AUDIO/RECAP: Hossfeld Wins 64th Annual Sunoco Race of Champions Modified 200 In Overtime

Tom Baker Asphalt Modifieds, Audio, Featured, Northeast, Sprints & Midgets, Supermodifieds 0 Comments

OSWEGO, N.Y. – Story/Photo/Audio by RaceChaser Senior Editor Tom Baker –

The 64th Annual Sunoco Race of Champions got off to a wet start as rain swept in from the Midwest and washed out all of the Saturday events.  The foul weather pushed everything back to Sunday, meaning a full seven division race card would be completed in one day.

A decision was made to keep the Saturday portion of the weekend seperate and run it later Sunday following the planned Sunday schedule, so the RoC Modifieds, RoC Super Stocks and Supermodifieds pulled into the track first for their racing events.

After qualifying for the 3 divisions was complete, the 75-lap Supermodified Championship was won by Dave Danzer.

It was now time for the 64th Annual Race of Champions Modified 200 to start!  30 cars would take the green flag, with Tony Hanbury in the No. 21 and Bobby Holmes in the No. 22H starting in the front row.

It was Hanbury who took the lead on the start but “Big Money” Matt Hirschman, looking to “three-peat” this race for the first time ever, quickly took second and started applying pressure.  Three laps in, the No. 22H of Bobby Holmes ran third with Brandon Oltra in the No. 9 fourth and the No. 3 of Daren Scherer rounding out the top five.

Hirschman powered by Hanbury on lap 5 and started opening up ground right away.  Stewart Friesen, a multi-time winner in Northeast Dirt Modifieds and Sprint Cars, was starting in his first ever asphalt Modified race.  He had picked up five spots in the first nine laps to move from 22nd to 17th.

Hanbury closed back to within two car lengths of Hirschman by lap 11 as the pair closed in on slower traffic.  Holmes and Scherer were third and fourth but now Chuck Hossfeld in the No. 22H, who had won the Budweiser Modified Classic at Oswego just two weeks earlier, was up to fifth and charging.

NASCAR Nationwide Series and Modified hotshoe Ryan Preece was moving forward through the field as well, now in sixth and in hot pursuit of the third through fifth place runners.

Matt Hirschman moved into lapped traffic on lap 22 and quickly put three slower cars between himself and second place Hanbury.  Holmes held onto third but his back bumper was feeling the wrath of fourth place runner Scherer, who was trying to fend off the challenges of Hossfeld and Preece behind him in a torrid early battle!

Scherer’s pressure worked on lap 29 as he took third spot, and both Hossfeld and Preece followed him through, sending Holmes back to sixth.

The first yellow flag of the race flew on lap 33 when the No. 24 of Tyler Rypkema, a 17-year-old RoC Modified Rookie who had a fifth place in a race earlier in the year at Oswego, broke loose and stopped just short of hitting the second turn wall. Rypkema restarted on his own and rejoined the field at the rear, having already lost a lap to the leaders.

Hirschman, Hanbury, Scherer, Hossfeld and Preece rounded out the top five at this time, with Holmes, Oltra, Nick Pecko, Mike Leaty and Jimmy Zacharias running sixth through tenth.  Zacharias elected to pit at this time as did Friesen, Patrick Emerling and Rypkema.

The race did require a mandatory pit stop, but it had to occur after lap 50, so these stops did not count in that capacity for those racers.  All of them made it back out before the green except for Emerling, whose crew was still working on that car.

No sooner had the race gone back to green then a multi-car pileup happened in turn two.  Nick Pecko broke loose setting off a chain reaction.  Doug Reaume, Rusty Smith, Sam Fullone, Terry Cheetham, Lee Sharpsteen, Daryl Lewis, Jr., Rypkema, Austin Kochenash and Tommy Ferrell were among those involved.

Lewis would be out for the day as would Rypkema, who went off on the rollback.  Reaume pitted as did Ferrell, Sharpsteen, Leaty, Fullone and Kochenash.    All would return to action before the drop of the green.

The top five, now with 41 laps down as they came to the green, was Hirschman, Hanbury, Hossfeld, Scherer and Preece.

Hirschman took off on the restart with Hanbury following,  Scherer stayed third while Preece saw an opportunity and stole fourth from Hossfeld.

