August 26, 2017
Connor Sellars, Jimmy Zacharias Split Chemung Twin-20’s, Zacharias Claims 6th Championship
by Carol Houssock

  The three NASCAR home track divisions at Chemung Speedrome settled the season-long championship chases on a night paying double points across the board. Normally 67 points are available for a driver who can win a heat (5), lead a lap (1), lead the most laps (1) and then win the feature (60). Things were doubled Saturday night, making a maximum of 134 available. Tabulations were especially needed in the Super Stock division, where things were especially close. Feature winners included Connor Sellars and Jimmy Zacharias (Sunoco Modifieds), Frank Chapman (Super Stocks), Ben Perry (4 Cylinders) and Kevin Youngs (INEX Legends). The 2017 track champions are Jimmy Zacharias, Nick Robinson and Jacob Gustafson. The INEX divisions will settle up this Sunday afternoon in a pair of national qualifiers.

  The normal 40-lap Sunoco Modified event was broken down to a pair of 20-lap features, the first of which paid double points. Jimmy Zacharias arrived at the track with a 70-point advantage over Connor Sellars. Maximum points available went from 67, to 134 and overcoming that deficit was next to impossible. Connor Sellars did what he had to do to chop away a bit by winning that first race but Zacharias finished right behind him.

  Earlier in the evening Charlie Sharpsteen and Garry Coon claimed the two heat races that helped set the stage for the first race and they made up the front row for the feature. Sharpsteen led the way over Coon, who spun on the front stretch with eight laps complete. The restart brought Sellars up to the outside of row one. Sharpsteen held the lead but then lost in on the tenth lap to Sellars. He had to survive three restarts with Sharpsteen alongside but he was up to that challenge. Zacharias, meanwhile, was up to third and passed Sharpsteen with a handful of laps remaining. Sellars had the superior car and he captured his third win of the year, this time over Zacharias, Sharpsteen, Zack Knowlden and Nick Morich. “I have no idea how I did this, I really didn’t think the car ran that well,” he said from victory lane before drawing #8 for the race two invert.

  With the top eight cars inverted, TJ Zacharias and Jesse Kent made up the front row for the second 20-lap Sunoco Modified feature. Zacharias prevailed and led the first two laps. A restart following a tangle involving three cars bunched the field up again but Kent took over the top spot. Once in front he had a nice lead over a three-way battle for second involving TJ, Connor Sellars and Jimmy Zacharias. A late race spin by Garry Coon brought the field together with two laps remaining. On the restart, Damon Frutchey spun and the anticipation was building for Kent to hang on and win the race. On this restart, Jimmy Zacharias dove to the inside in turn two when both Kent and Sellars drifted a bit high in that corner. Lap 19 was in the books but then another yellow came out when Lee Sharpsteen spun. The final attempt at a green/white/checkered went in favor of Zacharias, who went on to score his 7th win of the year. Kent, who had led the lion’s share of the race and was hoping for a career-first win, had to settle for second. Sellars finished third, with Zack Knowlden fourth and Nick Morich fifth. The win capped off championship #6 for Jimmy Zacharias at Chemung in the Sunoco Modified division. It also did a bit more. Zacharias had stripped his #71 of its detailing and he replaced it with a likeness of Ed McGuire’s #51. Earlier in the week McGuire had announced his racing was over. “I wanted Ed to see his car out there one last time and to go out a winner. This one is for him and all he meant to so many racers over the years,” Zacharias told the crowd.

  The closest championship battle coming into the double points finale was in the Super Stock division. Point leader Tim Gullo opted to run the RoC show at Lancaster, where he was also the point leader. His absence opened it up among several drivers, with Nick Robinson and Frank Chapman now first and second in points. Chapman did what he had to do and won his heat race while Robinson finished fourth in his. Going into the final event Robinson led Chapman by a mere 12 points.

  Chapman started outside the front row and took the lead from pole-sitter Jason Duke on the opening lap. Heat winner Terry Potrzebowski, Robinson and RJ Zacharias followed him under Duke’s #13 and they ran as a trio for several laps. Robinson was up to second when the first of several cautions came out. Chapman and Robinson came off turn four in a near dead heat on lap 10, but Robinson had the spot by inches. Chapman reclaimed the lead and lap 10 was the only lap in the 25-lap feature that he failed to lead. That would become significant as the evening wore on. Potrzebowski passed Robinson on a lap 18 restart and that, too, was significant with the points so close. Chapman prevailed on a late-race restart. Robinson reclaimed second, another key aspect in the championship chase. Chapman went on to win his first feature of the year and he awaited word on the point tabulation. Robinson was second, followed by Potrzebowski, Mike Nichols and John Lane. By leading lap 10 and then passing Potrzebowski late to finish second, Robinson successfully defended the title by a mere two points. “We finally got one and I have this whole crew and all my sponsors to thank,” Chapman said from victory lane. Robinson seemed surprised the title was his. “We were really close on that one lap and I wasn’t sure I had it or not,” he said. Scoring proved he had. Robinson gave special thanks to his father, Jeff, for leading a team that never gives up.

