Photo ROC FB
Northeast, PA (September 27, 2020): Under a bright, blue, beautiful sky, the pristine Lake Erie Speedway capped off its 2020 season with a 250-lap grind for 31 fire-breathing, ground-pounding asphalt modified race-cars, descended from the original moonshine-hauling chariots that legend says began stock car racing in the 1940s, depicted by Hollywood in “The Last American Hero”, from Tom Wolfe’s classic essay. The race, the 70th annual “Race of Champions”, headlined the four-event program. Joining the Modifieds were the TQ Midgets, racing in the Harry Macy Classic, the Street Stocks in the 37-lap “Butch Palmer Classic” and the Asphalt 4-Cylinder cars in their feature for the Fred Rounds Cup. Rounds was a two time Mini Stock Champion at Lancaster Speedway who was paralyzed from the waist down due to a highway accident. Rounds used all hand controls on his car and dominated his class in the early 1970s. Later he owned Les Hare’s championship Modifieds.
The first event of the afternoon was the 29-lap Harry Macy Classic. Macy ran the Indoor racing programs at Niagara Falls and was respected by all competitors. He is fondly remembered by all who knew him and competed in his promotions. He had been involved in the NASCAR midget programs of the 50s and 60s and owned TQ Midgets, including entires for Stewart Friesen and Jared Turnbull.
Lockport, NY’s Bobby Holmes, the winner of the second heat, led the Harry Macy Classic from the drop of the green flag with Tyler Wagner in hot pursuit. Caution flew at lap seven when Tim Ruggerio spun on the main straight. Andrew Nye wound up second in the event with Tyler Wagner, Ronnie Flaim, and Kyle Hutchinson filling out the top five. Flaim and Holmes won the heats.
The Asphalt 4-cylinder cars started their $532.70 to win feature with 31 entries performing the four wide pace lap, then racing for the Fred Rounds Cup. David Milbrand and D J Shaw were on the front row for the start with Milbrand leading Shaw over the first lap. Fourth-starting Jason Anasiewicz came to second at lap two. Milbrand was the leader at lap four over Anasiewicz, Shaw, Charles Palmer, and Corey Copeland. Copeland was third at seven laps with Anasiewicz challenging Milbrand for the lead at eight laps. The leaders began lapping the backmarkers at lap nine. Yellow flew at lap twelve for a bumper cover on the racing surface on the front straight. At this point it was Milbrand leading Shaw, Copeland, and Palmer. Lap fifteen saw a tight race for the lead as Milbrand and Shaw were side by side at the line. At sixteen Anasiewicz went by both, taking the lead just prior to the halfway point. Yellow flew at the halfway point as a racer was stopped in turn four with the top of the order now Anasiewicz, Milbrand, Copeland, Bob Palmer, and Charles Palmer. Bob Palmer was third at lap twenty, Briar Dils fifth at lap 21, with Bob Palmer taking second at lap 22. Yellow was again over the speedway at lap 23 for a car spun in turn two. Copeland went to the lead at the green with Anasiewicz challenging for the spot at lap 27, gaining it at lap 28. Another caution period slowed the event at lap thirty when two cars spun at turn two. The rest of the event was without incident. The order at the finish was Anasiewicz, Dils, Copeland, Nicholas Robinson, and Milbrand.
The Street Stocks started their Butch Palmer Classic, $532 to win feature with Tim Welshans leading Brian Hoffman, and Rich Sharpe through lap one with a yellow coming out at lap two when Frank Prell spun in turn four. Another yellow came a lap later when Chris Powers spun from fifth in turn one. Sharpe then started extending his lead over Tim Welshans, Brian Hoffman, Ken Maltby, and Nik Welshans to approximately six car-lengths by lap seven. Scott Chaplin spun his car at turn one on lap ten but kept going, preventing another caution period. When the checkers fell for the Butch Palmer Classic it was Sharpe taking the win over Hoffman, Tim Welshans, Nik Welshans, and Powers.
The 250-lap, $12,000 to win Race of Champions had 31 starters boasting over 25,000 aggregate horsepower that all came to life, in a blinding display of short-track speed. Kirk Totten and Patrick Emerling were side by side for the lead over lap one with Matt Hirshman and Tommy Catalano also side by side, battling for third. Totten was the leader at lap two but Catalano took over at lap six. Yellow was shown at twelve laps for a spin in turns three and four. The top five were now Catalano, Emerling, Hirschman, John McKennedy, and Totten. McKennedy was up to second at lap 23 with Hirschman now third, Emerling fourth, and Austin Beers fifth. Caution again appeared at lap 24 with some competitors pitting early in the event. McKennedy was the leader at lap 31 but Catalano was back in front at lap 32. At 34 laps yellow appeared for an accident on the back straight involving third starting Hirshman, second starting Emerling, and 26th starting Jody Buckley.
Green was again over the speedway at lap 46 after the lengthy cleanup with Tommy Catalano and Austin Beers side by side for the lead while McKennedy and Carroll were side by side racing for third. At lap fifty it was Tommy Catalano leading Beers, Carroll, Totten, and Knoll. At 56 laps yellow flew again when Skora banged the turn three and four wall. He pitted with the right front suffering heavy damage. Emerling pitted at this time as well. After green the battles continued with 27 cars left running after 75 laps. Knoll and Carroll were in a heated battle for fifth at 76 laps with the leaders again catching the rear of the field at 82 laps as Catalano was stretching his lead to half a straight at 85 laps. Yellow erased his advantage at 96 laps when Daryl Lewis Jr slapped the turn two wall. He was able to refire the engine and leave the scene under his own power. The order at 100 laps under yellow was Catalano, Beers, Totten, Knoll, and Carroll.
On this green Knoll scraped the front straight wall but it did not slow his progress. Totten got up to second at lap 106. Third starting Matt Hirschman was at the front of the pack at lap 117. One lap before halfway yellow was out for Totten, spinning from fourth on the backstretch.
A “competition yellow” was thrown at lap 132. Under the yellow, debris on turn three was discovered and removed. Green flag racing was resumed at lap 134 with the top five Hirschman, Emerling, Tommy Catalano, McKennedy, and Carroll. McKennedy came to third at 135. At 138 Tyler Catalano came to a halt trying to enter the pits and yellow was again necessary. At 141 most of the leaders pitted under yellow. After pit stops the leaders were Hirschman, Jankowiak, Timmy Catalano, Carroll, and Potrzebowski. Carroll was was second at 150 with Owen Bednasz third, then Emerling and Jankowiak. Ebersole replaced Jankowiak for fifth at lap 151 with Emerling third at 155. The next yellow appeared at 159 for two cars spun in turns one and two. Most of the leaders pitted at 163, including Emerling, atom the Catalano, Hirschman, Carroll, and Knoll. Action for some of the top spots was again heavy laps 169-170 with Ebersole and Carroll side by side for second and the Beers and Carroll for third.
Yet another yellow slowed the action at At 184 for a backstretch spin by Jack Ely. Several cars again took advantage of the opportunity to pit and make more adjustments. Nearing the 200 lap mark Beers and McKennedy we’re battling side by side for the lead, with neither having a clear advantage with fifty laps remaining. At 201 Austin Kochenash spun, eventually involving Potrzebowski, Ely, and Jimmy Zacharias. Kochenash continued but the other three stopped. For the green it was Tommy Catalano leading Knoll, Emerling, Hirschman, and Totten. At 227 Potrzebowski spun while entering the pit. At this point yellow flag laps were no longer being scored. With ten laps left it was Hirschman now leading Emerling, Beers, Tommy Catalano, and Kochenash. Kochenash and Beers were even at laps 242 through 245 when Bednasz spun for the final caution in turn in turn four and another racer came to a stop on the front straight. The finish was Hirschman, Emerling, Beers, Kochenash, and McKennedy. 22 of the original 31 starters were still running at the end of the event.
Asphalt Small Block Modifieds-70th Annual Race of Champions 250-laps
Fastest qualifier was Kirk Totten with a lap time of 14.922 seconds.
