August 1st, 2014
Jody Buckley Treats Fans to Exciting, And Overdue, Chemung Sunoco Modified Win
By: Carol Houssock

  Autograph Night turned out to be a big night at Chemung Speedrome. Fans met the drivers during intermission and track officials completed a six-division program. Winners included Jody Buckley (Sunoco Modifieds), Terry Potrzebowski (Super Stocks), Nick Morich and Kenny Benjamin (Four Cylinders), Brandon DeBrakeleer (INEX Legends), Chris Clemens (Dirt Crate Sportsmen), and David French (Bandoleros). Focus now switches to the upcoming Race of Champions show this Saturday starting at 6 PM.

  If an impressive burnout is any indication how happy a feature winner is after a grueling race, then everyone can assume that Jody Buckley is one happy racer. The Horseheads, NY driver proved he had the car to beat Friday night and no one in the Sunoco Modified division could do it. Fast out of the box, Buckley also won his heat race. On this night he put hope against hope that bad racing luck wouldn’t follow him and it didn’t. The 40-lap feature was slowed, unfortunately, by seven caution periods. Fortunately none of them was for anything more than single- or two-car spins. What those cautions did create, however, were some very exciting restarts.

  Gene Sharpsteen led the first seven laps, first shaking off Randy Brokaw and then being pursued by Jody Buckley. As the pair sailed off turn two on the eighth lap Buckley powered around him and took over the top spot. Jimmy Zacharias also got around Sharpsteen and was up to second. Over the second half of the race it was Buckley and Zacharias on the front row but each time Buckley opted to start on the outside. That’s not typical at Chemung, as most drivers prefer the inside line. Buckley’s car, however, had already proven to be stout on the outside. On each of those restarts Buckley cleared the Zacharias #71 by the start/finish line and he was able to maintain the race lead.

  The final caution came out with six laps remaining but the outcome was the same for Buckley. The only downside of his win was that track officials were trying to get the whole show in before curfew so all victory lane interviews had to wait until the final race was completed. It didn’t matter to Buckley, whose donuts and tire spins with the nose of his car up against the outside wall made it all worth the wait.

  The decision to go to the outside was, for him, an easy one. “I knew Jimmy wasn’t gonna put me in the fence and my car handled really well up there,” he said after the long overdue victory. Zacharias was second, followed by Zack Curren, Sharpsteen and heat winner Connor Sellars.

  The 25-lap Super Stock race was relatively tame for the first half. Nick Robinson led early before losing the top spot to Joe Snell on the fifth lap. Contact early on loosened some sheet metal on Tim Gullo’s car and some of it broke free and put the field under caution with 10 laps complete. Snell held off Robinson on the restart but both Terry Potrzebowski and Lee Sharpsteen were charging toward him.

  Potrzebowski took the lead and left Snell to fend off the challenges coming his way from Sharpsteen.

  Lee eventually won that battle and set his sights on the Mr72. He would have one final opportunity to win a drag race down the front stretch when Robinson and Jody Buckley got locked together in turn four. Potrzebowski prevailed and left Sharpsteen to go around the outside as he had the inside well protected. Over the final lap Sharpsteen mounted a challenged off turn four and it was pretty much anyone’s guess who would win this one.

  Potrzebowski held on for the win, his third this year, but the advantage was measured in inches as opposed to feet. Sharpsteen maintains the point lead with his second place finish. Gullo finished third, while Snell and Charlie Sharpsteen rounded out the top five. Post-race tech, with tires on the checklist, resulted in a DQ for Jeff Goodwin who had finished fifth.

  It was a three-man race by lap 15. Three laps later Potrzebowski had some breathing room while Snell and Sharpsteen. The second half is obviously the one that produces the race-winning hardware and accolades. Mike Nichols and Charlie Sharpsteen got things going by winning the two heat races. Nick Robinson and Dusty Snell made up row one for the start

  Despite a nearly 5-hour tow to the track, the trip has been well worth it for INEX Legends competitor Brandon DeBrakeleer. Now a 5-time feature winner, it was a sweep for the young man who also won his heat race. The 20-lap feature took two tries to get going as Tyler McArdle and Wayne Walker got together coming off turn two on the opening lap. Point leader Alexandria Smith used her inside row two starting spot to her advantage and won the three-wide battle with Beth Scherer and Andrew Bickford for the early lead. By the sixth lap heat winner Chuck Lohmeyer was her closest challenger but DeBrakeleer was coming up fast and took over second on the eighth lap.

  At the halfway point it was what has become classic Smith/DeBrakeleer but she managed to build up a bit of a lead by lap 13. Two laps later Bickford spun and the field doubled up for the restart. Smith held off DeBrakeleer but he found an opening on the inside with two to go and he snagged the lead. He held on for those final two laps and recorded his fifth win this season. Smith was second, followed by Lohmeyer, Gary Ham and Alex Bowen.

