Chemung, NY – The next generation of drivers has arrived. Just a few short years ago, teenagers Connor Sellars (Owego, NY) and Zack Knowlden (Horseheads, NY) were making noise on microd tracks in NY State. Saturday night each pulled into victory lane after making louder noise and winning the two 20-lap Sunoco Modified features. Other winners Saturday night included John Lane (Super Stocks), Jacob Gustafson (4 Cylinders), Pat Judson (INEX Legends), and Garrett Zacharias (Bandoleros).
“The past few weeks we’ve been struggling. Tonight, the thing was flying,” Connor Sellars said following his second win of the season. It came in the first of a pair of 20-lap Sunoco Modified features. Paul Johnson, who started second, took the lead for the first two laps. Chris Clemens then spun and put the field under its only caution. Johnson and Jesse Kent were in the front row for the restart. Kent and Connor Sellars both got around Johnson, who fell to third by the fourth lap. The leaders ran together for five laps until Sellars found the room he needed to make what turned out to be his race-winning pass on lap eight. From that point on the best battle on the track was between TJ Potrzebowski and Jimmy Zacharias for fourth. With five laps to go Sellars had a big lead over Kent and TJ Zacharias, who had steadily moved toward the leaders. When this one was over Sellars had the win, followed to the line by Kent, TJ Zacharias, Potrzebowski and J. Zacharias. When asked about his strategy for the second 20-lap feature, his answer was straightforward. “I’m gonna send it, I’m going for first.” Kent finished second, followed by T. Zacharias, Potrzebowski and J. Zacharias. Zack Knowlden, Potrzebowski and Kent won the three heats.
With an eight-car invert for the second 20-lap Sunoco Modified feature, Nick Morich again had the pole but Zack Knowlden was lined up beside him. Morich spun his tires and spun around in turn four coming up to speed. Cars stacked up behind him, some had nowhere to go, and both Charlie Sharpsteen and Zack Curren got the worst of it. Light rain came during the caution, forcing a 15-minute rain delay before the field ever got the green flag. When the race did get underway Knowlden and Paul Johnson were in the front row. Johnson got tagged by Gary Noe and along came Morich with nowhere to go. He sustained race-ending damage. With Johnson at the rear, Jimmy Zacharias moved up to the outside of row one. He led the first three laps before being passed by Knowlden. Zack Curren brought out the third, and final, caution when he spun in turn four. Zacharias led on the restart but Knowlden again reclaimed the lead. The pair put on a driving clinic, running fast and close in a side-by-side battle for the top spot for several laps. Knowlden held his position and his ground, and he earned his career-first Sunoco Modified feature win over Zacharias, TJ Potrzebowski, TJ Zacharias and Jesse Kent. “This car is fast and we’ve all worked really hard to get it this way,” he said from victory lane. “Running with Jimmy like that was awesome and I’m glad to be parked here as the winner.” While first and second are secured, a part from Potrzebowski’s car is undergoing further inspection. The rest of the finish is unofficial pending the outcome.
“After last week, I had my doubts, but not anymore,” John Lane said from victory lane following his Super Stock feature win. The prior week Lane had his poorest finish of the year – last –but he went from zero to hero Saturday night. Handicapping put Lane on the pole, so things were looking good for him from the get-go. The race took two attempts to get going and when it did Lane took off. Several three-wide battles developed behind him, initially involving Nick Robinson, Frank Chapman and Tim Gullo. Robinson broke free and began to reel in Lane, who had built up a nice lead over the first half dozen laps. With 16 laps complete the second caution came out when the rear on Bob Ripley’s car broke. Lane led but a lap later Jim Lamoreaux got into Chapman, who spun. Both restarted at the rear with Lane and Robinson at the front. Lane held the top spot while RJ Zacharias close in on, and passed, Robinson for second. The last caution and subsequent restart brought Zacharias to the outside of row one. Lane fired first and led the way, leaving Zacharias and Robinson engaged in a tussle for second. When it was, over Lane had his first win in over four years. “This is a long-haul car so I had to try something different on the restarts,” he said. “I like it. This feels great.” Heat winners Zacharias and Robinson got second and third, followed by Terry Potrzebowski and Mike Nichols.
Jacob Gustafson celebrated an outstanding weekend. The 16-year-old from Webster, NY won at Spencer Speedway, Chemung’s sister track, on Friday night and claimed the 20-lap feature on Saturday at Chemung. It was a sweep for the 16-year-old from Webster, NY as he won his heat race earlier in the evening. Greg Moldt, winner of the other heat, moved from third to first on the opening lap and held the lead over Sarah Gooch. Gustafson was in third and had second by the fifth lap. The only caution came at the halfway point when Tyler Harbst turned Kevin May in turn four. Moldt prevailed on the 11th lap but Gustafson set up a nice move and took the lead on lap 12. Once in front he pulled away, leaving behind a three-way battle for second involving Moldt, Zack Bennett and Monica Green. Both Bennett and Green got around Moldt and then it became a battle for second. When the double checkered flags flew, Gustafson had his division-leading fourth feature win over Bennett (RWD winner), Green, Moldt and Ben Perry.
