Story By: DAVE BUCHANAN / LANCASTER SPEEDWAY – LANCASTER, NY – Lancaster National Speedway was finally able to wave the green flag on its 60th season of racing on Saturday with the lid lifter for the X-Press Signs Stock Car Series. Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, N.Y. kicked off the 2018 campaign with a win in the Queen City Clash 75 for the Race of Champions Modified Series.
Daren Scherer and Tyler Rypkema led the field of 22 RoC Modifieds to opening green flag. Scherer grabbed the early lead, but the caution flag was displayed quickly when Andy Jankowiak cut down a tire on the opening lap.
Scherer settled into the lead with Tommy Catalano coming from the third starting position to provide an early challenge. Catalano hounded Scherer as he forced the leader to run hard during the early stages. The pair pulled away from the field until the caution flag flew again on lap 17 for a spin by rookie Zack Knowlden.
The race restarted with Scherer and Catalano followed by Chuck Hossfeld, Rypkema and Emerling. Hossfeld quickly dispatched of Catalano to move into third. Emerling started the race in ninth, but was already in to the top five by this point. He passed Catalano for third on lap 33 and then set his sights on Hossfeld. Six laps later Emerling moved past Hossfeld for the runner-up position just before the caution flag came out for a spin by Karl Hehr.
Scherer and Emerling were now perched on the front row for the restart with just 36 laps to go. It took Emerling just two laps before Scherer slowed momentarily off of turn two to give up the lead. Scherer thought there was a problem with his engine, but the muffler had just fallen off. Hossfeld passed Scherer for second two laps later.
The final caution period of the night happened on lap 50 when Tommy Catalano spun in turn two. The race restarted with Emerling leading Hossfeld, Scherer, Daryl Lewis, Jr. and Eric Beers. Scherer was able to regain second from Hossfeld and Lewis also took over third from him on lap 58. The pair then tried to reel in Emerling. Scherer appeared to be catching Emerling in the turn three end of the race track, but Emerling was a little bit better through turn two. Scherer tried hard to close the gap to Emerling, but Emerling increased his margin with five laps to go.
Patrick Emerling held on to score his first RoC Modified win at Lancaster since sweeping all four Modified races in 2016. Scherer settled for second for his best RoC finish in a couple season. Lewis, Jr. finished third after having a very fast race car all day. George Skora III got caught in an early incident and then battled through a flat tire to finish fourth. Hossfeld rounded out the top five.
Tim Gullo of Elmira, N.Y. continued his domination of the Race of Champions Super Stock Series at Lancaster. Gullo, who won four out of the five RoC Super Stock races at Lancaster in 2017, kicked off the 2018 season with a win in the 30-lap Super Stock feature.
Gullo, however, needed a little bit of luck to get his win. He took the lead from Chris Finocchario on lap 4 and held it until lap 16 when Joe Mancuso got by him. Mancuso looked to be on his way victory when he spun out shortly after the yellow flag was displayed with about three laps to go. That gave the lead back to Gullo. He held on for the final few laps to score the win.
Finocchario finished in second place. Chuck Anderson finished third in his first start in several seasons. Mancuso and Dana Novoa rounded out the top five.
In the Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks, defending track champion Rich Sharpe of Lancaster picked up where he left om last year to score the win. Sharpe passed Tim Welshans for the lead shortly after a restart on lap 22.
Pole sitter Dave Vona grabbed the lead at the drop of the green flag and was very fast early on. John Carlson was running second to Vona until lap 5 when there was contact with Sharpe on the back straightaway. Carlson did a complete 360-degree spin, but kept on going to avoid bringing out the yellow flag. Sharpe was penalized for the contact and sent to the rear of the field during a caution period on lap 6.
The penalty moved Welshans into second place, and he passed Vona for the lead on lap 9. Welshans led for the majority of the race while Sharpe worked his way back through the field. The yellow flag was displayed on lap 21 for an incident involving Mark Hoch and Carlson. Sharpe had landed back in second place by this time and was able to take advantage of the late race restart to make the race-winning pass.
Dave Brunka of Cheektowaga, N.Y. kicked off his second season in the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders with a feature win on opening day. Brunka led the race from the pole position before giving it away to Chris Pennell on lap 7, but this would not be his final time in first on this night.
Pennell and Dan Dressel hooked up to pull away from the field, but caught lapped traffic late in the race. Dressel got into the back Pennell and spun him out with just six laps to go. Both cars fell to the rear of the field and gave the lead back to Brunka,
Brunka held on for the final six laps to pick up his first win of the season over Jason Anasiewicz, Scott Fritz, Joe Brunka and Dave Mibrand, Jr.
Lancaster National Speedway is back in action next Saturday at 6:30 p.m. for Ladies Night. Females can enter the gates for just $5. The VP Racing Fuels Sportsman make their season debut plus the Street Stocks and 4-Cylinders.
RACE OF CHAMPIONS MODIFIED SERIES
Heat Winners: Mike Leaty, Daryl Lewis, Jr., Chuck Hossfeld
Fast Qualifier: Chuck Hossfeld – 17.204 seconds
Queen City Clash 75 Finish: PATRICK EMERLING, Daren Scherer, Daryl Lewis, Jr., George Skora III, Chuck Hossfeld, Andy Jankowiak, Eric Beers, Danny Knoll, Jr., Scott Wylie, Mike Leaty, Austin Kochenash, Tommy Catalano, Bill Hebing, Kevin Miller, Karl Hehr, Tyler Rypkema, Jack Ely, Amy Catalano, Zack Knowlden, Kreig Heroth, Alan Bookmiller DNS: John Barber
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS
Heat Winners: John Carlson, Tim Welshans
Feature: RICH SHARPE, Tim Welshans. Dave Vona, Ken Maltby, Max Northem, Tommy Wentland, Mark Hoch, Nik Welshans, Jerry Kosmowski, Jeff Szafraniec, Andy Cryan, John Carlson, Mike Dalfonso, Jr., Chris Powers, Mike Rogers, Garrett Cleversley
ROAMING BUFFALO 4-CYLINDERS
Heat Winners: Kevin Bainbridge, Chris Pennell, Joe Brunka
Feature: DAVID BRUNKA, Jason Anasiewicz, Scott Fritz, Joe Brunka, Dave Milbrand, Jr., Dan Dressel, Tim Durfy, Chris Pennell, Casey Pew, Russ Hartke, Jeff Landwehr, Andy Danielwicz, Robert Palmer, Dave Evans, Josh Schosek, Kevin Bainbridge, Charles Palmer, Kenny Hejna, Mark Annis, Jr., Kayla Joseph
RACE OF CHAMPIONS SUPER STOCK SERIES
Heat Winners: Tim Gullo. Joe Mancuso
Feature: TIM GULLO, Chris Finocchario, Chuck Anderson, Joe Mancuso, Dana Novoa, Tommy Barron, Josh Schoonamaker, Joel Gleason, Vern Hedderick, Ron Richter, Tommy Reese, TJ Cochrane, Zach Willis, Tommy Krawczyk DNS: Jeff Whalen