OSWEGO, N.Y. – Story/audio/photo By RaceChaser Senior Editor Tom Baker –
Twenty Five Race of Champions Modifieds lined the pit area on Friday night at the Oswego Speedway for the Race of Champions 100. When the checkered flag fell in the first main event of Budweiser Classic Weekend, it was Chuck Hossfeld standing in victory lane.
Following heat wins by Daren Scherer, Chuck Hossfeld and Jimmy Zacharias, the 100-lap feature was lined up. Tony Hanbury and Hossfeld started in the front row.
At the drop of the green, Hanbury took off out front. Hirschman quickly established himself in second with Andy Jankowiak, Hossfeld and Lee Sherwood rounding out the top five. Hossfeld began to challenge Jankowiak by lap three but the No. 73 was up to the challenge.
As the top five broke away from the rest of the field, Nick Pecko had his hands full in sixth place as he had Daren Scherer, Jimmy Zacharias and Patrick Emmerling hot on his tail. Scherer powered to the top of the track and took over the spot on lap 9 and Zacharias followed him on the next lap.
The first caution of the race happened on lap nine when Jimmy Zacharias stopped on the track. On the ensuing restart, Tony Hanbury and Matt Hirschman took off but forced everyone else to check up and Tyler Rypkema ended up in the first turn wall.
Hanbury and Hirschman were both put to the tail for their actions on the restart, giving the lead to Jankowiak. T.J. Potrzebowski was now in second with Hossfeld, Emmerling and Scherer rounding out the top five.
Hossfeld worked his way around Potrzebowski on lap 21 to take over second. Lee Sharpsteen was in sixth with his No. 51B.
Ageless veteran Ken Canestrari in the No. 17 went to the pits on lap 29 just as Nick Pecko brought out the yellow when he suddenly slowed on the back straightaway. Pecko also made it pitside without further issue.
Rypkema returned to the track after repairing his damaged racer from the earlier restart incident, but he was now 10 laps down.
Hanbury, the early leader who was penalized to the tail along with Hirschman, had worked his way back to 12th place at this time. Hirschman, meanwhile, made a pit stop for a new right rear tire and once again restarted at the rear with 70 laps to go.
On the ensuing restart, a chain reaction incident saw two cars spin on the back straightaway as the yellow lights returned. The No. 95 of Bryan Sherwood and the No. 98 of Craig Dolphin were both able to restart with no damage.
Hossfeld began “honking the chrome horn” of leader Jankowiak after the restart and trying to get around him on the outside. Scherer, now up to third, closed in on the top two as the lap counter read “38” and Potrzebowski was fourth.
Emmerling went to the outside on lap 40 to take over fifth from Sharpsteen. Doug Reaume was in 7th, with Brian DeFabo, Hanbury and the No 66 of Austin Kochenash rounding out the top 10.
Lap 44 saw Dolphin once again bring out the yellow with his No. 98, slowing the field once again. Jankowiak, Hossfeld, Scherer, Potrzebowski and Emmerling comprised the top five at this time.
Hanbury chose to pit under this yellow for a new right rear tire, giving up a top ten spot. Conversely, Hirschman was now back in the top ten after his earlier pit stop.
The Modifieds were having their share of restart issues in this race, and they continued on the lap 44 restart as Chris Risdale spun down the front straightaway, bring the yellow lights back on again and sending Risdale to the pits.
Zacharias, after winning his heat and working his way into the top six early, was now out of the race.
T.J. Potrzebowski and Brian DeFalko tangled in a multi-car incident on lap 45 as the yellow fever continued. Jankowiak, Hossfeld and Scherer were still top three as several of the mid-pack cars made pit stops trying various remedies to find some additional speed.
Hirschman ran 7th as the restart took place and quickly went to work on sixth place Reaume. Emmerling took fourth on lap 49 from Potrzebowski, shuffling T.J. back to fifth as Jankowiak was holding off Hossfeld and Scherer in a top three breakaway.
While all of this was going on, 17-year-old Tyler Rypkeman, 10 laps down but now one of the fastest cars on the track, was winging his way through the field and now running with the seventh and eighth place cars. It was another impressive showing for the youngster, who finished fifth at Oswego in the Richie Evans Memorial race back in May.
Hossfeld was working Jankowiak high and low but could not take the lead as lap 60 went up on the board. Scherer was within striking distance but unable to challenge either of the two leaders, who were now back in slower traffic.
Emmerling, however, was closing fast on the third place Scherer and traffic was playing in his favor.
Finally, on lap 64, Hossfeld dove low underneath Jankowiak going down the back straightaway and cleared the No. 73 as they came out of turn four, taking over the top spot. Hirschman also took sixth place away from Reaume.
A couple of laps later, Emmerling passed Scherer for third so on lap 69 the top five were Hossfeld, Jankowiak, Emmerling, Scherer and Potrzebowski.
The complexion of the race changed a bit when Hirschman made contact with Reaume and bent the front end on his No. 60. He stopped in turn three and another yellow flag flew. Hirschman went to the pits for repairs and his capable crew went to work, getting him back in the race without losing a lap.
Hossfeld now led the field down to the green flag on lap 69, with Jankowiak, Emmerling, Scherer and Potrzebowski filling out the top five with just 31 laps left in the race.
Tony Hanbury continued his march back through the field, taking over the 8th position and reeling in Reaume for 7th as Hossfeld opened up a five car-length lead by lap 75.
Hanbury caught Reaume on lap 77 and blew by him on the outside with enough time to catch fifth place Potrzebowski, if not to pass him.
By lap 80, Jankowiak started to reel Hossfeld back in and closed to within a car length, seeming to find a bit of a second wind, but Hossfeld was able to keep him at bay. Hanbury passed Potrzebowski for fifth on lap 84 with another power outside move in his No. 21.
Jankowiak suddenly slowed on lap 88 and stopped on the front straightaway, bringing out the yellow flag with just 12 laps to go. He was pushed back to the pit area and the crew immediately went to work to repair the problem. He was not able to make it back out before the green but he did return, one lap down.
Hossfeld was still the leader, but now Emmerling was running second. Scherer was third with Hanbury and Potrzebowski following in the top five. Hirschman was up to 9th.
Just after the restart, a right rear exploded on the No. 21 of Hanbury, negating all the hard work he’d put in to get back to the top five. He pitted the No. 21 for a new right rear tire and rejoined the action at the rear of the field.
Hossfeld, Emmerling and Scherer brought the field back to green on lap 89 as Hirschman took to the outside groove to charge toward the top five. Passing three cars in two laps, he ran sixth on lap 91 and was racing Doug Reaume for fifth one lap later.
Meanwhile, the No. 22 of Hossfeld was opening up a lead, determined to not let this race get away from him.
Reaume was next to run out of fuel on lap 95 and he pitted, leaving Hirschman in fifth. Hirschman didn’t stop there. He took fourth from Potrzebowski quickly and set sail after the leaders!
Just when Hossfeld appeared to be on his way to a win, Rick Kluth spun in turn three and the yellow lights were on again, setting up a two-lap shootout.
Hirschman was on the move on the restart, challenging Scherer for third. At the checkers, however, he fell short as Hossfeld got the win with Emmerling, Scherer, Hirschman and Potrzebowski rounding out the top five. Koschenasch finished sixth, followed by Sharpsteen, Hanbury, Bryan Sherwood and DeFelko.
Here is the “winnerview” with Chuck Hossfeld – just click to listen and enjoy!