PHOTO: Chuck Hossfeld (#22) makes his way past Jan Leaty before winning the inaugural Race of Champions Modified event at Airborne Speedway on Saturday. (Dave D’Alessandro/MSI Photography photo, courtesy RoC)

–by Ricky St. Clair

Chuck Hossfeld of Lockport, N.Y., rebounded from a lap 20 spin and nabbed the checkered flag in the inaugural event for the Race of Champions (RoC) Asphalt Modified Tour on Saturday night at Airborne Speedway.

The former RoC Tour champion charged back through the field, grabbed the lead from Daren Scherer in turn three on lap 57, and never looked back by leading the remainder of the 100-lap feature event.

‘We got spun early on around lap 20, and I said right around 30 we’ll grab a tire since we lost track position,’ an ecstatic Hossfeld said in victory lane. ‘That really enabled us to make an adjustment on the car. If we didn’t have that spin, I don’t know what would have happened.’

After making their first appearance at the speedway, Hossfeld and several other RoC drivers were pleased with the progressively banked Airborne half-mile and its facilities.

‘I love it here,’ Hossfeld said. ‘I wish this was in my backyard. If it was, I’d be here all the time. They do everything right. Everything is clean and is looking really good. They are really running this show great here.’

Pole sitter Earl Paules of Palmerton, Pa., dominated the first 25 laps of the event, but was passed by Scherer on lap 26 off of turn two. Paules, eventually finished second, noted that tire wear played a major factor in the extra-distance event.

‘I was satisfied with the car early on,’ Paules said. ‘I didn’t want to push the car because I knew that tire wear would be everything here. I knew I had to have tire later on because we weren’t going to pit. Obviously coming up here for the first time you want to win, but Chuck’s tough. It was a well deserved victory.’

Charging from sixth to third in the last five laps, Tommy Cloce of near by Potsdam, N.Y., earned a podium finish by getting the third spot in the closing laps of the event.

‘I’m very satisfied with my finish,’ a happy Cloce said. ‘Our plan here was not to come in and take a tire where a lot of guys’ plans were to come in and put on fresh rubber. I backed off and let a few guys go and then I said ‘Okay, it’s got to be halfway, it’s time to go.”

Cloce was also happy with the end result of the RoC’s first event at the speedway.

‘I love this track. It was absolutely spectacular,’ Cloce said. ‘I hope we come back here next year. It has two and a half lanes of racing out there. If you don’t like this track, then you’re not a racer.’

Kyle Ebersole of Hummelstown, Pa., and Patrick Emerling Orchard Park, N.Y., rounded out the top five.

Positions six through ten went to Jimmy Zacharias, Mike Leaty, Andrew Walko, Wilbur Hebing, and Doug Reaume.

The event saw three lead changes among three different drivers and was halted due to caution periods on six different occasions.

The RoC Tour now heads to Dunn Tire Raceway Park in Lancaster, N.Y., for a 75-lap event.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Della Auto Group 100
Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour — Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pos.-Car No.-Driver-Hometown

1. 22 Chuck Hossfeld Lockport, N.Y.
2. 8 Earl Paules Palmerton, Pa.
3. 69 Tommy Cloce Potsdam, N.Y.
4. 5 Kyle Ebersole Hummelstown, Pa.
5. 2 Patrick Emerling Orchard Park, N.Y.
6. 07 Jimmy Zacharias Candor, N.Y.
7. 25 Mike Leaty Williamson, N.Y.
8. 27 Andrew Walko Flemington, N.J.
9. 1 Wilbur Hebing Ontario, N.Y.
10. 14 Doug Reaume Syracuse, N.Y.
11. 3 Daren Scherer Binghamton, N.Y.
12. 6 Jan Leaty Williamson, N.Y.
13. 17 Ken Canestrari Mechanicville, N.Y.
14. 98 Erick Rudolph Ransomville, N.Y.
15. 1 Chris Risdale Rochester, N.Y.
16. 26 Scott Conover Brooktondale, N.Y.
17. 34 Rusty Smith Oxford, N.Y.
18. 44 Rick Kluth Brockport, N.Y.
19. 84 Greg Frutchey Oxford, N.Y.