Prior to race #8 of the year for the INEX Legends, just two drivers had parked in victory lane. Following race #8, nothing has changed as Pat Judson and Kevin Youngs have a lock on victories in feature races this season. Kevin and Teddy Bowen won the two heat races, and handicapping placed Gary Ham and Bowen on the front row for the start of the feature. Ham took off and led the first two laps before losing p1 to Chuck Lohmeyer. Officials threw the first caution for fiberglass and other debris in turn one. Kyle Youngs pitted to replace what had fallen off. After the restart, Bowen spun and a lap later Kevin Youngs got into Lohmeyer, who spun. That brought Pat Judson up to the outside of row one for the restart. Ham maintained the lead and by the halfway point had a nice lead over Judson and Keith Youngs. A second debris caution came out forcing the final restart. Ham prevailed but then he lost the handle in turn four and the lead went to Judson. He held on for his third win of the year, this time over Keith Youngs, Bowen, Kyle Youngs and Kevin Youngs. While thanking his crew and many sponsors, Judson summed it all us as ‘a fun race’.
Garrett Zacharias picked up his 3rd overall win in the Bowen Racecars Bandolero division after leading the second half of the 10-lap feature. The first half belonged to Evan Rygielski and Dominick Wood. Brian Rygielski’s spin on the opening lap set up a restart, after which the race ran caution-free. Evan led the way with Wood and Zacharias behind him. Wood made an inside pass to take over the top spot on the third lap but Zacharias had other plans. He got around Wood and never looked back. He celebrated his win in true G-Man style. Wood was later disqualified and Evan Rygielski celebrated the Bandit win. Seth Zacharias finished third, followed by B. Rygielski and Griffin Montfort-Balfour.
This Saturday night (July 29th) the track presents a regular show of Sunoco Modifieds, Super Stocks, 4 Cylinders, INEX Legends and Bowen Racecars Bandoleros. Pits open at 4 PM, grandstand gates open and practice gets underway at 5. Admission is $13 for adults, $11 for seniors 65+, $5 for kids 6-12, and free for kids 5 and under.
- Connor Sellars, John Lane and Jacob Gustafson won the “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” bonus for free wings at Buffalo Wild Wings in Horseheads, NY.
- Lissa Depew, widow of the late Doug Depew, won the night’s 50/50 drawing and planned to head to Tioga Downs Casino next.
- In recognition of Pat Judson’s win in the B13 Legends car, John Zack is offering hot dogs for $1.13 this coming Saturday at the concession stand.
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Sunoco Modifieds (#1 20 Laps): CONNOR SELLARS, Jesse Kent, TJ Zacharias, TJ Potrzebowski, Jimmy Zacharias, Paul Johnson, Zack Knowlden, Nick Morich, Zack Curren, Charlie Sharpsteen, Gary Noe, Gary Coon, Jody Buckley, Gene Sharpsteen, Corey Mosher, Damon Frutchey, Don Mosher, Chris Clemens
Heats: Knowlden, Potrzebowski, Kent
Sunoco Modifieds (#2 20 Laps): ZACK KNOWLDEN, Jimmy Zacharias, (remainder unofficial) TJ Potrzebowski, TJ Zacharias, Jesse Kent, Connor Sellars, Jody Buckley, Gene Sharpsteen, Paul Johnson, Zack Curren, Gary Noe, Corey Mosher, Charlie Sharpsteen, Gary Coon, Damon Frutchey, Chris Clemens, Don Mosher, Nick Morich
Super Stocks (25 Laps): JOHN LANE, RJ Zacharias, Nick Robinson, Terry Potrzebowski, Mike Nichols, Tim Gullo, Jim Lamoreaux, Frank Chapman, Jordan Mathews, Jason Duke, JP Harbst, Bob Ripley
Heats: Robinson, Zacharias
4 Cylinders (20 Laps): JACOB GUSTAFSON, Zack Bennett (RWD), Monica Green, Greg Moldt, Ben Perry, Tyler Harbst, Sarah Gooch, Triston Kline, Kevin May, Jason Peck, Ricky Lane, Sr., Allen Stephenson, Paul Platt
Heats: Gustafson, Moldt
INEX Legends (20 Laps): PAT JUDSON, Keith Youngs, Teddy Bowen, Kyle Youngs, Kevin Youngs, Daniel Carter, Brad Salatino, Matt Evans, Gary Ham, Max Evans, Charlie Lohmeyer, Chuck Lohmeyer
Heats: Kevin Youngs, Bowen
Bowen Racecars Bandoleros (10 Laps): GARRETT ZACHARIAS, Evan Rygielski (Bandit), Seth Zacharias, Brian Rygielski, Griffin Montfort-Balfour, Josh Duke, (Dominick Wood DQ)
Chemung Speedrome Press Release. Photo Credit: HLM Racing Photography