Oswego, New York — The 66th Annual Race of Champions Weekend kicked off with the Sportsman Modified 75 and the “National Parts Peddler 40” this past Friday night at the Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway. At the conclusion of racing Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, N.Y., and Mike Nichols of Elmira, N.Y., stood in victory lane.
Emerling slipped back in the field after early race contact with Tommy Catalano of Ontario, N.Y., and passed Mike Leaty of Williamson, N.Y., late in the race to take home his first Race of Champions weekend victory.
“We had a great car tonight and we got together with Tommy (Catalano) and lost some ground,” stated Emerling after the event from victory lane. “We worked hard, but I knew Mike Leaty had a great car. We had an opportunity to get by him and we were fortunate to complete the pass. It was an exciting race and it’s always great to win here. It’s also my first victory on Race of Champions weekend, hopefully we can get the Modified victory as well.”
Emerling posted the fastest time in practice and won the first qualifying race but John Barber of Bliss, N.Y., started on the pole flanked by Leaty. Leaty worked his way to the top spot and survived several restarts before giving way to Emerling.
Leaty finished second, with Tommy Catalano finishing 3rd, Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Penn., 4th and Tony Hanbury of Owego, N.Y., coming home 5th. Emerling, Leaty and Hirschman won the qualifying races.
In the Race of Champions Super Stock event, fans were treated to an all-out battle between Mike Nichols and Joe Mancuso of Buffalo, N.Y.
Mancuso, who led most of the race was muscled out of the top spot by Nichols as they raced to the checkered flag.
“It feels great to win this race,” stated Nichols, in victory lane. “It was intense and I am just happy we could win this race.”
Robert Fink of Scranton, Pa., finished 2nd. Bill Frisbie, Jr., of West Danby, N.Y., came home 3rd. Tim Gullo of Elmira, N.Y., crossed the line 4th and Mitchell Wright of Henrietta, N.Y., rounded out the top-five. Mancuso came home 6th after leading the most laps.
The Saturday portion of the 66th Annual Race of Champions, including the Ferris Mowers Race of Champions Asphlat Modified Series fueled by Sunoco Race of Champions 250 has been postponed due to inclement weather and will be run on Saturday, October 29th.
-Race of Champions Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Mojo Photos