires, but there was just no way around the Daugherty boys on this night.
The rookie bagged his first Crate Sportsman win of his career over his father Chris, Peoples battled all night to have to settle for third, Jake Dgien brought the No. 3 home fourth while Chris Fisher made a rare Woodhull start to finish in the top five.
“I don’t even know what to say, I’m speechless,” said the younger of the Daughertys. “I pushed up a couple times, so I tried to slow my entry so I could stay on the bottom. Coming out and to finish one-two with my dad, that’s great.”
Glenn Whritenour and Carl Hughes started on the front row of the 360 Late Model twenty-lap feature. Whritenour grabbed the lead into turn one, however green flag action was short lived as there was a caution due to the Trump No. 66 of Wally Wade getting turned around.
Bruce Miller would go to the inside of Whritenour on the restart, but the caution would be called again due to Kurt Stebbins and Steve LaBarron making contact. Whritenour led lap two and barley led lap three by a nose.
Miller took over the first position exiting turn four coming down to the line on lap four.
There was no turning back for the 2016 Late Model champion, as he continued to stretch his lead until another caution came out. Mick Seeley and and Stebbins made contact in turns one and two to call the caution on lap six.
Miller would restart up front for the Delaware restart and continue to pull away from the pack. Jason McGregor started to put pressure on Whritenour for second, but couldn’t make anything happen in what was a spirited battle to the checkered flag.
Miller would chalk up another victory for the No. 80 machine, in what has been a phenomenal year for his team at “New York’s Toughest Bullring.” Whritenour held off McGregor for second, heat winner Carl Hughes was fourth and LaBarron recovered for a top five.
“I struggled a little bit in the heat by going with more of a feature setup,” said Miller post-race. “I misjudged the track a little bit, but the nice thing was we could just top off the gas and get it ready to come back out for the feature. The track definitely came back to us tonight.”
Miller was asked if it was a big swing, or little swing that put them off the pace in the heat?
“It just goes to show you that if you make a small adjustment the wrong way, everyone else is pretty much on top of their game. You’re quite a few spots back by making a small miscalculation on your setup.”
With the points season coming to a close at Woodhull Speedway last week, it left a few fall races left on the schedule for the Street Stocks. Saturday, they ran with different rules than they normally see during the regular season.
Teammates and friends Tracy Dunn and Jared Hill started on the first row for the twenty-lap feature go. Dunn grabbed the lead to turn one. Glenn Whritenour came from the inside and made it three-wide coming out of turn two. Dunn led the first couple of laps when an early caution came out.
A car had come to a stop on the back stretch, while simultaneously Dunn ended up stopping under the flag stand with a mechanical issue under the hood and was pushed into the pits.
Whritenour took off on the restart with Hill in tow, driving father in-law Jim Schuyler’s No. 57J. Hill had a great car prepared for him to race on this night, putting the pressure to Whritenour who appeared to be fighting a tight racecar. On lap eleven, Whritenour started to come up on lap traffic with the No. 117 of Chad Brian. Both Hill and Whritenour made it around and continued to run first and second respectively.
On the drop of the green flag for a lap thirteen restart, Whritenour continued his lead, as Hill started trying different lanes but could not make anything work. One last caution would come out before the end as 2015 Empire 100 winner CJ Guererri got spun around in turn two.
Another restart still wouldn’t be enough for Hill to get by Whritenour to try and steal the win away. Whritenour pushed his Moose’s Enterprises, Painter’s Meat Processing No. 15 to the limit in the end and won the race with Hill in second, Brett Marlatt in third, heat race winner Zane King Jr. in fourth and Guererri in fifth.
“This car was pretty good tonight,” said Whritenour in Instant Heat Wood Pellets Victory Lane. “We had it hooked a little too good, it was a little tight in the center of the corner. Hats off to Jared in the 57J.”
John Hand Jr. has had a strong car all season long in the Mini Stocks, but could never get things to go his way to kick the door open to Victory Lane. It may not have been a points race Saturday, but it didn’t matter to Hand as he finally took a checkered flag in 2016 at Woodhull.
Hand started on the pole, alongside Chris Hand in the No. 53c for Scott Lyon’s green flag in the twenty-lapper. Hand broke out into the lead almost immediately, and would never relinquish the position. But Williamsport, PA driver and two-time winner in 2016, Karl Born, was going to make Hand earn every lap of his first win of the season.
Born threw haymaker after haymaker at Hand, with the No. 06 trying to find a way by on the bottom side of the speedway. Hand was up to the challenge every time.
2016 Mini Stock track champion Chris Woodard raced his way up to the third position and had a great seat for the battle for the lead. But that was as far as he would get, as he would have to settle for third on this night. The always-entertaining Ray Hyer finished fourth, while Rick Amidon brought the ‘orange deuce’ home with a top five.
“I could hear him every stinking lap, I just couldn’t get away,” said Hand with a happy crew in Victory Lane. “I knew if I just hit my marks, he wasn’t going to beat me on the outside. So finally we had a night go our way, we’ve run out front before and something always happens.”
