Wilbur Wows Them With Impressive Oswego Victory by Jim Blacroch
Takes First Track Victory for Car Owner Troyer in RoC Event
Some times you go to an event and even though the outcome might not be as you have predicted or as you would have liked, you leave the event with a smile on your face knowing that good things happened to some good people. Saturday night was one of those nights at Oswego Speedway (NY).
Wilbur Hebing winning at Oswego was something that everyone could be happy about.  (Paul Cooper / Gater Racing News Photo)
For nearly 30-years Kenny Troyer, who is the son of legendary modified star Maynard Troyer, has been competing in the Modified division and seeking a victory at the historic Oswego Speedway. At times he has driven for others like Bruce Putney, he has hauled his own machine up to the Lake Shore oval and now he performs the duties of a car owner for Bill ‘Wilbur’ Hebing, who steers the Route 66 Chevrolet for Troyer.

Hebing and Troyer seemingly make the perfect combination. Hebing’s driving style can be termed as exciting, but outside the car he is a low key individual, while Troyer is a big man, who is very soft spoken. On Saturday night at Oswego in the DART Race of Champions Tour 75, Hebing and Troyer made some magic of their own as Hebing drove the wheels off Troyer’s Chevrolet to lead all 75 laps and win their first DART Race of Champions Tour race and more importantly, their first asphalt modified victory at Oswego.

Hebing held off the advances of Matt Hirschman with heavy pressure coming from Hirschman on several late race restarts. In the end the Route 66 Chevrolet found victory lane and a celebration that will lead to some legendary stories began.

“Tonight was a big win for us,” stated Hebing. “To hold off those guys (Matt Hirschman
and Chuck Hossfeld) is a pretty big deal to me. I don’t like being the rabbit, I like to chase and pass, but tonight I drew the pole, played the rabbit and it worked out for us.”

Hirschman pressed Hebing one time in lapped traffic around lap 35, but Hebing boxed Hirschman in behind the lapped car and the duo remained in their positions until the checkered flag flew.

“Matt (Hirschman) has his act together,” stated Hebing after the race. “He got there, but we were able to keep him behind us.”

Hirschman offered, “I had to take a chance with the lapped car in front of him. With starting fifth we worked our way to the front as quickly as possible. Wilbur got a good draw and it was going to take a mistake or a slip up on his part to get around him.”

Following one late race restart Hirschman applied heavy pressure to Hebing’s rear bumper was unable to complete the pass.

“That was my best chance,” explained Hirschman. “But I couldn’t get to the outside and complete the pass.”
Chuck Hossfeld, who has returned to DART Race of Champions competition aboard his own red and silver 22, finished third.

“Those guys (Hebing and Hirschman) just got away from me on the longer runs,” offered Hossfeld after the event. “I thought there was going to be a few more cautions, so why keep chasing? But we ran fifty laps under green or something like that to start the race. When it looked like there wasn’t going to be a caution I picked up the pace and punished the tires a little too much. Maybe, I should have waited and chilled out a little more.

Hossfeld continued, “I’m pretty happy with the car. That car has just been setting idle in my shop. Each time we’ve run the guys have made positive improvements with it and made it faster. That’s all I can ask for. Hopefully, it won’t be too long and we’ll find victory lane.”

Hebing has had plenty of success in the SST Modified division at tracks throughout the area, but he has never won at Oswego either. In the last DART RoC Oswego event, Hebing gave Troyer’s mount a wild ride after a late race pit stop, that resulted in a strong finish with Hebing chasing down Pete Brittain, Tony and Matt Hirschman at the checkers.

After the race Saturday night, while several team members and friends enjoyed their favorite adult libation, Hebing stood off to the side and helped load the trailer.

“To win here is big for us,” he reemphasized. “It’s one of those places where I’ve been close before and Kenny’s been close before but we could never close the deal. To get this win here for everyone is awesome. The guys work real hard on the car and they deserve it. There is so much history here, it’s just a cool place to win. To hold off Matt Hirschman and Chuck (Hossfeld) makes it even better because I know how good those guys are.”

Hebing is asphalt modified racing version of ‘Cool Hand Luke’ and I’m sure if he played poker, he would be a top candidate for one of those television championships. You can never read his face. He always seems focused on the task at hand, but yet you can sense his enjoyment of being at the track, doing something he loves, driving an asphalt modified and also his sense of what this is all about, fun. Before joining up with Troyer, Hebing could best be described as a journeyman racer with a boat load of talent that just hasn’t found the right home yet. Now it looks as though he has.

