AUDIO/RECAP: First Time for Everything; Jankowiak Bests Hirschman for Race of Champions Win at Oswego

Tom Baker Audio, Featured, Northeast, Supermodifieds 0 Comments

OSWEGO, N.Y. — Story by Race Chaser Online Senior Editor Tom Baker — Audio and photos by Kyle Magda —

With a daring dive to the inside of one of the all-time greats of the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series, Andy Jankowiak shocked the crowd at ‘The Steel Palace’ by leading the final 12 laps of Friday’s Race of Champions 100, scoring his first-career Oswego Speedway feature victory in the process.

Jankowiak used a perfectly-timed restart on lap 89 to surge past “Money Matt” Hirschman and held on to the lead after another caution set up a three-lap dash to the finish, beating the modified veteran to the checkered flag in a stunning underdog story in Central New York.

Bryan Sherwood and Kirk Totten led the field down for their 100-lap feature, which started just before 9 p.m. Sherwood got the jump and led lap one with Daren Scherer, Hirschman and John Wilbur in the first four positions as Totten fell all the way back to 11th.

The race’s first yellow came early, as the No. 47 of Jeff Storace caught a wheel and blew a right front tire going into turn one, just brushing the foam blocks. He went to the pits for repairs but did not make it back in time for the green flag.

When racing resumed, a multi-car incident on the back straightaway slowed the pace before the third lap was completed. Doug Reaume in the No. 14 and Chris Risdale in the No. 1 were among those involved, with both continuing on and pitting for repairs. The No. 69 of Tom Cloce also went pitside for some adjustments.

Scherer raced Sherwood hard on the outside on the restart, but the No. 19 of Brandon Oltra had a problem in turn three and drew the third yellow in the same lap.

This time Scherer had the inside for the restart, and he made it work by taking the lead. Hirschman and T.J. Potrzebowski also slipped by Sherwood to take second and third, and then Wilbur passed Sherwood on lap five to take fifth.

Scherer’s silver No. 3 was running strong early, and he kept Hirschman, Potrzebowski, Chuck Hossfeld and Wilbur behind him through the next several laps as the top five pulled away from the rest of the field.

Lap 17 saw Wilbur blast by Hossfeld with an inside move on the front straightway to take over fourth, moving Hossfeld back to fifth ahead of Sherwood.

Running seventh through tenth, off the leaders’ pace a bit, were Patrick Emerling, Tony Hanbury, Tyler Rypkema and Nick Pecko as lap 22 went up on the board.

As the first quarter of the race was completed, Scherer continued to lead Hirschman, Potrzebowski, Wilbur and Hossfeld. The No. 1 of Risdale was out of the race by this time after being involved in one of the earlier incidents.

The fourth yellow of the race came out on lap 27 for debris on the back straightaway. Hossfeld pitted his No. 22 for a new right rear tire, and Andy Jankowiak, Totten, Donny Hartzell and Tommy Cloce all made stops at this time as well.

On the restart, Hirschman punched the throttle and took the lead away from Scherer but another yellow flew for a stopped Tyler Rypkema, who drove away as soon as the yellow came out. Wilbur pitted with damage to the right front of his No. 4 and retired from the event.

Rypkema made a pit stop after causing the yellow and the crew went to work on the motor, getting him back out before the green.

Hirschman, Potrzebowski and Scherer took off in the top three spots, but right behind them came Patrick Emerling into fourth. However, yellow flag fever continued as the sixth caution happened when the No. 47 of Storace hit foam in the third turn.

29 laps were complete when the green flag flew again with Hirschman, Potrzebowski, Scherer, Emerling and Tony Hanbury now comprising the top five.

Bryan Sherwood brought out yellow flag number seven on lap 31 when he suffered a flat tire. Rypkema also made another pit stop as his No. 32 team continued to fuss over the motor in that car. Sherwood’s team got the tire on his No. 95 changed and got him back out before the green but was well behind the field.

Hirschman took off again on the restart with Potrzebowski right behind him. Emerling went right to work on the No. 3 of Scherer for third, putting pressure on him and working the inside lane. It took just two laps for the No. 07 of Emerling to take third away from Scherer and set sail after the top two cars.

Scherer began to fall back and soon had Hossfeld challenging him for fourth. The No. 22 of Hossfeld dove under Scherer off turn four as 38 laps clicked off and took over the spot. Tony Hanbury was next to go after Scherer for the fifth spot as the top three continued to pull away, and by lap 41 he had passed the No. 3 and Scherer was back to sixth.

