September 5, 2016
TJ Zacharias Wins Chemung Sunoco Modified Title While His Brother, Jimmy, Grabs 7th Feature Win
by Carol Houssock

  The curtain came down on the 2016 season at Chemung Speedrome on Sunday afternoon. In addition to the five features, championships were settled in four divisions. Feature winners included Jimmy Zacharias (Sunoco Modifieds), Charlie Sharpsteen (NY Super Stocks), Ajay Potrzebowski (4 Cylinders), Pat Judson (INEX Legends) and Garrett Zacharias (Bandoleros). Titles went home with TJ Zacharias (Sunoco Modifieds), Monica Green (4 Cylinders), Alexandria Smith (INEX Legends) and Garrett Zacharias (Bandoleros).

  During the first half of the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature Jimmy Zacharias methodically worked his way to the front. Over the final 15 laps he just had to protect his lead. Nick Morich led early with Jesse Kent right behind him. They pulled away and left Gene Sharpsteen, Connor Sellars and Zacharias locked in a tight battle for third. By the 10th lap Zacharias had cleared both Sharpsteen and Sellars, and was closing in on the leaders. Kent took the top spot on lap 12, just before a pair of cautions involving point leader TJ Zacharias. Even though there was some contact with Paul Johnson on the second one Zacharias’ car was unharmed. Jimmy Zacharias took the lead on a restart and brought Sellars along, dropping Kent to third. Behind that trio Sharpsteen faced a challenge from Tommy Catalano. The win went to Zacharias, his seventh of the year. Sellars, Kent, Sharpsteen and Catalano were all in the top five. Kent, J. Zacharias and TJ Zacharias won the three heat races. Despite those two cautions TJ Zacharias held on for the 2016 championship. “I was worried that I might have some damage but when the car was ok then I felt better,” TJ told the crowd. This is his second title, having previously won in 2012.

  The 50-lap Gary Marshall Memorial event for the New York Super Stock series had a shocking conclusion, which came after darkness fell. The four heat races resembled demolition derbies, forcing many teams into repair mode early in the day. Tim Gullo, Terry Potrzebowski, Chris Vogler and Steve Schultz survived those heats, where the top three finishers drew for the top twelve starting positions. Nick Robinson, who a week earlier claimed the track’s Super Stock title, led early. Charlie Sharpsteen was right with him running second. A series of cautions came near the halfway pointand Steve Schultz, Mike Nichols and Tim Gullo joined the leaders in the top five. Nichols and Gullo advanced, moving up to second and third behind Sharpsteen. At lap 30 Nichols was all over Sharpsteen’s #34 and finally got around on the 34th lap. Robinson’s day ended at lap 37 when he slowed on the track, moving Schultz to fourth and Bill Frisbie, Jr. to fifth. Gullo passed Sharpsteen and was closing on Nichols when he slowed with just three laps to go. Over those final three laps Nichols kept the lead while Jim Steffenhagen, Jr. was using the outside lane to advance. He and Sharpsteen swapped second several times around the track but when it was over it was Nichols who celebrated the win. The celebration was short-lived, however, when Nichols was disqualified for having unapproved shocks on the car. Long after the fans left it was Charlie Sharpsteen who got the $2,000 win. Steffenhagen, Schultz, Frisbie and Mitchell Wright finished in the top five.

  Triston Kline led the first two laps of the 20-lap 4 Cylinder feature before being passed on the outside by Ajay Potrzebowski. Three cautions came out during the race, two of which put top runners to the back after being turned around. For the lion’s share of this one Potrzebowski was pursued by the lioness, Monica Green, who raced him clean. Racing got intense when the leaders reached the lap traffic. Jacob Gustafson, JP Harbst and Maddy Virts were in the top five and going high or low around the slower cars. Over the final five laps positions three through five changed but nothing changed up front. Potrzebowski, who was on his third motor, celebrated his second consecutive win. “This is win #2 for the weekend. My daughter, Kaylie, won in it last night at Woodhull,” Potrzebowski told the crowd. He also congratulated Green, someone he said always races him clean. Green thanked her whole team and sponsors for their help in securing her second consecutive track title. Then she dropped the bomb. “I’m glad this crowd got to see my final race.” Green will no longer run for points and may drive the car occasionally if it’s not sold.

  INEX Legend driver Pat Judson can look back on the 2016 season and ‘pat’ himself on the back. Sunday he swept the action in a huge way. Alexandria Smith led the first three laps before being passed by Judson on lap four. Even though he was the leader the greatness was far from over for Judson. Mike Alcaro, who had won a feature the week before, was on the move along with Chuck Lohmeyer and Brandon DeBrakeleer. A pair of cautions came out over the final five laps, setting up exciting side-by-side racing between Judson and Alcaro. Lap 18 belonged to Alcaro, who restarted with two to go from pole position. Judson was beside him but he was far from done and he used his momentum around turns one and two to take the lead back, dropping Alcaro to second. He held the lead and grabbed his third feature win of the year, this time over division heavyweights Alcaro, DeBrakeleer, Smith and Carl Vilardo. Judson thanked his faithful crew for pulling him back from a mid-season slump. Smith did what no one previously had done – win three consecutive INEX Legends championships. The 17 year old also thanked everyone for their help. “I could never do this without them, and I’m proud of our effort,” she said.

