The Chrome Horn News



   Anytime when there is a Modified race at the Spencer Speedway Jan Leaty is always considered the favorite at his home town track. Friday night was no different in the 100 lap Race of Champions Dart Asphalt Modified Tour event.
   Jan started eighth and made a pit stop under the caution on lap 32 for a fresh right rear tire. The tire was the difference as Jan rocketed back through the talented field to take the lead on lap 50 with an outside turn four pass of Buck Catalano.
   Once in front Jan saved his equipment for the later stages of the race and over the final 15 laps Jan pulled away to a very popular and dominating $3,500 feature win. Billy Putney who started third, never pitted for tires and finished an impressive second with Jans son Mike ending up a strong third.
   Current RoC point leader and defending champion Pete Brittain, who started 20th ran a smart race to end up in fourth with Matt Hirschman coming from 14th to fifth at the checkers.
   Yea we ran good tonight said Jan. Weve been having a little bit of a run of bad luck since we won the Race of Champions last September. Since that race until tonight there hasnt been a race where Ive been nicked up during the race. Weve had some good finishes during that time but at some point during those races I have had the car nicked up. Tonight was the first since last September that we got through the entire racing program clean.
   Its been a struggle this year not only for Jan but also for his son Mike. We needed a good finish tonight as weve been struggling. But Im happy for Mike too as he needed a good finish more than we did.
   Jan started eighth in the field of 26 and made it into the top five on lap 21. Then during a caution flag period on lap 32 Jan pitted for a new right rear tire. Jans pit crew once again did excellent work as they got him out of the pits first which placed him first on the track with a new tire.
   With a new right rear sneaker on his car Jan started to work his way back through the field. The move that essentially won the race for Jan came on a lap 32 when Jan passed six cars in turns one and two on the outside. After the next round of pit stops by cars in front of him on lap 40 Jan was running fourth when the race restarted.
   Jan spoke about the lap 32 restart pass where he went from 15th to ninth in one set of turns. I was actually surprised that it went that good. What happened was everybody was in a panic about the outside and I was able to take advantage of that. They were all on the bottom jamming each other; guys on the outside were lifting trying to get to the bottom. I just launched it into turn one and hoped it would turn, it did and I was able to roll by those six guys right then, that was big.
   After that move Jan used his patented outside charge to the front to get the lead as he motored around Buck Catalano as they crossed the line to complete the half way part of the race. In typical veteran fashion once in front Jan saved his car and then over the final 15 laps of the feature turned up the wick and ended up winning by a full straightaway, much to the delight of his hometown fans.
   That is how you win these races said Jan. You use what you need to when you need to, if you got a good car you use up what you have to. Luckily tonight I got to the front fairly early tonight so I saved some rubber until the end of the race just in case someone made a run at me late in the race with fresher rubber than me. Actually the car drove better tonight the faster I went; it just does weird stuff when you drive it slow.
   It does feel good to win at your home track said Jan. You get up in the morning from your own bed, work around the house like I did today. As you dont need to get into the hauler and on the road by 8 am. After working around the house and relaxing a little bit when it is time to come to the races tonight you leave and take your time getting here.
   The track was pretty decent and the competition was good, Im real happy concluded Jan.
   The car stayed with us real well said second place finisher Billy Putney. Im real pleased with how long it lasted without putting a tire on. Anytime you get beat by Jan, especially here you cant be too disappointed. We held off Mike there at the end and ran a little bit there with Buck for a while, were just ecstatic to bring it home in one piece and in the top two.
   Asked about the no pit strategy Billy commented. It was our plan not to pit unless we started to fade really bad. We really didnt fade that bad so we decided to stay out. We made a ton of changes during practice, tuned the car in more during the heat race, rolled the dice in the feature and came out of it with a second, well take it.
   Putney who started third moved right into the second on the opening lap. Staying behind leader Buck Catalano who was setting a blistering pace. Putney shocked everyone as he drove around Catalano to grab the lead on lap 41. But three laps later Catalano appeared to use the chrome horn to regain the lead coming out of turn four. Putney explained it was his fault and no fault of Bucks.
   Buck really didnt get into me as I changed my line there coming out of turn four said Billy. I was actually trying to pull low to let him by as I didnt want to push the car that hard at that point in the race. That was entirely my doing and I cant blame Buck at all, as I was running an inconsistent lane.
   Getting the bad luck monkey of his back was third place finisher Mike Leaty. Weve had a rough go of things so far this year said Mike. This was our first RoC race weve finished this year and its a good result. There was a lot of hard racing out there tonight. I got to third and was hoping to get by Billy so we could make it a father son one two, we havent done that before. Tried real hard to pass Billy but he was going good and well take a third tonight.
   Qualifying for the 26 car field saw heat races being won by Erick Rudolph, TJ Potrzebowski, and Jan Leaty.
   NOTES; Jeff Polaksi was in the second Rick Kluth entry. Rusty Smith saw a very strong run end with a battery / alternator problem. Pre race favorite Tony Hanbury had something break in the rear portion of the car which forced the car to turn right when he wanted it to turn left. Rick Kluth had to change the rack in the front end after the first hot lap session. Leaking power steering fluid ended the strong run of Erick Rudolph in the feature. After the sun set and the track cooled down there was an outside groove which was used quite frequently during the feature. The RoC show at Dunn Tire this Saturday has seen it starting time pushed back to 6:30 Saturday night from 4:00 Saturday afternoon.


FINISH; Jan Leaty, Billy Putney, Mike Leaty, Pete Brittain, Matt Hirschman, Jim Storace, Daren Scherer, Doug Reaume, Terry Cheetham, Rick Kluth, Buck Catalano, John Markovic, Dave Wollaber, TJ Potrzebowski, Karl Hehr, Kris Hilleger, Erick Rudolph, Tony Hanbury, Rusty Smith, Todd Smith, Tim McMullen, Mark Tychoniewicz, Chris Risdale, Jeff Polaski, Tom Weist, Matt Clemens.
LAP LEADERS; Catalano ( 1 40 ), Putney ( 41 43 ), Catalano ( 44 49 ), J. Leaty ( 50 100 ).

NEXT RoC EVENT; Saturday August 9th - Dunn Tire - 6:30 start - 50th Anniversary Show 100 laps - $3,500 to win.

   The Race of Champions Dart Asphalt Modified Tour is sponsored by; Dart Machinery, Gater Racing News, Hoosier Racing Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, PBM Performance Products, Total Seal Piston Rings, Dura Bond, Competition Engineering by Moroso, Dynatech, Xceldyne, Afco, CV Products, and LA Sleeve.


Source: JR's Motorsports Media / RoC Dart Asphalt Modified Series
Posted:  August 2, 2008

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