(Chemung, NY) Mother Nature provided the beautiful but hot day, and the rest of the heat came as a result of Chemung Speedrome’s first point races of the season. A good car count and nice crowd witnessed a five-division program that included a pair of Sunoco Modified features, won by Jimmy Zacharias and his brother TJ. Other winners included Tim Gullo (Super Stocks), Eric Ellsworth and Monica Green (4 Cylinders), Matt Kurzejewski (INEX Legends) and David French (Bandoleros).
The headline Sunoco Modifieds ran a pair of 25-lap features and the Zacharias brother each had a moment in the spotlight. Starting heads-up from qualifying in race #1, Jimmy Zacharias and Gene Sharpsteen brought the field to Troy McDonald’s green. This one went under caution early and, unfortunately, often. All but one of the seven cautions came as a result of a spin by one of several young rookies in the division. Harmless spins, they did interrupt the rhythm for those trying to deny the track’s defending champion, Jimmy Zacharias, from taking yet another checkered flag. On each restart Jimmy chose the outside lane and each time he prevailed. His toughest challenges came from his brother, TJ, who ran second for all 25 laps but could not catch him or pass for the lead. Jimmy took the win but he wasn’t completely satisfied with the car. “It might not be perfect, but it got the job done,” he said from victory lane. TJ Zacharias was the runner-up, followed by Jody Buckley, Sharpsteen and Paul Hartwig, Jr.
Following a pill draw of four, the top four finishers inverted for race #2. Gene Sharpsteen and Jody Buckley started in row one with the Zacharias brothers in row two. Sharpsteen darted to the lead but he was the lead car in a four-car tussle for the top spot. Right after TJ Zacharias took the lead, the fearsome foursome had some slight contact that sent Jimmy Zacharias around with some front end damage. During the caution his crew repaired the car but he didn’t stay on the lead lap. Three more single car spins slowed the race but not TJ Zacharias. Over the final six laps he kept Buckley, who had overtaken Sharpsteen for that spot, behind him. For the first time in his career, TJ Zacharias won the Sunoco Modified feature at Chemung. “I knew it would be tough beating Jimmy here. We worked so hard for this first win and I’m glad to finally get it,” Zacharias told the crowd. It was an emotional win as well. “This one is for two people we lost recently – Matt Clemens and “Wild” Bill O’Loughlin, along with my grandmother.” Buckley finished 2nd, ahead of Sharpsteen, Paul Hartwig, Jr. and Alan Bookmiller.
The 25-lap Super Stock feature was a classic battle between eventual winner Tim Gullo and Terry Potrzebowski. The veteran drivers raced side by side for much of the event, especially on five restarts following caution periods. Just three laps in Mike Nichols and Bill Frisbie, Jr. got hooked together when they spun off turn four. That was the second, but race-ending incident for Frisbie and both times he was the victim of circumstances. The race went green for a dozen or so laps but lap traffic proved difficult for third place running Zack Curren, who spun in turn three as he and Rich Talada approached Dusty Snell. Over the final laps Potrzebowski stayed with Gullo, but the defending track champion had the superior car in this one. Gullo won, followed by Potrzebowski, Lee Sharpsteen, Gary Noe and Jake Snell. Zack Curren won his heat, his first-ever race in a Super Stock. Potrzebowski won the other heat race.
“It just stopped going,” Monica Green said following the 20-lap 4 Cylinder feature. And while she took home a trophy for the first time as the top finishing FWD machine, she came up short for the overall win despite a dominating performance in qualifying and then in the main. Green led early and held off fellow heat winner Fred Mathews and Eric Ellsworth following two cautions. When racing resumed she quickly established herself as the car to beat. Unfortunately, on this day it was her car that beat her. As she exited turn four with a lap to go, her #5 slowed and she slipped back. She managed to hang on to third, but the overall win went to Ellsworth, with Mathews, Green, Justin Hall and Stanley Mathews all in the top five.
A strong field of INEX Legends experienced a caution-filled 20-lap feature. Heat winners Brad Lowmaster and Carl Vilardo made up the front row, with fellow heat winner Matt Kurzejewski inside row two. The trio went three-wide down the back stretch on the opening lap. When they reached turn three, Kurzejewski dove to the inside of Lowmaster while Vilardo chose the outside lane. That was Matt’s race-winning pass, despite six restarts he’d face during the event. Most eyes were on defending track champion, Alexandria Smith, who got around Alex McCollum and Lowmaster on her march toward Kurzejewski. An early incident with Beth Scherer came back to haunt Gary Ham a dozen laps later when his car caught on fire, put itself out, and stopped in turn four. Joe Graf also took a hard hit into the turn two foam after driving up and over Daren Scherer’s car. It took two attempts to finish the final two laps but Kurzejewski kept Smith behind him and he took the close one at the stripe. Smith finished second, ahead of Vilardo, Scherer and Lowmaster. “I thought that was a gas mileage race and I think I just ran out,” Kurzejewski said from victory lane.
