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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen All-American Series



Speedweeks Modified Night 4

New Smyrna Speedway

Polly Reid

Night four at New Smyrna Speedway in the World Series of Asphalt Racing started with Chuck Hossfeld of Lockport, NY setting fast time but at the checkers, it was Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT collecting the victory, his third win of the series.

The top three inverted for the start putting Earl Paules at the point the Palmerton, PA driver bringing the field to green for the 35 lap feature event. Andy Seuss lined up next to Paules with Hossfeld, Pitkat, Patrick Emerling, Jimmy Zacharias, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale and J.R. Bertuccio the top ten.

A long green run had Paules warding off the challenges of Chuck Hossfeld and Andy Seuss who were battling side by side for second the position being settled temporarily as Hossfeld claimed the spot. At the half, Paules led Hossfeld, Seuss, Pitkat and Zacharias the top five.

As the field settled into single file racing, the action focused on Seuss in third who made his move for position passing for second with 15 to go. Seuss capitalized on the momentum and made a run at the leader, challenging Paules, the duo side by side with Seuss low, Paules high. Coming out of turn four, still side by side, Paules tagged the wall. The first caution of the night on lap 26, Paules was done for the night with heavy right front damage. Becoming the new leader, Seuss lined up with Hossfeld, Pitkat, Zacharias and Emerling the top five for the double file restart. A scary moment on the restart when a right front tire went down on the Al Emmarino's modified. Emmarino hit the turn one outside wall ending his night.

Nine circuits to go, on the restart Seuss brought the field around with Hossfeld, Pitkat, Zacharias and Eric Goodale the top five the field. Using the low lane, Pitkat picked off first Hossfeld then set his sights on the rabbit, chasing down the leader.

Pitkat gave Seuss a run for his money as he moved into the low groove going into turn three emerging the third and final leader of the night on lap 30.Pitkat, Seuss and Hossfeld broke from the pack and under a blanket put on a show for the fans with their fierce battle for the lead.

It was Pitkat who crossed the strip for the win, his third trip to victory lane in four nights with Hossfeld and Seuss completing the podium. Zacharias, Goodale, Silk, Emerling, Bertuccio, Johnny Kay and Jeremy Gerstner rounded out the top ten.

“We just have an outstanding car,” said Pitkat. “David Hill and Chris Kopec, they got this thing really going. Like I said last year when I got into this thing, the car is unbelievable, we just needed some luck. We probably should have won the Fall Final. This car is really good and it can be even better. I want to congratulate Andy and Chuck, it was great racing with those guys.”

The string of highly successful runs at New Smyrna has been a big boost for the 79 Hill Enterprises team. “I kind of get down on myself a lot, trying to prove myself on the Tour because I’ve won everything else I’ve gotten in to besides the Tour. I feel like now I’ve got top notch equipment and everything is gelling- the crew, the car, everything and that’s what you need, all the things to work, not just one or two things. I think everything is working and we’re down here building momentum, gel everybody and bring it up north and hopefully see it on the Tour.”

Hossfeld remained in the heat of the battle for the win narrowly missing a victory. “Since we’ve got here, the car has been free in the center and I’ve been trying to fix it. The night we had a really good run with Matt (Hirschman) was really the best. Tonight I thought it was going to be better. We were fastest in practice, took the pole in qualifying but came up a little short in the race. But it was a great race for the fans, that’s what is kind of cool. We needed a couple more laps and I think we might have had him.”

Leading the pack mid-way through the feature, Seuss was once again denied a win. “We came up a little bit short tonight- wish they still had 25 lappers,” smiled Seuss who was indeed the leader at lap 25.

“The car started off awesome, it just got a little bit tight. Last night we started off loose and it got good but we knew we had to be better early on – we took a gamble on air pressure, the tires weren’t exactly what we wanted and it just went a little bit too far. We’re happy- we’re running up front, we’re leading laps, competing for the wins with these guys- that’s all you can ask for.”

Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: February 22, 2013

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