Holmes Stands Ground Against Titans to Earn Victory at NYIRP
Lancaster, New York, August 18th, 2019- The long wait during the rain delay at New York International Raceway Park ended up being worth it for Bobby Holmes, who scored his first win of the season. Holmes led all 20 laps of last night’s Jerry Gradl Motors NYPA Midget Association feature, and neither a slew of cautions nor a chasing Dave Wollaber could get between him and victory lane.
In usual fashion, the heat races provided the spicy taste of the excitement only short-track open-wheel racing can provide. The first heat saw Andy Jankowiak take the victory after driving his way to the front. Chad Haywood would come away feeling the heat after contact between he and Vinnie Christiano, Jr. resulting in Christiano Jr flipping briefly on to his roof. Christiano Jr continued the roll, righting himself but both he and Haywood were forced to retire from the heat. Christiano remained undeterred, as he would start the feature race after repairing the damage sustained in the get together. Wollaber took the win in the second heat, cutting through the field to take the victory.
Holmes started the race on the pole and immediately put distance between him and the pack. He had nearly an entire straightaway lead over the rest of the drivers when the first of several cautions came out, bunching the field back together. Despite putting on a strong performance in the opening laps of the race, Holmes now had to hold off three past NYIRP race winners: Wollaber, Andy Jankowiak, and Andy Nye.
The final ten laps proved to be the most nail-biting of the 2019 Jerry Gradl Motors NYPA Midget Association season so far, as Wollaber closed the gap on Holmes in the closing laps. Wollaber found himself knocking on the door of the leader with just a handful of laps to go. Holmes was just as desperate to keep his attacker at bay as Wollaber was to score his second win, and both drivers did everything in their power to thwart each others plans. When the checkered flag waved, Holmes crossed the stripe first with just a car length separating the two. With a strong showing against some of the best midget drivers in the region, Brandon Zavarella followed in third, Erik Musto fourth and Vinnie Christiano III scored his first top five finish of the season.
Holmes became the third different winner this season, a testament to the unpredictability of the inner oval at NYIRP. Wollaber’s second place finish earned him a solid amount of points towards the championship, but his rival and season-opener winner Kyle Hutchinson was absent from the top five finishing order. Hutchinson was involved in an incident on lap 3, damaging his front end and causing severe handling problems. He ended the race 19th, 11 laps down. The two entered the evening tied in points, both of them winning one race and taking second in the other, but Hutchinson’s 2019 championship hunt is in danger.
With only two races left on the calendar, every race counts in the Jerry Gradl Motors NYPA Midget Association championship. Don’t miss the next round of the championship slugfest, again at NYIRP on Saturday, August 24th. The midgets will race alongside the Ken Heckler Tribute 51 street stock feature, as well as the Race of Champions Sportsman Modifieds and 4-Cylinders. Grandstand Adult admission is $15, students aged 12-17 get in for $8, and children 11 and under are FREE! Grandstand family passes (2 Adult, 2 Student) and pit passes are also available for $40 and $35 respectively. Racing starts at 6:30 PM.
About NYPA Midgets: The Jerry Gradl Motors NYPA Midget Association 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 NYIRP. 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.