WOODHULL — Davie Franek has certainly been the guy to beat in the northeast, and he proved it once again at Woodhull Raceway this past Saturday night, but it was not easy having to hold off a very fast Jared Zimbardi.
“The fastest car definitely didn’t win tonight; we really weren’t that good” Franek commented in victory lane for his fourth Patriot Sprint Tour victory of 2019.
“Starting position was key tonight, I was fortunate enough to find a little bit of moisture there on the bottom, and I heard Jared (Zimbardi) there on the top, so I tried to make the car as wide as I could to hold him off. We are happy to be standing here again.”
Franek lost the lead to Kyle Drum in his heat race but was still able to make it into the redraw and pull the No. 2 t-shirt in the top eight redraw. He would start alongside PST veteran, Steve Glover.
The field would charge into the first set of corners with third starter Jared Zimbardi wasting no time getting into the runner-up position. It took several laps for Zimbardi to find a comfortable racing line before he was able to start tracking down Franek.
Zimbardi’s final opportunity came on lap 23 when he was sailing the top side, but when he drove into one and two, he lost a little control of the car which allowed Franek to pull away from him again. Franek would hold on to take the win with Zimbardi finishing second and Jordan Thomas finishing third.
For Franek, this was his fourth win with the Patriots in 2019 and his ninth career under the PST sanction.
For Zimbardi, although not coming away with the win, he was very happy to take home a runner up spot at a track he has typically struggled at.
“There is really good berm here in the corners” he admitted. “It takes a lot of discipline and endurance to bang the cushion for 20 laps in a row and not screw up. Davie is a smart racer; he knew he had to make his car as wide as he can, and you would have to pound the cushion to get by him.”
Brady Fultz and Bobby Davis brought the 26 car Insinger Performance Modified feature to green. Fultz held the lead after some early race cautions. Davis piloting the No. 60j machine was loose and lost several positions early in the race.
Billy Van Pelt and his No. 2 machine made their way from 11th up to position number three by lap six. On lap 10, 20-time Woodhull Raceway track points champion took the lead from Fultz.
Van Pelt stayed dominant on the late race restarts, as point leader Cory Costa from Corning, tried to pick off cars to get closer to Van Pelt and Josh Keesey who ran in the second position. The driver out of Westfield, PA, Van Pelt brought home his third victory this season with Keesey, Costa, Russell Morseman, and Brandon Martin followed to complete the top five.
Kurt Stebbins, driver of the No. 26, started in the 12th position made his way to third on lap six in the Joe Willcox Performance Automatics Street Stocks. On lap eight, Stebbins claimed the second spot pushing Mick Seeley back to third.
Stebbins took the lead on lap nine and walked away from Dan Gardner and Seeley. Stebbins got win number four with Gardner, Seeley, Branden Morseman, and Brett Crawford in tow.
Adam DelGrosso took no time in taking over the lead in the Johnson’s Auto Supply FWD class. After a caution, Ryan Austin took the lead away from DelGrosso and started to pull away. While behind him, Scott Lehman Jr. and Nick Brown went three wide with DelGrosso.
Codie Baker continued to make his way through the field as he found a fast groove on the inside. Unfortunately, Austin found car troubles and had to pull in which put Baker in the lead. Baker walked away with the lead from the restart after that. Lehman Jr., Nate Freeland, DelGrosso, and Brown completed the top five.
The NAPA Crate Sportsman was brought to green by Adam Taft and Brandon Butler. Taft grabbed the lead from the drop of the green flag. Cole Youse and the No. 8 machine quickly took over second place as lap three went in the books.
Butler had troubles with his Hilliard Corporation No. 16 machine and slowed coming into turn one until he came to a stop on the back stretch. Numerous early race cautions shuffled the field around.
Taft held the lead up front until Kenny Peoples Jr. made his way up through the field. Lap seven saw a three-car battle for the lead with Peoples Jr. on the outside, Taft in the middle and Youse down on the bottom.
Tim Guild and AJay Potrzebowski Jr. who started near the front ran strong in the top five despite numerous cautions. Peoples Jr. passed Taft to take over the race lead on lap nine. Peoples would hold on for his first win of 2019 and was a big emotional boost to his team as his father Ken has been battling cancer all season long traveling back and forth to Georgia.
Chris Woodard managed to hold off points leader Jeredd Dennis despite a few bobbles towards the end of the race. Mike Spencer made his way up to third and veteran driver Carter Dennis battled for positions and finished fourth. Brent Williams was also a dominant driver finishing in the fifth position.
Danielle Thomas and Cara Pitts led the Daugherty Auto Sales and Service Mini Stocks to Tony Van Pelt’s final green flag of the night. Thomas grabbed the lead from Pitts on the back stretch and tried to pull away.
Local competitor Jason Ketrow made his way into the lead by lap five. Graduate from the warriors youth division, Carter Crooker made his way to the front of the field and battled Ketrow for the lead on lap nine.
Crooker ran behind Ketrow trying to find a way by him. A couple attempts led Crooker short and Ketrow came home with his second win of the season. Crooker, Ray Hyer, Pitts and Josh Webster rounded out the top five.