BODINE A NATURAL FIT FOR CHEMUNG SPEEDROME EVENT.
BINGHAMTON, NY…Two-time Sunoco Race of Champions winner Geoff Bodine will be returning to the place he grew up as the Grand Marshall of the 65th Sunoco Race of Champions 200 this Sunday, October 4th. For the first time the Chemung Speedrome will host the storied event, a race track originally built by the Bodine family and later re-built and opened by Bob Stapleton.
Bodine, a two time winner of the Sunoco Race of Champions will be returning to his roots for the 65th edition of the RoC. His victories in the 1972 RoC at Trenton Speedway and the 1978 edition at Pocono solidified his standing as one of the greatest open wheel Modified drivers of all time. His victory in the 1986 Daytona 500 came as no surprise to the northern race fans that saw him in action behind the wheel. Bodine also had three International Race of Champions victories which pitted the best names in the world auto racing scene during the 1980’s and 1990’s.
“I’m looking forward to returning home for the RoC weekend,” said Bodine. He added, “It will be great to be part of the first ever RoC 200 being hosted at Chemung.” Race of Champions Director Andrew Harpell commented, “Geoff has provided our race fans with some amazing drives during his career and we are thrilled to have him returning for the weekend.” He added, “This clearly has special meaning to him and his family with their connection and contributions to Modified racing.”
In July Race of Champions Director Andrew Harpell announced the change of venue from the long time host Oswego Speedway to the Chemung Speedrome. After 20 plus years Harpell will conclude his involvement with the event this October as western, New York auto racing industry leader Joe Skotnicki has purchased the rights to the event. The sale will become official in January. Harpell commented on the venue change, “We wanted to bring the event to the loyal fans of the southern tier region of New York and the Chemung Speedrome was a great fit. We cannot wait to put on the 65th RoC this Sunday.” He added, “So many great teams and fans have come out of our region to support the race over the years. This is my personal way of saying thanks by hosting the event in this area.
The Sunoco Race of Champions Weekend will take place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Chemung Speedrome in Chemung, New York. On Friday there will be no racing activities but there will be a Chicken BBQ presented by Phil’s Chicken House famous BBQ. Driver registration and pre-event ticket sales will continue on Friday at the Chemung Speedrome offices.
On Saturday the Race of Champions Sportsman 125 lap feature event will take center stage highlighting many of the weekly Chemung stars in competition. Teams from all over the northeast will be on hand for that event. The biggest INEX Legends Car event in the northeast will also be on the Saturday evening card. Their 30 lap event will see one of the richest purse payouts in the entire northeast for the teams in competition. Chris Zacharias has posted bonus money for the “Shirley Shootout” B-Main event that will see every non-qualifying Legend Car driver receiving some cash for their attempt to make the show. Teams from six different states have shown interest in the Legend Showdown at the Drome presented by PA Notary Services.
Also on Saturday the Bandolero division will be in competition along with a Four Cylinder Open. Area businessman Jerry Sinsabugh has raised over $700 in bonus money and gift certificates for all of the young competitor’s in the Bandolero division. This will be an outstanding event for both of those classes as well. Racing on Saturday will get underway at 6 p.m.
On Sunday the Chemung Speedrome will become the focus of all eyes in northeast auto racing as the 65th running of the Sunoco Race of Champions Modified 200 will take center stage. The 200 lap event will pay a minimum of $10,000 to win with a driver able to walk away with well over $15,000 with additional posted bonus lap money. The Race of Champions is the second longest consecutively run auto racing event in the United States. Second only to the Indy 500. The Super Stocks and Front Wheel Drive Four Cylinders will be part of the Sunday action with racing set to begin at 2:15 p.m.
The Race of Champions offices can be contacted at 607-775-5555 or by emailing the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets can be purchased by phoning the speedway offices and using your major credit card. A full weekend schedule and pricing can be found at www.raceofchampionsweekend.com. Kids 5 and younger will be admitted FREE of charge both days!
Andy Jankowiak has joined the Myracenews team and will be sharing his travels with our readers. This is his first installment which he originally posted on Facebook. Enjoy following Andy around the country racing his modified, SST modified and his TQ. Welcome aboard Andy.
