Spencer Speedway regular Tommy Catalano posted his first Race of Champions Modified Series victory Saturday, taking the checkers at Jukasa Motor Speedway.
The .625-mile oval, formerly known as Cayuga Speedway, is recognized as one of the premier facilities in the Canadian province of Canada. The track has hosted a number of high-profile series during its 52-year history as a paved surface. The American Speed Association, Hooters Pro Cup, NASCAR Busch North Series, DIRT, ISMA, ARCA and more have visited.
Catalano, 21, won his first RoC main, holding off Andy Jankowiak for the breakout victory.
“They were breathing down my neck, but I’m not sure I was breathing,” the Ontario, Wayne County driver said in victory lane. “This was a huge night for us, and I just need to thank my mom and my dad, our entire family and friends, for giving me such a great race car to drive. This has been a long time working, and we couldn’t ask for a better way to end the night. This is great for all of us.”
Catalano rolled off the starting grid sixth. Catalano eventually caught and passed leader Chuck Hossfeld, but the raindrops began to fall soon thereafter, forcing an hour delay. When racing resumed, Hossfeld began producing wisps of smoke that grew into heavy plumes. When the racing went back to green, Hossfeld skated up the track, and Catalano pounced.
Catalano was scored the leader on lap 67 of the 100-circuit feature, securing the spot off the fourth turn. Jankowiak and Patrick Emerling secured the remaining podium positions, with Hossfeld and Scott Wylie filling out the top five.
The Race of Champions sanction presents Modified and Stock Car racing on asphalt and dirt surfaces, in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, along with select venues in Canada. The 69th annual Race of Champions weekend, scheduled this year for Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pa., is second only to the Indianapolis 500 in terms of longevity.
• The Patriot Sprint Tour’s visit to Woodhull Raceway Saturday served as a backdrop to Davie Franek’s latest romp. Franek has been red hot in sprint action, and rattled off a win at Woodhull, leveraging starting position to secure victory over a strong Jared Zimbardi.
“The fastest car definitely didn’t win tonight; we really weren’t that good,” said Franek in a tour-issued press release. “Starting position was key tonight. I was fortunate enough to find a little bit of moisture there on the bottom, and I heard Jared (Zimbardi) there on the top, so I tried to make the car as wide as I could to hold him off.”
Franek led the field from outside the front row, and Zimbardi searched for a fast line before reeling in the No. 28F. Franek began pulling away again with 10 to go, but saw his lead erased when Eric Kurtz spun on lap 19. On the restart, Franek stayed low while Zimbardi was building momentum on the top. Zimbardi was poised to strike, but missed his marks in the first turn, bobbled, and Franek’s win was virtually assured.
Franek has won four times on tour this year, and has nine career PST wins. Zimbardi stayed in control of the runner-up spot ahead of Jordan Thomas.
• The All Star Circuit of Champions raced at Utica-Rome Speedway Friday, the first of three straight Empire State dates.
Aaron Reutzel won for the fourth time in six starts at Utica-Rome Friday. Davie Franek looked strong, but spun on the opening lap in the third turn. He was relegated to last in the field for the ensuring restart, and charged through the field but could not recapture the Utica-Rome magic he has enjoyed this year.
Series owner Tony Stewart was the early leader, but Reutzel stepped up to challenge the recent NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee. Stewart held second ahead of a fast Justin Peck. Paul McMahan was fourth, and Cory Eliason moved from 12th to fifth.
At Orange County Fair Speedway on Saturday, Danny Dietrich scored a win on the newly laid clay surface ahead of Dale Blaney and Stewart. Dietrich won an All Star race at Weedsport last month.
At Lebanon Valley Speedway in Sunday, Brock Zearfoss prevailed over Franek and McMahan.
The Super DIRTcar Series will head to Orange County Fair Speedway this week for Thursday’s Battle of the Midway 100.
Last year, Stewart Friesen won over Matt Sheppard and Erick Rudolph. Sheppard leads the points chase entering the event, with Larry Wight in second, just 65 points behind. Mat Williamson, Jimmy Phelps and Billy Decker are next in the points chase.
The touring invaders will be welcomed by a stout local field. Brett Hearn, Tommy Meier and Craig Mitchell are regulars at the track.
