Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., chased after Billy Putney of East Aurora, N.Y., for most of Saturday night at the Oswego Speedway in the DART Race of Champions Asphalt Modified 75-lap portion of the Port City 150 presented by Parts Plus and GATER Racing News. With just three circuits remaining around the 'Steel Palace' and while under caution, Putney had the bolts break on the brake caliper bracket on the right front of his Troyer machine. It caused Putney to get a flat tire handing second place Christopher the lead. Christopher was able to hold off Matt Hirschman for the final few laps, including a drag race to the start-finish line, rewarding him with his first Oswego Speedway victory. It also gave Christopher's car owner, Terry Zacharias an emotional victory.
“Hats off to Billy (Putney) tonight,” offered Christopher following the event. “We were right there with him but then he'd gain on us over time. He really did have a good car, probably the best car tonight, but he wasn't able to close the deal and win. That's a tough pill to swallow for him, but we'll take it. I've been on the other end of that stick and it's never good. I've been coming up here for a long time and trying to win one so that part of it is great. It's been awhile since I've been here, six years or so.
“I think there may have been one chance to get him, but that was it, they definitely had the car to beat tonight. It's really cool to win here at Oswego, but it feels really good to win for Terry Zacharias and all his guys. People kind of said some things about Terry and his equipment, but I'll tell you what, that is a first class car and it performed like it. It has a Hutter Motor and it just pulled all the way down the track. The motor was really impressive and the car drove good. I had to crew chief it from the seat a little and make some changes, which I'm not really comfortable doing anymore, but it worked out and I know that Terry and everyone that is a part of his operation will really appreciate this.”
Terry Zacharias has owned and fielded cars for Pete Brittain for the past few years on the RoC trail, but this year they made a change and the result was Christopher stepping into the recently purchased Greenfield Dodge cars. Christopher drove one of the two Greenfield machines with the Hutter engine and it proved to be a very potent combination.
“It was a good night for us, all-in-all,” offered Zacharias following the event. “My boys are driving now and we struggled a bit in qualifying, but to win here at Oswego is big. Ted really did a great job and I'm very happy that we could give him a car that he was able to win with.”
Christopher's win makes his season more incredible. Considering he's won in just about everything he's sat in, including capturing a victory on Friday night at Stafford in the SK Modified division. It really as just been his time.
Second For Hirschman
Matt Hirschman has been the dominating guy at Oswego of late, but after redrawing 14th, Hirschman had to use up his equipment to get back through the field, but he did have enough to make a late race run at Christopher on the final laps.
“We were close but not close enough,” Hirschman said following the event, but he was still satisfied with his team's performance. “I used it up, but the car was setup to be able to do that and I would do it that way again considering the circumstances.”
Hirschman got to second, but couldn't complete his vault to the lead while on the double-file restarts. A lap 35 restart saw Putney and Hirschman start side-by-side with Putney gaining the advantage.
“I actually got by Teddy (Christopher),” explained Hirschman. “And then we had a restart with Putney on the outside and he moved me right into the dirt and Teddy got that spot back. After that the remaining restarts were single file and it's very challenging to pass here. We did get back to Ted, but we couldn't close the pass. It would have been good to pass Billy on that start. I would have like to win, but it was an exciting finish and good for the fans. Our setup is right there so we'll just come back for the other two races and see what we have.”
Race of Champions DART Asphalt Tour Notes
John Markovic led the field to the green flanked by Billy Putney with Putney jumping out to the lead as the green flag was displayed. Putney was able to build a few car length lead during most green flag stretches while the field sorted itself out.
Double-file restarts were introduced to the Tour this season and take place until the event reaches the halfway point and that element increased the cars shuffling and using strategy to come through the field as exhibited by Eric Beers, who started 21st in the DeLange Racing Troyer, but finished 4th.
Steven Reed pounded the outside wall in turn two after clipping the inside wall. It was the most serious incident of the feature.
At the checkered flag in the feature following Christopher and Hirschman it was Jan Leaty, Eric Beers and Erick Rudolph.
An impressive 36-car field showed up for the opening event which saw qualifying race wins go to Earl Paules, Rusty Smith, TJ Potrzebowski and Daren Scherer, while Eric Beers won the B-Main.
Tommy Farrell had a tough weekend. He was involved in a lap one incident at Stafford and blew a motor in the final practice at Oswego and was unable to compete.
Chuck Hossfeld had a strong performance at Oswego, but broke a rod end early in the event and was forced out. He went on to win Sunday's Dunn Tire Raceway Park (Lancaster) Modified opener.
All DNQ's from this night will receive a free Hoosier Racing Tire is they show up at the next RoC race in June at Spencer. The next Modified appearance at Oswego is Saturday September 5th.
The Race of Champions Dart Asphalt Modified Tour is sponsored by; Dart Machinery, Hoosier Racing Tires, Gater Racing News, Sunoco Race Fuels, TJ Toyota, Waite Toyota, PBM Performance Products, Dura - Bond, Total Seal Piston Rings, Competition Engineering by Moroso, Dynatech, Xceldyne, CV Products, Afco, and LA Sleeve.
The next event for Race of Champions DART Asphalt Modified Tour is at Spencer Speedway in Rochester, N.Y. on June 19th.
Race of Champions DART Asphalt Modified Tour, Race Report
REGULAR SEASON RACE # 1
OSWEGO SPEEDWAY RICHIE EVANS MEMORIAL 75 LAPS
1. Ted Christopher
2. Matt Hirschman
3. Jan Leaty
4. Eric Beers
5. Erick Rudolph
6. Rusty Smith
7. TJ Potrzebowski
8. Daren Scherer
9. Earl Paules
10. Mike Leaty
11. Brian DeFebo
12. Chris Zacharias
13. Dean Rypkema
14. Rick Kluth
15. Jim Storace
16. Kyle Ebersole
17. Billy Putney
18. Pete Brittain
19. Andy Walko
20. Mark Tychoniewicz
21. Steven Reed
22. Doug Reaume
23. Wilbur Hebing
24. John Markovic
25. Matt Kurzejewski
26. Chuck Hossfeld.
DNQ's; David Silvernail, Matt Clemens, Adam Horwith, Tommy Cloce, Marc Rogers, Tommy Farrell,
III, Ken Canestrari, TJ Zacharias, Terry Zacharias.
LAP LEADERS; ( Putney 1 - 72 ), Christopher ( 73 - 75 ).
DART MACHINERY AWARD, SET OF $1,500 DART HEADS; Christopher.
GATER RACING NEWS DRIVER BONUS DRAWING $500; C. Zacharias.
HOOSIER RACING TIRE HARD CHARGER AWARD; M. Leaty ( 26th to 10th ).
HOOSIER RACING TIRE HARD LUCK AWARD; Markovic ( 1st to 24th ).