A long time ago, way back in 2007 I was a hot shot teenage street stock competitor. I enjoyed some success in my sport of choice in my teenage years so I’m sure you can imagine that I could sometimes be a little full of myself. (I know, its hard to imagine me being cocky right?) So one day I’m hanging around the shop over at Trey’s and I’m fresh off of a couple of wins. I’m walking tall. My buddy Alvin was always quick to take me down a peg (still is). He tells me “You think your good? You know Karl won 13 features in one year once.” The challenge was accepted. By years end I had fallen just short. I had 12. Season over. Done. Then I see a poster while vacationing at the North South Shootout. “Turkey Derby”. They had a factory stock division. I fell in love with the idea. This was the first time in my racing career that supporters and friends asked me a now commonly asked question. “Why?” “Why are you going to that race?” At that time my answer was simple. A stubborn persistence to Trey’s challenge. We ended up going. We won the event. The friendships that were established and strengthened in that weekend are some that I value greatly today. (Jersey loves me!) Jake called it the smartest dumb decision we ever made. I spent a grand to win 150 but I get to look at that golden turkey standing atop a marble platform every time I look at my trophy case. I carry that enthusiasm with me to every race. When the nights in the shop seem to go on forever and I want to go home and sleep I have one thought that doesn’t let me quit. “Maybe I’ll win” “What if I skip this one and we were going to win” The guys on my team that are standing next to me at 5 am, covered in grease have the same song in their heart. “Lets get a win tomorrow”. We aren’t always so fortunate, racing is tough and it only gets tougher the father we go. Its impossible to think about going to Bowman Gray, Seekonk, Oswego or Hickory and say we’re going to go and win a race. That’s to lofty for anyone to say. We always believe that we can though. I know I do. Still….when I crossed that finish line at Hickory Motor Speedway to finish out last weekend I’m still not sure I believed it. Its taken this long for me to process what we did that weekend and it still hasn’t completely sunken in. I knew we could do. If I didn’t think we could I wouldn’t have been there. Its all a bit overwhelming I suppose.
A Modified win at Oswego and a win at Hickory Motor Speedway. I may have been able to call it a career on either accomplishment and been satisfied. For a heart that beats for racing you cannot possibly ask for anything more. They say you remember the first wins the best. I can recall my first win in the Hangover 100 in 2004, I can go lap for lap when I won my first street stock race in the 2006 US Open. All I can remember from the Oswego race was trying not to puke on the last lap because I was so nervous. “Just don’t spin out, we have a good lead. All you can do to screw up now is spin out.” This was my logic the last 2 laps. I mean…it worked lol. Oswego was just the perfect race for us. We had a pit stop plan and the race played perfectly into our strategy. The car could not have handled any better and we capitalized. It was just perfect.
Hickory? Not as perfect. We played a similar strategy but I just over adjusted the car on the pit stop. To tight! Ugh. I wasn’t sure where we would fall but I could tell we still had a fast car. I knew some of the guys would back up to us on a long run and all of them pretty much did, except one. We got to second once it was go time but our run stalled out there behind the 95. I adjusted my line but the best I could do was keep pace. Then it happened. Coming to five to go the leader was caught in the left front tire by a lap car. Both cars diverted in different directions and gathered themselves. We pulled a “Moses” and “parted the seas” between them and split though the middle. The yellow lights didn’t come on so I knew that the 95 must have gathered himself. Richie Evans assured me on the radio that he had and that this race wasn’t over. I ran my favorite Perry Speedway line for the last 5 laps, right in the middle. It was enough.
Wow. We just won Hickory. I’m living it as I’m typing it.
Lost to some extent in the excitement was our stellar weekend this past weekend at Waterford! It felt like we had just gotten home from Hickory and we were off to Connecticut before I could type out a long boring racing story! I guess this ones a two-for. We got to Waterford on Saturday and we were fast quick. This can be problematic for two chassis gurus like me and Rick Kluth. Being fast early means we have lots of time to use our awesome chassis knowledge to make it better! In a collective team effort we worked hard and made some big changes. When it was all said and done we successfully lost a half a second and made the car basically UN-driveable. A fantastically terrible pill draw by Steve Mendoza on top of this landed us in the back of a heat, and then a consi. Wisdom finally prevailed for the B-main when we decided to try the Saturday setup again. That was a swell plan. We won our way into the race and got a 6th place finish with a tight race car! I feel like we missed a bit of an opportunity. If we had more practice tuning time and i called for a better adjustment on the stop i think we could have been so much better. We had it up to second but we were just pushing the right front to hard and faded. Still a great effort against a great field! We were happy to take it after a long day.
My favorite part of this stretch run since my last post still may be watching my Leximarie Lily running her first racing laps in me and Jody London’s go kart. I was so very proud of her. She did a good job. Made some passes high and low, clubbed into a few things and got better as the day went.
I was asked in an interview the other day if I’m frustrated about not having a big sponsor. While a big sponsor might make life easier if it ever where to happen, I honestly in my heart could not possibly ask for anything more then what I have in my racing life. To do what were doing and to have the people behind me, I’m the luckiest guy in racing. I wouldn’t trade what I have right now for anything. I owe that to all of you who make this possible for me to do all this. If I had a million years on this earth I don’t think I could ever repay all the favors that got me to that finish line at Hickory. I’m just grateful.
Next time you ask me why I’m going to that race that doesn’t make any sense, I will probably give my rough justification that I made up that week. Deep down though, this is why we do it. I couldn’t be any happier.