by Carol Houssock
(Chemung, NY) It was a night of familiar faces in Chemung Speedrome’s Midstate Basement Authorities victory lane. Even a touring division’s feature resulted in a familiar face with checkered flag in hand. Winners on a perfect Friday night included Zack Curren (Sunoco Modifieds), Greg Moldt (4 Cylinders), Kyle Youngs (INEX Legends), Josh Duke (INEX Bandoleros), and Chase Sinsabaugh (Bandoleros – Bandit). Lee Sharpsteen, from nearby Waverly, NY won the New York Super Stock feature.
When the 2019 season started, and for the first few races, Zack Curren’s finishes went from just ok to not ok at all in the Sunoco Modified division. “We looked at everything in the car, we were stumped,” said his father and spotter Bob Curren. Then someone mentioned shocks, and what Bob discovered shocked the whole team. “What we thought was on the car, wasn’t. We got the right ones and it’s made all the difference in the world.” What an understatement – Zack Curren has won the last four features in a row, with no sign of slowing down.
Friday night it took just five laps to take the lead from prior leaders Gene and Charlie Sharpsteen. Curren held off repeated challenges from C. Sharpsteen and then Zack Knowlden. While Curren drove off, the next battle was between Sharpsteen and Tim Gullo, who claimed third on lap 17. Zane Zeiner, involved in an early caution, was working the traffic and got to the rear of Knowlden’s machine with 15 to go. Zeiner bided his time and got around Knowlden, hoping to reel in the leader.
As the laps continued to click off, Curren was hoping the race would stay under the green while Zeiner and others others hoped for a caution. The others got their wish. Keith Youngs slowed in turns one and two with just two laps remaining and his car was done for the night.
Curren and Zeiner lined up ahead of Knowlden and TJ Potrzebowski for the green/white/checkered finish. There was no drama after all, as they finished in that same order with Gullo rounding out the top five. “The car was phenomenal again. It started to go away a little and I really didn’t want to see that caution,” Curren told the crowd. “It did give the tires a chance to cool off a little, though.” The tires cooled off but the #94 is the hottest car at the track right now.
Greg Moldt is on fire in the 4 Cylinder division, not only at Chemung but also at Wyoming County International Speedway on Saturday nights. He lived up to that heat on Friday, easily scoring the win in the 20-lap feature. His opening lap move is one people are still talking about. Moldt went about as high as anyone could go, and not spin, in turn four and had the lead on the opening lap. That was pretty much the race, although heat winner Monica Green, and rookies DJ Shaw and Joey Bevacqua gave the fans some thrills in their tussles for positions two through five. Shaw managed to pass both of them for second and started to reel in the leader. He ran out of time, as this one went caution-free. Moldt got the win over Shaw, Green, Bevacqua and Alex Brown.
Kyle Youngs continued his winning ways in the INEX Legends division, sweeping the night. The opening lap of the 20-lap feature found Chris Chilson with a stuck throttle. He became the fourth driver this year to head down the turn one access road where he was able to stop without any contact. When this one got going it only took four laps for Youngs to find the top spot after a clean pass of Gary Ham’s #20H. Once in front, he was gone but left behind a battle for second involving Ham and Chuck Lohmeyer. Lohmeyer turned up the heat and got around Ham but no further. Youngs celebrated his fourth win this year, this time over Lohmeyer, Ham, Jody Buckley and Charlie Lohmeyer.
Point leaders in the track’s INEX Bandolero division made the news again Friday night. Young Chase Sinsabaugh held off Jason Duke for an exciting heat race win. He and overall point leader Josh Duke made ach other in row one for the start. Duke used the outside momentum to take the lead. Just a lap started on the front row. On the opening lap Jeffrey Noe spun and brought out the caution. Duke went back to work and maintained a healthy advantage over Sinsabaugh. A late caution set up a three-lap dash to the finish and Duke nailed it, scoring his 7th consecutive feature win as an Outlaw. Sinsabaugh finished second, winner in the Bandit class, followed by Derrick Vogler and Noe.
