Western New York driver Chuck Hossfeld knew he had the best car on Saturday night at Oswego Speedway and overcame any challenger en route to the Race of Champions Parts Plus 200 Modified win on Classic Weekend.
Although Hossfeld’s No. 22 racked up the second best time during trials, he still wasn’t happy with it in qualifying. But once his crew had made their adjustments, the car made short work of the field.
“Well we were really strong here for the Race of Champions race here in July, but we had a parts failure and I was disappointed with how we qualified today and then we made some adjustments on the car and made it better, whatever, and we really ended up with the best car and the best strategy and today was our day.”
Modified 200 Top 3 – 1st-Chuck Hossfeld (center), 2nd-Daren Scherer (right) & 3rd-Lee Sherwood (left)
Hossfeld was particularly successful in passing situations. He attributed the 22’s effectiveness to the simple fact that the Supermodifieds had inadvertently created a better track for the modifieds.
“What’s nice about coming here Classic weekend is the Supers are running and putting a lot of rubber down and so that makes a wider groove for us. But when we come here on our own, it’s more of a track position race. This made it really fun. We could have an outside groove and a bottom and stuff and I was really able to pass people. But I attest that to them running today and yesterday with the Supers,” he said.
Tony Hirschman started on the outside of the first row and pounced on the lead early with Hossfeld, Daren Scherer, Billy Putney, and Earl Paules in order behind him. Lee Sherwood started with pole position, but slid out of the top five almost immediately after the race began.
Nearly 50 laps of racing passed before Hossfeld was able to maneuver into the lead, beating Hirschman on the outside lane in the near straightaway. In turn, Hirschman’s No. 48 car appeared to die off, sliding back to fourth place by lap 50.
Scherer’s No. 3 car began challenging Hossfeld, but it never delivered a crucial pass.
Jan Leaty’s No. 6 car provided some drama in the top five when it catapulted into fourth place on lap 77 of the 200-lap race.
The yellow caution flag came out on lap 95 when three cars gathered in turn four. Several cars took the time to head to the pits after the caution, shuffling the top five altogether, among them Hossfeld’s 22.
By lap 105, however, Hossfeld was back among the top five behind first-place running Putney who was followed by Hirschman and Kyle Ebersole.
Another caution flag shrunk the field when Tommy Cloce shifted the position on his No. 69 car as Jan Leaty tried to pilot his No. 6 into the top five, but instead landed in the turn-three foam on lap 106.
On the restart, Hossfeld seized third and by lap 122 he had snuck past Hirschman once again to take second, but Putney was pulling away with the lead.
Finally, on lap 134, Hossfeld powered past Putney going into turn two to take over the lead for the last time.
Scherer chases Hossfeld in the closing laps of the modified 200
Hossfeld noted that he his No. 22 car had little left for his closest challengers by the end of the 200-lap race.
“I didn’t have much more to hold him off. We had put so many cycles on our tires that it was going to be tough to continue. We would have needed a long green run to get ahead again. So he was pressuring me. He did what he had to do, but he’s a gentleman, … you don’t have to be scared of him crashing into you or doing something stupid. So it worked out well,” Hossfeld said.
Scherer added that his car had also experienced its own share of strain.
“The car was kind of used up at the end but I tried. I tried. Without doing anything I should have, I tried and second is good enough for me today,” said Daren Scherer.
With only a few laps remaining, tempers flared in the top five when Hirschman and Jimmy Zacharias collided between turns three and four. In the pit area, Zacharias was visibly upset, but crews intervened before the situation could escalate.
Parts Plus Modified 200: 1. Chuck Hossfeld (22), 2. Daren Scherer (3), 3. Lee Sherwood (95), 4. Kyle Ebersole (5), 5. Earl Paules (8), 6. Mike Leaty (25), 7. Jimmy Zacharias (71), 8. Tony Hirschman (48), 9. Bill Putney (88), 10. Doug Reaume (14), 11. Tommy Cloce (69), 12. Rusty Smith (34), 13. Nick Barzee (31), 14. Jan Leaty (6), 15. Will Hebing (51), 16. Chris Risdale (1), 17. Eddie Hawkins (2), 18. Jim Storace (47), 19. Andy Walko (27), 20. Mike Ordway, Jr. (9X), 21. Matt Clemons (71X)