Zack Curren Dominates Chemung Sunoco Modifieds; Track Enhances Fire Safety Efforts

By – Carol Houssock
(Chemung, NY) On Friday night the track recognized and thanked Stateline Auto Auction for the loan of its large sweeper. While it remained parked, four of the five feature winners earned high-speed sweeps in their divisions. Those who won both their heat and feature on McDonald Contracting and Ed’s Heads Night included Zack Curren (Sunoco Modifieds), Mike Nichols (Super Stocks), DJ Shaw (4 Cylinders) and Jason Duke (Bandolero Outlaw). James Anderson (INEX Legends) and Kaden Rogers (Bandolero Bandit) won the other features. During intermission on Fan Appreciation Night fans walked among the cars on the front stretch then heard about a joint effort that will results in greater safety for the drivers in the event of a fiery wreck.
It’s rare that a track’s headline division puts on a caution-free show. Such was the case on Friday night when Zack Curren proved to be the best man in the bunch, sweeping his heat and the 40-lap Sunoco Modified feature. Curren started the race on the outside of the front row, alongside fellow heat winner Pat Judson. Curren was quick on the trigger and used the outside lane to his advantage to lead the opening lap. While Zack Knowlden and Tyler Rypkema engaged in a three-way battle for second, Curren was able to drive away and put some serious distance between that trio. Knowlden got the spot and set his sights on Curren’s fast #94. Zane Zeiner, meanwhile, was up fifth and then took fourth from Judson at the halfway point. Little by little the gap between first and second lessened, as did the number of laps left to run. Curren held on and won the caution-free race over Knowlden, Rypkema, Zeiner and Zack Truesdail. “For once, everything went our way. We’ve had some weeks where things weren’t quite right, but everything was perfect tonight,” he said from the Midstate Basement Authorities victory lane. In addition to thanking his parents, crew and sponsors, Curren also gave a shout out to Ray and Ellen Hodge for keeping racing alive at his hometown track. “I also want to remind everyone that my Uncle will offer 94 cent hotdogs in the concession stand at our next race on July 12th.”
Mike Nichols, a veteran, and Jesse Hurley, a rookie, won the two heat races for the Super Stock division. They lined up behind pole-sitter RJ Zacharias and Frank Chapman for the start of their 25-lap feature. It was Chapman who took off and led the first three laps, but it was Nichols who led lap four. He then started to pull away before caution bunched the field up for a restart. That would happen five more times in the race. For all remaining restarts it was either Nichols or Nick Robinson starting from pole and toward to end of the race they had the fans on the edge of their seats. This one ended with a green white checkered following a late race spin by Hurley. Nichols had the pole, with Robinson alongside. As he had several times already, Nichols had the advantage off turn two and down the back stretch. He took the white flag with Robinson searching high and low for a power move. Nichols held on and scored his second win of the year. Robinson was a close second, followed by Chapman, Garrett Zacharias and Jim House. “Nick’s awful tough but it’s fun racing him,” Nichols told the crowd.
“I didn’t think I’d catch Greg, I needed that caution.” Those words came from 4 Cylinder rookie DJ Shaw, who parked it in victory lane for the second time this year. Shaw started the 20-lap feature in fifth and methodically worked his way toward the front. By lap five Greg Moldt was leading the way and Shaw was running a distant second from battling others to get there. The gap between them was likely too great to eliminate under green, but when Mark Taylor spun in turn two it changed everything. While Moldt held off Shaw on the restart, the young racer had a good run coming off turn two with five laps remaining and he took the lead. Moldt stayed right with him in a true battle of a rookie and a veteran. This time the rookie prevailed, and he picked up the win over Moldt, Joey Bevacqua, Monica Green and Ricky Lane. Shaw and Bevacqua won the two heat races. “This was awesome,” Shaw stated before thanking his father and his many supporters.
James Anderson made the best possible use of his pole position start in the 15-lap INEX Legends feature. Light on entrants on Friday night, the trio stayed pretty much together for the first few laps. When Anderson started to pull away, that left heat winner Chelsea Sellars in a battle for second with Charlie Lohmeyer. She held second until lap 12, when Lohmeyer got around her. When it was over, young Anderson pulled in to the Midstate Basement Authorities victory lane to celebrate a career-first win at the Speedrome. “This feels great, and we worked so hard for this. It’s been a heck of a ride,” he told the appreciative crowd.
