Elma, N.Y. – Competitors on the Ferris Mowers Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series Fueled by Sunoco have been preparing through the winter for their 2016 season opener.
That event, the “Break-the-Ice 75” is only weeks away at Mahoning Valley Speedway, on Saturday, April 9.
With the event looming on the horizon, race teams have been preparing for months. Several western New York race teams will be kicking off the season earlier than normal with the 75-lap special event at the challenging quarter-mile paved oval.
“We are looking forward to it and looking forward to having a great season with the Race of Champions Asphalt Series,” said Ransomville, N.Y. driver Chuck Hossfeld. “We have a great team and we truly enjoy getting back on track. Going to Mahoning is going to be one of those events where you aren’t quite sure what’s going to happen. There are so many good cars and tough competitors, it’s a big step for our series and it’ll be a show fans won’t want to miss.”
Hossfeld, a three-time Race of Champions series titlist, will lead a large contingent of drivers to the Pennsylvania oval for the season opener. It’s a time of optimism for all teams because the event opens the door to the traveling series’ point race.
“Our goal is to the put entire season together and book end it with two solid performances at Mahoning,” Hossfeld continued. “We know we have our work cut out for us, but our team will never give up until we reach our goal.”
Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, N.Y., enjoyed a break-through year in 2015. Solid efforts on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and three Race of Champions series victories established Emerling as a top contender at every track on the schedule.
“Last season was good to us on many fronts, our first win at Shangri-La then to win at Lancaster and our home track Holland International Speedway, it really was an unforgettable year for us. But we are looking forward racing for a series championship this year,” Emerling said. “We feel have all of the tools necessary to compete for wins week in and week out. I like this year’s schedule and I’m looking forward to racing it. Mahoning will present us a unique challenge but we’ll be ready for it.”
Race-winning drivers from 2015 will be returning to compete at a majority of the events. Mike Leaty of Williamson, N.Y., is a race winning and track champion driver who is building on his father Jan’s legacy. Mike Leaty scored his first Race of Champions victory at Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway in 2006 with his most recent trip to victory lane being in the same race last season at the “Steel Palace”.
“We are looking forward to getting going,” Leaty said. “We love Modified racing and we feel we have what it takes to get the job done. Winter is almost over and it’s time to go racing.”
Andy Jankowiak of Tonawanda, N.Y., has established himself as one of the series regulars to beat and 2016 will be no different for the second generation racer. He stood tall in victory lane at Oswego following the Labor Day International Classic weekend race last September and quickly followed up with another win in a southern Modified Series at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway on the same weekend.
“We rode the roller coaster last year and did the best we could,” began Jankowiak. “Fall was very good to us. Winning at Oswego will forever be a highlight day of my life and for my family. It was incredible. My Uncle Jake (Jankowiak) has been going to Oswego for 30 years so it was great to be able have that kind of emotion behind such a huge accomplishment. We’re dedicated to this program and my passion is Modified racing. I love it. I have never been to Mahoning so that will be interesting, but we will be there and ready to go when April 9 rolls around.”
The 2016 version of the Ferris Mowers Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series Fueled by Sunoco will see competitors adventure to new as well as familiar speedways, pitting them against one another in new and exciting events, as well as those filled with tradition. With new corporate sponsorship, increased media exposure from great partners, anticipation grows for the Mahoning Valley event on April 9.
-RoC Modifieds Press Release. Photo Credit: Mojo Photos