The Front Wheel Drive twenty-lap feature was dominated by Elmira, NY pilot Shawn Gleason. Gleason drove his way to a feature win and the track championship the week before, and came back for the Lyle Sherwood Memorial to make a bold statement.
That statement of course being that his team has finally figured out what was wrong with their car late in the year that caused them to be so down on power. An issue that nearly cost him the track championship, as Codie Baker made things very interesting on championship night last Saturday.
But on Saturday, Gleason ran away and hid over his fellow competitors. Gleason nailed down another win over Nate Freeland, Dave Richmond, Bryan Stermer and Ryan Austin the top five.
“We had a lot of problems,” said Gleason. “I sure wish we had figured them out a lot sooner, because we would have had a lot less stress last Saturday. We pulled it off again. I don’t think the V tech was working; there were multiple problems. We spent a lot of hours in Chris’ (Daugherty) shop trying to figure it out. How about Jeffery tonight? That was awesome.”
This Saturday, Woodhull Raceway will go quiet for dirt track racing as the New York State Horse Pulling Association will take center stage for their annual fall event sponsored by McCutcheon Trucking. The Horse Pull will start at 1PM and will require a $10 general admission fee. As always, there is free camping at Woodhull Raceway for all events.
Season pass holders are reminded that their season passes will no longer be eligible for admission, starting with our next circle track event on September 24th. That night will see the 360 Late Models, Crate Sportsman, Open Mini Stocks and Open Front Wheel Drives compete on Joe Willcox Performance Automatics Night.
The Fight Night All Star Street Stock Series will also compete in the second annual Woodhull 100, paying $1,000-to-win plus nearly $5,000 in lap money and contingency prizes. By far, the biggest paying night for the Street Stock drivers all season long.
Race time is set for 5:30PM on September 24th, with the gates swinging open at 3:30PM. That is a change from the normal Saturday night start time, so mark down 5:30PM on your calendars.
Race fans are encouraged to sign up for the fastest alerts from Woodhull Raceway’s Rained Out Alert system by sending the text message “WoodhullAlert” to 84483, message and data rates may apply.
For more information race over to www.woodhullraceway.com, Like Woodhull Raceway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WoodhullRaceway or Follow Woodhull on Twitter @WoodhullPR.
Woodhull Raceway is located in Woodhull, NY, just 30 minutes West of Corning, NY and competes weekly on Saturday nights from mid-April through Labor Day Weekend. The track offers several special events including the Patriot Sprint Tour 360 Sprints and the Short Track Super Series Modifieds in mid-August.
Griffith Energy Lyle Sherwood Memorial Official Results Sept. 10th, 2016
BIG BLOCK/SMALL BLOCK MODIFIEDS, 23 cars (35 Laps): BILLY VAN PELT, Alan Rudalavage, Ron Cartwright Jr., Curt Van Pelt, Eric Fisher, Brady Fultz, Ryan Tracy, Kevin Chilson, Cory Costa, Brian Doolittle, Joe Dgien, Dave DuBois, Kenny Peoples Jr., Lee Bills, Ray Bliss, Dillon Groover, Dylan Dewert, Jeff Crambo, Dale Welty, Boyd McTavish, Donnie Lawson, Tyler Siri, Stacy Jackson
Heat Winners: Ron Cartwright Jr., Jeff Crambo, Joe Dgien
CRATE SPORTSMAN, 17 cars (25 Laps): JEFFERY DAUGHERTY (1st Career Crate Sportsman Win In First Start), Chris Daugherty, Kenny Peoples Jr., Jake Dgien, Chris Fisher, Stevie Hartman III, Brandon Butler, Tim Guild, Connor Brown, Tracy Stanford, Bill Williams, Dan Michaud, John Austin, Stacey Jackson, Wade Knickerbocker, Mike Jackson DQ: Dayton Brewer
Heat Winners: Jake Dgien, Stacey Jackson, Stevie Hartman III
360 LATE MODELS, 9 cars (20 Laps): BRUCE MILLER, Glenn Whritenour, Jason McGregor, Carl Hughes, Steve LaBarron, Wally Wade, Mick Seeley, Adam Austin, Kurt Stebbins
Heat Winner: Carl Hughes
OPEN STREET STOCKS, 15 cars (20 Laps): GLENN WHRITENOUR, Jared Hill, Brett Marlatt, Zane King Jr., CJ Guererri, Dennis Cummings, Kane Stebbins, Gene Balmer, Jacob McConnell, Kurt Stebbins, Dan Gardner, Matt Hamilton, Jeremy Trank, Tracy Dunn, Al Rishel
Heat Winners: Zane King Jr., Glenn Whritenour
MINI STOCKS, 11 cars (20 Laps): JOHN HAND JR., Karl Born, Chris Woodard, Ray Hyer, Rick Amidon, Ron Dailey Jr., Brian Grant Sr., Dylon Gleason, Derrick Puryear, Scott Lehman, Chris Hand
Heat Winners: Karl Born, Ray Hyer
FRONT WHEEL DRIVES, 5 cars (20 Laps): SHAWN GLEASON, Nate Freeland, Dave Richmond, Bryan Stermer, Ryan Austin
Heat Winner: Shawn Gleason