In Bandolero action, heat winner David French quickly got around pole-sitter Jade McElravy and only Lars McElravy threatened for the top spot early on. As the laps clicked off they, along with Damon Frutchey and Teddy Bowen made it a four car breakaway. Bowen got around Frutchey in the late stages but no one got around French. He went on to score the victory, which he dedicated to Doug Wheaton. McElravy finished second, followed by Bowen.
The Speedrome is back in action this Friday, May 22nd with a full program, and then some. Catch the Sunoco Modifieds (40 Laps), Super Stocks (25), 4 Cylinders (20), INEX Legends (20), Bandoleros (10) and a special appearance by the NEMA Midgets NEMA Lites . Pits open at 4, practice and grandstand at 6, and racing gets underway at 7:15 PM. Admission: adults $15; seniors 65 and older $13; kids 6-12 $5; kids 5 and under free. Fans are reminded that their ticket stub from May 17th is good for $2 off adult and senior admission this week. For additional information call the track office at 607-529-9998, ‘like’ us on Facebook, or check the track’s website www.chemungspeedrome.net.
Carl Hartford, Jr. from Canton, PA received honors as the Veteran of the Race for service in the Army from 2005 to 2010. Sgt. Hartford was deployed for both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. During his service years he was awarded several Badges, Medals and Bronze Stars. He was on hand with his wife and two sons.
Chemung Speedrome is now participating with Ingersoll Rand’s promotion involving NASCAR Weekly Racing Series home tracks. IR is the official tool company of NASCAR. Fans have a chance to win some valuable prizes by simply texting IRTOOLSXXX to 313131.
Jimmy Zacharias, Tim Gullo and Eric Ellsworth won ‘Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner’ gift certificates for a dozen wings at Buffalo Wild Wings in Horseheads, NY.
Chemung Speedrome and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series: Asphalt Racing At Its Finest!
Sunoco Modifieds (#1, 25 Laps) JIMMY ZACHARIAS, TJ Zacharias, Jody Buckley, Gene Sharpsteen, Paul Hartwig, Jr., Cam Ayres, Alan Bookmiller, Nick Morich, Sam Warren, Chris Clemens, Cody Jackson, Connor Sellars, Corey Mosher, Larry Jaynes, Bob Wilson, Jr., Terry Zacharias (DNS)
Heats: J. Zacharias, Sharpsteen
Sunoco Modifieds (#2, 25 Laps) TJ ZACHARIAS, Jody Buckley, Gene Sharpsteen, Paul Hartwig, Jr., Alan Bookmiller, Cam Ayres, Chris Clemens, Larry Jaynes, Sam Warren, Jimmy Zacharias, Connor Sellars, Cody Jackson, Nick Morich, Corey Mosher (DNS), Bob Wilson, Jr. (DNS), Terry Zacharias (DNS)
Super Stocks (25 Laps) TIM GULLO, Terry Potrzebowski, Lee Sharpsteen, Gary Noe, Jake Snell, Rich Talada, Charlie Sharpsteen, Zack Curren, Ron Underwood, Nick Robinson, Dusty Snell, Randy Davenport, Mike Nichols, Chuck Nichols, Bill Frisbie, Jr.
Heats: Curren, Potrzebowski
4 Cylinders (20 Laps) ERIC ELLSWORTH, Fred Mathews, Monica Green (1st FWD), Justin Hall, Stanley Mathews, Gary Noe, Jordan Mathews, Dave Cooke, Jared Sullivan, Randy Mathews, Dan Mathews, Greg
Heats: Green, F. Mathews
INEX Legends (20 Laps) MATT KURZEJEWSKI, Alexandria Smith, Carl Vilardo, Daren Scherer, Brad Lowmaster, Alex McCollum, Chuck Lohmeyer, Alex Bowen, Anthony Riforgiato, Beth Scherer, Matt Mead, Cliff Rought, Jimmer Ulrich, Max Evans, Wayne Walker, Pat Judson, Kurt Knapp, Kevin Youngs, Charlie Lohmeyer, Joe Graf, Gary Ham
Heats: Lowmaster, Vilardo, Kurzejewski
Bandoleros (10 Laps) DAVID FRENCH, Lars McElravy, Teddy Bowen, Damon Frutchey, Timothy Bowen, Jade McElravy, Joey Bevacqua, Bryce Bailey, Joey Bernatavitz, Garrett Zacharias, Dominick Wood (DNS), Ashalee Gullo (DNS)
Heats: J. McElravy, French
-Chemung Speedrome Press Release. Photo Credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com Photos