Story By: CAROL HOUSSOCK / CHEMUNG SPEEDROME – CHEMUNG, NY – Chemung Speedrome’s season opener, though two months late, was everything a track would hope for – a great turnout of race teams and fans, competitive racing, and beautiful weather.
This kicked off the second year under the promotional team of Ray and Ellen Hodge. Everyone was greeted by signs regarding the use of masks, frequent hand washing and remaining socially distant from each other.
Winners parking alone in the Midstate Basement Authorities Victory Lane included Zack Curren (Insinger Sunoco B Modifieds), Nick Robinson (New York Super Stocks), DJ Shaw (4 Cylinders), Mark Taylor (Marion Decker Hobby Stocks), along with Chase Sinsabaugh (Bandit) and Kalysha DeMark (Coaches Pizza INEX Bandoleros). Racing this week will be on Saturday at 5 PM.
Defending track champion, Zack Curren, earned a sweep on opening night by winning both his heat race and the 30-lap Insinger Sunoco B Modified feature. Luck of the draw put Tony Hanbury on the pole, with Curren alongside for the start. Curren’s spot-on start on the high side propelled him to the lead. The first of four cautions came when Travis Spalding spun with nine laps complete. This time the front row was in reverse order, but the outcome remained the same. Curren led over Hanbury, Charlie Sharpsteen, heat winner Gene Sharpsteen and Scott Wylie. When the race resumed Wylie moved forward but then dropped out with a mechanical problem. Andy Lewis’ spin, followed by one by Lee Sharpsteen, slowed the action for a bit and brough Daryl Lewis, Jr. up to fourth with TJ Potrzebowski fifth. The last caution came when Dave Kozlowski spun and that set up the last chance for anyone to top Curren. No one could on this night, and he celebrated his win over Hanbury, C. Sharpsteen, G. Sharpsteen and Potrzebowski. A valve spring problem resulted in a DQ for D. Lewis, who had finished 3rd.
The New York Super Stocks proved eager to race with 35 cars signed in. The 26-car field was determined by five heats, won by jimmy Steffenhagen, Andy Cryan, Tim Gullo, Cameron Nichols and Garrett Zacharias, along with a B-main won by Mike Hyman. Jacob Gustafson led early, leaving some great side-by-side racing behind him. The field ran 21 laps before the first caution came out. The restart had Nick Robinson and Tim Gullo within striking distance. Neither of them, nor a hard-charging Steffenhagen had to strike in this one, as Gustafson spun in front of the field in turn two, collecting Zacharias. During the clean-up the track’s generator, which runs the Musco lighting system around the track, had two malfunctions. Already well over curfew, officials had no choice but to end the race with lap 23 on the scoreboard. The win went to Robinson, with Steffenhagen, Gullo, Cryan and Dylan Bancroft finishing in the top five.
Rumor had it that the 4 Cylinder division would be strong and competitive this year. That’s one rumor which proved to be fact with 19 cars on hand. Monica Green, Ryan Hurlbut and Dante Mancuso won the three heats to set the field for the scheduled 20-lap feature. This was one night, however, when the yellow flag flew so often that the race was eventually put on a 10-minute time limit. When they reached the 10th minute on lap 12 they were given the two-to-go indication and this one ended on lap 16. Rookie Ryan Hurlbut drew the pole and led early with DJ Shaw close behind him. Shaw took the lead on lap five and the pair restarted beside each other each time the caution slowed the field. With spins and cars stopped on the track to bring out cautions, this one was one not to be repeated except for the battle for the win. Shaw held on and got that win over Hurlbut, with Ricky Lane, Nick Galusha and Mancuso rounding out the top five.
The inaugural appearance of the Marion Decker Insurance Hobby Stocks drew three cars and the broom went to Mark Taylor for his sweep of both the heat race and 10-lap feature. Displaying great parity between them, he and Chuck Nichols stayed within two car lengths of each other for the duration. The only caution came when car #17 leaked fluid on the track. Taylor led all 10 laps for his first feature win.
The Coaches Pizza INEX Bandoleros ran a 10-lap feature only, led early by newcomer Kalysha DeMark. The only caution, for contact involving Derrick Vogler and Chase Sinsabaugh, ended Vogler’s night when his front bumper came off and couldn’t be reattached per INEX rules. DeMark resumed in the top spot until Sinsabaugh found momentum on the high side to take the lead. The defending Bandit champion held for the overall win, followed by DeMark with the Outlaw win. Devin Gullo finished 3rd, Vogler 4th.
Chemung moves to Saturday this week for a big money Insinger Sunoco B Modified show in memory of the late Gary Marshall. In addition to that 75-lap feature fans can watch the Insinger Sunoco Super Stocks, 4 Cylinders, Marion Decker Hobby Stocks and Coaches Pizza Bandoleros. Pits open at 2 PM this Saturday, with practice and grandstand gates at 4 PM and racing starting at 5 PM.
For information, ‘like’ us on Facebook: Chemung Speedrome – Racing at the Drome, or call Ray Hodge, Promoter, at 607-483-3468.
The 26-car field of Super Stocks paid tribute to our country with American flags attached to their cars on some parade laps. Fans in attendance stood in tribute to the meaningful gesture.
A lucky fan from Elmira, NY won the $1,003 50/50, the largest payout in recent memory. An anonymous donor had put up $500 to guarantee the winner at least that much!
Zack Curren and DJ Shaw won the ‘Winner Winner Chicken Dinner’ of free wings at the Horseheads Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.
It was justice, of sorts, for 4 Cylinder winner DJ Shaw. Last year the almost certain champion stepped away from racing, with a comfortable lead in the points, to focus on high school football. That earned him the track’s Hard Luck Award in 2019.
Insinger Sunoco B Modifieds (30 Laps): ZACK CURREN, Tony Hanbury, Charlie Sharpsteen, Gene Sharpsteen, TJ Potrzebowski, Lee Sharpsteen, Bryan Sherwood, Andy Lewis, Dave Kozlowski, Travis Spalding, Bill Chandler, Jr., Scott Wylie, Daryl Lewis, Jr. (DQ)
Heats: G. Sharpsteen, Curren
New York Super Stocks (23 Laps): NICK ROBINSON, Jimmy Steffenhagen, Tim Gullo, Andy Cryan, Dylan Bancroft, Cameron Nichols, Evan Rygielski, Robert Fink, Nate Peckham, Frank Chapman, Josh Hunter, Anthony Gullo, Jason Duke, Charlie Sharpsteen, Trevor Catalano, Barrett Schenk, Brian Hallett, Jacob Gustafson, Garrett Zacharias, Mark Spencer, Nik Welshans, Cole Hicks, Derrick Tarbox, Mike Hyman, Bob Palmer, Amber VanOrden
Heats: Steffenhagen, Cryan, T. Gullo, Nichols, Zacharias
B Main: Hyman
4 Cylinders (16 Laps): DJ SHAW, Ryan Hurlbut, Ricky Lane, Nick Galusha, Dante Mancuso, Greg Moldt, John Byrd, Madelyn Virts, Russ Bulger, Megan Schoelles, Russ Bulger, Jr., Jason Peck, Mason Offhaus, Joey Bevacqua, Monica Green, Tyler Harbst, Bryce Bailey, Nick Bevacqua, Dustin Pryne (DNS)
Heats: Green, Hurlbut, Mancuso
Marion Decker Insurance Hobby Stocks (10 Laps): MARK TAYLOR, Chuck Nichols, #17
Coaches Pizza INEX Bandoleros (10 Laps): CHASE SINSABAUGH (Bandit), Kalysha DeMark (Outlaw), Devin Gullo, Derrick Vogler