One lap later we were yellow again as a couple of cars in the middle of the pack got out of shape.  They both kept going but officials, fearing another repeat of the multi-car tangle, were quick to trigger the caution flag.   Stewart Friesen popped back into the pit area with the Kluth No. 44, wanting new tires.  Sam Fullone also pitted for fuel and adjustments.
Friesen made it back out before the green.

Scherer bumped into Hanbury on the restart going into turn one but everyone kept going as Hirschman tried unsuccessfully to get away.

With 50 laps in, Hirschman, Hanbury, Scherer, Hossfeld and Preece were the top five.  Holmes still ran sixth, with DeFebo, Oltra, Pecko and Leaty rounded out the top ten.

Andy Jankowiak slowed to a stop on lap 54 to bring out another yellow.

Now we were past the 50 lap mark for mandatory pit stops.  Who would take advantage of this yellow to be the first to make theirs?

Mike Leaty, Jimmy Zacharias, Kurt Totten, T.J. Potrzebowski, Friesen, George Skora III and Rusty Smith all ducked in to fulfill their rules requirment, as did Jankowiak to address his mechanical issue.

The top five remained Hirschman, Hanbury, Hossfeld, Scherer and now Holmes.  Hirschman led the field down to the restart as Preece went right to work on Hossfeld for fourth.  Driving the No. 41 for all it was worth, Preece worked over the No. 22 of Hossfeld but couldn’t get by.

One driver on the charge at this point was the No. 66 of Austin Kochenash, a high school student who is making a name for himself on the RoC Modified Tour.  Kochenash was up to ninth after being involved in the earlier multi-car tangle, and he was one of the fastest cars on the track at this point.

Hirschman and Hanbury settled into a race pace around lap 71, staying within two car lengths as they pulled away slightly from the battle for third between Scherer and Hossfeld, who was using his front bumper to keep Daren honest.  Preece watched the action from a safe distance back in fifth, unchallenged.

Kochenash continued his drive to the front as he passed eighth place Nick Pecko just after lap 75 and set sale after DeFebo.

Just when you thought things were settling down to a nice race pace, on lap 85 everything changed…

Hirschman was winging his way through traffic when Stewart Friesen bumped into the back of the Terry Cheetham car right in front of him.  Hirschman made contact with Cheetham and ended up catching the turn four wall.

The leader now had damage and stopped on the track!

Under the yellow, Scherer, Kochenash, Hossfeld, Hirschman, Friesen, DeFebo and Nick Barzee all pitted.  Hossfeld was first back out from that group.

Now Hirschman had his second bout with bad luck as he left the pits after making his stop with the fuel can still in the tank!  This is a pit road violation resulting in a stop and go penalty.

Hanbury pitted after all of the above racers returned to the track.   The crew went to work on the No. 21.

Bobby Holmes was now the leader, not yet having made his mandatory pit stop.  Brandon Oltra also hadn’t pitted and he was now second.  Jimmy Zacharias was third, and the first of those who had satisfied their pit stop requirements.  Mike Leaty ran fourth and Rusty Smith fifth when the race restarted on lap 98.

Sixth through tenth were Kirk Totten, George Skora III, Bryan Sherwood, Chuck Hossfeld and Preece.

Bryan Sherwood got hit from behind and turned around in turn four coming to the restart, resulting in the green being waved off.  Fortunately, everyone moved safely by and order was quickly restored with Sherwood moving to the back of the field.

Zacharias moved quickly to second on the restart just past halfway. Leaty, Smith and Ultra were third through fifth followed by Hosfeld, Preece, Kochenasch and Scherer.

Friesen was again the trigger for a yellow flag on lap 108 as he got inside of Oltra and the pair made contact.  Hirschman returned to the pits at this point as did Oltra, who was making his first pit stop.

Brian DeFebo had a flat right front tire just after the restart, so the field slowed as quickly as it got back to the green. Holmes, Zacharias, Leaty, Hossfeld and Smith were the top five on lap 115 with Preece, Kochenash, Scherer, Totten and Hanbury completing the top ten.

