The Dave London Memorial Super Stock race at New York’s Spencer Speedway is a race that most competitors have circled on their calendar from the beginning of the year. With $2,000 going to the winner and nearly $15,000 in lap money and bonus money, more than bragging rights are on the line when it comes to winning the 50-lap event.
Last year’s edition saw Modified standout Tommy Catalano win from the rear after race winner Chris Finocchario was disqualified. This year’s finish would end up being much of the same, with Nick Robinson taking the checkered flag, but Jim Steffenhagen taking home the trophy.
With 34 cars being entered for the Dave London Memorial XI, making the field was an accomplishment in itself. A $500 bonus to win the B-Main after the heat races was put up, but could be passed on for a shot to race the main event. Billy Coyle scored the win, but passed on the money for a chance to take home the big check. Behind him, the rest of the top five also passed, giving the win and the bonus to Scott Dinzler.
With 26 cars now starting in the field, Zach Willis and Josh Hunter set the pace. In the first couple of laps, Chris Finocchario and Bill Frisbie Jr made early gains, getting themselves into the top five by lap 3. But on the third lap, disaster struck.
Finocchario was moved into the outside groove after a number of cars made contact at the front of the field. Coming off of turn two, his car came down and caught the rear of Robert Fink, sending both cars head-on into the wall. From there, it was carnage as most of the field behind them either slid through the infield grass or got collected into the pile. Jim Steffenhagen was sent to the rear of the field for contact while four cars were sidelined from the race.
On the restart, Willis jumped to the lead, but Frisbie quickly make his way forward, finding himself on the heels of the red No. 75 machine for the lead. Behind them, Nick Robinson made a charge of his own, getting into the top five from his 11th starting position. A caution on lap 11 reset the field, but Frisbie gave up his position and visited pit road. He put on a charge back through the field, but eventually pulled to the infield with brake issues caused from running over debris during the lap 3 melee.
On the restart, Robinson drove his car hard into turn one on the outside of Willis and make it stick, sailing out to the lead. As Robinson left the field behind him, Steffenhagen worked his way back into the top three, passing Willis for the runner-up spot on lap 30. The final 20 laps went fairly steady as Robinson held an eight-car length advantage over Steffenhagen to the checkered flag.
“We drew 55 coming through the gate so we started in the back of the heat. Drew 11 out of 12 for the feature, so we started about as bad as you can in the redraw. We just made our way to the front and capitalized on other people’s misfortunes,” Robinson told Speed51.com. “The 8 car and the 61, something happened there. The 61 went to the rear, the 8 car got wrecked out, that moved us up. Once we got to the outside of the 75 I just buried it in on the outside and it stuck.”
Jim Steffenhagen came across the line behind Robinson’s No. 15 after going to the rear early in the race.
“We had to restart toward the back there after an early wreck that was maybe my fault, maybe not. I don’t agree with it, but it is what it is. So I came from the back, I used it all up and second was all we had in it. Second’s alright, I’ll take it,” Steffenhagen said prior to post-race technical inspection.
After the event, the New York Super Stock Series officials went to tech for the top finishers. At about 1:30 a.m., it was determined that Robinson’s car was illegal and therefor he was disqualified. The disqualification was for a transmission infraction, but no further explanation was given to Speed51.com. The win was officially given to Jim Steffenhagen at the conclusion of the night.
The next race for the New York Super Stock Series will be at the Chemung Speedrome on Sunday, September 2.
-Story by Evan Canfield, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / MoJo Photos