July 4th, 2014
Jimmy Zacharias Cruises to Win #3 in Chemung Sunoco Mods;
Lee Sharpsteen Grabs Super Stock Win

By: Carol Houssock

  There was lots of celebrating on the 4th of July at Chemung Speedrome. Jimmy Zacharias padded his point lead with his 3rd win of the season, while Lee Sharpsteen took home his 2nd trophy this year in the Super Stock division. Other winners included Nick Morich (4 Cylinders), Christian Eckes (INEX Legends) and David French (Bandoleros). Point battles are tightening as the track is now in the second half of the 2014 season.

  Sunoco Modified point leader Jimmy Zacharias won the battle and the war on Friday night. Winner of heat #1, he put on a driving clinic in his powerful #71. On the opening lap TJ Zacharias bobbled a bit coming off turn 4 and caught the 00 of Connor Sellars. Corey Mosher and Tommy Rought got collected in the melee as the track was virtually blocked. Rought was done but the Sellars crew went to work on a radius rod and other issues on his car. Mosher was checked out by the medical crew and cleared to return to action. During the caution Zack Curren pitted when his #94 lost oil pressure. The issue was terminal for him and he was also finished before it started.

  Jody Buckley was the early leader but Jimmy Z got him on the restart. A lap later the race was under caution again when Randy Brokaw slowed on the back stretch. Just 2 laps had been run and 38 remained. What no one anticipated is that the remainder of the race would run caution-free. That was good news for Zacharias, but bad news for everyone else.

  By the halfway point Zacharias’ lead was nearly a full straightaway. Buckley remained 2nd, and he padded his advantage over 3rd place TJ Zacharias. The only other battle was for 3rd between Gene Sharpsteen and Chet Dillenbeck. Sharpsteen gave him a couple opportunities to take over but Dillenbeck’s car failed him with 3 laps to go, ending his strong run. The win, his 3rd this year, was satisfying for Zacharias who had lapped everyone through 6th place. Buckley, who had won the 2nd heat race, finished 2nd in the feature. TJ Zacharias was 3rd, followed by Sharpsteen and Mosher.

  Lee Sharpsteen and Dan Mathews won the 2 heat races for the Super Stocks. Jody Buckley and Mathews had front row starting spots for their 25-lap feature event. This one played right into the hands of Sharpsteen, who strategy throughout the race produced the intended result.

  The first caution came with just 2 laps complete. Last week’s feature winner, Terry Potrzebowski, slowed in turn 4 and retired from the race. Buckley, the race leader, restarted with Sharpsteen alongside. They ran side-by-side until Buckley slowed a bit, dropping him to 4th and allowing Sharpsteen, Joe Snell and Jeff Goodwin to get by.

  Two more cautions slowed the race before the halfway point – one for debris in turn 4 and another when Charlie Sharpsteen blew fluid all over the track. On each of the restarts Sharpsteen used the leader’s option and restarted on the outside of Joe Snell in the front row. Each time he proved he’d made the right call, leading the field off turn 2 and down the back stretch. Sharpsteen put more distance between himself and Snell on each lap, but the advantage went away with 3 laps remaining when Buckley spun going through turns 3 and 4.

  It took 2 tries to get the race resumed, the 2nd of which was costly for 2 of the front runners. Tim Gullo, going for 2nd, entered turn 3 with the hammer down while Jeff Goodwin was on the outside of Snell. Goodwin spun and Snell tagged the outside wall and his night was over. Officials sent Gullo to the rear for the restart. Sharpsteen then had to hold off Buckley over those remaining 3 laps, and he did just that. Jake Snell was 3rd, followed closely by Gullo and Goodwin.

  The 20-lap 4 Cylinder feature was a tale of two halves. The first half belonged to Justin Hall, who had earlier won his heat race. He maintained the lead while Nick Morich, who had a great start, and Ryan Purvis ran together in a battle for 2nd. The only caution came out when Ken Benjamin made a sharp left into the pits in front of Monica Green. Over the next 5 laps Hall protected the top spot before giving way to Morich. Once in front he pulled away from another battle for 2nd, between Hall and Purvis. Jeremiah Clonch, who had won the other heat race, and Sam Warren were also engaged in a tussle for 4th and 5th. Morich cruised across the finish line and scored another feature win. Purvis got the better of Hall to finish 2nd, while Warren and Clonch rounded out the top 5. Morich was in a different car, telling fans the other one was worn out. Hall celebrated his win as the highest-placing FWD car.

