July 11th, 2014
Jimmy Zacharias, Lee Sharpsteen and Chris Clemens Repeat, But Several New Faces in Chemung Victory Lane
 
By: Carol Houssock

  Race fans at Chemung Speedrome enjoyed perfect weather and some intense racing on the second weekend in July. Jimmy Zacharias (Sunoco Modifieds), Lee Sharpsteen (Super Stocks), Eric Ellsworth and Sam Warren (Four Cylinders), Alex Bowen (INEX Legends), Chris Clemens (Dirt Crate Sportsman) and Lars McElravy (Bandoleros) all had their moments in Victory Lane and left with hardware earned for jobs well done.

  The 40-lap Sunoco Modified feature is one fans will talk about for a long time, and for a bunch of reasons: Jimmy Zacharias made a six-hour drive from Loudon, NH to run in the event; Andy Jankowiak made a three-hour run to improve his chances in the August ROC event; Tony Hanbury made his first appearance since May 9th and competed in the Dan Kurzejewski-owned #21; and the on-track action was what they came to see.

  Heat race winner Jody Buckley capitalized on his front row starting spot and led early, holding off Jimmy Zacharias on a lap 5 restart following TJ Zacharias’ spin in turn 4. Hanbury was running fourth, behind Andy Jankowiak. As the race neared lap ten heat winner Hanbury got to the inside of Zacharias and then overtook Buckley for the lead. But he left the inside open and Zacharias took full advantage of that gift and emerged as the new race leader.

  Rookie driver Connor Sellars had a tough time on a lap 20 restart. As he came off turn two his car shot to the outside wall and he was done for the night. When the race resumed it again became a Zacharias/Hanbury battle many have come to enjoy. Jankowiak was up to third, engaged in a great battle for that spot with Zack Curren. Buckley brought out the fifth caution when he tagged the end of the pit wall trying to overtake Gene Sharpsteen.

  On the restart, as leaders Zacharias and Hanbury entered turn three, their tires touched and Zacharias spun in this racing incident. Hanbury got the lead back, with Andy J lined up beside him. The most controversial caution came on with 33 laps complete. Corey Mosher looped his car in turn four; officials deemed it deliberate to bunch up the field and he was towed to the pits.

  The final seven laps were classic Hanbury/Zacharias but it all came down to turn four on the final lap. Hanbury drifted just enough for Zacharias to slide the #71 inside. When Hanbury tried to block him he nearly drove head-on into the pit wall and forfeited two spots before collecting the car and finishing the race. Zacharias celebrated on the roof of his car while Jankowiak was thanked by the appreciative crowd for his fine second place finish. Hanbury finished third, followed by Curren and Buckley.

  Double points were on the line for the Super Stocks. Lee Sharpsteen and point leader Tim Gullo got things going by winning their respective heat races. Handicapping placed Charlie Sharpsteen and Jake Snell in the front row for the start of their 25-lap feature. C. Sharpsteen led just the first lap before losing the lead to his brother Lee. Dan Mathews made a nice move to get around Jeff Goodwin for second, dropping C Sharpsteen to third.

  Gullo brought out the second caution with eight laps in when he was tagged by C Sharpsteen. Officials ruled that Sharpsteen had been drilled by Joe Snell so Snell restarted at the rear. During the caution Gary Noe and Dusty Snell made contact in turn three and both were black-flagged.

  From lap nine on the race went caution-free. Over those remaining laps the best battle was for positions three through five, involving Goodwin, Jody Buckley and Terry Potrzebowski. Up front, Lee Sharpsteen was on cruise control and his advantage over the field widened. The checkered flag flew over the beautiful number eight, representing Lee Sharpsteen’s third win this year and second in a row. Mathews, Goodwin, Potrzebowski and Gullo all finished in the top five.

  Chemung now presents trophies to both the RWD and FWD winners in the Four Cylinder division, and fans saw two new faces following their 20-lap feature. Ryan Purvis won the first heat race but when he quietly coasted across the stripe it was because the motor had let go in his car. Jeremiah Clonch won the other heat. Cody Jackson powered from his outside front row starting position and took the lead. By lap five it was clear that Eric Ellsworth was going to be a factor as he closed up on the back of Jackson’s car and took the lead on lap seven. From that point on in the caution-free race he increased the gap between himself and Jackson. A bit further back Sam Warren closed on Nick Morich and their battle for third was the closest competition. Ellsworth won the race, followed to the line by Jackson, Morich, Warren and Clonch. Warren joined Ellsworth in victory lane for being the highest finishing Front Wheel Drive machine.

