The Write Track – June 4th, 2011 Raceway 5 Fan Racing Experience
By: Tom Ames email@example.com
Saturday night June 4th, 2011 I ventured north up route 63 to Batavia N.Y. to the Genesee County Fairgrounds, formally known as Genesee Speedway and now known as Raceway 5. I always check the radar because this day in age I can’t afford to waste the gas and besides I want to see Dirt Racing! I have been there many times before as I used to work at the place and also used to go there back in the day when my father used to be the pit steward when Ray Bliss won many championships. Along with Al Graham and Greg Burch being the promoters at one time. It was uncertain after the last promoter Mike Lauterborn left that the place was going to open up again and with Jim and Annette Mazur the place has come back to life. It doesn’t matter anymore what type of track asphalt, concrete, dirt or whatever type of racing it is no one likes to see a track close. I would have loved to take some more people with me to the races, but thanks to my friend Chris I had someone to talk racing with on the way there. I checked the radar and it was all clear, time to go racing!!!
It was only ten bucks to get in the gate, which I think is about normal nowadays for a dirt track for a weekly show. The first thing that I noticed is that the Pit sign in gate has moved from behind the grandstands and is now down at the lower road. Also the grandstands that were in front of the concession stands have disappeared and are now full of picnic tables and the platform for handicap individuals is to the left of the concessions. One major thing is that the staff uniforms and logo of the track is green, odd (if it was on a racecar), along with many other structures painted green as well. There is a brand new section of grandstands in front of the tower that you can tell are built sturdy with big steel beams and brand new boards to plop your butt on. The most odd thing that I found is that behind the grandstands near the entrance from the stands to the pits is a big platform for victory lane celebrations. This apparently is where they were going to do victory lane interviews. Only time would tell. I didn’t get into the pits until after the racing was over, but didn’t seem much has changed there.
On to the track surface, when I first seen it I thought oh my god no way are they going to get this track ready to go racing. It was soaked due to Mother Nature dumping loads of rain on it all week and the day before. So Mother Nature helped out in the watering process for the track. It was heavy with big clumps of mud/clay all over the place and I found out that the big packer truck they had broke down, so it was up to the racers to pack it in. Not much has changed with the track it self and it is the same layout, entrance to the track from turn two and exit off to the pits in turn one. The grader was out working some of the piles of clay off the track while the tow trucks were also. I noticed not just one, but a couple four-wheelers on the track.
It was amazing how the track was coming around when the cars were on the track. It was real good to see John Powell on the starters stand doing what he loves to do and flag the races. It was to my surprise that Steve Kellogg would have been they’re flagging, as John Powell flags at Mckean County Raceway, which got rained out so John was able to flag. During the heats the track was still a one-groove track, but mainly in turn one, the third and fourth turns were coming around. Watching the heat races was a bit comical, as the track was very tacky and fast and a bit sloppy on the outside groove. When the cars got on the high side they were losing traction and going more sideways than they wanted too, and slowing down and had to straighten out there line. Causing many behind them to check up, many people will disagree with me as some say it was rough driving, but it wasn’t like that I thought. Well as any race fan likes to see cars wreck as long as all cars involved are okay. Well I go to watch the races obviously and don’t want to see any cars wreck, but after you know the drivers are okay then we can say crazy things on how it was a crazy, hilarious, “what was he thinking” type of conversations that pursue afterwards. With that said in the Sportsman modified heats Poncho Cartwright who has not raced a car in over 15 years was going down the backstretch racing John Venuto, got into the outside barrier and it sounded like he never lifted and had the whole right side of the car off the ground until he came to a rest partially on the left hand side of Venuto's car before coming to a rest at the entrance of turn three. He would be okay, but the wreck caused about $2,000 in damage. All the people around me thought he was racing a 358 mod as it sounded bigger than the open/crate sportsman car, but that is neither here nor there. It was good to see him race while he lasted. (Sorry Poncho you know I tell it how I see it) The racing in all the heats was very close and all put on some good tight/close racing, and fast as the track was really fast. Heck if you want to go to a dirt track and see no dust, then go up to Raceway 5, I don’t think I seen any dust all night, thank you again Mother Nature!!!
After all the heats were completed the track came right around especially with almost two grooves now in turn 1 (was a bit sloppy on the low side) and after about 15 minute intermission, it was time to go racing. The street stocks put on one heck of a show, with Pat Powers starting on the pole with matt Pfalzer on the outside pole and what a race it came to be, these two battled it out for quite a few laps and Bill Weller and Butch Zimmerman were charging from the back and made it to the front rather quickly. Powers and Pfalzer swapped the lead for a bit and then Bill Weller came into the picture and lead a few laps and also Butch Zimmerman was there as well. Attrition played a role in this as many cars were dropping out and Butch ended up with his rear bumper tore off and would later retire from the race. Bill Weller would end up in the lead after a caution and just how the announcers put it, he was coming out of turn two and hit the inside bank and launched the whole car in the air like “Dukes of Hazzard Style”, and it was exciting while he was in the lead. The whole crowd was laughing the whole time. On the last lap Pfalzer was leading going into turn three and didn’t have it coming out of turn four. Pfalzer got loose (from my POV) and looked like the 10t car of Randy Taylor bumped him a bit, and the 211 car driven by Jason Babbitt and also Bill Weller snuck by and it was a bumper apart at the line with Babbitt taking the checkers, who I think started last or dang close to it. He was in the right spot at the right time. This was a very exciting race to say the least, to sum it up you had to be there to believe it!