  For the first time this year more Front Wheel Drive cars showed up for the Four Cylinder race, leaving only Nick Morich to represent those with Rear Wheel Drive machines. That guaranteed him a trophy at the end of the night but the leading feature winner at Chemung went one better – he finished ahead of all the others and scored another win. Kenny Benjamin, a heat winner, led for the lion’s share of this one and had built of a sizeable advantage over Justin Hall and then Nick Morich.

  With five laps remaining smoke appeared from Benjamin’s #44B and he started to slow, greatly decreasing the gap between his car and the #9 of Morich. With just two laps to go Morich got around the ailing Benjamin machine and took the checkered flag. Benjamin did get to join Morich in victory lane as the highest-finishing FWD (second place). Hall, the other heat race winner, finished third, with Jennifer Denny and Sam Warren all in the top five.

  The Dirt Crate Sportsman division was back in action and four cars showed up to test their mettle on the asphalt. Chris Clemens produced another sweep, winning both the heat and their 15-lap feature. Clemens took off at the drop of the green and Ray Dann tried to stay with him. The only caution came after 10 laps were complete. Dann’s #6B dropped a ton of fluid on the track and his night was over. When the race resumed James Howard gave Clemens a run for his money but the money went home with Clemens. Howard finished behind him but ahead of Allison Pierce and Dann.

  The Bandoleros ran their 10-lap event caution-free. Teddy Bowen, who had started third, made some nice moves and emerged as the race leader for the first two laps. That was as long as it took David French to catch Bowen. He and Lars McElravy doubled up and both got around Bowen, dropping him to 3rd. Bowen then had to defend that spot, which heat winner Rudy Roth then claimed. French pulled away and the field spread out over the second half of the race. It was a sweep for French and padded his championship point lead. McElravy finished second, ahead of Roth, Nick Morich and Bowen.

  This week fans are reminded that Chemung is quiet on Friday night but roars back to life for a huge show on Saturday night. It’s the second appearance of the Sunoco Race of Champions for a 100-lap feature event. Also on tap are the Sunoco Modifieds (40), Super Stocks (25), Four Cylinders (20), and INEX Legends (20). Pits open at 3:00, practice and grandstand open at 4:45 and racing gets underway at 6:00 PM. Admission: adults $22; seniors 65 and older $18; youth ages 11-16 $10; kids ages 6-10 $5; kids five and under free. Tickets stubs from August 1st will not be honored for this show.

  Notes: Pvt. Daniel Potter, who just completed basic training in the US Army, was the honorary active duty serviceman of the Race. Potter enlisted in March of this year and will soon leave for his first duty station at Fort Hood, Texas. He is a Multiple Launch Rocket System and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System crew member and is qualified for vehicle maintenance, crane operation and land navigation.

  Results:

  Sunoco Modifieds (40 Laps)
JODY BUCKLEY, Jimmy Zacharias, Zack Curren, Gene Sharpsteen, Connor Sellars, Paul Hartwig, Randy Brokaw, Dylan Zacharias, Larry Jaynes, John Wilber, Chris Clemens, Cam Ayres, Andy Jankowiak
Heats: Sellars, Buckley

  Super Stocks (25 Laps) TERRY POTRZEBOWSKI, Lee Sharpsteen, Tim Gullo, Joe Snell, Charlie Sharpsteen, Dan Mathews, Jody Buckley, Mike Nichols, Dusty Snell, Nick Robinson, Ron Underwood, Gary Noe, Jake Snell (DNS), Jeff Goodwin (DQ, tire softener, finished 5th)
Heats: Nichols, C Sharpsteen

  4 Cylinders (20 Laps) NICK MORICH, Ken Benjamin (1st FWD), Justin Hall, Jennifer Denny, Sam Warren, Monica Green, Dave Cooke, Brad Hyatt, Eric Williams, Jared Sullivan (DNS), Cody Jackson (DNS)
Heats: Hall, Benjamin

  INEX Legends (20 Laps) BRANDON DEBRAKELEER, Alexandria Smith, Chuck Lohmeyer, Gary Ham, Alex Bowen, Tyler McArdel, Brad Salatino, Daren Scherer, John Bacon, Wayne Walker, Andrew Bickford, Charlie Lohmeyer, Jimmer Ulrich, Beth Scherer, Lee DeBrakeleer (DNS)
Heats: Chuck Lohmeyer, B DeBrakeleer

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

  Bandoleros (10 Laps) DAVID FRENCH, Lars McElravy, Rudy Roth, Nick Morich, Teddy Bowen, Damon Frutchey, Timothy Bowen, George Hayes, Ray Hayes, Michael Roth
Heats: French, R Roth

 

                               

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