  INEX Legends point leader Alexandria Smith will long remember July of 2014. After dominating performances in May and June she suffered her second consecutive disappointment and allowed Alex Bowen to close the championship point gap yet again. Bowen did it by winning their 20-lap feature. Smith led the first 14 laps, during which Bowen was glued to her back bumper. She brought out the third caution with a wiring issue that ended her night. Daren Scherer inherited the lead and held it through two attempts at a restart. Bowen, however, had victory on his mind and he got around Scherer and pulled away. He left with the trophy, while Scherer, Gary Ham, Jason Duke and Cody Frantz all posted top five finishes. Smith and Dylan Hoffman won the two heat races.

  The Dirt Crate Sportsman field was light, but they never disappoint. Heat winner Chris Clemens took the lead at the start and was chased for all 15 laps by James Howard. Allison Pierce had trouble with the stagger on her car and was never a factor. Over the final five laps Howard closed the gap and had it down to a car length when the checkered flag flew over car #21. This was Clemens’ third win and he remains the point leader.

  Bandolero heat race winner Teddy Bowen made a nice opening move in their ten lap feature and led the first four laps. Lars McElravy, however, made an even better move and took over the top spot and led laps five through the finish. It was his first trip to victory lane, a special moment shared with his family and friends. Point leader David French nipped Bowen for second, with Nick Morich and Damon Frutchey posting top five finishes.

  This Friday night Chemung presents a regular show of Sunoco Modifieds (40), Super Stocks (25), Four Cylinders (20), INEX Legends (20) and Bandoleros (08). Several on-air personalities from WENY-TV in Elmira will test their driving skills during intermission in carts provided by Carpenter’s Custom Carts and the Horseheads Rental Center. Pits open at 4:00, practice and grandstand open at 6:00 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 11th is good for $2 off this Friday night.

  Notes: Two cousins shared the honors as Veterans of the Race. Jessica Hobbs served in the Navy from 1998 to 2001 and spent time on the ship USS BonHomme Richard out of San Diego. She received numerous awards and service ribbons including Expert Pistol Shot Medal and the Navy “E” ribbon. Justin Faulkner served in the Air Force from 2001 to 2007, with five of those years at Travis AFB. He also served in Qatar (2004) and Iraq (2007). Justin received numerous awards and medals including Iraqi Freedom, and a Defense Service Medal.

  Following the race Jimmy Zacharias made the six-hour return trip to Loudon, NH to compete in Saturday’s Whelen Modified Tour event.

Results:

Sunoco Modifieds (40 Laps)
JIMMY ZACHARIAS, Andy Jankowiak, Tony Hanbury, Zack Curren, Jody Buckley, Gene Sharpsteen, Cam Ayres, Larry Jaynes, Corey Mosher, Matt Clemens, Connor Sellars, Randy Brokaw, TJ Zacharias
Heats: Buckley, Hanbury

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

4 Cylinders (20 Laps) ERIC ELLSWORTH, Cody Jackson, Nick Morich, Sam Warren (1st FWD), Jeremiah Clonch, Justin Hall, Monica Green, Ken Benjamin, Ryan Purvis (DNS)
Heats: Purvis, Clonch

INEX Legends (20 Laps) ALEX BOWEN, Daren Scherer, Gary Ham, Jason Duke, Cody Frantz, Andrew Bickford, Jimmer Ulrich, Beth Scherer, Alexandria Smith, Dylan Hoffman, John Bacon
Heats: Smith, Hoffman

Dirt Crate Sportsman (15 Laps) CHRIS CLEMENS, James Howard, Allison Pierce, Ray Dann (DNS)
Heat: Clemens

Bandoleros (10 Laps) LARS MCELRAVY, David French, Teddy Bowen, Nick Morich, Damon Frutchey, Timmy Bowen
Heat: Teddy Bowen

 

                               

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