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   The Chrome Horn - RoC Asphalt Modified Tour



When a driver redraws the worst (12th) starting position in a 75 lap feature on the very competitive Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour, a driver knows he is going to have a long night of racing.

On Sunday afternoon at the Chemung Speedrome, defending RoC Tour champion Chuck Hossfeld was in that position, but that poor starting position didn’t hamper the positive feeling that the All Metal Works / Jerry Gradl Motors sponsored team has had since last year.

The Ransomville, NY driver took advantage of some racing luck throughout the entire feature distance to move from his 12th place starting position to fourth within the first ten laps of the feature. After settling into third Hossfeld let two young guns in Jimmy Zacharias and Andy Jankowiak duke it out for the feature win.

With nine laps to go Zacharias retired with motor issues handing the lead to Jankowiak, but he only held if for the next five laps. Just after receiving the five to go signal Jankowiak who was battling a leaking rear end fluid problem almost spun out his car in turns one and two. This bobble by Jankowiak was all that Hossfeld needed as he scooted around Jankowiak exiting turn two to take the lead.

Hossfeld then led the final four laps unchallenged to claim the win over Jankowiak, TJ Potrzebowski, Lee Sharpsteen, and Austin Kochenash.

“I don’t think we had the fastest car out there today, we had a fast car and we were running third. The two young guys in front of me were racing hard for the lead and they’re both great racers. Jimmy (Zacharias) had a mechanical problem and that gave the lead to Andy. We got past Andy when he had a mechanical problem, we were fresh and had a good carat the end of the race. The bottom line is our car is mechanically sound and sometimes you win a race like that and sometimes you win a race by sheer driving. We’ll take a win no matter how we get them and the truth is that we have never won at Chemung. I’m proud of the team to come out right from the get go and get a win and hopefully we’ll have another great year this year like we did last year. “

Jimmy Zacharias and Andy Jankowiak brought the impressive field of 28 full blown Modifieds to the green flag of starter Steve Kellogg. Zacharias jumped into the lead over Jankowiak, Brian DeFebo, Tony Hanbury, and Lee Sharpsteen.

Zacharias a multi time Chemung Speedrome track champion opened up a huge lead until the first yellow was displayed on lap nine when Patrick Emerling tried to duck under DeFebo going into turn one and spun out.

On the double file restart Jankowiak was able to squeeze Zacharias to the bottom of the track to take the lead with Sharpsteen now in third followed by 12th place starter Chuck Hossfeld and Austin Kochenash.

Hossfeld spoke about his bad redraw numbers and his early race strategy. “ When it comes to drawing numbers, I am the worse. You have to be patient at the start and be careful, we were lucky there when Emerling tried to get past somebody and ran into the wall. We had a little racing luck on our side today as he only got into our sidebar and not into our tire when he spun in front of us. If we damaged a tire in that, our whole day would have been different because I know we wouldn’t have won with a bent wheel, a tow in problem, or had to pit to change a tire. It worked out well for us, this is what I race for a day like today as feature wins keeps me energized. “

Matt Hirschman now joined in the battle for fifth as he took that spot away from Kochenash one lap later and immediately glued himself to the back bumper of Hossfeld. When Sharpsteen slipped out of the groove in turn two on lap 12 Hossfeld and Hirschman both moved past him.

Meanwhile up front Zacharias with a powerful turn four inside move that got him the lead back on lap 15 and just like before when he had the lead, Jimmy Z. opened up a huge lead. Just like the movie Groundhog Day the huge lead of Zacharias would be wiped out by a yellow once again as Tommy Cloce rolled to a stop in turn four on lap 30 with brake failure.

On the double file restart once again Jankowiak squeezed Zacharias to the bottom of the track to get the lead. Hirschman got past Hossfeld for third while Kochenash moved past Sharpsteen for fifth, Sharpsteen returned the favor by retaking fifth once lap later.

Hirschman and Hossfeld staged their own private battle for third as they exchanged that position for three consecutive laps before Hossfeld took control of third on lap 36. Hirschman then developed a problem and he pitted during a lap 41 caution flag period in which a right front tire was changed.

With 30 laps to go contact between leader Jankowiak and second place Zacharias caused third place Hossfeld to back off as he let the two kids’ race for the win. Zacharias once again made a horsepower move coming out of turn two to regain the lead on lap 48.

With 15 laps to go the lead pack which consisted of Zacharias, Jankowiak, and Hossfeld entered heavy lap traffic. At almost the same time smoke started to come out of the right bank of headers on the Zacharias machine signifying a problem.

Just as Zacharias received the ten to go signal his engine gave up the fight entering turn one and he lost all power and pulled into the pit area. Jankowiak now inherited the lead and immediately Hossfeld turned up the pressure on the second generation driver for the lead.

Jankowiak received the five to go signal and when he entered turn one he almost spun out due to a rear end leaking grease. Hossfeld took to the outside groove to get around Jankowiak to grab the lead exiting turn two.