  The 10-lap Bandolero feature was a classic ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ run for a pair of track champions, Garrett Zacharias (Outlaw) and Bryce Bailey (Bandit). The race, however, was postponed when a trio of cautions resulted in damaged cars and no laps completed. When they returned to the track Zacharias wasted no time passing his buddy on the opening lap. Early on Bailey and Joshua Duke ran together in second and third. A trio of cautions, for single car spins, brought the field together and on each restart Zacharias took off. Bailey also protected his position, which later in the event was sought by Sean Verwys. Over the final two laps Verwys passed Bailey but time ran out to whittle away the big lead Garrett Zacharias had established. Garrett got the win over Verwys (Bandit winner), Bailey, Seth Zacharias and Shea Bailey. ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ exited their cars as champions who impressed the crowd all year with their talent. After their customary chest pump and hand shake they celebrated with family and friends. Zacharias put together an incredible season, capturing 13 feature wins.

  Track owners John White and Bob Stapleton thank all of the race teams, fans, and track employees for their support throughout the 2016 season. Details on the season-ending banquet will be announced at a later date. Final points and other news is available on the track’s website Chemung Speedrome and NASCAR, Asphalt Racing at its Finest!

  Of note:
  • Jimmy Zacharias and Ajay Potrzebowski won free wings from the Horseheads, NY Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.
  • A different kind of horsepower invaded the grounds early on. A pony broke free from a nearby farm and joined fans in line dragging its rope.
  • The Marshall and Gullo families want to thank the many sponsors for this memorial race: Midstate Basement Authorities ($1,000 to the winner); donations spread through the field: Service Machine and Tool, Jim Marshall, Jeff Goodwin, Dave Osgood Auto Sales, Bobby Osgood Auto Sales, Wilber Auto Sales, Bob Stapleton, Curtis Bush Overhead Doors, and BC Hots. Special Award sponsors: Price is Right Contracting (Hard Charger), Chris Zacharias (Shirley Zacharias), Prosigns, Greg Moldt (Best Appearing), Frisbie Construction (Hard Luck), and $400 for heats BA Racing and Buckley’s Automotive).
  • 16 children left the track with new bicycles donated by Hazleton Oil, Centers Health Care, Youngs Racing, Debbie Mathews, Bobby Lippa, and the Gullo family.

  Sunoco Modifieds (30 Laps):
JIMMY ZACHARIAS, Connor Sellars, Jesse Kent, Gene Sharpsteen, Tommy Catalano, Charlie Sharpsteen, Zack Knowlden, Amy Catalano, TJ Zacharias, Paul Johnson, Joe Lane, Anthony Lane, Ricky Knapp, Nick Morich, Gary Coon, Tim Nies, Anthony Gullo, Chris Clemens, Cody Jackson (DNS)
  Heats: Kent, J. Zacharias, TJ Zacharias

  New York Super Stocks (50 Laps): CHARLIE SHARPSTEEN, Jim Steffenhagen, Jr., Steve Schultz, Bill Frisbie, Jr., Mitchell Wright, Chris Vogler, Steve Pesarek, Scott Adams, Frank Chapman, Brian Wozniak, Matt Larrivee, Brianna Dinzler, Billy Coyle, Tim Gullo, TJ Cochrane, Joel Gleason, Ron Underwood, Nick Robinson, Timmy Catalano, Terry Potrzebowski, Todd Blair, Robert Fink, Jody Buckley, Chris Finocchiaro, Mark Ramsey, Jason Dinzler, Mike Nichols (DQ, finished 1st)
  Heats: Gullo, Potrzebowski, Vogler, Schultz
  Hard Charger Award: Bill Frisbie, Jr.
  Hard Luck Award: Tim Gullo
  Best Appearing Car: Nick Robinson
  Shirley Zacharias Award: Siobhan Sharpsteen (Charlie’s wife)

  4 Cylinders (20 Laps): AJAY POTRZEBOWSKI, Monica Green (FWD winner), JP Harbst, Maddy Virts, Jacob Gustafson, Triston Kline, Zack Bennett, Ben Perry, Greg Moldt, Jordan Mathews, Bob Chilson, Jared Sullivan, James Peck, Ricky Lane, Jason Peck, Paul Platt, Jeff Andrus
  Heats: Moldt, Potrzebowski

  INEX Legends (20 Laps): PAT JUDSON, Mike Alcaro, Brandon DeBrakeleer, Alexandria Smith, Carl Vilardo, Kevin Youngs, Chuck Lohmeyer, Anthony Riforgiato, Gary Ham, Nolan Pope, Max Evans, Matt Evans, Joshua Marchese, Joshua Stark, Charlie Lohmeyer, Teddy Bowen, Kyle Youngs, Matt Maring, Anthony Gullo, Michael Riforgiato, Brian DeMark (DNS)
  Heats: Judson, Alcaro, Smith

  Bandoleros (10 Laps): GARRETT ZACHARIAS, Sean Verwys (Bandit winner), Bryce Bailey, Seth Zacharias, Shea Bailey, Joshua Duke, Chris Breads, Connor McCarthy, Katie Verwys, Nathan Musso, Griffin Montfort, Joey Bernatavitz
  Heats: S. Verwys, G. Zacharias



©2010-2016 Chemung Speedrome


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