MIKE LEATY HOLDS
OFF A RIMRIDING HOSSFELD
FOR EXCITING SPENCER RoC VICTORY
The pre race hype had everyone talking about if you wanted to win at Spencer
Speedway on Friday night you had to beat a Leaty. Most people were referring
to Jan who has won many big races at the flat half mile oval.
But on Friday night Janís son Mike took a page out of his dadís
race strategy notebook to win the 75 lap Race of Champions Dart Asphalt
Modified Tour sanctioned event. Mike pitted along with a host of others on
lap 35, a great pit stop by his crew placed Mike at the head of the cars who
Then racing back up through the field Mike was passed by a high
flying and rim riding Chuck Hossfeld who put on an outside groove passing
exhibition that hasnít been seen in quite some time at Spencer. Mike stuck
right on the back bumper of Hossfeld until they caught leader Rusty Smith.
Smith who hadnít pitted for tires was getting looser each lap he
circled the track held off Mike and Chuck who were racing side by side
trying to get the lead from laps 44 to 56. Coming out of turn two the
pivotal point of the race took place as Mike got under Chuck and passed him
going into turn three for second. Just as this happened leader Smith nearly
spun his car out due to worn tires entering turn three. Mike pounced on the
mistake to grab the lead exiting turn four to complete lap 57.
Hossfeld tried every clean racing move in his artillery over the
final 18 laps to try and grab the lead. But each time Mike Leaty held him
off to win the very popular $2,800 victory at his home track. Erick Rudolph
who started 17th came on strong at the end to finish third with defending
RoC Champion Matt Hirschman surviving three pit stops to race his way back
to fourth and early race leader Jim Storace finished in fifth.
ď I didnít know that I was pitting when I went into turn three on
lap 35 ď said the smiling winner. ď I saw two or three cars in front of me
duck into the pits and I knew that there was a good chance that all of the
guys behind me were going to pit because they saw the first two or three
guys pit. So I said this was the time to pit if we were going to pit and I
cranked it into the pits at the last second. ď
After the pit stops Mike had an excellent side by side battle with
Chuck Hossfeld for position. ď Its fun racing with the guys that are
accomplished and respect each other ď said Mike. ď We touched here and
there, hopefully it was a good show for the fans and it ( contact ) never
went over the top to the point of where we would wreck. It was a good hard
race between us and we figured who got to the front first between me and
Chuck would win because Rusty was on old tires when we got to him. I didnít
think Chuck was going to race around me if I got out front first and vice
versa if he got out front first. Luckily we got to the front first. ď
Mike recalled the pivotal moment of the race on lap 56 when he went
from third to first in a matter of a quarter of a track. ď Rusty was doing
all he could to stay in the lead, he wasnít giving an extra inch and that
was his job not to give an extra inch. I tried the outside to get by him and
Chuck slipped by me ( lap 50 ) to get second and I thought I was in trouble
then. Then Chuck tried the outside and I filled the hole on him and at the
same time getting into three Rusty got a little sideways and I was lucky
enough to get under him. Chucky at the same time got right behind me and
gave me shot which in turn gave me a good run coming out of four with the
lead. It felt like I picked up an additional 50 horsepower with that bump in
the back bumper, but thatís all right Iíll take it. ď
The win was also a historical one as it was the first RoC Tour win
with a RoC DART Spec head motor that Mike Leaty has now used for the last
year and a half. ď I won a weekly race last year here at Spencer with this
DART motor ď recalled Mike who started tenth in the feature. ď But this is
the first RoC win with this RoC motor and I have nothing but high praises
for it. This is a big win for this motor as I honestly didnít think this
motor would run this well at Spencer Speedway. The thing has good horsepower
numbers compared to the aluminum heads but it doesnít have the torque
numbers that those motors have and you need torque at Spencer. If I have
$20,000 in this engine, Iím lucky as that is a lot of money but I can take a
new $400 carburetor out of the box and put it on this motor and go racing.