“Our relationship has worked out well,” explained Hebing regarding his relationship with Troyer. “We have everything we need to be successful and we’ve worked hard to get there. It’s been an incredible ride, I can say that. There are plenty of people to thank like Kenny, Dan Schum and all of the guys that work so hard on the team. Our sponsors, Parts Plus Auto Stores, State Farm Insurance, Garafalo’s, Mangus Precision Pumps, just everyone that helps us out. We couldn’t do this without them. I’ve been second a bunch of times here, led a lot of laps, and just never been to victory lane. It really is a dream come true.”

Quietly, while the victory party continued, Hebing said his goodbyes and slipped out through famous tunnel under the front grandstand at Oswego just before the start/finish line where about an hour before he held the checkered flag.

Troyer on the other hand, was taking it all in and enjoying a moment he has waited 30 years for.

“I ran the first time in here in 1978,” smiled Troyer. “I can die a happy man now. I’ve supported Modified racing here because this is my favorite track, I’ve loved this place ever since I saw Modifieds race here in 1969. This place is one of the coolest tracks anywhere and to win here is incredible. I wish it hadn’t taken so long, but believe me it was definitely worth the wait.”

Troyer also reflected on his relationship with Hebing.

“Every thing happens for a reason,” explained Troyer. “I knew better then to do what I did in 2005, but then I wouldn’t have Wilbur in the car. Wilbur is a great driver. He drives his butt off, just like he did tonight and I’m so proud of him. He has a good feel for the car and I can’t think of anyone else that I’d rather have driving my car right now.”

Troyer also wanted to talk about his team and his approach to the sport and he had to mention the talent racing within the DART Race of Champions Tour.

“I’ve got a great group of people that help us,” grinned the soft-spoken Troyer. “They all work really hard on the car and put forth a great effort, but we approach this a little differently. We do this for the fun, the enjoyment. Sure, we all get intense about things at different times, but over the years, I’ve found that it’s much easier to approach it to have fun. If you come from any other direction, then it’s becomes far too stressful. You have to take it serious, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and that’s what we try to do.

Troyer continued. “I used to get wound up and I still can, but with these guys it’s hard to do. We just go about our business and have fun. With Wilbur driving it makes it easier because chances are, he’s not going to do anything that really jeopardizes the car. All of the guys make sure the car is right. Greg does a fantastic job on the radio with Wilbur. We’ve got great chemistry and the girls bring a bunch of food, we just have fun. That’s what this is supposed to be all about.

“Right now the Race of Champions seems to have just as much talent if not more then the NASCAR Tour. I do know that this Series is much more economical for us. Towing all of the way to New England is costly, but I did get a chance to go to Thompson a few weeks ago and I can honestly say that the level of competition isn’t all that different. The Race of Champions Tour is very competitive, with guys like Hirschman, Hossfeld and Beers, the Leaty’s, Lee Sherwood and the list goes on and on. This Series has good talent and good racers.”

Finally Troyer was about to return to the revelry with his team, but he wanted to share one last thought.

“Thirty years, you know how much this means to me?” he asked and walked back to his team party.

Actually, even though it’s hard to put into words, I do know what it means to Kenny Troyer. Like I said earlier, good things happening to good people and it’s time like these that you need to enjoy because the occasion is rare.
Hebing holds off Hirschman.   (Paul Cooper / Gater Racing News Photo)
Hopefully, they will continue on their trend of rebuilding and adding to the Oswego tradition.

They have moved the next DART Race of Champions Tour event back to the Saturday night of Classic Weekend, which will give the weekend flavor it once had. Supers on Sunday with a big Modified show on Saturday night another great weekend of racing at Oswego.

If you haven’t been to Oswego in a sometime or you’ve never been there, make a trip, chances are you will be very satisfied that you’ve decided to make the trip.

Tidbits

This article should be only about the DART Race of Champions Modified Tour, but Doug Didero put on quite a show in the Oswego Supermodified feature on Saturday night. Didero started back in the field and worked his way to the front with an incredibly fast Clyde Booth mount. After a tremendous battle with early race leader Gosek, where the two swapped the lead, Didero took the lead and put on a speed clinic. Didero, who has had plenty of success at Oswego, much of it coming the Skip & Lois Matczak owned Super, has returned to his stomping grounds and proved that he hasn’t lost his touch.

Bobby Holmes was taken to the hospital Saturday night after returning to the pits following an accident he was involved. After a CT Scan, Holmes was diagnosed with a mild concussion and was released. Hopefully Holmes will have a speedy recovery.

Billy Putney debuted the first Ford in DART Race of Champions competition under-the-hood, with a Bruneau creation. Putney finished fourth in the event.

Mike Leaty returned to the RoC with a top-five finish after winning at Spencer on Friday night.

Up Next…

The DART Race of Champions heads to the Chemung Speedrome (www.chemungspeedrome.net) for the completion of the June 2nd show which was rained out.

Up Next…

The DART Race of Champions heads to the Chemung Speedrome (www.chemungspeedrome.net) for the completion of the June 2nd show which was rained out.

