"The Hot Shoe" Chuck Hossfeld has been a part of the Race of Champions Modified Series longer than some of his competitors have been alive. With a Modified career spanning over 20 years, he is one of the best drivers to come out of the Western New York region in Asphalt Modified competition. Although he is still at the top of his game on the track, Hossfeld has decided that the 2019 season will be his last behind the wheel of his famed No. 22 machine.
The decision comes on the heels of his 2018 Race of Champions Modified Series championship, as well as scoring the 2019 Speedweeks Tour-type Modified championship at New Smyrna Speedway in February.
"After a career of so much racing and that much dedication, I feel like as a car owner and being so involved in my own team, it is time to make life a little simpler," Hossfeld told Speed51.com. "I still love the sport and I still love all of the people. I should say 99% of the people because every once in a while you meet a bad apple, but 99% of the people I've met over the years have been phenomenal. It has been a great experience in my life. I don't regret one minute of the dedication in the years that we've been involved in racing. But it's time for me to make life a little simpler and change gears a little bit."
With over 100 career Modified feature victories, Hossfeld's stats are nothing short of impressive. Since starting in 1996, he has scored 28 wins with the Race of Champions Modified Series, including four championships and three Race of Champions 200 victories. He also has claimed seven victories with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, including three at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, as well as capturing nine poles and finishing in the top five in points four times with the series.
The Ransomville, New York native also went on to win the Roush Gong Show in 2000, beating out over 1,600 applicants and securing a ride in the NASCAR Truck Series in 2001 where he was able to get one top 10 finish. His career includes a venture into the Dirt ranks, winning one race at the Merritville Speedway in the Sportsman division.
Being a pure veteran of the Modified ranks, Hossfeld said there are many things he will miss about competing with the "Ground Pounders," but one thing stuck out the most.
"I think mostly I will miss the driving of the car," he stated. "There is so much more involved than just driving the racecar. Over the years, I've been through a lot with having my own team, and the actual driving of the car I will really miss. On a day when you have a perfect car and you can haul ass and accomplish a win, there's no better high than that for me in the world. Winning races to me is the best high and something I will always love."
Being at the track is something that Hossfeld has done for much of his life, but it is still a question of whether or not he will be seen around at Race of Champions events in the future. Although he still loves the sport, sometimes saying goodbye is the hardest part.
"I honestly don't know how many races I'll go to. I don't know how this is going to affect me, it's been a part of my life for so long. I'll have to see how I'll feel. I do enjoy going to watch some dirt races, like we'll go to Ransomville Speedway on Fridays sometimes and watch the races and different stuff like that. But to be at an Asphalt Modified race and know that I could compete, I don't know how I'll handle that, so time will tell."
Although the future beyond the 2019 season is unclear, Hossfeld continues his defense of the Race of Champions Modified Series championship Friday night at Spencer Speedway. He currently sits second in the RoC championship standings, only 47 markers back of leader Andy Jankowiak. The story of his 2019 campaign has been one of bad luck, yet he stays in the hunt after taking three "Speed51.com Top of the Board Awards" and winning heat races in all seven events so far this season to keep his point totals high. He is also the current points leader by 23 points over Eddie Hawkins for the Race of Champions Sportsman Series, winning the last two events at Spencer Speedway and Lancaster National Speedway.
The next race for the Race of Champions Modified Series will be at the Spencer Speedway on Friday, August 30 for the Maynard Troyer Classic. That event will be streamed live on Speed51's Summer Thunder TV, meaning that those unable to attend will be able to watch with a monthly or yearly subscription to the Speed51 Network.
Story by: Evan Canfield, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent - Twitter: @ecanfield17
Photo by: Evan Canfield / Speed51Photos.com