Hutchinson Wins NYPA Season Opener at The Track at Hillside
The 2018 Jerry Gradl Motors NYPA Midgets season opener at the Track at Hillside (formerly Holland International Speedway) was a promising display of what’s to come in 2018. After last season’s addition of fuel injection systems, it looks like the NYPA teams have worked out the bugs. Although under a new name, Hillside Speedway is still the racey high banked track we’ve all come to know and love, and the TQ’s put on a great show with plenty of great racing action.
A.J. Hessler of Tonawanda, NY led the field to the green flag in his new 2018 ride acquired from NYPA veteran & President Charlie DiRosa. With his new piece Hessler quickly took the lead with a great start and Dave Wallaber quickly fell into the second spot. This night was not without its share of cautions, being the season opener and the cool spring air some guys found difficulty getting a handle on their cars early on in the 25 lap main event.
A solo spin in turn 3 brought out an early caution and reset the lap counter to 25, the field doubled up with Hessler in the 90 back a the helm. This time Dave Wallaber of Lockport got the jump from the outside pole, followed by last year’s champion from East Aurora, Kyle Hutchinson who restarted in the 4th position. Meanwhile Hessler fell to the third place. Hessler who would later retire his number 90 machine early due to a mechanical issue in the right front causing him to spin bringing out the caution flag and relegating him to the back of the pack for the next restart.
With Wollaber leading the field to the green, it was Hutchinson from the outside who took the lead with a great restart and within 3 laps the pair had built an 8 car length lead on the rest of the field. A.J. Hessler, who restarted at the tail end of the field was on the charge when he found himself spinning in turn 4 and making his way to the infield ending his night with a mechanical issue.
With 21 to go the field lined up single file with the 88 of Hutchinson leading the pack back to green. Hutchinson, Wollaber, and the 6 of Erik Musto were the class of the field on this day and the trio pulled out to a half straight away lead over the rest of the field. The battle for 4th place was intense as the 2 of Vinnie Christiano of Tonawanda, and the 5 of Ted Jones Jr of West Valley NY duked it out for the remainder of the race.
There was plenty of action to be found mid-pack as the NYPA drivers settled in for a long green flag run. The battle for 4th place, now included the 44, being piloted by Sportsman regular Tim Nies. Nies, Christiano and Jones fought tooth and nail over the course of the green flag run and with 9 laps left caution was brought out with a spin in turn 3.
In the end it was the 88 of Kyle Hutchinson bringing home the checkers for the 2018 season opener, with Dave Wollaber and Erik Musto desperately trying to find speed anywhere they could to challenge for the lead. In his victory lane interview Hutchinson said, “I saw Dave (Wallaber) get to the front pretty quick, and I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to get by him so fast, he’s pretty quick here… I got by someone out of turn 4 and got a run coming down the front straightaway it was probably a pretty aggressive move for that early in the race, but it ended up working out… The car was on rails all night long.” Kyle would like to thank Casey’s Truck Salvage, John Casey, and Wayne Turnbull for their support in 2018.
Join us next week on Saturday, May 26 as we come back to the Track at Hillside for round 2 of racing action on the 2018 NYPA season. Saturday will feature a full card of racing so come early, grab a seat and don’t miss all the action at The Track at Hillside!
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.
5/18/2018 Final Results:
#1 – 88 Kyle Hutchinson, East Aurora, NY
#2 – 1 Dave Wollaber, North Tonawanda, NY
#3 – 6 Erik Musto, Lockport,NY
#4 – 2 Vinnie Christiano, Tonawanda, NY
#5 – 71 Tony Petrea, Tonawanda, NY
#6 – 14 Kevin Wilson, Alden, NY
#7 – 05 Jamie Pew, Lancaster, NY
#8 – 4 Jim Musto, Lockport,NY
#9 – 44 Tim Nies, Lancaster, NY
#10 – 5 Ted Jones, West Valley, NY
#11 – 02 Patrick Smith, Kenmore, NY
#12 – 32 Sean McNamara, Cheektowaga, NY
#13 – 98 Tommy Catalano, Ontario, NY
#14 – 90 A.J. Hessler, Tonawanda, NY