Winning races wins you a championship. That is a creed that many racers at all levels throughout the years have lived by. But, surviving to finish a race, and finish it well, has also proved to be a key piece to the championship formula. Even so, sometimes survival and consistency can be just as great a weapon, when your competition has run each other into the ground.
The latter proved to be the case for Chuck Hossfeld, as he went on to win his second World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Tour-type Modified championship last week at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway.
The Ransomville, New York Modified veteran savored the full taste of success despite coming up short in each of the five straight races. On the other hand, having such a consistent run over those five nights was an incredible accomplishment in itself given the strong Modified roster and rough and tumble action throughout the week.
“I don’t think it sunk in Friday night; I think it sunk in Saturday. It’s an incredible feeling because if anyone’s ever participated in that week of racing they would know how hard it is,” Hossfeld told Speed51.com. “Getting everything together, just getting your car down there to race and finishing out the week is a feat within itself. But to be the champion of the week is a wonderful feeling."
Even Matt Hirschman’s hat trick over the final three nights was not enough to overcome the consistency of the No. 22 team, with an accident on Tuesday night leaving Hirschman and the 60-team playing a big game of catchup the rest of the week.
Finishes of fifth, fourth, second, third, and seventh respectively; plus no accidents or mechanical troubles were the keys to victory for Hossfeld at New Smyrna.
While having no wins at “The Beach," Hossfeld did come away with one race win in the Sunshine State, claiming the 50-lap “Kickoff to Speedweeks” the previous Saturday, February 9 at Bronson Speedway near Gainesville, in a thriller over Hirschman. It was a win that may have given “The Hotshoe” the fire he needed for those five nights.
“If you look at a couple of nights, I think it was Thursday, if a restart had just gone our way we would have been in the position where Matt was when he won the race. So, we were real close to getting wins, and our car was fast enough to get wins. We didn’t get a win at New Smyrna, but we did get a win at Bronson in that 50-lap show against a lot of the competition that was at New Smyrna, so I’m very proud of that.”
Hossfeld’s southern triumph also comes on the heals of a similar consistent performance back home in the Northeast in 2018, where he won his fourth Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series title following a season with one win and a whole lot of consistency. They are both performances that Hossfeld cherishes to an even greater degree than his younger days.
“Winning a championship as I get older, I feel like championships are really gratifying because it’s the overall result. To be the 2018 RoC champ and then the 2019 New Smyrna champ is just something I’m really proud of for my whole team and everyone involved.”
A big relief for Hossfeld is that his bill for post-Speedweeks maintenance may be that lowest of any team’s, a feeling compounded with the 22 camp running a brand-new car completed back in January.
“Like I told everyone when we won Bronson, I have the best team, the hottest car, and the prettiest girlfriend. It was one of the best Speedweeks of my career. It was really enjoyable," Hossfeld stated. "My car doesn’t have a scratch on it, we ran six races in seven nights, and I only had one run-in with one guy. Everything else went smoothly, that’s amazing with all that racing in a short amount of time. It’s really easy to make a mistake and when you make a mistake they usually multiply. It can add up to a really long week. Overall, I’m really proud with what we accomplished.”
The confidence within Hossfeld is as high as ever heading into the 2019 RoC season, with “The Hotshoe” saying the same for his crew, as they get ready for yet another season long title fight.
“Past few years we had been struggling with the setup on our car and I think we got a lot of that figured out. Joe Mancuso did a really good job over the week getting our car fast, making adjustments, and making good calls. But it’s not just him, it’s the whole team, the guys involved are professionals; they could race at any level, and they’re a great bunch to have. Not only that, they’re great friends; we’ve been together, some of us, for 20 years. That’s what keeps me going, the great comraderie we have enjoyed.”
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com