The feature pays $10,000 to the victor.
• Land of Legends Raceway was rained out after losing the track to a passing storm. Tickets and pit-access bands from Saturday can be used for admission July 20, Aug. 10 or Aug. 17. Admission this Saturday is $10. It’s also Family Autograph Night, and the 50-50 raffle will roll over as well.
• At Fulton Speedway, Larry Wight won a Modified thriller.
fter an extended five-car battle, the contenders to win were whittled to Wight and Rob Bellinger. The pair traded the lead and slide jobs in lapped traffic. Wight went into the third turn on the high side coming to the checkers. Bellinger blocked and slid in front of him, but Wight darted back to the bottom to win at the line by 0.184 seconds.
Robert Gage (Sportsman), Bob Henry Jr. (Sportsman), Casey Williams (Sportsman) and Pat Nolan (Novice Sportsman) captured other features.
• Joe Gosek rallied to win the Supermodified portion of the Summer Championship program at Oswego Speedway. Gosek started second, passed Keith Shampine on lap 2, then had to navigate traffic for more than half of the 50-lap affair. Gosek needed clean air to operate at peak performance, and nearly lost the win in a lapped-traffic mishap with nine laps to go. He corraled his machine, and won a drag race with Shampine into the third turn to preserve the lead.
Shampine, Alison Sload, Jeff Abold and Dave Gruel filled the top five.
Anthony Losurdo won his second straight Small Block Supermodified feature, while Dalton Doyle triumphed in the 350 Supermodified main.
• Matt Sheppard won his seventh Modified feature of the year at Outlaw Speedway.
Sheppard started seventh, but overtook Dillon Groover on lap 12 after Groover took the lead from Billy Paine a lap earlier. A late restart on lap 27 parked Steve Paine on Sheppard’s back bumper, but Sheppard never gave the elder Paine a chance to mount an offense. Donnie Lawson’s race-long charge earned him a podium finish. Kyle Coffey and Alan Johnson rounded out the top five.
Brian Fish upset Karl Comfort’s bid to win the American Racer Tire Crate Sportsman main. The victory was Fish’s third of the year, with Chris Fisher taking second ahead of Comfort. Jimmy Zacharias and Will Shields filled the top five.
Steve Gray won the Hoosier Tire DIRTcar Sportsman feature, his first checkered flag of the year. He was pressured by Nicole Hoag all race long, but she settled for second ahead of Will Shields, AJ Lloyd and Jeff Lawrence.
Dylan Cecce won his fifth Street Stock main of the year over Glen Whritenour, CJ Guererri, Gene Balmer and Carl Cleveland.
Adam Austin cruised to a win in the 4-Cylinder over Ray Hyer, Scott Lehman, Mike Stone and Matt Sullivan.
Rich Michael Jr. scored his fourth IMCA win of the year, besting Brandon Smith, Rodney Morgan, Brad Smith and Rich Karlnoski.
The Hobby Stocks contested two features. Marc Minutolo captured the makeup event over Bubba Burnell, Justin Eldredge, Eric Williams and Brian Lloyd. Wayne Ellison won for the third time in four starts, and fifth time in 2019, in the regularly scheduled event, leading Burnell, Minutolo, Eric Williams and Jamie Eldredge Jr. at the line.
Dylan Riley won the Youth 4-Cylinder feature.
• Utica-Rome Speedway ran a rare Friday program with the All Star Circuit of Champions in town, taking its normal Sunday off. The supporting Open Modified feature was won by Mike Bowman, his first victory in a Modified at Utica-Rome.
• At Brewerton Speedway, Chris Hile bagged his first Modified win of the year. Hile passed Tyler Trump on lap 11. Jimmy Phelps, Tom Sears Jr., Chad Phelps and Billy Decker rounded out the top five. Alan Fink (Sportsman), Ryan Dolbear (Sportsman), Kyle Demo (Mod Lite), Chris Bonoffski (4-Cylinders), Kenny Polite (Dirt Modified Nostalgia Tour) and Scott Gauthier (Dirt Modified Nostalgia Tour) won other features.
• Outlaw Speedway in Dundee will take a scheduled week off ahead of the Juiy 26-27 Summer Nationals.
• Oswego Speedway will host the 75-lap Mr. Supermodified event Saturday.