Josh Duke earned his sixth win in a sweep the INEX Bandolero division. Duke took the top spot on the opening lap. When Jeffrey Noe and Kaden Rogers did a tandem spin in turn one it set up the only restart. Duke prevailed over Chase Sinsabaugh and pulled away. Rogers passed Sinsabaugh for second but that’s as far as he would get in this on. Duke’s overall win was his 6th this year, and he thanked a former division champion for his help. “Garrett Zacharias taught me a lot. He won a lot and now I am,” he stated. Rogers, best of the Bandit age group, said it was a tough race and thanked his family for their support.
The Speedrome will soon have use of The Enforcer10, a fire suppression system. To be mounted on Ray McGuire’s rescue vehicle, the unit can produce up to 200 gallons of finished foam and has a discharge distance of up to 45 feet. This creates a safe distance between McGuire or another volunteer fireman operator, and the fire or hazard. Having the system onsite will enhance driver safety and is possible due to donations the track received to supplement its contribution. Special thanks to the Spalding Foundation for Injured Drivers, which will own the unit and have it available at events they attend to raise additional funds for the Foundation. This year all proceeds from the sale of the Chemung Speedrome souvenir program go directly to the Spalding Foundation. The funds were raised quickly due to the generosity of the owners of McDonald Contracting, Ed’s Heads, Service Machine & Tool, and Elmira Heat Treating. The unit has been ordered and should be available at the next race.
This Friday Chemung is off so that race teams and fans can enjoy the holiday weekend. The track resumes racing on July 12th with Mid-Season Championship Night, sponsored by Service Machine & Tool Company. All five regular divisions will be in action, racing for double points in each feature. Admission is $13 for adults, $11 for seniors, $5 for kids ages 6 to 12, and free to kids ages 5 and under. Pits open at 5 PM, with practice and grandstand gates at 6 PM and racing starting at 7 PM.
For information, log on to the track’s website:, ‘like’ us on Facebook: Chemung Speedrome – Racing at the Drome, or call Ray Hodge, Promoter, at 607-483-3468.
Of Note:
During intermission a lucky boy and girl won bicycles donated by Service Machine & Tool. Fifteen fans won a pair of tickets for the July 12th race, donated by Zane Zeiner and Youngs Racing.
A fan won a prize package of Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr. collectibles for having the lucky number in the program book, whose proceeds go to the Spalding Foundation for Injured Drivers. Four other fans won t-shirts donated by Carpenter’s Karts.
His 7th place finish earned Pat Judson $25 toward shock dynoing, donated by Eagle One Fabrication and Speed and Down Force Shocks. Each week a random finisher will win this new bonus.
Zack Curren, Mike Nichols and DJ Shaw won free wings from Buffalo Wild Wings in Horseheads, NY in the “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” bonus.
Sunoco Modifieds (40 Laps):  ZACK CURREN, Zack Knowlden, Tyler Rypkema, Zane Zeiner, Zach Truesdail, Charlie Sharpsteen, Pat Judson, Steven Sherwood, Bill Chandler, Tim Gullo, Gene Sharpsteen, John Wilber (DNS)
Heats:  Judson, Curren
Super Stocks (25 Laps):  MIKE NICHOLS, Nick Robinson, Frank Chapman, Garrett Zacharias, Jim House, RJ Zacharias, Jesse Hurley, Lee Sharpsteen, Derrick Tarbox, Brian DeMark, Cody Frantz, Jason Duke, Dennis Beardslee (DNS)
Heats:  Hurley, Nichols
4 Cylinders (20 Laps):  DJ SHAW, Greg Moldt, Joey Bevacqua, Monica Green, Ricky Lane, Ben Perry, Mark Taylor, Tyler Harbst, Jason Peck, Brett Bourdette, Alex Brown
Heats:  Bevacqua, Shaw
INEX Legends (15 Laps):  JAMES ANDERSON, Charlie Lohmeyer, Chelsea Sellars
Heat:  Sellars
Carpenter’s KARTS INEX Bandoleros (10 Laps):  JOSH DUKE (Outlaw), Kaden Rogers (Bandit), Chase Sinsabaugh, Jeffrey Noe, Isaiah Anderson
Heat:  Duke

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