LITTLE VALLEY - Veteran Bob Close from Eldred, Pa., who semi-retired a couple of years ago, is back big time.
He scored his second Super Late Model victory of the season at Little Valley Speedway on Sunday. Following a win at McKean County Raceway earlier in the season, Close drove an inspired race on Sunday in a race which came down to a battle through lap traffic with former WOO Rookie of the Year and acknowledged master of Little Valley, Ron Davies.
Starting seventh on the grid, Close blasted to the front, taking the lead following a lap-two restart, getting a great jump from third to vault past leader Bump Hedman and Mike Knight in the process. Meanwhile, Davies, who started 11th, was up on the wheel early as well, grabbing third after a lap-five restart, caused when brother Dutch lost an engine.
The top three of Close, Knight and Davies separated themselves from the field and commenced to battle for the top spot. Davies got by Knight on lap nine and then flew past Close a lap later, immediately opening a good lead. Close and Knight didn't go quietly as they battled each other for the right to chase Davies. Close cleared Knight on lap 12 and set sail for Davies, who entered lap traffic on lap 14. He caught Davies on lap 20 and then slipped by on lap 21.
Davies returned the favor on lap 22, before Close once again seized the advantage. From there, Davies tried desperately to regain the lead, but Close was able to hold him off to score the hard-earned victory. Davies settled for second, followed by Knight, defending track champion Jason Dupont, and veteran Dick Barton to complete the top five.
The Crate Late Model Feature went to Justin Tatlow from Franklinville, who came from eighth to vie for the top spot with Doug Ricotta, who had driven to the lead on a lap six restart. Tatlow worked his way to the runner-up spot following a lap-nine caution and then proceeded to hound Ricotta relentlessly for several laps, finally squeezing in front on the inside in turn two on lap 16. From there, he was able to drive away over the final four laps.
Ricotta finished second, followed by Adam Sixt, Wayne Robertson, and Brad Mesler to round out the top five.
The BRP CanAm Series Feature went to John Waters from Whitesville, who came from 12th, using a fast race car and some early cautions which kept things tight. By lap six he was lying fourth behind leader Glenn Writenour, who had paced the field from the start. A caution on lap 12 put him on Whritenour's bumper for the restart, from where he got underneath and then finally eased into the lead coming out of turn four. He was able to hold off Writenour on a final restart on lap 14 of the race, which was shortened to 15 laps from the scheduled 20 following some extensive early delays for cautions and a flip.
Jeremy Wonderling made a brilliant charge from 25th to finish third while his father, Mike, and Bob Close completed the top five.
The E-Mod Feature turned into a two car battle between Steve Dixon from Smethport and Ron Davies, doing double duty. Dixon took the lead from the outside pole and opened up a sizable advantage, only to see Davies, who had just completed the hotly contested Super Late Model event, chase him down after starting seventh, actually reaching Dixon's bumper on lap six. However, a bobble on lap seven cost Davies valuable territory and Dixon was able to pull away after that.
Davies finished second, followed by John Woodward, Ed Carley, and Vic Vena.
Finally, the Street Stock Feature went to Adam Ashcroft from Sardinia who prevailed in an intense battle with Don Wolfer, swapping the lead three times before finally taking the lead for good on lap 10. Wolfer lost second late in the race to Brad Ullman.
Super Late Models
1. Bob Close, 2. Ron Davies, 3. Mike Knight, 4. Jason Dupont, 5. Dick Barton, 6. Greg Oakes, 7. Bump Hedman, 8. Brent Rhebergen, 9. Jeff Hoffman, 10. John Volpe, 11. Terry Porter, 12. John Lacki, 13. Boom Briggs, 14. Jon Rohacevich, 15. Jim Mason, and 16. Dutch Davies. Heat winners were Dutch Davies and Hedman.
Crate Late Models
1. Justin Tatlow, 2. Doug Ricotta, 3. Adam Sixt, 4. Wayne Robertson, 5. Brad Mesler, 6. Bryce Davis, 7. Dustin Waters, 8. Chad Silliman, 9. Paul Grigsby, 10. Cody Mason, 11. Dave Norton, 12. Garrett Stephen, 13. Bill Mesler, 14. Doug Gavette, 15. Derek Frank, 16. Zack Carley, 17. Brian Knowles, and 18. Ward Schell. Heat winners were Ricotta, Carley, and Robertson.
BRP Late Models
1. John Waters, 2. Glenn Whritenour, 3. Jeremy Wonderling, 4. Mike Wonderling, 5. Bob Close, 6. Mikey Wonderling, 7. Brady Wonderling, 8. Bruce Miller, 9. Jason Knowles, 10. Brian Knowles, 11. Cecil LaBarron, 12. Steve LaBarron, 13. Jon Rivers 14. Jay McConnell, 15. Ray Bliss, 16. Jimmy Johnson 17. Kevin Olinger, 18. Bob Babbitt, 19. Neil Patterson, 20. Wally Wade, 21. DJ Krug, 22. Quinn Sutherland, 23. Jared Hill, 24. Brad LaBarron, 25. Barry Payne, 26. Ron Wilkins, and 27. Jim Johnson. Heat winners were John Waters, Whritenour, and Brian Knowles.
1. Steve Dixon, 2. Ron Davies, 3. John Woodward, 4. Ed Carley, 5. Vic Vena, 6. Kyle Bedell, 7. Ken Zimmer, 8. TJ Downs, 9. Jeff Johnson, 10. Justin Carlson, 11. Carl McKinney, 12. Brian Fardink, 13. Carl Ballinger, 14. Josh John, 15. Dan Sasso, 16. Tim Peterson, 17. Nathan Hill, and 18. Dan Davies. DNS: Jeff Johnson (Car 27). Heat winners were Bedell, Ron Davies, and Dixon.
1. Adam Ashcroft, 2. Brad Ullman, 3. Don Wolfer, 4. Andy Michael, 5. Rob Stromecki, 6. Levi Watson, 7. Butch Talbot, 8. Joe Chamberlain, 9. Andrew Eastman, 10. Dan Scharf, and 11. Josh Wilcox. DNS: Darryl Greene. Heat winners were Michael and Ashcroft.