One of Modified racing’s most anticipated yearly events will have a new home in 2015. Andrew Harpell, the Tour Director for the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour, confirmed exclusively to Speed51.com on Tuesday afternoon that the 65th consecutive running of the Sunoco Race of Champions Modified 200 has been moved from Oswego Speedway (NY) to Chemung Speedrome (NY). The three-day race weekend will take place on October 2-4 with the RoC 200 on Sunday, October 4.
“The decision to make this move was solely mine as I wanted to bring the entire focus of the weekend back to our Modified teams,” Harpell said. “When we first took the Sunoco Race of Champions 200 to Oswego Speedway, the Modifieds were the primary focus of the weekend.” “Over time that transitioned with the addition of the Super Modifieds.
“October 3rd and 4th at the Chemung Speedrome will focus on the Race of Champions Modified teams and the 200. The same can now be said for the weekly Oswego Speedway teams that will be the sole focus of their point championship weekend in September without our program interfering with their well deserved championship night.”
Oswego Speedway previously hosted the last 19 editions of the event. RoC teams and fans had already made individual schedule plans for a race on the date of Sunday, October 4. It will now be the showcased Sunoco Race of Champions Modified 200 at the Chemung Speedrome.
The change from Oswego Speedway is certainly sudden and unexpected by many but Harpell believes it is a decision that will ultimately work out better for Modified racing and the Race of Champions Modified Tour.
“With this being the last Sunoco Race of Champions Weekend that I’m involved with I wanted to put the emphasis on our Modified teams that have supported the race over the years,” Harpell explained. “We feel that the smaller sized Chemung Speedrome will make this a Modified event that will be as enticing for big budget teams and the teams with the most restricted budget.
“The size of the track will make for excellent side by side racing and provide virtually every Modified team in attendance a shot at the RoC win.”
Throughout the 19 years of hosting the event at Oswego, Harpell had the opportunity to work with three different ownership groups including the current owners, the Torresse family.
“The Torresse Family who owns the speedway today have been great to work with and have been nothing but first class with all of our dealings and have put a tremendous amount of work in to the facility,” said Harpell. “This decision was made solely with the idea of putting on a Sunoco RoC Modified 200 that bring teams back to the event from places like Mahoning Valley and Riverhead Speedway’s and seeing how they stack up against our RoC Asphalt Modified Tour stars.
He also believes that the layout of the race track itself will help to bring additional Modified teams to the event.
“The size of Oswego Speedway has eliminated some of the smaller budgeted teams in recent years and my goal is to make this a one-time event that has a level playing field and that a big motor budget isn’t required to have a shot to win. The Chemung Speedrome layout will do exactly that.”
Upon learning of the change, many of the drivers expected to enter the event including 2004 race winner Eric Beers showed their support
“The event being at Chemung certainly peaks my interest, this will be a true short track friendly race,” said Beers.
2012 and 2013 Race of Champions 200 winner Matt Hirschman also gave his stamp of approval on the venue change.
“Our shows are always exciting at Chemung,” said Hirschman. “The pit action will be very visible for the fans and I’m looking forward to seeing the hillside full for the Sunoco Race of Champions.”
A full weekend schedule for the Race of Champions 200 weekend can be found below.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2ND
10 a.m. Camping and Spectator Parking Begins
3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Race Team Registration
6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Chicken BBQ/Race Team Reception…
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3RD
10 a.m. Pit Gates Open For Paid Practice
12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Paid Practice. (non Saturday race teams stage outside of turn 4).
3 p.m. Pit Area Cleared.
4 p.m. Pit Area Re-Opens For Saturday Racing Program.
4:30 p.m. Grandstand Opens.
5:15 p.m. Practice For Saturday Evening Divisions (1 round each).
6:00 p.m. Bandalero Heat Races.
Heat Races For Sunoco Modifieds (Sportsman)
INEX Legend Car Heat Races.
Four Cylinder Open Heat Races (RWD vs. FWD).
Consolations as needed…
INEX Legend Car Feature.
Four Cylinder Feature.
Sunoco Modifieds (Sportsman) 100
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4TH
10 a.m. Pit Gates Open.
12 noon Spectator Gates Open.
1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Practice.
2:30 p.m. Sunoco Race of Champions Modified 200 Qualifying.
FWD Four Cylinder Heat Races.
Super Stock Heat Races.
FWD Four Cylinder Feature.
Sunoco Race of Champions Modified 200 Driver Introductions.
Sunoco Race of Champions Modified 200.
Super Stock 75.