JAN IS THE MAN ONCE AGAIN IN SPENCER RoC
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 Jan’s
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. “ We’ve 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 hasn’t been a race
where I’ve been nicked up during the race. We’ve 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. “
It’s been a struggle this year not only for Jan but also for his
son Mike. “ We needed a good finish tonight as we’ve been
struggling. But I’m 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. Jan’s 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
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 don’t 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, I’m real
happy “ concluded Jan.
“ The car stayed with us real well “ said second place finisher
Billy Putney. “ I’m real pleased with how long it lasted without
putting a tire on. Anytime you get beat by Jan, especially here you
can’t be too disappointed. We held off Mike there at the end and ran
a little bit there with Buck for a while, we’re 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 didn’t
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, we’ll take
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 Buck’s.
“ Buck really didn’t 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 didn’t want to push the car that hard at that
point in the race. That was entirely my doing and I can’t 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. “ We’ve had a rough go of things so far this year “ said
Mike. “ This was our first RoC race we’ve finished this year and
it’s 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 haven’t done that before. Tried
real hard to pass Billy but he was going good and we’ll take a third
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.
RACE REPORT RACE OF CHAMPIONS DART ASPHALT MODIFIED TOUR RACE
NUMBER 4 SPENCER 100
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 ).
DART MACHINERY AWARD $1,200 SET OF HEADS; J. Leaty.
GATER RACING NEWS DRIVER BONUS DRAWING $500; Catalano.
HOOSIER RACING TIRE HARD CHARGER AWARD; Brittain ( 20th to
HOOSIER RACING TIRE HARD LUCK AWARD; Hehr ( 2nd to 15th )
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.
JR's Motorsports Media / RoC Dart
Asphalt Modified Series
August 2, 2008