Story By: BILL UTTER / ACCORD SPEEDWAY – ACCORD, NY – Cody Higbie was declared the winner of the GRIT series race at the Accord Speedway on Saturday. Higbie came across the finish line in second place behind Cole Hentschel but after going through tech Hentschel was disqualified and Higbie got the win worth $2000.
It was redemption for Higbie who appeared to win the Great Crate race several weeks ago but received a dq for a illegal motor.
The 15 year old rookie sportsman driver had problems in his heat resulting in a 19th starting spot in the 30 lap feature. He got a couple of breaks on the first lap when cars piled up at the start and restart which helped him move forward. He moved into second on lap 19 and worked on Hentschel but was unable to pass him.
“We struggled in our heat race. It was like two different tracks. Turn one and two were slippery while there was grip in three and four. I over drove the car in the heat race” said Cody. For the feature they went with a hard tire (50) and he changed his driving style. The young driver has come a long way in a short time.
The race was plagued by 13 caution flags. There were two pile ups before a lap was in the books. Among those involved were Dale Welty, the GRIT point leader and Chris Lynch who had come from the rear to win his heat race.
Cole Hentschel grabbed the lead from outside pole and he would lead the entire race. On the sixth lap restart Higbie moved into third from his 19th starting spot. With seven laps in Travis Green and Alex Vanpelt got together. Green was up to fifth after starting 15th. At the half way mark it was Hentschel leading with Matt Schultz, Higbie, Jamie Yannone and Justin Holland in the top five. Higbie took over second on lap 19 and that proved to be the winning move.
With 24 laps in a five car pileup brought out the yellow again. The last six laps ran under green and the finish was Hentschel, Higbie, Shultz, Lynch and Yannone. Shultz was also a dq as Higbie got the win followed by Lynch,Yannone, Gary Smith and Steve Williams.
The race was run under GRIT rules with the only Accord rule in effect was for tires and weight. There may have been some miss understanding about the rules but that is the way the GRIT series is run. Hentschel was ruled to have a illegal carburetor and Shultz was cited for having a aluminum yoke.
It was a heart break for GRIT point leader Dale Welty who came in leading by three points over Ryan McCartney. Welty started in ninth position, four spots ahead of McCartney. He was involved in three mix ups with the last with six laps to go. He finished 12th while McCartney was sixth which gave him the championship worth $1000.
The rookie sportsman race was won by Charlie Houghtaling. He was driving a former Jerry Higbie car. To win this race means a lot to me I had hoped to get in a full season but it didn’t work out. Two weeks ago the drive shaft let go. I have to thank Mike Morgan who lets me drive the car” said Charlie .
Tom DeGrote was the winner of the four cylinder feature. Jesse Norman was second with Robert Phillips, Ed King and Chris Dyer rounding out the top five .