LANCASTER, N.Y. – Andy Jankowiak of Tonawanda, N.Y. won the 29th annual Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 110 Race of Champions Modified Series event at Lancaster National Speedway on Saturday night. The race pays tribute to Jankowiak’s late father and uncle who were killed in separate racing accidents in 1989 and 1990.
Jankowiak held off Patrick Emerling during the final 20 laps of the race to secure his third Race of Champions Series win of the 2018 season.
Scott Wylie and Emerling led the field to the start of the 110-lap main event. Emerling, a former two-time winner of the Tommy/Tony 110, grabbed the early lead. Chuck Hossfeld followed him from the third starting position to move into second place.
Defending race winner George Skora III was on the move early in the race. He came from the eighth place starting position to quickly move up to third by lap 16. The caution flag came out for the first time on lap 19 when Chris Ridsdale slowed on the track. Daryl Lewis, Jr. was one of the first cars to make a pit stop as his crew bolted on a new right rear tire on lap 21.
Emerling, Hossfeld and Skora led the field until the yellow flag came out on again on lap 35. A chain reaction incident happened out of turn 2 when Timmy Catalano slowed on the track. It bunched the back end of the field, and Alan Bookmiller bounced off the wall before being run into from behind by Ridsdale.
This caution period was a signal for the majority of the leaders to come down pit road. Emerling, Hossfeld, Skora and Jankowiak were among the frontrunners that pitted for a new tire. Daren Scherer, Jack Ely and Tommy Catalano inherited the top three spots in the running order after they stayed on the track.
The race resumed with Scherer and Catalano battling for the lead. Lewis’s early pit stop put him ahead of all the leaders that pitted on lap 38, and he quickly entered the top three. Skora spun out in turn 3 on lap 52 to bring out the yellow flag for a fourth time.
The race restarted just past the halfway point with Jankowiak leading the cars that had pitted for a new tire. He had made his way back up to fourth place with just over 50 laps to go. Jankowiak quickly dispatched of Lewis and Scherer to move into second place by lap 60. He then tracked down Catalano, and passed him for the lead on lap 66 after a brief side-by-side battle.
The longest green flag run of the night ended on lap 86 when Eric Beers spun into the grass off of turn 2. This bunched the field up for the restart with Jankowiak leading Lewis, Emerling, Mike Leaty and Hossfeld. Emerling got past Lewis for second on lap 89.
Two late race cautions happened inside the final 15 laps of the race, the worst of which happened on lap 104 when George Skora plowed into the Thermal Foam blocks in turn 3. Skora was racing with Eric Beers and Tommy Catalano for position when he tagged the wall.
This set up a final six lap dash between Jankowiak and Emerling. Emerling was able to get to Jankowiak’s back bumper on multiple occasions in the closing laps, but was unable to make an attempt at a pass. Jankowiak held on to score the victory. He has won three of the last five RoC Modified events held at Lancaster going back to last season’s U.S. Open 125.
Emerling settled for second as he and Jankoiwak both placed in the top three on three separate occasions this season in the RoC Modified Series. Daryl Lewis, Jr. held off Mike Leaty to finish third for the fifth time this season, including three times at Lancaster. Leaty and Eric Beers rounded out the top five.
Tim Gullo of Elmira, N.Y. won the 37-lap, $1,000-to-win Race of Champions Super Stock Series feature. Gullo came out on top of an intense three-car battle for the win with Joe Mancuso and Tommy Barron.
Barron led the first 25 laps from the pole position before Gullo took the lead away for the first time. A lapped car held up Gullo going into turn 1 on lap 28 to allow Barron to regain the lead, but Gullo took it back one lap later.
Mancuso overcame from nearly spinning out on two separate occasions to challenge Gullo for the lead during the final five laps. Gullo held on to score his second RoC Super Stock Series win of the season and maintain his series points lead. Mancuso, Barron, Chuck Anderson and Zach Willis rounded out the top five finishers.
Rich Sharpe of Lancaster picked up his third win of the season in Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks. Sharpe passed Mark Hoch for the lead with 10 laps to go to secure his first win in three months.
Eight-time feature winner and division points leader Andy Cryan was taken out of contention on the second lap of the race. Cryan made contact with Dave Vona going down the backstretch, and then bounced off of Max Northem’s car to bring out the yellow flag. His crew was able to make repairs, but not before losing a couple laps.
That set up the battle between Sharpe and Hoch for the win. Vona finished third while Northem rebounded to finish fourth. Tommy Wentland led one lap while challenging Hoch for the lead early in the race, and finished in fifth.
Kevin Bainbridge of Amherst, N.Y. led all 25 laps of the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinder feature to get his second win of the season. Bainbridge went from the third starting position to pass both front row starters, Andy Danielwicz and Charles Palmer, on the opening lap for the eventual race-winning pass.
Palmer finished second for his second-straight top two finish. Dave Brunka, Jason Anasiewicz and Joe Brunka completed the top five.
This coming Saturday at Lancaster National Speedway is Big Rig Night. All CDL license holders can get a general admission ticket for just $5. There will be a full card of X-Press Signs Stock Car Series Racing with the VP Racing Fuels Sportsman, Street Stocks, 4-Cylinders and NYPA TQ Midgets.
About Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway: Founded in 1959, Lancaser National Speedway and Dragway, WNY’s Premier Motorsports and Event Facility, is a multi-use facility located on 77 acres just outside of metropolitan Buffalo, N.Y. The facility features a 1/8-mile drag strip, a 1/2-mile oval track and hosts several non-motorsports events such as car shows and concerts. For the latest information on Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway check out our website www.lancasternationalspeedway.com. Additional information for racers and fans can be found on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LancasterSpeedway) and on Twitter (@LancasterSpdwy).
-Lancaster National Speedway Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / MoJo Photos