By – Chris Porter
Photos – Bev&Ken Dippel Photos
Ransomville’s Chuck Hossfeld earned his third checkered flag in as many 2010 Race of Champions (R.O.C.) Dart Asphalt Modified Tour starts Friday night at Spencer Speedway, holding off Wilbur Hebing to win the 75-lap main event. Despite missing the season-opener at Albany-Saratoga Speedway back in April, Hossfeldâ€™s three straight wins since then have put him atop the series points standings.
Chuck Hossfeld poses in victory lane at Spencer Speedway
Hossfeld has a busy racing schedule ahead of him in 2010 and sees some conflicts with race dates that will prevent him from hitting all of the remaining R.O.C. races. He says he would very much like to, but his busy schedule both on and off the track simply won’t allow it to happen.
Hossfeld wrestled the lead away from early race leader and eventual second-place finisher Hebing on a lap No. 13 double-filed restart. Hossfeld powered his No. 22 around the outside of Hebingâ€™s No. 51 as the duo raced through turns one and two. Hossfeld would then catch a key break on a delayed yellow flag.
Before the lap could be completed, Bob Reis and Tim McMullen came together in turn No. 1. The caution was delayed on hopes that the two could continue on. They could not and in the midst of this, the field began to cross the start/finish line as the yellow flag was finally thrown. It was determined that a full lap had indeed been completed.
The ensuing restart was single file, thus securing the lead for Hossfeld all the more. Hebing would stay virtually glued to the back of Hossfeldâ€™s No. 22 all race long, but could not muster a pass on the leader. Hossfeld held his ground on numerous race restarts and for the third race in a row, Hebingâ€™s No. 51 settled for second, behind the Hossfeld No. 22 car.
*Listen to – Wilbur Hebing on his second-place run
Bill Putney and Kyle Ebersole led the 26-car field to the green to start the 75-lap main event with Putney nabbing the early lead. Hebing worked his way under Putneyâ€™s No. 88 for the top spot on the fourth lap and as Ebersole attempted to follow Hebing’s No. 51, he and Putney came together behind the race leader.
With just three trips around in the books, Hebing was the new race leader. Hossfeld dashed into second place on the restart, setting his sights on the No. 51.
The two had begun to ease away when a multi-car accident in turn No. 2 slowed the action. Jan Leaty, Mike Leaty and Reis were involved. Jan Leatyâ€™s car suffered the most damage, parking his No. 6 modified early.
With eight laps in, Hebing led Hossfeld, Ebersole and Matt Hirschman. Erick Rudolph rounded out the top five.
Hirschman moved into third on the restart, as Hebing successfully fended off Hossfeldâ€™s bids for the lead. However, the caution flag was thrown again after Putneyâ€™s No. 88 plowed into the back of McMullenâ€™s No. 66.
On this ensuing restart, Hossfeld scored the lead. A quick caution slowed the action again and on the next restart, Hossfeld led a single-file field back to racing.
The top two pulled away from the field, leaving Hirschman, Rusty Smith, Jeff Hamman and Earl Paules to fight for third.
By the 25th lap, Hossfeld had begun to gain some breathing room on his nearest chaser when the caution flag reared its ugly head again – Doug Reaume had spun his No. 14 on the backstretch.
On the restart, the top six broke away from the field. However, by the 40th lap, Hossfeld and Hebing began distancing themselves from the lead pack.
Patrick Emerlingâ€™s No. 03 slowed the action on the 43rd lap after spinning in turn No. 1. Hossfeld, Hebing, Hirschmann, Smith and Hamman rounded out the top five. Paules, Rudolph, Terry Cheetham, Mike Speeney and Mike Leaty completed the top 10.
Hebing would stay on Hossfeldâ€™s rear bumber the rest of the way, minus a hiccup on the 53rd lap that saw an outside bid go amiss. Hebing dropped back a half dozen lengths, but was able to close it back up in time to see the caution flag fly once again.
Three more cautions proved to be fruitless opportunities for Hebing and only minuscule obstacles for Hossfeld. Just like at Oswego a few weeks earlier, Hirschman finished behind Hebing, in third.
*Listen to – Matt Hirschman on finishing third
Smith and Paules rounded out the top five. Speeney, Cheetham, Putney, Scherer and Leaty completed positions six through 10.