The eighth yellow flag of the race came out on lap 43 when a car began to leak fluid on the track.

Hirschman, Potrzebowski, Emerling, Hossfeld and Hanbury were now the top five, with Scherer, Ross Holmes, Hartzell, Jankowiak and Totten filling out the top ten.

Pit stops were numerous under this yellow as Emerling, Holmes, Pecko, Scherer and Storace all gave up their track position to put on new tires and make adjustments in an effort to gain an advantage for the last 57 laps of the 100-lap affair.

Points leader Emerling remained in the pits as the crew looked over the motor while the green flag flew, and they found the problem to be terminal, forcing him out of the event.

Nick Barzee made an appearance in the top 10 with his No. 31 on lap 47 as Hirschman, Potrzebowski, Hossfeld, Jankowiak and Hanbury began to open up ground from sixth place Kirk Totten, who started second and had recovered from earlier issues to climb his way back to the front.

Lap 63 was a busy one for Jankowiak, as he blasted by Hossfeld and then Potrzebowski in one lap to charge from fourth to second. Hirschman was still the leader by a straightaway but Andy J was fast approaching.

The race settled into a long green flag run until lap 73, when Storace brought out the yellow one more time.

While under yellow, track officials stopped third place Hossfeld at the finish line to check for a possible fluid leak and sent him to the pits after finding fluid coming from the rear end of the car. His crew feverishly worked to rectify the problem as the track cleanup crew laid several layers of speedy dry down right at the finish line — where they stopped the No. 22 car.

Hirschman and Jankowiak blasted away from the rest of the field on the restart, and many wondered if the race would be settled between the two of them. Jankowiak stayed within a car length until the yellow flag once again appeared on lap 76 for Donnie Hartsell, who came to a stop in turn three.

Jankowiak tried to shock Hirschman by diving under him going into turn three after the restart, but Hirschman closed the door on him. They opened almost a straightaway advantage over third place Hanbury as 20 laps remained to be run.

The green and yellow No. 73x of Jankowiak appeared faster than Hirschman, and he was looking high and low for racing room to go by. Over the last 25 laps the pair stayed bumper to bumper, and Jankowiak reached for the sky on lap 88 with a move to the outside. However, the yellow flag negated any possible success as Nick Barzee and Potrzebowski brushed wheels going into turn one, both spinning but neither receiving any damage.

When the green flag came back out on lap 89, Jankowiak simply shot underneath Hirschman and blew right by him for the lead. Hirschman began to show signs of a problem, possibly running out of fuel in a dramatic turn of events.

Hanbury, sitting third, began to charge, hoping to catch the No. 60 of Hirschman — to no avail.

The final yellow flag occurred with three laps to go, when Ross Holmes brushed the inside hubrail going into turn one with his No. 8, causing left front damage that sent him careening back across the track into the foam blocks that line the outside steel wall. He was running fifth at the time of the accident, but the damage was enough to put him out of the race.

The last restart of the race allowed Nick Pecko used it to steal fourth away from Rypkema, but no one had anything for Andy Jankowiak, who carried on his father Tony’s modified legacy at Oswego by picking up the emotional win.

Hirschman held onto second despite his apparent problems, ahead of Hanbury, Pecko and Rypkema.

Reaume, Barzee, Potrzebowski, Totten and Scherer rounded out the top ten.

Saturday’s racing program will consist of the ATQMRA TQ-Midget Classic, the 75-lap Pathfinder Bank Small Block Super Classic and the 50-lap ISMA SuperNationals as the winged warriors make their final stop of the 2015 season at Oswego.


Audio with race winner Andy Jankowiak:

Audio with runner-up Matt Hirschman:

Audio with third-place Tony Hanbury:

Audio with Chuck Hossfeld following a fluid leak that put him out of the race from third:


RESULTS: Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series; Race of Champions 100; Oswego Speedway; September 4, 2015

  1. Andy Jankowiak
  2. Matt Hirschman
  3. Tony Hanbury
  4. Nick Pecko
  5. Tyler Rypkema
  6. Doug Reaume
  7. Nick Barzee
  8. T.J. Potrzebowski
  9. Kirk Totten
  10. Daren Scherer
  11. Bobby Holmes
  12. Donnie Hartsell
  13. Tommy Cloce
  14. Chuck Hossfeld
  15. Bryan Sherwood
  16. Jim Storace
  17. Patrick Emerling
  18. John Wilbur
  19. Ken Canestrari
  20. Brandon Oltra
  21. Chris Risdale
  22. Mike Leaty (DNS)

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