By – Chris Porter
Waverly, N.Y.’s Lee Sharpsteen successfully defended his 2010 Race of Champions (R.o.C.) Super Stock title Saturday night at the Oswego Speedway. Sharpsteen was the second car to cross the checkered stripe at race’s end, but after a post-race inspection on the Glen Lippolis No. 85 found an illegal compression ratio, Sharpsteen was promoted into victory lane. Sharpsteen was one of only two cars remaining on the lead lap when the checkered flag flew, putting an end to the attrition-filled 75-lap event.
Listen to – Lee Sharpsteen
Jay Mudra took the lead at the start, bringing Sharpsteen, J. R. Swansbrough, Michael Ramos and Chip Wanamaker across the line to complete lap No. 1. A gathering of super stocks in turn No. 3 brought out the caution flag on the fourth lap. Heading back to green, Dylan Terry, Justin Mooney, Kyle Shurpe, Lippolis and Mike Scott rounded out the top 10 behind Wanamaker.
Mudra, Sharpsteen and Ramos had been easing away from the field when Jason Dinzler lost a wheel on his No. 37 machine on lap No. 9. While under caution, Swansbrough pitted while running fourth.
On the restart, Mudra continued to pace the field with Sharpsteen and Ramos up front. Walking away from their chasers, Ramos hounded Sharpsteen until finally shooting under him in turn No. 2. Quickly, Ramos moved in on Mudra.
On the 18th lap, Ramos made it three-wide down the back straightaway, splitting Mudra and a lapped competitor to take the lead. As the field rounded the track for its 20th time, Ramos was in command. Mudra, Sharpsteen, Wanamaker and Shurpe filled out the top five behind him.
Sharpsteen slipped under Mudra for second on the 26th lap, as Ramos was checked out. By the 40th circuit, Ramos led Sharpsteen by a full straightaway.
Ending 40 straight green flag laps, the caution flag flew on lap No. 49, for Mike Scott’s slowing No. 76. The call for the flag to be flown may have come a bit too soon as Scott was able to limp into the pits. The flag appeared to break the momentum and set off a flurry of cautions (and short tempers) to come.
With 24 trips remaining, Ramos led Sharpsteen, Mudra, Wanamaker and Lippolis. Charles Sharpsteen and Robert Fink were the only other cars on the lead lap.
The lead trio pulled away at the drop of the green. Lippolis took fourth away from Wanamaker on the 59th lap. One round later, Charles Sharpsteen’s No. 54 went up in smoke, bringing out another yellow flag. While under caution, Fink’s No. 78 pulled pitside.
At the drop of the green, Sharpsteen took to the high side of Ramos in a bid for the lead. However, Ramos held his ground and soon began to ease away.
Just a few laps later, Ramos kicked his No. 09 sideways off of turn No. 4, losing momentum and allowing Sharpsteen to close back in on the race leader. Sharpsteen had a solid look on the inside of Ramos on the 66th lap, but Ramos continued to set the pace.
One lap later, Sharpsteen again moved under Ramos. However, this time, the two came together and spun, collecting Billy Coyle’s No. 94.
Third-place running Mudra inherited the lead and Lippolis’ No. 85 was promoted to second. Wanamaker controlled third. After pitstops, Sharpsteen and Ramos each returned. Only five cars remained on the lead lap with nine laps remaining.
Mudra took the green up front, as Sharpsteen and Ramos battled their way back through lapped traffic. However, two laps into racing Wanamaker knocked Lippolis sideways, collecting Sharpsteen’s No. 8 and allowing the yellow flag to fly again.
One more car was knocked off the lead lap as Wanamaker was in the pits as the field took the green. Ramos’ No. 09 was all over the back of Mudra’s No. 16. Ramos appeared to be much faster than Mudra, but with five laps to go, Ramos sent Mudra spinning in turn No. 4. He inherited the lead, but was sent to the rear of the field for rough driving.
This promoted Lippolis to the point position. As the field took the green with five to go, Ramos and Mudra did battle in the rear of the pack for second place. Ramos went by Mudra’s No. 16 down the back straightaway, but as they entered the third turn, Mudra battled back underneath and drove into the corner of Ramos’ No. 09.
The contact sent Ramos spinning into the outside foam, while Mudra continued on. The yellow flag turned red after track safety crews summoned for the ambulance for Ramos. On-site reports from track officials pointed to heat exhaustion as being the reason Ramos exited the speedway via an ambulance. Mudra was sent to the pits.
On the restart, Lippolis and Sharpsteen were the only cars remaining on the lead lap. Lippolis eased away as Sharpsteen made his way through the lapped cars that separated the two. Sharpsteen couldn’t run Lippolis down, but he never really needed to. Lippolis took the checkered flag, but would later be DQ’d in a post-race inspection.
R.o.C. Super Stock 75: 1. Lee Sharpsteen (8), 2. Steve Shultz (25), 3. Chip Wanamaker (44c), 4. Michael Ramos (09), 5. Jay Mudra (16), 6. Robert Fink (78), 7. Billy Coyle (94), 8. Chris Zacharias (98), 9. Willie Strusz (22), 10. Charles Sharpsteen (54), 11. Mike Scott (76), 12. Keith Frankenfield (10), 13. Matt Visingard (61), 14. J. R. Swansbrough (07), 15. Kyle Shurpe (92), 16. Dylan Terry (27), 17. Justin Mooney (44), 18. J. R. Mooney (83), 19. Jason Dinzler (37), 20. Mike Nichols (71) *Glen Lippolis (85) – DQ’d
Heat race wins went to Billy Coyle, Charles Sharpsteen and Mike Scott.