When we finally got back to green, Hossfeld started working over the No. 25 of Lety for third place as Hanbury snuck by for ninth.  Holmes had not pitted yet as he continued to lead by a few car lengths, collecting leader lap money as he went.

Second through tenth were right together with a lot of “bumper tag” being applied throughout but no positions changing as we moved to less than 75 laps to go in the second longest consecutively run race in the sport’s history (behind only the Indy 500).

Hirschman was the an everyone was watching, as he ran 11th behind Friesen and was initiating Stewart into the world of “chrome horn” honking, possibly sending a signal to the driver whose bumper shot into Terry Cheetham earlier resulted in Hirschman’s contact with the wall.

Scherer turned around his No.3  car to bring out the yellow on lap 132, possibly after contact with Hanbury.  It was Holmes still leading (not having yet made his mandatory stop), Zacharias second and Leaty, Hossfeld and Preece sitting third through fifth.

Smith, Kochenash, Hanbury, Friesen and Hirschman rounded out the top ten.

That is, until the next restart attempt when the leaders played bumper cars and Smith’s front end wound up with damage as did Hossfeld’s rear end.  Both would have been able to keep their spots as the officials waved off the start, but Smith had to pit to fix the damage.

Holmes finally gave up the lead to pit under this yellow flag , officially on lap 143.  Zacharias now took over command out front with Leaty, Hossfeld, Preece and Kochenash rounding out the top five, followed by Hanbury, Friesen, Hirschman, Reaume and Pecko.

Hossfeld was the man on the charge when the green flag finally got the race back underway with just 50 to go.  Hanbury was also flying, taking over fifth from Kochenash.

Zacharias still led Leaty, Hossfeld, Preece and Hanbury as Hirschman moved to seventh by Friesen.  the top nine were all in a pack as the battles began in earnest!

Hossfeld got to second and then shot to the top of the track off turn four and blasted by him to take the lead on lap 156!  Hanbury dove under Preece at the same time and took fourth.  Hanbury started throwing everything including a small kitchen sink at Leaty and got by for third on lap 159…then powered by Zacharias for second one lap later!

With 40 to go, Hossfeld, Hanbury, Preece, Hirschman and Kochenash now made up the top five and they were hooked up and driving away!  Kochenash began to lose some ground to the “Fab Four” who were ahead of him with about 35 left to go.

Yellow returned to the speedway on lap 167 as Brandon Oltra hit the fourth turn wall just as Jimmy Zacharias slowed with smoke billowing from his No. 71 machine.  Holmes took his No. 22H back to the pits at this time to the attention of his crew.  He returned to the tail of the field before the restart.

With 29 laps left, the green flag flew once again as Hossfeld, Hanbury, Preece and Hirschman now the top four.  Who was going to win the 64th Annual Sunoco Race of Champions Modified Tour 200?

Hossfeld opened a couple of car lengths in the first few laps after the restart but that didn’t last as Hanbury closed right back in.  Hirschman went to the outside to get by Preece for third on lap 175, giving him 25 laps to pass two of the best in the business if he wanted to “three-peat”!

Hirschman got to Hanbury’s back bumper and began saying hello to it with his front bumper as Hossfeld tried to hold both of them back.  Reaume passed Friesen for seventh with 20 laps left while the top four were driving away from fifth place Kochenash, who was having a career run on perhaps the biggest stage of his young racing career.

Preece fell off the top three’s pace just a bit as 185 went up on the board, staying within proximity but not in the battle.  The chess match between the top three reached fever pitch now as Hossfeld seemed to have enough while Hanbury had to balance between keeping the bottom protected from Hirschman and being aggressive with Hossfeld, whose car was starting to lose its’ handling just a bit.

With ten to go the top five remained the same.  Doug Reaume was enjoying an outstanding sixth place run with his No. 14 followed by Leaty, Friesen, Pecko and Scherer.

Hossfeld found a bit more in his Jerry Gradl Motors No. 22, opening up five car lengths as they closed in on two slower cars.

And then Hirschman’s third bout with bad luck happened.

Those two slower cars I just mentioned?  They tangled on lap 196 just as Hossfeld went by them, causing one of them (Kirk Totten) to bounce off the inside hubrail and spin back up the track.  Hanbury manged to avoid him.