RACE REPORT
RACE OF CHAMPIONS DART ASPHALT MODIFIED TOUR  CENTRAL REGION  #4
OSWEGO SPEEDWAY

1.) Wilbur Hebing
2.) Matt Hirschman
3.) Chuck Hossfeld
4.) Billy Putney
5.) Mike Leaty
6.) Erick Rudolph
7.) Pete Brittain
8.) Lee Sherwood
9.) Rusty Smith
10.) Tommy Kinsella
11.) John Markovic
12.) Danny Knoll, Jr.
13.) Alex Hoag
14.) Andy Szapacs
15.) Doug Reaume
16.) Vern LaFave
17.) Daren Scherer
18.) Ken Canestrari
19.) Chris Finocchario
20.) Phil Slater
21.) Bobby Holmes
22.) Eric Beers
23.) Dan Chimera
24.) Jim Lameroux
25.) Rick Kluth 
26.) Sean O’Neill
27.) Matt Clemens

LAP LEADERS; Hebing ( 1 – 75 )
DART MACHINERY AWARD SET OF HEADS $1,200 VALUE; Markovic
GATER RACING NEWS DRIVER BONUS DRAW $500; Brittain
HOOSIER RACING TIRE HARD CHARGER AWARD; Smith ( 23rd to 9th )
HOOSIER RACING TIRE HARD LUCK AWARD; Kluth ( 2nd to 25th )
NEXT RoC DART ASPHALT MODIFIED TOUR EVENT; Saturday August 11th – Chemung Speedrome – North Region Race # 4 – Completion of June 2nd show 75 lap feature only – 4 pm start






Ricky Kluth, Hossfeld and Hirschman won the qualifying races.

Doing This For All The Right Reasons

Too many times in today’s world of short track racing do we see things that are done solely for ulterior motives such as career advancement, sponsorship commitments, etc…, etc…, but some times we have the opportunity to witness something that’s done for all of the right reasons and when it happens to good people, it make it’s that much better.

Davey Hamilton returning to Indy and running well, that was one of those stories this year. A true feel-good story, happening to a good guy on Saturday night was very similar, although it wasn’t on a stage quite as grand as Indianapolis, it was on a stage that the short track folks around here hold in the same esteem. A win at Oswego is pretty significant in when it comes to asphalt modified racing.

In 2005, Troyer was involved in an incident in the heat race, while Wilbur Hebing was walking around the pits without a ride. For his involvement in the incident, Troyer was ‘parked’ for the event, but his car wasn’t and that’s when the marriage was made. This duo has been together since that September day in 2005, however they did not reach victory lane together until this season, when they won the opener at Lancaster.
Shining Up the Old Girl:

A couple of years ago, Steve Gioia and Pat Furlong took over the famed Oswego Speedway from the Caruso family. Through their tenure they have worked incredibly hard to restore the luster to the ‘Steel Palace’ and by the size of the crowd Saturday they have and should be commended for their efforts.

Oswego Speedway remains one of the most historic tracks in the history of short track racing and sometimes I think its influence and contributions have gone over-looked. In recent years the Gioia and Furlong have tried any promotion that they think will bring folks into the speedway. Whether it has been different divisions, different events, whatever, they have tried and they have had success. I don’t know if it’s the success they have been looking for because any event relying on promotion and entertainment dollars has struggled in recent years, but in my mind they’ve been a success.
Hebing has had plenty of success in the SST Modified division at tracks throughout the area, but he has never won at Oswego either. In the last DART RoC Oswego event, Hebing gave Troyer’s mount a wild ride after a late race pit stop, that resulted in a strong finish with Hebing chasing down Pete Brittain, Tony and Matt Hirschman at the checkers.

After the race Saturday night, while several team members and friends enjoyed their favorite adult libation, Hebing stood off to the side and helped load the trailer.

“To win here is big for us,” he reemphasized. “It’s one of those places where I’ve been close before and Kenny’s been close before but we could never close the deal. To get this win here for everyone is awesome. The guys work real hard on the car and they deserve it. There is so much history here, it’s just a cool place to win. To hold off Matt Hirschman and Chuck (Hossfeld) makes it even better because I know how good those guys are.”

Hebing is asphalt modified racing version of ‘Cool Hand Luke’ and I’m sure if he played poker, he would be a top candidate for one of those television championships. You can never read his face. He always seems focused on the task at hand, but yet you can sense his enjoyment of being at the track, doing something he loves, driving an asphalt modified and also his sense of what this is all about, fun. Before joining up with Troyer, Hebing could best be described as a journeyman racer with a boat load of talent that just hasn’t found the right home yet. Now it looks as though he has.
Bill "Wilbur" Hebring  (Ken and Bev Dippel Photo)
Close racing at Oswego   (Paul Cooper / Gater Racing News Photo)