ROC Asphalt Tour action started on Sunday afternoon May 3rd at Chemung Speedrome with a full field of 28 modifieds. Practice went off early in the afternoon with cars heading out to shake off the cobwebs from the long northern winter. Four heats set the field for the 75 lap feature. Patrick Emerling, Brian Defebo, Matt Hirshman, and Tony Hambury won their heat races. After the redraw Jimmy Zacharias was set to lead the field to the start of the 2015 season. Zacharias had command of the field and was the car to beat until 20 laps to go. Zacharias retired with overheating issues and a hard charging Andy Jankowiak inherited the lead. Andy J and “Hotshoe” Chuck Hossfeld battled for the remainder of the race. Andy got loose coming out of four allowing Chuck to get by and drive to the checkered flag.
Next up for the ROC Tour crew is opening weekend at Oswego Speedway with the Richie Evans Memorial 75 on May 9th.
Thompson Speedway hosted one of the largest weekends of open wheel asphalt modified action of the year during the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing presented by XtraMart. A total of 91 cars were on hand for the three divisions of racing. 36 NWMT made it the largest division, followed by the VMRS Series with 32 entries, and 23 SK cars rounded out the numbers.
Going into the weekend it was known that weather could play a large role in how the schedule and races ran. The VMRS series cars took the track at around 9:15 on Saturday and were able to make it through their morning practice without incident. The Tour Mods after were not so lucky. After 10 minutes of practice the sky’s opened up sending both cars and crews back to the haulers. After the two-hour break, and the conclusion of practice, Pitkat, Preese, Lia, and Hirschman all showed good speed and promised to make this World Series weekend an exciting race flag to flag.
With this being the final round of the NWMT many peoples attention and thoughts were on next year, one topic of the pit talk was the prototype Troyer that was resting in the trailer of the Buzz Chew Chevrolet team. Although early laps on the car have proved to be very promising, it was decided that the car would remain as a backup for this event. This car will be undergoing more development during a testing trip south this winter.
Time trials for the NWMT got under way at 5pm only to be cut short again by the weather. Once the track was dry at 7:30 the remainder of the field ran. Woody Pitkat put his No. 88 Buzz Chew Chevrolet/Elbow East Restaurant Chevrolet on the pole with the No. 16 Flamingo Motorsports of Ryan Preece starting on the outside of him. That evening the VMRS series took to the track. Steve Masse started on pole and led all 75 laps until the checkers flew.
A chilly but clear Sunday started with temperatures hovering in the high 40’s. The day’s events for the open wheel modifieds started with the SK division. Woody Pitkat started third and worked his way to the front to pick up the win in the 30-lap feature. In the final round of the NWMT all Doug Coby needed to do was finish 24th or better to wrap up his second NWMT championship. He did so by finishing 17th despite an unassisted late race brush of the wall that ended with him getting a flat and bringing out a caution. The real interest in the race was at the front, with pole sitter and early leader Woody Pitkat out on lap 14 from contact with lap traffic the race was Ryan Preese’s to loose. Preese did not put a foot wrong and lead all but 11 laps of the 150-lap feature giving him his second NWMT win of the year.