Twenty four cars checked in to the track for this year’s second appearance of the New York Super Stock Series. The feature was pretty much a tale of two races, with the first half plaquged by caution after caution. Up to that point it had been Ajay Potrzebowski and then Jimmy Steffenhagen in the top spot. Over the final 15 laps Frank Chapman, who had passed Potrzebowski for second, was a;; pver Steffenhagen but just couldn’t complete a pass. Things changed dramatically with five laps to go. Steffenhagen slowed, handing the lead to Chapman before the final caution came out. That brought Lee Sharpsteen to the outside of row one, and the fans to their feet for the two-lap shootout. It was anybody’s race when the green came back out. Chapman, stuck in the outside lane, fell back while Potrzbebowski took over second. At the stripe Sharpsteen got the win over Potrzebowski, Zach Willis, Tony Hanbury and Chapman. The NYSS series will return for their third appearance on Saturday, September 7th as part of the second day of the track’s two-day show that weekend.
This Friday it’s a regular show of Sunoco Modifieds, Super Stocks, 4 Cylinders, INEX Legends and INEX Bandoleros all starting at 7 PM. Admission is $13 for adults, $11 for seniors 65+, $5 for kids ages 5-12, and free for kids under age 5. Fans are reminded to check out the revised schedule for September on the track’s website www.chemungspeedrome.net or by ‘liking’ us on Facebook ‘Chemung Speedrome – Racing at the Drome’.
Dave Bellis was unable to start the Sunoco Modified feature after he made contact with Bryan Sherwood in his heat race. The right side tires on both cars rode the backstretch wall before coming to rest on all fours. Sherwood’s crew patched up his car but Bellis was done.
Zack Curren and Greg Moldt won free wings from Buffalo Wild Wings in Horseheads, NY in the ‘Winner Winner Chicken Dinner’ bonus.
His 12th place finish earned Bryan Sherwood a $25 gift certificate toward shock dynoing, donated by Eagle One Fabrication and Speed and Down Force Shocks.
A member of Monica Green’s pit crew won the season’s largest 50/50 drawing this year.
During intermission the track held a helmet drive to help George Kent with uncovered funeral costs related to his longtime companion’s recent death. Generous race fans came through again, resulting in $611 for ‘The Duke’.
When Curren’s #94 wins at Chemung his Uncle, who runs the concession stand, offers 94-cent hotdogs the next time he races. That will be this Friday night.
Sunoco Modifieds (40 Laps) ZACK CURREN, Zane Zeiner, Zack Knowlden, TJ Potrzebowski, Tim Gullo, Charlie Sharpsteen, Gene Sharpsteen, Damon Frutchey, Pat Judson, Steven Sherwood, Keith Youngs, Bryan Sherwood, Dave Bellis (DNS)
Heats: Zeiner, Gullo
4 Cylinders (20 Laps) GREG MOLDT, DJ Shaw, Monica Green, Joey Bevacqua, Alex Brown, Brett Bourdette, Mark Taylor, Shane McCormick
INEX Legends (20 Laps) KYLE YOUNGS, Chuck Lohmeyer, Gary Ham, Jody Buckley, Charlie Lohmeyer, Chris Childson (DNS)
INEX Bandoleros (10 Laps) JOSH DUKE, Chase Sinsabaugh (Bandit Winner), Derrick Vogler, Jeffrey Noe
NYSS (30 Laps) LEE SHARPSTEEN, Ajay Potrzebowski, Zack Willis, Tony Hanbury, Frank Chapman, Nate Peckham, Joel Gleason, Robert Fink, Jake Wylie, Jason Dinzler, Amber VanOrden, Eric Handley, Josh Hunter, Aaron Higgins, Jacob Gustafson, Ron Underwood, Jimmy Steffenhagen, JP Harbst, Tommy Markham, Cole Hicks, Garrett Zacharias, Gary Noe, Nick Robinson, Mike Nichols