Lehighton, PA — When Mahoning Valley Speedway gets the 2020 season rolling this coming Saturday night, June 13 with the running of the John “Peepers” Yerger Tribute 77-lapper, all indications are that a star-studded field of local and regional Modified drivers will be on hand at the paved ¼-mile oval.
Much of that was evident during last weekend’s Test and Tune as many drivers took to the track in preparation of Saturday’s lid-lifter, including a rare visit by upstate New York standout Chuck Hossfeld.
Hossfeld took advantage of both days to shake down his ride, the Franzosa Trucking No. 1W for car owner Tom Wanick III.
Wanick and Hossfeld have had a solid relationship with respectable outings at Evergreen Raceway, most recently with a fourth-place outing in last year’s King of the Green. Now the pair will be making a run at the Mahoning bullring, a track that Hossfeld would love to add to his long list of winning accomplishments.
“It’s challenging here and what’s great is the local guys are always good. We had a good practice and I was really proud to come in and see my team and how beautiful the equipment is,” said, Hossfeld, who hails from Lockport, NY.
“One of the things about coming to Mahoning Valley is it seems every time I get the chance to come here everyone is so friendly to see you and that’s always a real pleasure.”
It’s customary with Hossfeld as a front runner no matter where he goes and even though he has but a handful of starts here since 2012, they have all been productive. In 2013 he just missed eclipsing the track record during time trial runs and twice in 2016 with the Sunoco Race of Champions Tour, his last time racing here, he garnered top-5 finishes while vying for the wins in each of those shows.
“I think you’ll see that we’re going to be very competitive and someone that can threaten for the win,” admitted Hossfeld.
“This is going to be a big show and the thing is it wouldn’t surprise me in the least that local guys will beat a lot of these outsiders. There’s no question it’s going to be a great race with a great field of cars and I think everyone is ready for it with all the turmoil we’ve been dealing with. Everyone needs a little fun right now and this will be it.”
Admittedly Hossfeld knows that Mahoning, unlike any other track, possess its own unique challenges.
“I think when racing a Modified anything can happen in a heartbeat at any track. Having said that, things I’ve noticed about this track, it’s sort of like Seekonk because of the size and shape. But here you’re on the throttle so much differently,” he explained.
“At this track you can actually have a Sport Mod or a car with a lot less horsepower and you’re just not using all the power these cars have so it’s a lot of throttle control. We want to get our car turning better without getting loose and I feel that’s what’s going to be answer for success here.”
Hossfeld will also have the plus of 2019 track champion Bobby Jones on his side. Jones, with the help of Wanick and Franzosa Trucking, scored the crown last season and knows every intricate inch of the track.
“Anytime you have a good racer with success on your side it can’t hurt and I think he has relatively no ego and I don’t have much of one either so I think we can be good as teammates.” noted Hossfeld.
“We also have Mike Parks involved who is a friend of mine from years ago from where we had a lot of success and I think this is the beginning of a really good team that you’ll see produce some very good results over time,” he continued.
“It’s been a great time working with Tommy and his crew too. I never met someone that works so hard and so often. I can text (message) him at one in the morning and he answers and I can text him at six in the morning and he answers. He’s always working and I give him a lot of credit for what he has.”
A victory Saturday would not just mean another in a long list for Hossfeld but also the first time winning in Pennsylvania.
“I can rattle off tracks that I’ve won at and I’m proud of how many different ones there in on that list with all kinds of different layouts. All I want to do is collect trophies and I would be proud to get one from Mahoning Valley Speedway.”
Saturday’s action gets underway starting at 6:00 pm. Pit gates open at 10:00 am. Grandstands open at 3:00.
Those who can’t make it to Mahoning Valley Speedway on Saturday night will be able to watch a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51. Click here to order your live video ticket today.
-Mahoning Valley Speedway Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51Photos.com