Story By: DAVE BUCHANAN / LANCASTER SPEEDWAY – LANCASTER, NY – Lancaster National Speedway’s signature stock car event, the US Open, is turning the “Big 3-0” this year and it is almost time to celebrate.
The 30th annual three-day event is set for September 21-23 featuring seven divisions of X-Press Signs Stock Car Racing, including the U.S. Open 125 for the Race of Champions Modified Series.
The U.S. Open was created in 1989 by former speedway promoter Alex Friesen to give Lancaster a big end-of-year event to close out the stock car season, and to draw competitors and fans from across the region. Jan Leaty of Williamson, N.Y. won the inaugural U.S. Open Modified feature making it a “must win” for Modified drivers at the famed 5/8-mile asphalt oval of Lancaster.
Western New York’s Racing Finale kicks off on Friday, September 21, with the traditional practice session and U.S. Open Kickoff Party. Pit gates open and inspection begins at 4 p.m. with practice for all divisions starting at 6 p.m. The grandstand gates will open at 5:30 p.m. with fans allowed in for FREE to watch practice.
Immediately after practice, the main concourse comes to life with the U.S. Open Kickoff Party. This year WNY and fan favorite “1980 Something” returns to play their hits live in the concourse right by the 12 Gates Brewing Beer Stand starting at 9:30 p.m.
Saturday’s racing action headlines with the 75-lap main event for the VP Racing Fuels Sportsman as part of the Race of Champions Sportsman Series. The “Hotshoe” Chuck Hossfeld of Ransomville, N.Y. has won this race two years in a row. There will be plenty of competition from Lancaster’s weekly Sportsman racers as well as challengers from across the region looking to deny him a third-straight win.
The RoC Super Stocks, RoC 4-Cylinder Dash Series and NYPA TQ Midgets will also run their heats and features on Saturday. Pit gates open at 1 p.m. with practice starting at 2. Front gates will also open at 2 p.m. with qualifying beginning at 4:30.
The Race of Champions Modified Series takes center stage on Sunday with the running of the 30th annual U.S. Open 125. This is the biggest race of the year for Modified racing in Western New York and is the penultimate event of the RoC Series season.
Last season, Andy Jankowiak of Tonawanda, N.Y. dominated the 125-lap feature for his first U.S. Open Modified win. Jankowiak is coming off a huge victory in the Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 110 that ran on August 18. He is locking horns with Chuck Hossfeld for the RoC Modified Series championship this season.
The Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks and Race of Champions Late Models fill out the program on Sunday afternoon. Both highly competitive divisions will have stacked fields going for the chance to add their name to the U.S. Open trophy.
Pit gates open on Sunday at 11 a.m. with practice beginning and front gates opening at 12 noon. Heat racing starts at 2 p.m.
The 30th Annual U.S. OPEN – September 21-23, 2018
Lancaster National Speedway; Lancaster, NY
*All times and events are subject to change
Friday, September 21
4 p.m. Pit Gates Open, Inspection Begins
5:30 p.m. Grandstand Gates Open FREE ADMISSION
6 p.m. Practice – by division (minimum of two rounds)
9:30 p.m. (approx.) Conclusion of Practice – U.S. Open “Kick-Off Party” with band 1980 Something
11:30 p.m. Pit Area Closed / Secure Facility
Saturday, September 22
1 p.m. Pit Gates Open – Inspection Begins
2 p.m. Front Gates Open – Practice by Division (2 Rounds per Division – Inner Oval First)
4 p.m. Driver’s Meetings (Tech Barn)
4:30 p.m. Opening Ceremonies (Invocation & Anthems) followed by heat races
RoC 4-Cylinder Dash Series/Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinder Qualifying Races (8 laps) – Inner Oval
NYPA T.Q. Midget Qualifying Races (8 laps) – Inner Oval
Race of Champions Super Stock Qualifying Races (8 laps)
RoC Sportsman Series/VP Racing Fuels Sportsman Qualifying Races – (10 laps)
RoC 4-Cylinder Dash Series/Roaming Buffalo 4 Cylinder Feature Race (25 laps) – Inner Oval
NYPA T.Q. Midget Feature Race (25 laps) – Inner Oval
VP Racing Fuels Sportsman B-Main IF NEEDED (10 laps)
Sportsman Redraw on Fronstretch (time permitting)
Race of Champions Super Stock Feature (30 laps)
RoC Sportsman Series/VP Racing Fuels Sportsman Feature (75 laps)
Sunday, September 23
11 a.m. Pit Gates Open
12:00 p.m. Front Gates Open – Practice by Street Stocks & Late Models (2 Rounds per Division)
1 p.m. Modified Practice (2 rounds)
1:30 p.m. Driver’s Meetings (Tech Barn)
2 p.m. Opening Ceremonies (Invocation & Anthems) followed by qualifying
Race of Champions Modified Series Group Time Trials (G-W-C)
Advance Auto Parts Street Stock Qualifying Races (8 laps)
Race of Champions Late Model Qualifying Races (8 laps)
Race of Champions Modified Series Qualifying Races (10 laps)
Street Stock B-Main IF NEEDED (10 laps)
Modified B-Main IF NEEDED (10 laps)
Modified Redraw on Fronstretch
Advance Auto Parts Street Stock Feature (35 laps)
Race of Champions Late Model Feature (30 laps)
Race of Champions Modified Series U.S. Open 125 (125 laps)