Jan Leaty of Williamson, N.Y., has made the Oswego Speedway his own personal play ground over the last few years. He hasn't won every event, but he's been competitive and near the front of each event, including a victory in the Race of Champions two years ago.
This past Saturday, the DART Asphalt Modified Tour Race of Champions Tour regulars took to the 5/8-mile oval as a part of Budweiser International Classic weekend in a 100-lap affair which provided the perfect tune up for this weekends 200-lap 59th Annual Sunoco Race of Champions. When the dust settled Saturday night, the elder of the two racing Leaty's stood tall in victory lane.
For Leaty it was his second consecutive DART Asphalt Modified Race of Champions Tour victory, backing up his August 14th victory at Spencer Speedway.
“We didn't have the best start in the heat race,” offered Leaty following the event from victory lane. “But we made the best of it and drove from fourth in the race to victory lane.”
When it was time to cash in on the victory Leaty powered by Wilbur Hebing for second place and jetted past Dave Wollaber into the lead on lap 69 and from there, he never looked back.
“The car was pretty decent, but after the pit stop, the other guys, they were just in the way. That's how good the car was after the stop.”
Leaty claimed $3,500 for the 100-lap victory.
Wilbur Hebing, who has won at Oswego before chased Leaty to the stripe to finished second. It was definitely a run that Hebing needed aboard Ed McGuire's machine.
“We've struggled all year and I've got to take a second to thank Jan Leaty and the Hirschmans for their help and advice,” stated Hebing following the event. “They don't tell you everything, but they get you pointed in the right direction and we needed some of that, plus we needed tonight. It was a good run. I'm still a thirty lap racer and those guys just know how to run these longer races and they helped us tonight and it really helped get us what we needed and that was back up front.”
PIT STOPS CHANGE COMPLEXION OF THE RACE
There were several teams that were penalized for pitting early and two others that passed the pit road pace vehicle. After the event, rather then hear the sides of the officials and the racers, it was clear that the race winner had an opinion.
“A couple of guys made the mistake of pitting when they weren't suppose to pit and a couple of guys made the mistake of passing the pace vehicle on pit road, when we could pit,” explained Leaty. “I just don't understand how they can do that kind of stuff and expect it to work. My crew, they're the best as I came into the pits fourth and they got me out first of the cars who pitted and that was the difference for us in winning the race.
Leaty continued, “It is hard to make the mistake of pitting at the wrong time. I don't know if they don't have their one way radio working or their spotter is not listening to race control, but there is no real excuse for it. The race procedures haven't changed over the years here.”
The pit stop penalties took several competitors out of contention.
Rowan Pennink finished third in his RoC Tour debut this season. A couple of carburetor problems plagued Pennink, but it was a good tune up for this weekend, for Pennink, who has truly stepped up on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour this season.
Rusty Smith continued his string of strong DART RoC Tour runs with a fourth as TJ Potrzebowski rounded out the top five.
Davey Hamilton of Boise, Idaho, who is an Indy Car and Supermodified pilot made his debut in Eric Beers Horwith Freightliners Chevrolet. Hamilton didn't have the greatest experience behind the wheel of the Troyer machine, but he took to the car looking like he knew the line and quickly adapted to the machine.
Billy Putney had another strong run come up short at Oswego when the right front hub broke on his machine. The wheel and tire took a long bouncing ride off the wall and through the infield and cost Putney a shot at victory.
Matt Hirschman claimed the regular season point championship by 10 over Rusty Smith with his seventh place finish at Oswego.
This weekend the 59th Annual Sunoco Race of Champions takes center stage. Marylin and Don Toal have raised $15,643, which eclipses their previous mark from last season. The SST machines take center stage at Oswego on Friday night with the Late Models on Saturday and the Modified 200-lap event on Sunday.
RACE REPORT RACE OF CHAMPIONS DART ASPHALT MODIFIED TOUR REGULAR SEASON RACE #5 - Oswego Speedway, September 5, 2009
1.) Jan Leaty
2.) Wilbur Hebing
3.) Rowan Pennink
4.) Rusty Smith
5.) TJ Potrzebowski
6.) Pete Brittain
7.) Matt Hirschman
8.) Erick Rudolph
9.) Daren Scherer
10.) Tommy Farrell, III
11.) Eric Beers
12.) Jim Storace
13.) Mike Leaty
14.) Dave Wollaber
15.) Mark Tychoniewicz
16.) Kyle Ebersole
17.) Doug Reaume
18.) Tom Kinsella
19.) Billy Putney
20.) Jeff Hamman
21.) Chuck Hossfeld
22.) Davey Hamilton
23.) Earl Paules
24.) Rick Kluth
25.) Todd Geist
26.) Tom Wiest
27.) Ron Smith.
LAP LEADERS; Rusty Smith ( 1 - 10 ) Rudolph ( 11 - 53 ), Rusty Smith ( 54 ), Wollaber ( 55 - 68 ), J. Leaty ( 69 - 100 )
DART MACHINERY AWARD SET OF $1,500 HEADS; J. Leaty.
GATER RACING NEWS DRIVER BONUS DRAW $500 ( SPENCER ); Rusty Smith
GATER RACING NEWS DRIVER BONUS DRAW $500 ( OSWEGO ); Pennink.
HOOISER RACING TIRE HARD CHARGER AWARD; Hebing ( 21st to 2nd )
HOOSIER RACING TIRE HARD LUCK AWARD; Hamman ( 6th to 19th )
NEXT RoC EVENT; Sunday September 13th - Oswego Speedway - Championship Series Race #2 - 59th Sunoco Race of Champions - 200 laps - $10,000 to win - minimum of $15,643 in lap money.
The Race of Champions Dart Asphalt Modified Tour is proudly sponsored by; Dart Machinery, Hoosier Racing Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Gater Racing News, Total Seal Piston Rings, PBM Performance Products, Afco, Xceldyne Technologies, Melling Performance, Competition Engineering by Moroso, Erson Cams, Dynatech, Dura - Bond, CV Products, and LA Sleeve.