R.O.C. Modified 75:
1. Chuck Hossfeld (22),Â 2. Wilbur Hebing (51),Â 3. Matt Hirschman (60),Â 4. Rusty Smith (34),Â 5. Earl Paules (8),Â 6. Mike Speeney (87),Â 7. Terry Cheetham (18),Â 8. Billy Putney (88),Â 9. Daren Scherer (3),Â 10. Mike Leaty (25),Â 11. Rick Kluth (44),Â 12. Kyle Ebersole (5),Â 13. Erick Rudolph (98), 14. Patrick Emerling (03),Â 15. Jeff Hamman (99),Â 16. Doug Reaume (14),Â 17. Bob Reis (4),Â 18. Tim McMullen (66),Â 19. Danny Knoll, Jr. (15),Â 20. Tommy Cloce (69),Â 21. Jim Storace (47),Â 22. Chris Risdale (1),Â 23. T.J. Potrzebowski (72),Â 24. Daryl Lewis, Jr. (10),Â 25. Zach Shove (2),Â 26. Jan Leaty (6)
Kluth, Cloce and Paules pocketed heat race victories. 29 R.O.C. mods were in competition.
Can’t Catch This “Cat” – Catalano Bags Fourth Straight Sunoco Modified Win
Chris Finocchario beat Matt Leese to the line to lead at the start of the supporting 35-lap Sunoco Modified event. However, it was Buck Catalano who – for the fourth time in as many races – was leading the field at the end.
Having started sixth, Catalano sat content behind the top five for only the race’s maiden lap. On lap two, he put his No. 6 around Ryan Beeman’s No. 16 to break into the top five. On lap three, Matt Lees fell victim to the yellow sportsman mod, as Catalano bolted into fourth.
Buck Catalano won his fourth Sunoco Modified feature of the season
Laps four and five saw Catalano mirror the same move – first, powering around Kevin Timmerman’s No. 17 in turn two on the field’s fourth trip before besting the Eddie Hawkins No. 33 machine in the same corner on lap No. 5.
However, it was Finocchario who would eventually put an end to Catalano’s lap-by-lap jaunt through the field. As Catalano took to the high side of Finocchario’s No. 8, Timmerman tucked his No. 17 back under the No. 6 in hopes that Finocchario could hold on to the lead. He did, and with the help of a caution flag, Timmerman was awarded second place on the restart after having nosed Catalano out at the line the previous lap.
On the ensuing green flag, Catalano was quick to take back the runner-up spot from Timmerman, but the No. 17 was just as quick to fight back. Sparks flew between the two as again, Timmerman used Catalano’s preference for the outside lane against him. His No. 17 maneuvered its way underneath the No. 6 as Catalano was looked to the outside of race leader, Finocchario.
Timmerman stayed low, challenging Finocchario for the lead. With nothing to be found underneath the No. 8, Timmerman quickly danced to the outside of the race leader, already knowing the second groove was paying well for Catalano. Timmerman’s pass attempt stuck and he took command on lap No. 14. Catalano galloped around the outside of Finocchario as well, moving into second.
Catalano quickly caught up to the rear bumper of Timmerman, letting the race leader know he was there numerous times with generous taps to the No. 17’s tail-end. As the front two began to pull away at the halfway mark, Finocchario remained in third. Lees and Hawkins held fourth and fifth places, respectively.
As the laps ticked away, Catalano began to look to the inside, hoping it could prove just as fruitful as the high side. A solid look underneath the No. 17 on the 24th lap let Catalano know room could be found. Two trips around Williamson’s speedway later, Catalano darted underneath Timmerman between turns three and four to take the lead.
Catalano’s No. 6 cruised unchallenged the final 9 laps to secure the win.
Sunoco Modified 35:
1. Buck Catalano (6), 2. Kevin Timmerman (17), 3. Chris Finocchario (8), 4. Matt Lees (05), 5. Eddie Hawkins (33), 6. Toad Bradshaw (00), 7. Amy Catalano (54), 8. Mark Cline (81), 9. Jake Boerman (67), 10. Ryan Beeman (16).
In other racing action, Bro Bradshaw padded his Auto Value Scorpions 4-cylinder points lead with another feature win over brother Otis Bradshaw.
Kris Hillegeer won the street stock feature, while Skip Powers took top honors in the 6-cylinder main event.