Brian Kotarski won the 360 late model race making it two in a row for him. After the checkers Jon Rivers who finished 2nd tapped him a bit out of four for a congratulatory bump and Kotarski got in the deep mud and need a push to victory lane. I did not get a chance to get the whole story from both sides, so I’ll leave that alone. Also Brian is looking for sponsors on his car as it plain black with his name and number on it at the moment, if anyone is interested get a hold of me and I can get you in contact with him.
The sportsman modifieds were up next with the biggest car count in any division of 19 cars, which provided 3 heat races. The heats were won by Ray Bliss, John Venuto, and Ron Cartwright Jr. The feature was on the line and Tony Pangrazio started out on the pole and the first caution waved on lap two when Ron Cartwright got turned around, and with no where to go, John Venuto got into the side of him and Cartwright was taken to the pits on the hook. (Go get them next week Ronnie, your luck has to change sometime, just don’t let dad run the car again.) On the restart saw Ross Vleck on the pole in his 83 numbered sportsman and with a few other cautions, he was able to hold off the field and cruise to his first ever win. I have seen Ross race before and it was exciting for me as I was rooting for him and he finally got one, Congrats Ross!! Rob Pratt was in second followed by Ricky Newton in the last podium position.
Tyler Walker would lead all the laps in the 600 Micro Sprint feature and cruise to an easy victory, and the track was smooth for them and they were doing some fast lap times. It was unfortunate as Tyler’s dad was not in attendance and I was able to send the picture to him, they really show that racing is a family and all are involved with the car. Great job Tyler and crew on your win.
In the Mini Stock division Val Stephens had the pole position, but elected to start on the outside pole giving the pole position to Chad Dickinson. Chad stumbled a bit at the start of the race and Val would take the lead and continue on to win with no cautions. Two main events went caution free as the 600 Micro Sprints did as well. Congrats on your win Val!
Overall my experience at Raceway 5 was really enjoyable and the racing was great, close racing in all divisions and very competitive. After watching Matt Pfalzer race for many years, he is bound to get into victory lane, it usually is some bad luck that keeps him from not getting the checkers – Matt forget about the last race go and get ‘em the next week! Val Stephens and Brian Kotarski start their season off with back-to-back wins and this coming week we will see if they can go three for three. Jason Babbitt was very lucky to be where he was to get the victory in the streets and that was the best race of the night. Congrats to all racers that was in attendance and thanks for the great show.
The food prices were all very reasonable and the food was good as well so everyone told me I did not get anything to eat as I ate before I got there. The track does not sell beer there and you can bring in some in the six-pack coolers, just no glass for those who want some adult beverages. I did get to speak with Shawn the announcer and also Dave McCready who was also helping in the tower. It was a pleasure to meet up with Jim, who is dedicated being there with a pinched nerve and all. I’m not 100% sure on this, but I’m thinking that the restrooms are mainly taken care of by the fairboard, and not the staff at the track, but it was seen a staff member bringing in more towels in the men’s room, yeah, I’ll rate that 8 out of 10. The ladies room had a very good report with help of some ladies there in attendance. The girls say there are new soap dispensers; hot water and the stalls are clean so that was 9 out of 10. So the restrooms won’t keep you away and the racing that goes on will be sure to bring me back in the future. This was the first time that I was at a racetrack and I never seen a victory lane celebration. Jim (Mazur) was thinking that with the victory lane behind the grandstands that the show would get done quicker, which it did, but no one can really hear the interviews. Jim did mention that everything is still a work in progress and he might be doing some tweaking to a few things. Because myself and other race fans are not going to leave their seat and miss racing going on to witness the celebration of the previous race. There were a few patches of rain coming toward us from the west, the racing was done at approximately 9:20 pm. Besides the victory lane issue I had a blast and so did my buddy Chris. Thanks to the entire staff and Jim and Annette for putting on a great show and saving a racetrack from demise. It was good to see a bunch of old friends and the weather was a great night of racing. Until the next time get out and support local racing and keep it on “The Write Track”. You can find out more on their website here http://www.raceway5.com/
or contact Jim or Annette here (585)-344-1656 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Full Results are below;
Raceway 5 Results June 4th, 2011Yasses Trucking and Construction Street Stocks
– JASON BABBITT
, Bill Weller, Randy Taylor, Matt Pfalzer, John Gagner, Pat Powers, Andy Bunx, Tim Trotter, Scott Stanton, Byron Dewitt, John Zimmerman, Doug Jones, Butch ZimmermanJohnnys Bar 360 Late Models
– BRIAN KOTARSKI
, Jon Rivers, Carl Shetler, Tommy Kemp, Dave Dubois, John McKay, Jason Bridge, Jim Johnson, Bob BabbittGrease Lightning Modified
– ROSS VLECK
, Rob Pratt, Ricky Newton, Ray Bliss, Ray Smith, TJ Newton, Tony Pangrazio, Tim Downs, Dick Park Jr., Chris Brown, Stubby Pangrazio, Gary Donnelly, Rob Richmond Jr., Colton Chappius, Dan Norton, Matt Richmond, Ron Cartwright Jr., Andrew Patton, John VenutoPizza Log Sprint 600
– TYLER WALKER
, Mickey Ciliberto, Eric Wise, Keith Heater, Cory GrenzyDickinson Auto Service Mini Stock
– VAL STEPHENS
, Chad Dickinson, Tom Urban, Marty Hein