10/20/14 Buffalo News Auto Racing Article


Larry Ott?s WNY Auto Racing: U.S. Open Worth the Wait for Hanbury

Tony Hanbury survived both a late race battle with Jimmy Zacharias as well as damage from an accident in an earlier heat Sunday to win the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 125. It?s the marquee race of Elegant Builders Raceway Park?s 26th annual U.S. Open Weekend.

The third and final day of the U.S. Open was finally run Sunday after it was rained out three times.

By simply taking the green flag Sunday, Chuck Hossfeld of Ransomville clinched the Race of Champions season point title, but his day would end in miserable fashion as he and Daren Scherer flew hard into the first turn wall on lap 46. Hossfeld?s right rear tire was going flat just prior to the accident. Both drivers were uninjured.

Prior to the crash, Hossfeld took the lead away from pole sitter George Skora III on lap 20 but lost it to Zacharias on a restart a few laps later. Rookie Sam Fullone inherited the lead on lap 76 when Zacharias pitted under caution. When the race resumed Nick Pecko wrestled the lead from Fullone around lap 85.

Andy Jankowiak grabbed the top spot by passing Pecko on lap 101 but Jankowiak and Pecko came together on lap 108 to bring out the caution. Hanbury inherited the lead.

Meanwhile, Zacharias was moving back through the field following a pit stop and got into second. The race restarted from a caution period with just five laps remaining but Hanbury held on by four car lengths over Zacharias.

?The car wasn?t the greatest all day,? said Hanbury. ?That wreck in the heat was total driver error by me. The cars bent. The pan hard bars bent. The car is all tore up. From lap one of the feature race until lap 125, the left front tire was off the ground so something is really messed up but we won.?

Erick Rudolph hit the first turn wall hard on lap 73 after contact with Chris Ridsdale but was uninjured. Ridsdale was sent to the rear of the field for his involvement.

Rudolph races on both asphalt and dirt-surfaced tracks. His weekend started better then it ended. Rudolph drives his family-owned No. 25 DIRT.car 358 Modified on the dirt and on occasion pilots Ed McGuire?s No. 51 asphalt Modified at certain Race of Champions events. Rudolph arrived at the Lancaster track Sunday to drive McGuire?s entry having already achieved another large career milestone earlier this weekend.

Rudolph placed second in the traveling DIRT.car 358 Modified Series point finale 100-lapper Friday in Brockville, Ont., to secure that series championship for the second year in a row. Rudolph trailed Carey Terrance by 11 markers coming to Brockville. Terrance finished fifth Friday meaning that Rudolph reversed the table and took the title by a scant four points.

?This year we really had to work for it,? said Rudolph. ?We had some things happen to us in races that we?ve never seen it happen. We?re scratching our heads. We?ve never seen it happen or even heard of it happening. But that didn?t set us back. We kept working hard bringing a quality car to the track.?

The race at Brockville was won by 2014 Ransomville 358 Modified champion Danny Johnson.

In other U.S. Open results Sunday, Joe Mancuso passed Jay Mudra on a restart just past the halfway mark to win the 35-lap ?Big 10? Super Stock Series headliner. The victory allowed Mancuso to also secure the 2014 ?Big 10? Super Stock Series points championship. Mancuso also won the U.S. Open a year ago.

Veteran Jeff Brown captured the Late Model 50 after gaining the top spot when Bobby Weber suffered mechanical woes early in the race.

Scott Wylie has plenty of experience at Elegant Builders Raceway Park in many forms of race cars and it showed as the veteran easily topped the six car IMCA-style Modified field from the pole in their 12-lap main event.

The TQ Midgets were divided into two groups, the open-TQ Midgets and NYPAMA TQ Midgets. In the 15-lap open-TQ Midget feature Jonathan Reid spun from the pole but then charged back through the eight-car field to win. Shawn Nye was best in the 25-lap NYPAMA event ahead of 21 other racers. Reid was second in the NYPAMA race.

U.S. Open promoter Bill Catania Jr. addressed the crowd before the race and talked about his desire to buy the Lancaster-based track. Catania Jr. and his company, Short Track Management, are currently negotiating with track owner Gordon Reger to purchase the facility.

Catania Jr., was impressed with the number of cars and spectators that came out to support the first two days of the U.S. Open competition on Sept. 19 and 20, as well as the large number of drag racers who showed up for the season finale Sept. 26.

?For those of you who were here for days one and two last month, it was amazing to see these grandstands full again,? Catania Jr. said. ?That gave us the confidence to submit a formal bid to buy the track and as we sit here today, you made that happen. Your loyalty to this race track and seeing the 277 drag racers that also came out here didn?t hurt either.

?I?m really looking forward to this next week and our hopes are that we can put together a final deal to be able to move forward and purchase this track.?

email: lawrence_o_14075@yahoo.com

I don't think Chucks tire going down had anything to do with the crash.  The accident was not even a 1/3 of the way into race.  Took out 2 of the top 4 guys in the points and close to taking 3 of the top 4.  My opinion but way to many cars tore in this race.  Only 9 cars running at the end and 7 were in the lead lap. 


I think the tire was the only reason that chuck crashed.  Prior to that he was solidly in the lead. I don't think it was his fault that he crashed. That was the first time alot of those guys got to pass the 22 car under green. Chuck even said in his interview after that he should have stopped alot sooner. Gave a chance for different names to take the spotlight. Instead of Hirschman/Hossfeld it was Fullone, Skora, Pecko, Jimmy Z, Holmes and Hanbury Taking turns with the spotlight.  Jmo.


Lol good one! Maybe if it were a RF going down a car might suddenly dart to the right. Nice fishing expedition tho. But like they always say, two's company but three's crowd. Video does shed some light on why the right side nerf bar was jacked all up out of shape on that blue car when they came in for a pit stop. Physics 101!


Um, pretty much that entire situation was caused by the tire going down.  He was backing up through the field bad.  Clearly he wasn't up to speed and when a car starts backing up that dramatically its a mess and seldom ends well.  And this case is no different.  He went too long with a car that was limping along.  He would have been better served to bring out a yellow and get a new tire and try to make the best out of what he had.  Instead he took one hell of a hit on a hope that someone else would bring out the caution he needed.

*edited because working and chatting doesn't always work out so well*