BY CAROL HOUSSOCK
(Chemung, NY) Chemung wrapped up the first of its championships on Friday night when Tony Hanbury claimed the Buckley’s Automotive B-Mod Challenge. Winner of three of the four races, Hanbury sealed the deal with his win in the 30-lap feature. Race runner-up, TJ Potrzebowski, ended the series as the runner-up as well, finishing 27 points behind Hanbury. Other winners on Jimmy Joe’s BBQ Night included Garrett Zacharias (Insinger Performance Super Stocks), Greg Moldt (4 Cylinders), Dave Decker (Marion Decker Agency Hobby Stocks), and Michael Bast (INEX Bandoleros). All five divisions will be in competition this Friday night as the Speedrome salutes kits. Chemung will also crown a champion in the four-race ServiceMaster of the Tri Counties Super Stock Challenge Series.
Jody Buckley paced the field for the final race in the Buckley’s Automotive B-Mod Challenge series. The four-race mini-series paid more money to the drivers and crowned its own champion. Just one driver celebrated after 30 laps, as Tony Hanbury got the win and the title.
TJ Potrzebowski had the early lead over Hanbury. When the Sharpsteen brothers, Lee and Charlie, got together it brought out the first of just two caution periods. On the restart Potrzebowski had the edge over Hanbury as they came off turn two. Hanbury led lap seven and it went back to Potrzebowski on lap eight.
Keith Youngs slowed to a stop in turn two and the caution waved again with nine laps complete. This time Potrzebowski led for two laps before losing the lead for good to Hanbury on lap 14. Over the remaining 16 laps the pair pulled away from Gunnar Zeiner, who had worked his way up to third.
Hanbury then doubly celebrated. “It was nice of Jody to do this for us, and it was good racing with TJ,” Hanbury said from the Midstate Basement Authorities victory lane. That company, along with Jimmy Joe’s BBQ, are sponsors on Hanbury’s #42. “I’ve been struggling with the handling the last couple weeks,” he added. The struggle didn’t seem real on Friday night as he also won his heat. Potrzebowski finished the race in second.
When you have 25 laps to work with and a fast race car, you can take an early penalty and recover. That was the case for Garrett Zacharias in the Insinger Performance Super Stock feature. Three laps in, JP Harbst spun and both he and Zacharias restarted at the rear. The front row for that restart had Nick Robinson and Lee Sharpsteen side by side. Trouble developed in turn four and Tim Gullo, Robinson, Zacharias and Brian DeMark were all involved and restarted at the back, some after pitting. This time it was Sharpsteen and Cameron Nichols on the front row. Sharpsteen led Nichols, but Zacharias was working his way back toward the front and had third five laps after the restart.
With ten laps remaining Zacharias had passed Nichols and was right there with Sharpsteen. Zacharias took the lead on lap 23, just before the third and final caution. It took two attempts to get it right, but when racing resumed it was the 71z of Zacharias that held the top spot for the green, the white, and the checkered. “We got our homework done,” Zacharias said from victory lane. “We raced from the back, that was a hard charge.” Gullo, who entered the night leading Zacharias by four points in the championship chase, finished second. Nichols, Robinson, and Charlie Sharpsteen rounded out the top five when Lee Sharpsteen was disqualified after an issue in post-race tech.
Joey Bevacqua, driving his back-up car, and Greg Moldt won the heats in 4 Cylinder action. As the field was lining up, former track champion Monica Robinson slowed to a stop near her pit when her car broke. Teammate Zack Jaynes pulled in and a driver switch took place. Robinson, second in points and just six behind Moldt at the beginning of the night, exited her car and climbed in the qualified #15 car. Bevacqua led the first two laps in the 20-lap feature, but he lost that lead when Moldt passed him. The only caution came with seven laps complete. Dustin Pruyne slowed and came to a stop in turn two. He returned to the race after service from his crew. Moldt outran Bevacqua on the restart, and the pair pulled away from Matt Jenkins and Pruyne. At the checkered it was Moldt with the win, this time over Bevacqua, Pruyne, Jenkins and Robinson.
