The scorching summer temperatures did not keep the competitors and fans away on Friday night at Spencer Speedway (NY). Chuck Hossfeld marched from ninth starting position to gain the lead from Daryl Lewis Jr. on a restart one-third of the way through the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series 75-lap feature distance and never looked back.
“The truth is we just have such a great bunch of guys,” Hossfeld told Speed51.com powered by JEGS following his second win of 2016 and the fifth of his career at the ½-mile facility. “I can kind of be grumpy at the track just because I want to do well, but these guys don’t let that bother them and just do their job. I can’t thank them enough, and of course our sponsors. Not only is it a big sacrifice to race at all, but it’s a lot of effort and it’s expensive. I just want to thank everyone involved in this team and there’s no high like winning a race.”
The Ransomville, New York driver, who most recently won a RoC championship in 2014, swept the night, being fastest in practice and the timed hot lap session, winning his heat race, and taking the feature. Nevertheless, the redraw that mixes things up for the top heat race finishers has not been kind to him as of late at all.
“My dad has always said good things happen to good people, and I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve drawing last every single week,” Hossfeld joked. “We laugh, but it’s really not that funny.”
Lewis, one of many local favorites when the series comes to the Rochester area, had the best race of his career. After leading early on, the nearby Ontario, New York resident dropped back slightly, but it was still good enough for his best career finish of fourth. This gives him four top five results this season after coming up short from scoring in that stat column before 2016.
“I felt that it could have been more, but we’ve been having issues with the right rear tire on the thing,” Lewis noted. “We just kind of fade away at lap 50. We had an issue at Lake Erie and Chemung, but we’ve been up front. We just have to figure the last 25 laps out.”
Behind Hossfeld during the final stretch were teammates Patrick Emerling and Mike Leaty, who both put on a valiant battle for the runner-up spot. Emerling held on for second and lost the minimal amount of points after a Hossfeld win.
“All I had was Chuck in my sights and I was driving as hard as I possibly could to catch him,” Emerling remarked. “That’s all I was focusing on. All I wanted to do was catch Chuck. When it comes to the points we have a battle going on. At this race track when you go as fast as you can you’re going to take up two grooves, and I was just driving it super hard.”
Leaty, the June winner at Spencer, had to climb from the back of the pack after being involved in a multi-car altercation on a restart. Using his track expertise, the defending weekly Modified champion moved his way into a podium position. However, Emerling’s aggressiveness and driving style warranted a discussion after the checkered flag.
“This is our stomping grounds,” Leaty mentioned. “Anything other than a win is kind of disappointing, but given the circumstances and going to the back you can pass here but it’s just not easy. We proved that, but the guy in front of you has to give you a lane too and near the end of the race Pat didn’t want to give up the points.
“We had a nice talk and in the future I’m sure there will be more give and take. I feel like I’ve done my share of giving and I’m sure in the future we’ll continue to race good together.”
Emerling concurred that perhaps he did not give enough room for a faster car, but also admitted to being in an interesting situation as far as the season-ending outcome goes where in many cases every position counts.
“I didn’t realize Mike reeled me in from quite a ways back and he was that much faster than me,” Emerling said. “I probably should have given him a good lane to come by me because he was good enough to catch Chuck and possibly get the win there. I was basically diamonding the track, and it doesn’t matter how fast they are you’re not going to get around. Being the teammates we are, maybe I should have given him a lane. Sometimes when you race really hard that’s how things go.”
At the same time, Emerling indicated he will not be backing down very much during the best season of his career with four RoC victories and the lead in the standings.
“At this point I’m in ‘kill mode’ since we have a little bit of momentum,” Emerling said. “I’m a super competitive dude and I always want to win these races.”
Hossfeld’s win meant that he remains in the championship hunt as 2016 winds down, but knows that wins and strong finishes will need to happen rather than some of the odd occurrences earlier in the year.
“(Emerling)’s had a great season,” Hossfeld said. “We had bad luck at Lancaster and the craziest thing happened at Holland where my seat belts came off and I had to stop, so that cost us. We’ve just had some weird things happen that in all of my racing have never seen happen, so we’ll get past that and now we have five more races and we’ll keep trying to do the very best we can.”
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-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
RoC Modified Flower City 75 Results
1 9 22 Chuck Hossfeld 75
2 8 07 Patrick Emerling 75
3 7 25 Mike Leaty 75
4 4 10 Daryl Lewis Jr. 75
5 5 51 T.J. Potrzebowski 75
6 6 9 Jeff Hamman 75
7 11 32 Tyler Rypkema 75
8 1 54 Tommy Catalano 75
9 12 65 Andy Lewis 75
10 15 64 Amy Catalano 75
11 3 3 Daren Scherer 74
12 18 59 Karl Hehr 74
13 10 27 Donny Hartzell 64
14 16 40 Tommy Rought 62
15 17 1 Chris Ridsdale 61
16 13 45 Kevin Timmerman 34
17 14 39 Calvin Carroll 34
18 2 95 Bryan Sherwood 34