Hirschman didn’t.

Yellow was now out once again as the final laps in “regulation” ticked off, and Hirschman was in the pits for repairs to the left side of his No. 60.

Hossfeld, Hanbury, Preece, Kochenash and Reaume were now the top five.  Leaty, Friesen, Pecko, Scherer and DeFebo ran sixth through tenth as the fans anticipated the upcoming green-white-checkered.

Would the yellow change anything in terms of the leaders and the outcome?

The green flag got the race going again in “overtime”, on lap 208 with Hossfeld showing the way.  Then Stewart Friesen spun out after contact by Nick Pecko and the race was slowed again.

Enter overtime number two!

As the lap counter turned to 212, the green flag flew for what Hossfeld hoped would be the final time.  It was.

Hossfeld zoomed across under the white flag, and then the checkered, to finally get his third career win in the Race of Champions!

Hossfeld, Hanbury, Preece, Kochenash and Reaume were the top five across the line.  Leaty, Pecko, Scherer, Holmes and DeFebo rounded out the top ten as the teams quickly worked to begin loading up and clearing the pits so that the classes that were rained out on Saturday night could be brought in to run “part two” of the 64th Annual Sunoco Race of Champions program.

AUDIO with third place Ryan Preece!

AUDIO with fourth place Austin Kochenash!


OFFICIAL FINISH – 6 4th Annual Sunoco Race of Champions Modified 200 – Chuck Hossfeld, Tony Hanbury, Ryan Preece, Austin Kochenash, Doug Reaume, Mike Leaty, Daren Scherer, Bobby Holmes, Brian DeFebo, Nick Pecko, Stewart Friesen, George Skora III, Bryan Sherwood, Nick Barzee, Matt Hirschman, Kirk Totten, Jimmy Zacharias, Brandon Oltra, Rusty Smith, Sam Fullone, T.J. Potrzebowski, Terry Cheetham, Darryl Lewis, Jr., Andy Jankowiak, Tommy Ferrell, Lee Sharpsteen, Tyler Rypkema, Patrick Emerling, Bobby Jones and Karl Hehr.  

Heat winners were as follows:
Super Stocks:  Jeff Goodwin, Mike Nichols and Tim Gullo
Supermodifieds:  Brandon Bellinger, Daniel Connors and Joey Payne.  Consi:  Lou Lavea, Sr.
Modifieds:  Brian DeFebo, Bryan Sherwood, Daryl Lewis, Jr.

Race of Champions Modified Time Trials
22 Chuck Hossfeld              18.593    18.307
3 Daren Scherer                  19.081     18.475
14 Doug Reaume                 19.335     18.951
25 Mike Leaty                      18.959     18.466
95 Bryan Sherwood           19.389     19.184
59 Karl Hehr                         20.373    19.757
07 Patrick Emerling          18.519     18.265
71 Jimmy Zacharias         18.770     18450
44 Stewart Friesen             19.173      18.607
48 Sam Fullone                   18.940      18.704
34 Rusty Smith                   18.859       18.511
21 Tony Hanbury              18.296       18.191
10 Daryl Lewis Jr.             19.442       19.108
53 Brian DeFebo                19.269       18.852
47 Jim Storace                   18.630
24 Tyler Rypkema            19.420       18.995
22 Bobby Holmes             18.482       WALL – LR Flat
08 Tommy Farrell            18.710       18.583
9 Brando Oltra                    18.716       18.430
60 Matt Hirschman          18.428       18.113 POLE
73 Andy Jankowiak         18.865       18.570
1  Bobby Jones                   19.434       19.022
27 Tommy Cloce               19.342       18.611
31 Nick Barzee                    19.456       19.200
11 Kirk Toten                      19.032       18.739
51r T.J. Potrzebowski     19.385       18.866
42 Nick Pecko                    18.759       18.570
66 Austin Kochenash     18.689        18.576
63 George Skora, III       18.916        18.933
41 Ryan Preece                 18.402       18.290
50 Terry Cheetham        19.062       18.729
57 Lee Sharpsteen          19.048       18.900
99 Mikael Labrech          22.716       20.945
1 Chris Risdale                  19.804       19.655
17 Ken Canestrari           20.638       19.639



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