OSWEGO, NY — Chuck Hossfeld survived the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour’s first visit to Oswego Speedway (NY) since May in a 100 lap game that featured a large amount of comers and goers for various reasons.
The Ransomville, New York driver started from the outside pole, but slipped back to fourth in the early laps after getting stuck in the outside line. Tony Hanbury, driving a car that had not been on the track since the New Smyrna World Series of Asphalt in February when Andy Seuss raced it, set the pace from the pole with Hossfeld’s closest points threat Matt Hirschman running in second.
The first caution of the evening came when Jimmy Zacharias slowed on the track. This is when things began to get interesting.
During the afternoon driver’s meeting RoC director Andrew Harpell made it clear to teams that there was to be no playing around on restarts, and if he felt that cars were hanging back the driver(s) would be penalized.
When the race came to green following the caution for Zacharias it appeared that Hanbury did not get up to speed and that allowed Hirschman to power into the lead. The questionable restart resulted in the field getting bunched up and May fifth-place finisher Tyler Rypkema in the turn one outside wall foam barrier.
As a result, the tough call was made that both Hanbury and Hirschman would be sent to the back. Hirschman sustained damage to his car moving back toward the front, but was able to salvage a fourth place finish. He was expectedly unhappy with the call.
“I picked up the pace when we were told to pick up the pace on restarts,” Hirschman told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Now maybe the leader didn’t go so if they want to call it back or whatever, fine, but I don’t know how I go to the rear when I just followed instructions. “
At this point, Hossfeld’s main contender for the majority of the remainder of the race was Andy Jankowiak. The Holland Speedway winner jumped into the lead and was able to continually shut the door on Hossfeld despite an enormous run that he would get lap after lap. That would be until they reached lapped traffic, more specifically the car of Sam Fullone. Jankowiak would get held up and Hossfeld would use the slower car as a pick to gain the lead. This left another top driver not in the best spirits after the race.
“We were leading and I was just trying to let Hossfeld go to the top a little bit,” said Jankowiak. “He got one look underneath me and I decided it was go time and started picking it up, and then we came over to (Fullone). He wrecked us when we were lapping him opening day and sure enough he got us again.”
Jankowiak kept up with Hossfeld until 15 laps to go when the car suddenly slowed. It appeared that they had run out of fuel, which, although the 100 green flag lap race had its share of cautions, was not expected.
“I think we have a fuel pump problem,” said Jankowiak. “The last 10 laps I ran half throttle. We lost a lap figuring that out and we maintained a 12th which is good for the points, but definitely a majorly majorly disappointing day. That car was just phenomenal and once again we’ve got a fast car and not much to show for it.”
Hossfeld would go on to cruise to his third victory of the season over Patrick Emerling, Daren Scherer, Hirschman, and Lee Sharpsteen. The RoC point leader commended Jankowiak for their battle for the lead throughout the race.
“Oswego’s a tough place to pass because there’s an inside wall, so Andy did a great job protecting his position,” said Hossfeld. “I would get a great run coming out of two because he was protecting the inside so I’d swing way out and try to get next to him and never could quite complete the pass.”
Despite the circumstances going his way on this evening, Hossfeld knows that there will be no easy tasks heading into the remaining three events on the schedule.
“I’m definitely trying to just win races because a lot can happen in one race let alone three races,” said Hossfeld. “Matty’s going to be tough competition right down to the very last lap. We’ll just focus on having a fast car and having a great team, and that’s what makes it fun for me.”
The RoC drivers return to Oswego in two weeks for their biggest event of the season, the 64th Annual Race of Champions 200.
Friday night was just the beginning of a jam-packed weekend of racing during the 58th Annual Budweiser Classic Weekend.
The “Jersey Jet” Joey Payne shattered a non-winged Supermodified track record navigating the 5/8-mile in 15.802 seconds or an average speed of 142.387 miles per hour. That time earns him the pole for Sunday’s Budweiser Classic 200.
“The ultimate goal is the Classic,” said Payne. “Pole and track record is a bonus. I can’t thank my crew enough. This is a brand new deal for this year, and here we are. We’ve got a rocket ship.”
In addition, the Small Block Super Modifieds qualified for their 75 lap Saturday night event with Russ Brown setting a track record for that division as well. The winged ISMA Supermodifieds and ATQMRA Midgets will join them at the Steel Palace on Saturday.
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Correspondent – Twitter: @Aaron_Creed
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com