On the heels of capping off a fourth championship season in Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series competition at the annual banquet in Mount Morris, New York, Chuck Hossfeld has been enjoying the fruits of victory once again these past few months. Lately, not so much in a partying manner, but more in a personal reflection, remembering all the people that helped to get him there.
“I didn’t go to Disneyland or anything like that, but I feel good about it for the team and for myself, and everyone involved. This is our fourth in the years we’ve run the series fulltime, each one has a different feel to it, but each one is special in its own way,” Hossfeld told Speed51.com.
What made this one special was that it came directly after a 2017 season where Hossfeld had taken time away from a full RoC schedule to focus on more important aspects of life, coming back to rise to the top. But it was a close one, with the Ransomville, New York driver beating out Andy Jankowiak in a battle that had the two separated by single digits entering the season finale Race of Champions 250 at Lake Erie Speedway (PA).
“We had a lot going on in 2017, so we didn’t make all of the races. It was just a great feeling to come back and win the championship; it really was. To have everyone take care of the cars here at my place and Joe Mancuso takes care of them along with my team, it’s such a big accomplishment,” Hossfeld said. “You have to run well, you can’t have any failures, you have to drive well, stay out of trouble; a whole year of effort came down to the last race with the slimmest of margins, and to win it over Andy was gratifying for sure.”
The past few seasons have seen a resurgence of competition in the RoC fueled by the return of veteran drivers and the rise of a new generation. While Hossfeld takes great pride in competing against such a great talent pool, it is also a part of the great sport of Modified racing, which is all interconnected in many different ways.
“The RoC is a top-notch series, we all love Modifieds and if you look at all the different series from RoC, to the NASCAR Tour, to even the track divisions like at Stafford or Thompson, there’s a lot of great competitors involved, whether it’s SK’s, NASCAR, or the RoC. A lot of great professional-type teams that do this for fun or a living, they are tough to race, but there are some great people in the sport that are great to race.”
That tough competition was on full display in 2018, with Hossfeld coming away with just a single victory over the season. That victory came back in the third outing of the season in a Thursday night clash at Lancaster Speedway (NY). Not surprisingly, the Ol’ Boy Cup is among Hossfeld’s favorite moments of 2018, but not simply because he took the checkered flag.
“One big thing was our win at the Ol’ Boy Cup, because Bill Colton Sr. owned the first Modified I had, and we won that race in his honor at Lancaster. We won it in a really close race over Mike Leaty, that kind of had a “meant to be” feeling considering he was my first car owner.”
But as always, the agony of defeat can stick in a driver’s mind, including Hossfeld’s. The biggest sting for the No. 22 over their year of consistency came north of the border at Jukasa Motor Speedway (ON), with Hossfeld mixing it up with half-a-dozen cars for the win, only for his fuel tank to run dry.
“On the other hand, we ran out of fuel; I always say my gas tank broke at Jukasa. I pride myself on being calm, but that day I was pretty disappointed because I knew we had a chance to win, and it made the points race that much closer. Highs and lows, but in the end it all worked out for us in the end.”
These and plenty of other memories will be on the mind as Hossfeld and crew gather for banquet time this weekend, but even now the gears are already in motion for a fifth title chase in 2019.
“Everything will be the same for next year, we’ll keep plugging away and sign on for another year to go for another one.”
Speed51.com will have more from the Race of Champions banquet this coming week.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos