Category Archives: ROC Race of Champions Series

RoC Pavement Series to open 2016 season at Mahoning Valley Speedway

(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 11-5-15) Mahoning Valley Speedway is proud to announce they will play host to the Race of Champions (RoC) Tour for their 2016 season opener which is set for Saturday, April 9.

Mahoning promoter Floyd Santee and RoC head Joe Skotnicki have recently come to terms to bring the popular pavement Modified Series to the ¼-mile oval in Lehighton for the first time in 10 years.

“It’s exciting. That term is over utilized but it is. Mahoning is a terrific track that provides great racing,” said Skotnicki.

“I think it’s a great step for asphalt Modified racing as well. We’re building on the legacy that Andrew (Harpell) created and we know what we’ve got to do and that’s expand and look at things in a different light and have races at places like Mahoning. Floyd and all of the Santee’s have done a terrific job promoting there and it’s great that we could bring things together to put an event on that has all of the elements to become a must see.”

The race will be contested over a 75-lap distance.

The last time the RoC raced at Mahoning Valley was October 21, 2006. Eric Beers took the 100 lap victory over Kory Rabenold and Billy Putney. 40 cars filled the pit area with 28 taking the green.

With this being the first race of the season for both Mahoning and the RoC, it is expected that those numbers will be attainable and then some as many teams will be anxious to get back onto the track after a long winter.

Mahoning Valley has a distinct reputation for constant side-by-side racing and with the RoC Tour coming in and mixing with the regulars, it has all the makings of what could be an instant classic.

“It’s multiple grooves with a lot of opportunities for racers to race, but it’s also very fast. 10-second laps, so the 75 laps will go by quickly, but I think fans will be entertained and on the edge of their seat throughout the event and in the end that’s the goal,” said Skotnicki.

“Personally, it’s great, I’ve enjoyed Mahoning since the very first time I stepped foot inside the place. It’s fun, it’s family oriented, it’s just a great place filled with Modified racing history and you can’t ask for much more than that.”

The RoC has strong roots at Mahoning Valley. Beers, Zane Zeiner and Tony and Matt Hirschman have all raced and won here and then went on to score in the crown jewel of pavement Modified racing, the Sunoco Race of Champions 200.

2015 Mahoning track champion Earl Paules and John Markovic are former winners on the RoC Tour. Austin Kochenash, who finished second this season to Paules, is the 2013 RoC Rookie of the Year. Mahoning Octoberfast 2015 winner Roger Coss raced this past season on the RoC Tour but has spent the past few years in Lehighton.

Bringing together the RoC touring stars to face off against the home team, it will be anyone’s guess as to who can win as asphalt Modifieds best of the best will go head-to-head on the circular bullring.

“I guess we really won’t know until the checkered flag falls on April 9, but I know the talent that will be in the field. There is no telling who can put it together and pull off a great run. It could be a veteran or it could be a guy who has never seen the place before and that’s the excitement of hosting a race like this,” said Skotnicki.

“You just don’t know and it’s a great way to start the year out, a true locals versus the touring series guys battle. It kicks off the run for the Race of Champions Series crown and who knows at the end, maybe it’s a Mahoning regular that comes out on top. Right now, we only know where it begins and it gives all of us something to look ahead and think about throughout the winter months.”

For 2015 RoC champion Matt Hirschman, it’s a race he has longed to have. While traveling countless miles over the past few seasons, this will be a homecoming of sorts as the Northampton resident is only 30 miles from the track.

“It’s going to bring in a lot of new people and it’s going to bring in a lot of people back that maybe haven’t been there in a while. It’s just huge for the whole area,” said Hirschman, who has 14 wins at Mahoning Valley including a record tying 11 in extra distance races with Beers.

“The RoC for the past few years has pretty much been a New York state only series. But now with the new management under Joe Skotnicki they are branching back out and it’s nice to see them coming to our area. To have a race close to home like this will be great to perform in front of our hometown fans plus have a touring race where you’re going to see a lot come in that you wouldn’t see the rest of the year,” he continued.

“I think for a long time Mahoning was like a hidden gem. A lot of people knew of it but know over the last few years, especially under Floyd (Santee) paying the higher purses for the bigger races he’s put on, Mahoning Valley is definitely on the map. Even if people haven’t been there, they’re going to be looking forward to coming to that race because they’ve heard a lot about the track. It’s going to be quite a race.”

Additional details will be released in the coming weeks.



Race returning to 250-lap distance



Elma, New York (October 30, 2015) – Race of Champions and Oswego Speedway officials are proud to announce that the 2016 Race of Champions Weekend will take place at the Oswego (NY) Speedway, Thursday, September 15 through Saturday, September 17. The culmination of the traditional weekend will see the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series compete for 250 laps around the “Steel Palace” on Saturday, September 17.

“Oswego Speedway is tremendous facility, rich with history, steep in tradition,” stated Joe Skotnicki, Race of Champions steward. “Racers from all over North America set their sights on racing at Oswego and only a select few have been able to visit victory lane. While Chemung did a great job with the race this past season, we feel that Oswego is the right place for an event of this magnitude and it is our goal to enhance and carry on the great tradition that is the Race of Champions.”

Matt Hirschman won the 2015 edition of the Race of Champions at Chemung, the third of his career. Chuck Hossfeld was victorious the last time the Race of Champions visited Oswego in 2014.

John Blewett III won the race the last time it was 250 laps at Flemington Fair Speedway in 1995.  After that the event moved to the famed Lake Ontario oval and became 200 laps in distance.

“Teams will be faced with a new challenge with the additional fifty laps,” explained Skotnicki. “However, we will still maintain the rules that have been in place in regard to the tire change. It will be in their hands to manage their equipment and put forth an effort worthy of winning the race. It should add a great deal of thinking to the strategy of the event. We think race fans will enjoy this aspect and it goes back to recognizing the history involved with the event. It’s going to be exciting.”

After a one year absence, the Race of Champions, returns to Oswego Speedway. The Race of Champions is the second longest continuous running motorsports event in North America, second only to the Indianapolis 500.

“We were sad to see it go (move to Chemung in 2015), but we made a commitment to the Race of Champions when Joe (Skotnicki) began speaking with us in regard the race returning to Oswego,” explained Oswego Speedway owner John Torrese. “We look forward to a long term relationship with the Race of Champions and we’re looking forward to a thrilling event in September that enhances our schedule.”

Thursday, September 15, will allot teams an open practice day, while Friday, September 16, will see a Race of Champions Sportsman Modified special along with highlighted weekly divisions. Saturday, September 17 will see the running of the 66th Annual Race of Champions. More information will be forthcoming and details will be made available in the coming months on the Race of Champions website.

For more information, contact:

Race of Champions Media at


Tim Packman returns to WNY to oversee day-to-day operations


LANCASTER, N.Y. (October 19, 2015) –Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway has made an organizational change to its management staff as it begins preparations for the 2016 racing season. Tim Packman, of Akron who has a long association with the track, will return to the area to oversee the day-to-day operations of the facility as Track President. Melissa McGowan will continue to be part of the speedway management team in a reduced role.

“I just fell in love with Lancaster when I was part of the team that promoted the 2014 U.S. Open,” McGowan said. “It was my goal to continue to rebuild and restore the tradition of such a great racing facility. We were able to accomplish some of that in just a few months, and created some great momentum for next year. I feel confident leaving that mission in Tim’s hands.”

Packman returns to the area after 15 years of living in Mooresville, N.C. working in NASCAR. He previously worked at Lancaster as a track announcer and served as the President of Stock Car Operations for the premier WNY racing facility during the 2012 season.

He is a 10-time award-winning writer and author who has worked in Communications and Team Management for the past decade. His time spent at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) enabled him to learn the running of a racing business, while also learning more
about promotions and advertising. His most current position was with RCR as its Director of Corporate Communications.

“Returning to Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway is a dream come true in many ways,” Packman said. “During my entire time in N.C. traveling the NASCAR circuit, I always kept an eye on what was taking place at the track.”

“What the ownership group, Melissa and the entire Dragway and Speedway staff have done this past year was incredible. People in WNY and surrounding areas want to see and be part of short track racing. The proof was in the increased car counts and fans in the stands. It is
our responsibility to give them a safe, clean and fun place to enjoy what we all love – racing.”

“The biggest goal ahead of us for 2016 is to build upon the achievements of 2015. The track cannot go backwards – ever again. Too many people put too much into it through the years, it is my intention to give racers and fans alike a place to enjoy our sport for many, many years.”

Both the stock car and drag racing programs will not see any major changes in their respective leadership for 2016. John Nelson will return as the Program Director for the stock cars, while Sharon Hughes will remain the IHRA drag racing Program Director.

LNS1019-2The 2016 season will begin at Lancaster the weekend of April 16 & 17 with a special doubleheader. Saturday, April 16 will be the lid lifter for the drag racing season with a Box/No-Box shootout. Stock car racing emerges from its hibernation on Sunday, April 17 with a 75-lap event for the Race of Champions Modified Tour.

Founded in 1959, Lancaster National Speedway is a multi-use facility located on 77 acres just outside of metropolitan Buffalo, N.Y. The facility features a 1/8-mile drag strip, a 5/8-mile oval track and hosts several non-motorsports events such as car shows and concerts. For the latest information on Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway check out our website Additional information for racers and fans can be found on our Facebook page ( and on Twitter (@LancasterSpdwy).