Hossfeld only worry was a yellow which came out with a lap to which caused a green, white, checker finish. In the end it was no worry for Hossfeld as he claimed his first career Chemung Speedrome feature win over Jankowiak, Potrzebowski, Sharpsteen, and Kochenash.

“I’m excited “ said Chuck. “ We get to go home with a smile on our face and get ready to go to Oswego on Saturday. “

With many normal top runners of the RoC Tour experiencing trouble on this day. Hossfeld was asked if the change in weather caused a problem as the heats were contested under cloud cover while the feature was conducted under sunny skies. “The track was very green yesterday when we came to practice “ answered Chuck. “ The track took more rubber as the day went on yesterday and it took more rubber today, it did get greasy at times today. But you’re lucky with a Modified that the kind of weather change we went through today doesn’t throw that much of a wrench into it because of the wide tires. If we were running skinnier tires then there would have been a problem. “

Chuck added, “This RoC Series, 28 cars, it is pretty healthy. A lot of great teams, a lot of great young drivers, I’ll tell you one thing it is not going to be a cakewalk for whoever wins the championship this year. I’m pretty excited about this deal as everyone has pretty good equipment and I think a lot of people are too, just look at the crowd that was here today, that was impressive in itself. “

For Andy Jankowiak finishing second was a hard pill to swallow. “It’s just me doing things the wrong way “ said Andy. “ We got doing things in a hurry, we were putting the rear end together late one night and I didn’t have the right tool, I should have waited until the next day. It wasn’t a bad leak, it was just once in a while it would leak. When Chuck got me I thought I was going around, we straightened the thing out, it’s tough to lose one like that, I’m beating myself up right now as my guys deserve better than that. We’ll go into Oswego with a good attitude and take things from there.

Third place finisher TJ Potrzebowski was looking for longer green flag periods as his car was getting better the longer the race stayed green. “ On that long run (laps 42 to 74) I could see I was reeling them in, a couple of times I caught lap cars in bad places which cost me. Really can’t complain coming from tenth, but we had a really good car during long runs today. It took me two laps after a restart and the car would take off and I thought we would be in trouble there at the end. I was hoping for some “ Chemung Luck “ where the top two would take each other out and I could get a win. This is a good way to get our deal (with Ed McGuire) started, as we’re in it for the long haul this year, going to chase the points and this was a good start. “

Qualifying races for the 28 car field saw American Racer Tires heat wins captured by Patrick Emerling, Brian DeFebo, Matt Hirschman, and Tony Hanbury with Tommy Cloce winning the Sunoco Race Fuels / Insinger Performance Products B Main.

SPEEDROME NOTES; Over 20 RoC Modifieds were on hand for the Saturday test and tune session with Ben Reynolds the only car not returning to race on Sunday. All racing teams placed decals on their cars with a picture of former RoC driver / crew member Matt Clemens who passed away one week earlier. Matt the past few years helped Zacharias Racing and in honor of Matt they lettered up a Modified in Matt’s number 9x and it paced the feature field with Matt’s brother Chris handling the driving duties. Brandon Oltra changed his car number from 9 to 19 on this day in honor of Matt. Chris Ridsdale battled a skipping motor all day long while Rusty Smith suffered clutch problems a majority of the day. Patrick Emerling changed transmissions after hot laps as the original transmission had the backup (rear) gear go bad and it didn’t allow the car to be backed up. Many teams suffered punctured tires throughout the feature which derailed several good performances. Mike Leaty pitted on lap nine with a flat and came all the way back to sixth at the end while his teammate Patrick Emerling pitted twice and raced his way back to seventh in the end. Having a teammate on the RoC Tour is a big theme this year as there were six different two car teams in competition on this day. If all indicated reports stay correct a RoC Modified field of over 30 cars will be on hand at Oswego this Saturday night for the Richie Evans Memorial.

FINISH; Chuck Hossfeld, Andy Jankowiak, TJ Potrzebowski, Lee Sharpsteen, Austin Kochenash, Mike Leaty, Patrick Emerling,
Tyler Rypkema, TJ Zacharias, Matt Hirschman, Brandon Oltra, Tony Hanbury, George Skora, III, Rusty Smith, Brian DeFebo,
Roger Coss, Doug Reaume, Bryan Sherwood, Amy Catalano, Zack Curren, Kirk Totten, Nick Pecko, Jimmy Zacharias,
Daren Scherer, Tommy Cloce, Tommy Catalano, Daryl Lewis, Jr., Chris Ridsdale. PROVISIONALS; Totten, Ridsdale

LAP LEADERS; J. Zacharias (1 - 9), Jankowiak (10 - 14), J. Zacharias (15 - 30), Jankowiak (31 - 47),
J. Zacharias (48 - 65), Jankowiak (66 - 70), Hossfeld (71 - 75).
  Source: JR Kennerup / Race Of Champions Modified Tour
Posted: May 3, 2015

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