  Drama played out in the 20-lap INEX Legends feature. Qualifying wins put Brandon DeBrakeleer and Christian Eckes in row 1 for the start. DeBrakeleer prevailed however the first caution came out while working lap 2. The restart was disastrous for point leader Alexandria Smith. She and Tyler McArdle got together entering turn 3 and spun. Mike Bollen came upon the scene and plowed into Smith. Both he and Smith were done, and both had severe damage to their cars.

  DeBrakeleer appeared on target to score his 2nd consecutive feature win. He survived restarts for 2 additional caution periods, each time getting the better of Eckes. The final caution, with 5 laps to go, presented a final opportunity for Eckes. He didn’t have to fight for the lead. DeBrakeleer’s car broke with 3 laps to go and Eckes took over P1. He held that lead and scored his first win of 2014 at Chemung. Dylan Hoffman was 2nd, followed by Alex Bowen, Gary Ham and McArdle. Eckes, age 13, is #1 in the nation in the INEX Young Lions Asphalt division, and this win helps keep him there.

  The 10-lap Bandolero feature had the same outcome as most weeks – a win for David French. But the star of this one was Teddy Bowen, who ran a spectacular race. He made an outside move on French when the feature started and led the opening lap. Bowen spun on the 2nd lap and brought out the only caution, but he went from dead last on the restart to race leader on the 2nd lap. French bided his time and got around Bowen and held the lead through lap 10. Bowen settled for a hard-fought 2nd, followed by Nick Morich, Lars McElravy and Damon Frutchey. French also won the heat race.

  This Friday night Chemung presents a regular show of Sunoco Modifieds (40), Super Stocks (25 and double points), 4 Cylinders (20), INEX Legends (20) and Bandoleros (08) along with the Dirt Crate Sportsman division. Pits open at 4, practice and grandstand open at 6, and racing gets underway at 7:15 PM. Admission: adults $12; seniors 65 and older $10; kids 6-12 $5; kids 5 and under free. Fans are reminded that their ticket stub from July 4th is good for $2 off this Friday night.

  Notes: Pete Turner, a Vietnam War veteran received a beautiful plaque as the honorary Veteran of the Race. Turner is active in assisted veterans needing services through the VA Hospital. The USAC Ignite Midgets were a no-show, despite being confirmed for July 4th back in January. The series did not respond to repeated telephone calls all week. Five fans won a pair of tickets to Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Speedway, provided by the track. Their names were drawn from many entries. Two other fans won model race cars in a raffle to benefit the Spalding Foundation for Injured Drivers.


Sunoco Modifieds (40 Laps)
JIMMY ZACHARIAS, Jody Buckley, TJ Zacharias, Gene Sharpsteen, Corey Mosher, Cam Ayres, Matt Clemens, Chet Dillenbeck, Connor Sellars, Randy Brokaw, Zack Curren, Tommy Rought
Heats: J Zacharias, Buckley

Super Stocks (25 Laps) LEE SHARPSTEEN, Jody Buckley, Jake Snell, Tim Gullo, Jeff Goodwin, Joe Snell, Dan Mathews, Charlie Sharpsteen, Terry Potrzebowski, Nick Robinson, Dusty Snell
Heats: L Sharpsteen, Mathews

4 Cylinders (20 Laps) NICK MORICH, Ryan Purvis, Justin Hall (FWD winner), Sam Warren, Jeremiah Clonch, Monica Green, Ken Benjamin, Cody Jackson, Robert Decker (DNS), Jared Sullivan (DNS)
Heats: Clonch, Hall

INEX Legends (20 Laps) CHRISTIAN ECKES, Dylan Hoffman, Alex Bowen, Gary Ham, Tyler McArdle, Jason Duke, John Bacon, Andrew Bickford, Brandon DeBrakeleer, Alexandria Smith, Mike Bollen, Lee DeBrakeleer
Heats: B DeBrakeleer, Eckes

Bandoleros (10 Laps) DAVID FRENCH, Teddy Bowen, Nick Morich, Lars McElravy, Damon Frutchey, Timmy Bowen
Heat: French



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