  Ben Perry waited until just five laps remained in the 2017 season to get to the front and capture the 20-lap 4 Cylinder feature. Greg Moldt and Kevin May capitalized on their front row starting positions and led the way from the drop of the green. Triston Kline, Perry and Monica Green made up the top five early on. Perry got around Green and was up to fourth by lap five. Three laps later he had passed Kline for third and a lap later got around May for second. In the second half of this one Moldt and Perry broke away and were side by side with five laps to go. Perry found what he sought and took over the lead on lap 16. Moldt stayed with him but this one went to Perry for a career-first win in the caution-free race. Moldt had to settle for second and finished ahead of Jacob Gustafson, heat winner Kline and RWD winner Tyler Harbst. Perry thanked his family for their patience so he could go racing. Jacob Gustafson is the 2017 4 Cylinder track champion while May ended the year first in points among those in RWD cars.

  Pat Judson and Kevin Youngs have garnered most of the headlines in the INEX Legends division this season and on Saturday night that continued. Judson won the heat while Youngs won the feature. Judson led the first two laps before losing the top spot to Youngs on a lap three restart. When Daniel Carter spun with nine laps complete it set up an opportunity for the others to grab the lead. That didn’t happen as Youngs held his line and maintained the lead. The car on the move was the #7, driven for the first time ever by David French. Several others have run the car from time to time but no one got it to move the way French did. Just past the halfway point he took second from Judson, who stayed right with him over the remaining laps. At the stripe Youngs had his seventh win of the year and is on track to secure the track championship, which will be settled this week. French finished second, ahead of Judson, Teddy Bowen and Carter. In victory lane Youngs thanked his family and sponsors for their support during his great season, but he gave kudos to French. “I’m impressed with David, first time in that car, first race here this year, and he ran a heck of a race,” he said.

  This Sunday afternoon (September 3rd) the track presents the 2017 season finale and welcomes back the NY Super Stock series for a 75-lap feature. Joining them will be the GRIT Racing Series Dirt Sportsman division, running 30 laps on the asphalt. Sunday is also national qualifiers for both the INEX Legends and Bandoleros. Pits open at 11 and grandstand gates open at noon. Practice will commence at 1 PM, with the first heat on the track at 2:15 PM. Admission is $13 for adults, $11 for seniors 65+, $5 for kids 6-12, and free for kids 5 and under.

  Of note:
  · Connor Sellars, Jimmy Zacharias, Frank Chapman and Ben Perry won the “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” bonus for free wings at Buffalo Wild Wings in Horseheads, NY.
  · Nick Morich, who has advanced over the years from a Bandolero to a 4 Cylinder to a Sunoco Modified at the track, ran his last race as he will head off to the Marine Corps in November. Announcer Carol Houssock recognized his efforts and the crowd gave him a round of applause.
  · Samantha Jilson Shaffer, a member of the US Air Force, was at the track among friends, in advance of an upcoming voluntary deployment to Jordan.

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  Sunoco Modifieds
(#1 20 Laps): CONNOR SELLARS, Jimmy Zacharias, Charlie Sharpsteen, Zack Knowlden, Nick Morich, Paul Johnson, Jesse Kent, TJ Zacharias, Garry Coon, Gene Sharpsteen, Lee Sharpsteen, Chris Clemens, Damon Frutchey, Scott Reagan, Jason Duke, Corey Mosher (DNS)
  Heats: C. Sharpsteen, Coon

  Sunoco Modifieds (#2 20 Laps): JIMMY ZACHARIAS, Jesse Kent, Connor Sellars, Zack Knowlden, Nick Morich, RJ Zacharias, Garry Coon, Charlie Sharpsteen, Lee Sharpsteen, Gene Sharpsteen, Paul Johnson, Damon Frutchey, Chris Clemens, Scott Reagan, Jason Duke, Corey Mosher (DNS)

  Super Stocks (25 Laps): FRANK CHAPMAN, Nick Robinson, Terry Potrzebowski, Mike Nichols, John Lane, RJ Zacharias, Chad Lane, Jim Lamoreaux, Jason Duke, Cody Frantz, Jordan Mathews, Jim House, JP Harbst
  Heats: Potrzebowski, Chapman

  4 Cylinders (20 Laps): BEN PERRY, Greg Moldt, Jacob Gustafson, Triston Kline, Tyler Harbst (RWD), Monica Green, Kevin May, Allen Stephenson, James Peck, Sarah Gooch, Jason Peck, Paul Platt, Alexander Browne, Zack Bennett (DNS), Ricky Lane (DNS)
  Heats: May, Kline

  INEX Legends (20 Laps): KEVIN YOUNGS, David French, Pat Judson, Teddy Bowen, Daniel Carter, Gary Ham
  Heat: Judson



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