Fans gave Dave Decker a nice reaction when he climbed from his #11 car after winning for the first time in the Marion Decker Agency Hobby Stock division. He had come close on numerous occasions this year but had been unable to keep the lead through lap 20. That all changed Friday night. “It’s been a long time coming,” were his first words from victory lane. Decker had the pole for the feature and led over Luke Nickels and heat winner Chuck Nichols early on. A caution just shy of the halfway point tested the Beaver Dams driver but he was on his game. Multi-time winner Josh Parker, who struggled in qualifying, came on strong over the final laps, but this one belonged to Decker. “It took a while to figure out the car and at one point I felt a tap, but I didn’t lift,” he said. Parker finished second.
“My day isn’t going well. The chain keeps coming off,” Michael Bast told the crowd during driver introductions for the INEX Bandolero feature. Ten laps later Bast had his day end very well when he picked up his first overall feature win as a younger driver in the Bandit division. This one appeared it would be a battle between Outlaw division racers and heat winners Kalysta DeMark and Derrick Vogler. She led early but on lap five Vogler took over. With two laps to go Vogler spun in turn two and set up a green/white/checkered finish. DeMark and Bast made up row one and Bast powered around her and led the way. He held on for a career-first outright win. He then went home with chain intact and trophy in hand. “This is great, and I want to thank my family and sponsors,” he said from victory lane.
This week Chemung focuses on kids who follow the sport with Kids Appreciation Night, sponsored by Just in Tyme Roofing & Gutters in Elmira Heights. During intermission kids will get rides around the track in the race cars, something that has not taken place at the Speedrome in many years. The Insinger Super Stocks will be running the final of four races in the Service Master of the Tri Counties SS Challenge and a champion will be crowned. Joining them on the race card are the Sunoco Modifieds, 4 Cylinders, Marion Decker Hobby Stocks and INEX Bandoleros. Gates open at 5, practice gets underway at 6 and racing begins at 7 PM. Admission is $13 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for kids ages 5 to 11, and free for kids under age 5.
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.
The track donated $1 per admission ticket sold to a fundraiser being on Saturday by Sam’s Bar & Grill in Sayre, PA. Young Jamison Root served as Grand Marshall Friday night. He lost his mother a few years ago, and more recently his father was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident. Jamison gave the command to fire up the Bandoleros after thanking the crowd for their help. Jeff Lantz, owner of the restaurant, said he and his staff are committed to ensuring that by age 18 Jamison will be on his way to a good life. The Quincy’s Cause Ride for Jamison, BBQ and auctions are part of the 2021 Sam’s Summer of Giving.
The 50/50 winner’s share was $320, won by a very happy young couple from Waverly.
Jimmy Joe’s BBQ Night Results:
Sunoco Modifieds (Buckley’s Automotive B-Mod Challenge, Race #4, 30 Laps): TONY HANBURY, TJ Potrzebowski, Gunnar Zeiner, Charlie Sharpsteen, Zack Curren, Keith Youngs, Lee Sharpsteen
Buckley’s Automotive B-Mod Challenge Series Champion: Tony Hanbury
Insinger Performance Super Stocks (25 Laps): GARRETT ZACHARIAS, Tim Gullo, Cameron Nichols, Nick Robinson, Charlie Sharpsteen, DJ Shaw, Brian DeMark, Jason Duke, Jr., JP Harbst, Aaron Cornell, Dennis Beardslee, Chad Lane, Cody Frantz, Mark Taylor, Lee Sharpsteen (DQ)
Heats: Gullo, Sharpsteen
4 Cylinders (20 Laps): GREG MOLDT, Joey Bevacqua, Dustin Pruyne, Matt Jenkins, Monica Robinson, Ricky Lane, Jason Peck, Zack Jaynes (DNS), Tom Shaffer (DNS)
Heats: Bevacqua, Moldt
Marion Decker Agency Hobby Stocks (20 Laps): DAVE DECKER, Josh Parker, Luke Nickels, Tyler Harbst, Randy Mathews, Doug Deekay, Chuck Nichols, Rick Sinsabaugh
INEX Bandoleros (10 Laps): MICHAEL BAST, Kalysta DeMark, Cullen Sharpsteen, Derrick Vogler, Chase Sinsabaugh, Devin Gullo, Joey Allowatt, Alex Tuttle
Heats: Vogler, DeMark