Hutchinson Wins the Battle at Lancaster, But Can He Win The War?
Lancaster, NY, June 16th, 2018- Hot off his feature win at the Track at Hillside (formerly known as Holland Speedway) the night before, Kyle Hutchinson scored his fourth win of the Jerry Gradl NYPA Midget Association season at Lancaster National Speedway on Saturday night. Taking an early lead, Hutchinson was able to again hold off Dave Wollaber to take back-to-back feature wins. The 2017 Champion continues to prove he and his Casey’s Truck Salvage team are the team to beat each week on the track, while Wollaber and his Team Black continue to hold their ground with the overall points lead.
Setting the tone for the rest of the event, the drivers of the Jerry Gradl NYPA Midget Association did not hold back during the heats. In the first heat, Vinnie Christiano took the win after a bold move at the start of the race put him in the lead. The second heat was won by Hutchinson, which was likewise accomplished after a daring pass for the lead.
Chad Haywood began the feature race on the pole and fell back to third after Hutchinson with A.J. Hessler in tow, wasted no time in finding the front. Hutchinson’s move to the front began to look like a repeat of the night before but a spin by Haywood shortly afterward brought out the first caution of the night.
On the restart Dave Wollaber would make some noise moving into the 3rd position setting his sights on reeling in Hessler. While Hutchinson continued to pull away from second place it would not be long before the leaders would get caught up with lapped traffic, and with Wollaber on Hessler’s bumper, it looked as if the slower cars would give him an opportunity. A caution brought out by a spinning Cameron Ruggiero prevented Wollaber from capitalizing on the lapped car and that would bunch the field back up giving Wollaber a better chance at the ultimate prize; Hutchinson’s bumper at a distance a pass could be attempted.
Wollaber would need to make his way around Hessler quickly if he wanted to have a chance to catch Hutchinson. Hessler would not go quietly into the night much to Wollabers chagrin. After the lap 13 re-start Wollaber would need until lap 17 to complete the pass for 2nd and by that time Hutchinson was already in another zip code making it impossible for Wollaber to even engage Hutchinson on any level.
Despite it being early in the season, the points battle between Wollaber, Musto, and Hutchinson is shaping up to be an interesting one. Hutchinson lost a lot of ground in the points to Wollaber after his early retirement at Lake Erie Speedway. That is not to say these two power houses are the only game in town, we may have a dark horse lurking in Eric Musto who currently sits solidly in 2nd. The DNF at Lake Erie Speedway still haunts Hutchinson as Wollabar holds the points lead by a fair margin due to his strong finishes. Wollaber and his team have been good every week which is clearly winning the war. Even if Hutchinson continues to win the battles, Wollaber can stay in control should he be able to finish 2nd every week. I know that is a tall order, finishing 2nd in each and every race for the rest of the season but that would not be the first time Wollaber displayed that kind of performance. One only has to look back to his 2016 title run where he won 50% of the races, and had an average finish in all 14 races of 1.7. If anyone can run to the end like that it’s Dave Wollaber.
Winning four out of five races, Hutchinson explained that consistency is important throughout the title fight, and stated that the technical issues that affected the fuel system previously have been rectified. “Anything can happen,” Hutchinson says with confidence, “We’ll try to do all we can to mitigate any mechanical issues… All we can do is keep going forward.”
With just a week before the next bout it will be interesting to see who can keep up this pace as the Jerry Gradl Motors NYPA Midget Association series will make its next stop on Saturday, June 23rd at the Track at Hillside for the Whelen Engineering Autograph Night. In addition to 4-cylinders, street stocks, sportsman modifieds, Race of Champions Late Models and Super Stocks, the CRS Super Truck Series will be making an appearance for a 50 lap feature event.
About NYPA Midgets: The Jerry Gradl Motors NYPA Midget, series sanctions three-quarter midget racing in western New York and Pennsylvania. TQ midgets are known for high stakes, wheel to wheel, short track racing action and have thrilled crowds across the country for over fifty years. The NYPA Midget Association carries on that tradition of excitement at tracks like The Track at Hillside (formerly Holland Speedway), Lake Erie Speedway and Lancaster National Speedway. Check the NYPA Midget Association website www.NYPAMidgets.com for the schedule, points, and news. Find us on Facebook for up to date event information, photos, and more. Be sure to like and share with your friends.
About Jerry Gradl Motors: Since 1958 Jerry Gradl Motors has provided exceptional sales and professional service to western New York motorists. Half of their customers are referrals or repeats, which means they provide outstanding customer service. The Gradl name is a staple in WNY motorsports and will be for years to come. Jerry Gradl Motors has two locations to choose from, one at 711 Niagara Falls Blvd, North Tonawanda NY and the other located at 6704 Transit Rd. Williamsville.
#1 – 88 Kyle Hutchinson
#2 – 1 Dave Wollaber
#3 – 90 A.J. Hessler
#4 – 2 Vinnie Christiano
#5 – 21x Andy Nye
#6 – 6 Erik Musto
#7 – 98 Tommy Catalano
#8 – 32x Mark Schulz
#9 – 5 Ted Jones, Jr.
#10 – 42 Chad Haywood
#11 – 14 Kevin Wilson
#12 – 44 Tim Nies
#13 – 29 Cameron Ruggiero
#14 – 71 Tony Petrea
#15 – 02 Patrick Smith
#16 – 05 Jamie Pew
#17 – 43 Chester Haywood
#18 – (Did Not Start) 4 Jim Musto