With an aluminum headed motor the carburetor will cost you $3,500 and I
donít see any difference except cost between the two right now. Iím glad
that Iím the only RoC Tour regular that has one and I would like to see it
stay that way. Andy is really building something here with this motor
package and it is good for the long term health of our sport. ď
Nineteenth place starting Chuck Hossfeld put on the show all
evening long as Chuck was the only driver to consistently race in the
outside groove all race long. ď Iím disappointed for my crew and Iím
disappointed for me because we had such a good car ď said Chuck. ď Itís a
shame to be second, I like to think I ran Mike clean and everyone else who I
raced with tonight, I raced them clean too. Maybe in the long run that cost
me a spot and maybe cost me a win. ď
ď Itís so flat here obviously itís harder on the car and harder on
the tires ď said Chuck when talking about his running of the outside groove
all evening long. ď We had a great car and I attest that to Kenny who had a
good setup under the car. It was flying, I was really happy with it and I
would have loved to won it. But at least the fans can go home and say they
saw a great race tonight and that is the most important thing. ď
The final restart on lap 69 was the race as Mike got a large
advantage over Chuck when the green came out. The difference was indeed the
race as it took Chuck several laps to catch up with Mike and by that time
the race was over with.
Chuck explained what happened on that final restart. ď I donít know
if Mike was shifting but I hit him and my car popped out of gear. I thought
I was going to drop back to tenth as I couldnít get it back in, that was a
costly mistake as it gave Mike some breathing room. ď
Erick Rudolph who started 17th ended up third with a car that was
good on the long runs. ď We passed a lot of cars tonight as our car was
really good on the long runs. The caution with six to go hurt us as after we
went back to green it took us four to five laps to get back going all race
Qualifying for the 35 car field saw heat wins go to Pete Brittain.
Mike Leaty, Daren Scherer, and Billy Putney while Chris Whitenight won the B
NOTES; All heat race finishes with the exception of heat two
saw the official finishing orders changed due to rule infractions by several
drivers, which involved an improperly working one way radio. Drivers were
told one month ago at Oswego that starting with this race penalties were
going to be handed out. George Kent was running the Matt Kurzejewski driven
car as Matt was unable to make the show due to a graduation. Chip Santee was
driving the Adam Horwith owned car as a team mate to Eric Beers. Chris
Zacharias blew the clutch in his car during the first hot lap session. He
got the clutch repaired but was unable to get the transmission installed in
time for the B Main. Chris didnít remain idle during the feature as he
became the announcer for the Modified feature. Mark Tychoniewicz and Jimmy
Zacharias both crashed hard into the homestretch wall during the heat race.
Jimmyís car had severe damage and he drove the car that his brother T. J.
was driving in the heat race, Jimmy did qualify for the feature through the
B main. Mark meanwhile rebuilt his entire front end with help from the Rick
Kluth and Tom Wiest teams to transfer to the feature from the B Main.
However during the feature Mark got the front end wiped out again after a
multi car homestretch accident. Several drivers including Matt Hirschman, T.
J. Potrzebowski, and a strong running Kyle Ebersole all made contact with
the homestretch wall during the feature. The next RoC race at Spencer is a
100 lap Championship Series event on Friday August 14th.
RACE OF CHAMPIONS DART ASPHALT MODIFIED TOUR
REGULAR SEASON RACE # 2
FINISH; Mike Leaty, Chuck Hossfeld, Erick Rudolph, Matt Hirschman,
Jim Storace, Billy Putney, Jan Leaty, Eric Beers, Earl Paules, Rusty Smith,
Jimmy Zacharias, Pete Brittain, Doug Reaume, Daren Scherer, Tim McMullen,
Brian DeFebo, Danny Knoll, Jr., T. J. Potrzebowski, Rick Kluth, George Kent,
Mark Tychoniewicz, John Markovic, Kyle Ebersole, Wilbur Hebing, Chris
Whitenight, David Silvernail.
DNQíS; Matt Clemens, Jeff Hamman, Tom Wiest, Chip Santee, Terry
Zacharias, T. J. Zacharias, Ron Smith, Tommy Cloce, Chris Zacharias.
LAP LEADERS; Ru. Smith ( 1 ), Storace ( 2 Ė 24 ) Ru. Smith ( 25 Ė 56
), M. Leaty ( 57 Ė 75 ).
DART MACHINERY AWARD SET OF HEADS $1,500 VALUE; Brittain.
GATER RACING NEWS DRIVER BONUS DRAWING $500; Whitenight.
HOOSIER RACING TIRE HARD CHARGER AWARD; Hossfeld ( 19th to 2nd ).
HOOSIER RACING TIRE HARD LUCK AWARD; Ebersole ( 5th to 23rd ).
NEXT RoC EVENT; Friday July 10th Ė Wyoming County International
Source: JR's Motorsports
Media / RoC Dart Asphalt Modified Tour