With the 2019 Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series reaching the halfway mark Friday night at Spencer Speedway (NY), Andy Jankowiak further solidified himself as one of the top guns on the year. The Tonawanda, New York driver took home win number three of the season in the 100-lap contest, and extended his points lead over his competitors.
Unlike his earlier wins at Chemung and Lancaster where he started in the back of the Top 10, Andy J would be on the defensive most of the race after drawing pole position. Jankowiak and the No. 12x crew even caught some extra luck, when a number of front runners, including Scott Wylie, Chuck Hossfeld and Patrick Emerling all accidentally pitted on a closed pit road just prior to halfway.
“Everyone pitted when the pits were closed,” said Jankowiak in victory lane. “We weren’t going to stop, but as soon as they did that, us pitting, they were going to put us ahead of them. That was kind of a call on the fly and my team did a great job on the pitstop.”
Following the pit stops, Jankowiak seemed to be on the defensive against Chuck Hossfeld, but as the laps clicked off, the advantage soon returned to the side of Andy J.
“Yeah, it was really good, we missed it there a little bit at the end; we were really good at the start of that run, we weren’t bad at the end, it actually got a little better. Lap 60 to 80 it got a little free on me and I made some compensations in my line.”
Jankowiak would receive another good break at the misfortune of others, when Hossfeld spun out of second after contact from a hard-charging Patrick Emerling with 11 laps to go. Emerling would be sent to the tail of the field for the contact.
Disaster nearly struck with 9 to go, when Tommy Catalano spun after assuming the second position from Scott Wylie, getting into Jankowiak’s rear bumper slightly.
“I thought it was going to be a dogfight between me and Chuck, a shame to see that happen,” said Jankowiak. “But, good to see Scott running good with the Putney team over there, 12 and 88 are old rivals, so that’s cool for everyone who hangs out at Lancaster. I didn’t know if that was ever going to end, but when I’m leading, I’m looking out the windshield. I felt the one shot from Tommy going into three, I’m not sure what happened there, but I never saw his nose there.”
Behind Jankowiak, Wylie wheeled his No. 88 to a best career RoC finish of second, avoiding disaster himself, when he and Catalano got together which sent the 54 spinning.
“The car was pretty good early, we were just riding there,” said Wylie. “Andy had a better car and settled in. Unfortunate miscommunication, they didn’t tell us the pits were closed, but I guess they weren’t open, so we had to go to the back there. We started to close on Chuck and Patrick there, I thought we were better than Tommy, and they got together. We’ve had speed all year, now we’re starting to get finishes to go with it.”
Back in the pits, Hossfeld was not pleased with what transpired on track, with the incident marking the latest in a string of misfortune in 2019.
“My buddy in the 07, Emerling just freaking spun me out,” Hossfeld told Speed51. “I don’t know, we had a great car running second, and it’s a shame. We’ve had run-ins before and I just don’t drive people like that. We got our car fast, I don’t know if we had quite enough for Andy I think. But, we were definetly able to run with him after the caution. We had a few issues with some crashes and some bad luck, I think we’re fast enough to turn that around.”
Emerling went on to explain his side of what led up to the contact.
“I think we were the best car towards the end of the race, I was just behind there running two or three tenths better than the guys in front,” explained Emerling. “The 22 was just going in and turning right, getting on brakes, turning right every single corner, just about. So I was like, ‘I can’t touch him.’ I tried to get under him, I was under him for a couple of laps, I was completely alongside him, and just go into the corner and there was the slightest amount of contact, and it was just enough for him to get turned there. It was a tough race, when you’re skating around trying to get by someone. That stinks, but that’s racing.”
Behind Jankowiak and Wylie, Daryl Lewis Jr, Amy Catalano, and Eric Beers rounded the top five. The RoC Modifieds will be back in action in just a week at Chemung Speedrome for the Rod Spalding Classic on Saturday, August 3.
Fans who missed Friday’s Race of Champions event can watch an on-demand replay of Speed51’s Summer Thunder broadcast of the race by clicking here.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51 photo
Unofficial Results – July 26, 2019
Spencer Speedway (Williamson, NY) – Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series
|1||1||Andy Jankowiak||Tonawanda, NY||12X|
|2||2||Scott Wylie||Blasdell , NY||88|
|3||12||Daryl Lewis Jr.||Ontario, NY||10|
|4||4||Amy Catalano||Ontario, NY||64|
|5||10||Eric Beers||North Hampton, PA||45B|
|6||7||Chuck Hossfeld||Ransomville, NY||22|
|7||3||Patrick Emerling||Orchard Park, NY||07|
|8||19||Chris Finnachario||Buffalo, NY||8|
|9||6||Tommy Catalano||Ontario, NY||54C|
|10||14||Alan Bookmiller||Bliss, NY||40|
|11||11||Chris Risdale||Rochester, NY||1|
|12||21||Karl Hehr||Cheektowaga, NY||59|
|13||16||Jack Ely||Wall, NJ||54E|
|14||17||Austin Beers||Northampton, PA||19B|
|15||20||Tyler Catalano||Ontario, NY||54PJ|
|16||15||Jake Rought||Rome, PA||40J|
|17||8||Timmy Catalano||Ontario, NY||45C|
|18||9||Mike Leaty||Williamson, NY||25|
|19||13||Daren Scherer||Binghamton, NY||3|
|20||18||Mike Ramos||New York, NY||1R|
|21||5||Kevin Miller||Rochester, NY||2|