Heat 1: Calvin Carroll, Chris Finocchario, George Skora III, Timmy Catalano, Tommy Rought, Jody Buckley, Kyle Ebersole
Heat 2: Daryl Lewis Jr, Austin Kochenash, Mike Leaty, Jimmy Zacharias, Jack Ely, Andy Jankowiak, Tyler Catalano
Heat 3: Scott Wylie, Jeremy Haudricourt, Daren Scherer, Ricky Knapp Jr, (rest unavailable)
Heat 4: Danny Knoll Jr, T J Potrzebowski, Owen Bednasz, Dan Majchrzak, Amy Catalano, Jeff Szafreniec, Randall Richard
Feature: Matt Hirschman, Patrick Emerling, Austin Beers, Austin Kochenash, John McKennedy, Tommy Catalano, Calvin Carroll, Chris Finocchario, Andy Jankowiak, Timmy Catalano, Darren Scherer, Kyle Ebersole, Danny Knoll Jr, Jack Ely, Jeremy Haudricourt, Jimmy Zacharias, Scott Wylie, Kirk Totten, Tommy Rought, Ricky Knapp Jr, Jeff Szafreniec, Dan Majchrzak, Mike Leaty, Owen Bednasz, T J Potrzebowski, Daryl Lewis Jr, Tyler Catalano, Amy Catalano, George Skora III, Jody Buckley, Randall Richard
T Q Midgets 29 laps Harry Macy Classic
Heat 1: Ronnie Flaim, Tyler Wagner, D J Sassong, Brandon Savarella, Cameron Ruggerio, Kevin Wilson
Heat 2: Bobby Holmes, Andrew Nye, Kyle Hutchison, Patrick Smith, Tim Ruggerio, Chester Haywood
Feature: Bobby Holmes, Andrew Nye, Tyler Wagner, Ronnie Flaim, Kyle Hutchinson, Brandon Zavarella, Cameron Ruggerio, Patrick Smith, Tim Ruggerio, Kevin Wilson, D J Sossong, Chester Haywood
Street Stocks 37 lap Butch Palmer Classic
Heat 1: Tim Welshans, Chris Powers, Justin Myers,Chase Williams, Edward Culliton, Tom Wentland, Kory Rider, Jim Dauer
Heat 2: Ken Maltby, Timothy Garlock, Max Northerm, Frank Prell, Lou Carbone, Kenny Hejna, Russ Bulger Jr, Wesley LaBar
Heat 3: Rich Sharp, Brian Hoffman, Nik Welshans, Bob Palmer, Scott Chaplin, Kyle Schosek, Martin Hughes
Feature: Rich Sharpe, Brian Hoffman, Tim Welshans, Nik Welshans, Chris Powers, Justin Myers, Ken Maltby, Timothy Garlock, Chase Williams, Max Northerm, Jim Dauer, Kenny Hejna, Frank Prell, Tom Wentland, Russ Bulger Jr, Edward Culliton, Kyle Schosek, Lou Carbone, Kory Rider, Martin Hughes, Scott Chaplin, Bob Palmer, Wesley LaBar
Asphalt 4-Cylinders 35 laps $532 to win
Heat 1: Bryce Bailey, Nick Galusha, Travis Murphy, Dan Dressel, Christopher Deyoe Jr, Dave Rieber, Joe Pettinelli, Jonathan Klamut, Darren Piechowicz
Heat 2: Charles Palmer, Joey Bevacqua, John Byrd, Jeff Szafreniec, Megan Schoelles, Andrew Cook, Chuck Rush
Heat 3: Briar Dils, David Brunka, Nicholas Robinson, David Hermès, Michael Piccirilli, Paul Flye, Allison Montgomery, Kyle Casper, Casey Pew, Allen Jablonski, Mason Offhaus
Heat 4: David Milbrand, Jason Anasiewicz, Corey Copeland, Bob Palmer, Kenny Hejna, Andy Danielwicz, Donald Byrd, Tyler Harbst, Evan Reardon
Heat 5: Bobby Woch, D J Shaw, Justin Vallone, Benjamin Russo, Matt Hornquist, Tyler Pastorius, Russ Bulger Jr, Jay Withy, Amanda Orr, Mike Ferris
B Feature 1: Andy Danielwicz, Dave Rieber, Paul Flye, Allison Montgomery, Kyle Casper, Casey Pew, Andrew Cook, Tyler Pastorius, Allen Jablonski, Tyler Harbst, Mason Offhaus, Jonathan Klamut, Darren Piechowicz, Jay Withey, Chuck Rush, Donald Byrd, Matt Hornquist, Amanda Orr, Joe Pettinelli, Evan Reardon, Benjamin Russo
Feature: Jason Anasiewicz, Briar Dils, Corey Copeland, Nicholas Robinson, David Milbrand, Bryce Bailey, Bob Palmer, Kenny Hejna, Joey Bevacqua, Bobby Woch, Dan Dressel, D J Shaw, Benjamin Russo, Andy Danielwicz, Justin Vallone, Travis Murphy, Jeff Szafreniec, Michael Piccirilli, Paul Flye, David Brunka, Kyle Casper, Casey Pew, Allison Montgomery, Mega Schoelles, John Byrd, Andrew Cook, Nick Galusha, Matt Hornquist, David Hermes, Dave Rieber, Christopher Deyoe Jr, Charles Palmer