RPW Column: Last-Lap Pass Puts Wolf Jr. On Top In At Genesee In Maiden Empire Street Stocks Race
Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – BATAVIA, NY – Shane Wolf Jr. led only one lap to take the first-ever Empire Street Stock Series event at Genesee Speedway.
That one lap, though, was the most important lap of them all, the final lap.
Wolf Jr. threw a slide job entering turn three on Josh Pangrazio and made it stick to win in his No. 77 by approximately two-tenths.
“I’d rather be lucky than good any day, but we really had to earn that one,” Wolf Jr. told RPW. “Josh is a top-notch competitor, and it was a blast to be able to race with him.”
Pangrazio redrew the pole and led every lap except the final lap as his car washed high to give Wolf Jr. the bottom.
“I backed the corner up a little bit and went a little bit lower to protect the line,” Pangrazio explained. “There’s a slick spot there, and got in it. Took off on me in the center, and he came in on the bottom.”
Wolf Jr. nearly took the lead on lap 18 when Pangrazio’s No. 7 washed up the track in turn three, opening the door for Wolf Jr. to get inside. The two were door-to-door, with Pangrazio edging Wolf Jr. by a hundredth. Wolf Jr. would make the pass, but a yellow flew before the lap could be completed.
“I was screaming all kinds of things inside my helmet,” said Wolf Jr. on the caution.
From green to checkered, the race lasted 54:38.145, per Race Monitor. The feature was marred by numerous cautions and two red flags.
“All them cautions were definitely hurting us a little bit,” Wolf Jr. said. “Our car is better on long runs. It was getting a little bit frustrating. We had one good long run once I got to second, and then the caution came to four to go. I really didn’t know what the ending was gonna go, but I’m glad it did.”
After the race in Wolf Jr.’s pit, the two shook hands, with Pangrazio coming by to congratulate.
“Josh is a fierce competitor,” Wolf Jr. shared. “That was really fun to race with him. He got one on me at Canandaigua last year. I tried my damnedest on the last lap to get him there, and he ended up getting me. Roles ended up reversed.”
With the win, Wolf Jr. is now looking into following the series for the rest of the year, pending weekly racing and work schedule.
A good opening night for the Empire Street Stock Series despite the accidents. 30 drivers checked in, and all made the feature. With Genesee the only track running Thursday, add a $1250 payout; there is no surprise invaders from the west and the east would come out to make the trip.
“There’s some very quality guys right from top to bottom, should be very exciting,” Mike Welch, promoter of the series and driver of the No. 00, said pre-race. “Had a couple of Land of Legends and Woodhull guys here and Freedom. So glad they’re supporting it. Will get easier as the series gets going on Fridays and Saturdays.”
Some interesting rules about the series included running double file restarts the entire way in features and running Land of Legends rules, with some modifications based on tracks. Genesee, a track that does not usually run hot laps for weekly shows, went right into heats for their street stock portion.
The next race for the ESSS is June 9 at Freedom Motorsports Park. Genesee’s next event is May 27, featuring the RUSH Late Model Flynn’s Tire Touring Series.
For more quotes from Wolf Jr., Pangrazio, and Welch, visit the RSN Trackside Facebook page.
Empire Street Stocks Feature (30 Laps)
77 Shane Wolf Jr. (54:38.145s), 2. 7 Josh Pangrazio (0.183s), 3. 36 Jimmy Grant (0.866s), 4. 87 Brandon Sherwood (1.329s), 5. 10T Randy Taylor (2.615s), 6. 711.5 Rich Conte (2.950s), 7. 44 Ted Morseman (4.093s), 8. 00 Mike Welch (6.117s), 9. 41 Nate Arnold (7.913s), 10. 55D Chris Dziomba (-2L), 11. 16 Jonathan Logsdon (-3L), 12. CJ1 CJ Guererri (-4L), 13. 0 John Zimmerman (-5L), 14. 34 Byron Dewitt (-11L), 15. 44M Dan Brumstead (-11L), 16. 79 Dale Rissinger (-17L), 17. 25B Marc Minutulo (-18L), 18. 26 Kurt Stebbins (-19L), 19. 74D Dennis Cummings (-19L), 20. B00M Luke Boom (-20L), 21. 33 Justin Neff (-20L), 22. 15 Glenn Whritenour (-20L), 23. 21s Sherman Gage (-20L), 24. 375 Ray Henry (-20L), 25. 28x Willy Easling (-27L), 26. 82 Kenny Begnouche (-27L), 27. 8 Brett Crawford (-27L), 28. 84M Mike Kelly (-28L), 29. 2Q Jesse Qutermous (-28L), 30. 22 Simon Bissell
Fastest Lap: 7 Pangrazio 18.829
Heat Winners: 26 Stebbins, 77 Wolf Jr., 0 Zimmerman, 7 Pangrazio