“Jimmy Zacharias, Mike Nichols Grace Chemung’s Victory Lane” By Carol Houssock

(Chemung, NY)  Perfect weather and some great racing highlighted the action at the Speedrome Friday night with Firehouse Subs on hand to sponsor the events. Winners included Jimmy Zacharias (Sunoco Modifieds), Mike Nichols (Insinger Performance Super Stocks), Randy Mathews (Marion Decker Agency Hobby Stocks), Greg Moldt (4 Cylinders) and Kalysta DeMark (INEX Bandoleros). This week, think Saturday. Chemung welcomes the ROC Modifieds (75-lap Rod Spalding Classic), ROC Late Models, ROC 4 Cylinders and WNY TQ Midgets for a big Saturday night of racing. The following Friday (August 26th), the five regular division champions at the Drome will be decided. That will end the regular season, but a special show is planned for Saturday, September 17th.

“I’m better than everyone else,” Jimmy Zacharias said from victory lane following his win in the Sunoco Modified division, when asked how his car holds the inside lane so well in turn four. He and Zack Curren won the two heat races and started alongside each other for the 35-lap feature. Gunnar Zeiner led early, with the first of nine cautions coming out with four laps complete. Zacharias turned point leader Lee Sharpsteen, whose car sustained race-ending mechanical damage and Zacharias restarted from the rear. The game-changer in this one came when Zeiner and Zack Curren were battling for the lead. Zeiner entered turn two a little too hot and got together with Curren. While they dropped back to the rear for the restart, their incident handed the lead to Zacharias. Charlie Sharpsteen, second in points, also had a bad night when sparks were visible from his car and he retired from the race. Curren and Zeiner got together again with five laps remaining. That gave second place runner Bryce Bailey a shot at taking the lead from Zacharias. It wasn’t to be, and Zacharias went on to score his fifth win and fourth in a row. “It’s all about experience, which I have here,” he said. Bailey finished second, followed by the trio of female racers in the event - Peyton Arthofer, Abery Arthofer and Danielle Sharpsteen. Depending on the outcome in the season finale, it could be a top three sweep for the Sharpsteens – Lee, Charlie and Lee’s wife Danielle.

A familiar, yet new this year, face appeared in victory lane in the Insinger Performance Super Stocks. However, but it was déjà vu all over again, as they say, for point leader Nick Robinson. For the third time this year he’s been turned while leading a feature. Sharpsteen led the opening lap, then Robinson took over on lap two. Tim Gullo, who had started sixth, got up to second and ran behind Robinson for the lion’s share of the 25-lap feature. The only caution, with 17 laps complete, came when Gullo turned Robinson and both restarted at the rear. That handed the lead to Mike Nichols, who was making his first appearance at the track this year. Frank Chapman III started beside him in the front row. Nichols pulled away and got the win over Sharpsteen, Chapman, Jason Duke, Jr., and Jason Duke, Sr. “I came to shake the car down,” Nichols told the crowd. Earlier, Robinson and Sharpsteen won the heats. Either Robinson or Duke, Jr. will earn the championship on August 26th.

A smoking gun can give things away in law enforcement but not in racing Friday night in the Marion Decker Agency Hobby Stock 20-lap feature. Veteran drivers Tim Gullo and Terry Potrzebowski won the heats and later made up the fourth row for the start. Pole-sitter Luke Nickles took advantage of pole and led the way over Randy Mathews. With smoke visible from his tail pipe all night, Mathews closed in on Nickles and, at the halfway point Mathews took over and relegated Nickles to second. Caution came out when George Nichols, Jr. spun with 13 laps complete. Mathews held his lead while Tom Shaffer got around Nickles and was up to second. The final caution came with three laps remaining when Tim Gullo and Nickles got together in turn one. Shaffer tried to take the lead, but Mathews wasn’t having that. He held on and picked up his second win this year. “I’ll take a look at it now, but the smoke didn’t slow me down,” Mathews stated. Shaffer, Potrzebowski, Dave Decker and Johnathan Gunderman all posted top-five finishes. Josh Parker appears headed to defend his track championship.

In 4 Cylinder action, it was sweep time for Greg Moldt. Starting outside row one, he powered around Matt Jenkins and led the way in the 20-lap feature. Nick Robinson and Zack Jaynes ran together in second and third. On lap six Jaynes was able to get by Robinson for second. They ran together for most of the caution-free race, while Moldt added to his lead. Over the final five laps Jaynes put some distance between himself and Robinson but he lacked time to chase down the leader. Moldt held on for the win, this time over Jaynes, Robinson, Dustin Pruyne and Jenkins. The championship will go to either Robinson or Jaynes, who are separated by less than 10 points with one race remaining.

Michael Bast and Chase Sinsabaugh won the heats in the INEX Bandolero division. Sinsabaugh led the first lap, but the race went under yellow following a spin by Devin Gullo. On the restart, Bandit Sinsabaugh and Outlaw Kalysta DeMark took the green first, with Bast making it a three-way battle up front. DeMark was relentless and made her race-winning pass with three laps remaining. While Bast took second from Sinsabaugh, Chase scored the win for drivers in the Bandit division. The two race winners are headed for championship status, to be made official after the final point race on August 26th.

Racing resumes this Saturday, as the ROC takes over Chemung for a four-division show. Pit gates open at 3 PM, grandstand gate at 4:30, with racing anticipated to get underway around 6 PM. With this being the day of the Xfinity race at Watkins, and with some drivers planning to run Chemung after that race, the start time is approximate. General admission is $25 for adults, $23 for seniors (ages 65+) and Military, $12 for kids ages 6-11 and free for kids 5 and under.

For information, log on to the track’s website: chemung-speedrome.com, ‘like’ us on Facebook: Chemung Speedrome – Racing at the Drome, or call Ray Hodge, Promoter, at 607-483-3468. For information specific to the ROC, visit their website rocmodifiedseries.com.
Of note:
During opening ceremonies, fire vehicles from Waverly and Chemung were on track. A ladder truck from each Department jointly raised the American flag on the front stretch. They joined a pair of pace vehicles from Firehouse Subs, the night’s sponsor.
A longtime fan from Chemung went home with $350 from the 50/50.
Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 17th. Chemung is putting together an afternoon of racing, with details to be provided when finalized.
Firehouse Subs Night results:
Sunoco Modifieds (35 laps unofficial): JIMMY ZACHARIAS, Bryce Bailey, Peyton Arthofer, Abery Arthofer, Danielle Sharpsteen, Jody Buckley, Zack Curren, Gunnar Zeiner, Charlie Sharpsteen, Keith Youngs, Lee Sharpsteen
Heats: Curren, Zacharias

Insinger Performance Super Stocks (25 Laps): MIKE NICHOLS, Charlie Sharpsteen, Frank Chapman III, Jason Duke, Jr., Jason Duke, Sr., Tim Gullo, Chad Lane, Nick Robinson, Frank Chapman, Jr., DJ Shaw, Bradley Mister, Joey Bevacqua, Mark Taylor, Dennis Beardslee
Heats: Robinson, Sharpsteen

Marion Decker Agency Hobby Stocks (20 Laps): RANDY MATHEWS, Tom Shaffer, Terry Potrzebowski, Dave Decker, Johnathan Gunderman, Josh Parker, Kalysta DeMark, Gary Taylor, Tim Gullo, Mike Lattimer, Ethan Roberts, Cullen Sharpsteen, Luke Nickles, George Nichols, Jr., Chuck Nichols, Ben Perry (DNS)
Heats: Gullo, Potrzebowski

4 Cylinders (20 Laps): GREG MOLDT, Zack Jaynes, Nick Robinson, Dustin Pruyne, Matt Jenkins, Jason Peck, Ricky Lane
Heat: Moldt

Bandoleros (10 Laps): KALYSTA DEMARK (Outlaw), Michael Bast, Chase Sinsabaugh (Bandit), Joey Allowatt, Dallas Harbst, Devin Gullo, Derrick Vogler
Heats: Bast. Sinsabaugh

Photos by Clayton Vargeson: Jimmy Z gets win #5; Mike Nichols wins first of the year
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