Story By: STEVEN OVENS / CHEMUMG SPEEDROME – CHEMUNG, NY – Opening night for the weekly divisions at Chemung Speedrome was greeted with a large crowd and a full general admission parking area. The track was celebrating the points opener with “Pack the Track Night” and the fans didn’t disappoint as they turned out in droves.
Tyler Rypkema made a fairly last minute call this week to bring his Sport Mod to Chemung Speedrome to ‘play’ on a rare off weekend for his team. Their play date with the three-eighths mile Chemung Speedrome led to pay dirt with Rypkema taking home his first Chemung checkered flag during the weekly racing opener.
Local hero Zack Curren drew the pole position and was thought to be the favorite to take the lead into turn one once Allen Mathews dropped the green flag. But it was Rypkema who ripped the top lane off turn two to grab the early lead. Whether it was momentum or a great educated guess on gear selection- Rypkema would take the lead and never look back.
The players for second place swapped between Curren and Zack Knowlden, who came on strong late in the going. Knowlden would start alongside Rypkema during a late race restart but was no match for Rypkema who would reclaim the race lead and take the first points checkered flag of 2019 at ‘The Drome.’
Knowlden would finish in position number two, with Curren, Charlie Sharpsteen and Gene Sharpsteen completing the top five.
“We had a really good Modified car here last week, so we decided to bring the B Mod here to have some fun,” said Rypkema as he was interviewed by Chris Zacharias in Midstate Basement Authorities Victory Lane.
“We put something comparable in it and see how it is- it was real good.”
The race winner was asked about the power off the bottom of the corners that seemed to be his bread and butter enroute to victory lane.
“We’ve got an old Clark engine in here and it’s amazing how much power it still has. I could race hard with both of them (Curren and Knowlden) and made it a lot of fun.”
Rypkema told the crowd that even though they’ll go into Week 2 as the points leader, Rypkema doesn’t have plans to run the full season as their Modified schedule will kick up in the next few weekends.
Defending New York Super Stock Series champion Nick Robinson made it two races in a row with a checkered flag as he crossed the line first in the 25-lap Super Stock feature. Robinson’s fiancé Monica drew him the pole starting position for the green flag and he would keep the field at bay for all 25 laps.
Robinson rode the Pudgie’s Pizza, Five Acres Tavern No. 15 hugged right around the bottom lane like a slot car- jumping out to a full straightaway advantage early in the race. Behind Robinson though, there was an intense battle going on for the runner up position.
The No. 75 of Jim House held off the quick advances of RJ Zacharias for as long as he could, but eventually Zacharias rotated the bottom of the tricky fourth turn and snuck by for the position. However a late race run by the white No. 72 of Mike Nichols proved to be entertaining as he, Zacharias and the ageless wonder Frank Chapman dug and claw for the second spot. Jesse Hurley finished off the rest of the top five.
It was an all Team Robinson night too, as Monica Green dominated the Four Cylinder feature in her Mortimer sponsored, Five Acres Tavern No. 5. Green had nearly a half-track advantage at one point before a caution flag for Ricky Lane and Tyler Harbst making contact and spinning in turn one bunched the field back up.
Rookie Joey Bevaqua won his heat race, but struggled in the feature after a bad draw put him in heavy traffic. However the yellow moved him up to third place for the restart and took over second on the drop of the green in the run to the checkers.
Bevaqua gave it a great run in the hunt for his teammate Green, but it would be the Queen of the Four Cylinders who captured the checkered flag to start off her 2019 championship pursuit. Bevaqua got as far as a car length away in the closing laps but settled for second, with DJ Shaw, Harbst and Lane filling out the top five.
Speaking of dominating performances, Gary Ham put a shellacking on the INEX Legends field, leading all 20 laps enroute to his opening night victory. The colorful Ham provided the Kodak moments with Chris Zacharias in Victory Lane, as Ham has a storied history with Chemung Speedrome as an official years ago before getting behind the wheel.
Kevin Youngs made it a race at the end, after he won an exciting heat race earlier in the night, but would settle for the second spot. Daniel Carter, Chuck Lohmeyer and Jody Buckley filled out the top five.
Pre-race favorite in the Bandoleros, Chase Sinsabaugh, had a terminal problem in his heat race and would see the blue No. 9 watch the feature from the pits for their 10-lap go with the combined Outlaw and Bandit Bandos.
The young shoe Jeffery Noe in his No. 1 would take the lead on lap 1 and lead the entire distance to start his points campaign with a victory. Noe had problems of his own in the heat race, but the Noe crew made repairs for the feature and certainly had it right, as Noe took the first win of the season.
Aidan Gardner made memories with his crew as he would claim the Bandit division victory for his first checkered flag of 2019. His victory lane interview with Chris Zacharias was one for the ages- who doesn’t love a first time winner?
Next Friday Chemung Speedrome will be back in action with a full lineup of Sunoco Modifeds, Super Stocks, Four Cylinders, INEX Legends and Bandoleros. It will also be Little League Baseball Night with racing taking Allen Mathews’ green flag at 7pm sharp!
CHEMUNG SPEEDROME OFFICIAL RESULTS FRIDAY MAY 24th, 2019
SUNOCO MODIFIEDS, 15 cars (40 Laps): TYLER RYPKEMA (1), Zack Knowlden, Zack Curren, Charlie Sharpsteen, Gene Sharpsteen, Tim Gullo, Bryan Sherwood, Kevin Youngs, Keith Youngs, Steven Sherwood, Damon Frutchey, Bob Wilson, Pat Judson, Gary Noe, Bill Chandler
SUPER STOCKS, 13 cars (25 Laps): NICK ROBINSON (1), Mike Nichols, RJ Zacharias, Frank Chapman, Jesse Hurley, Jim House, Jason Duke, Cody Frantz, JP Harbst, Garrett Zacharias, Dennis Beardslee, Ron Underwood, Brian DeMark
FOUR CYLINDERS, 10 cars (20 Laps): MONICA GREEN (1), Joey Bevaqua, DJ Shaw, Tyler Harbst, Ricky Lane, Mark Taylor, Jason Peck, Brett Bourdette, Alex Brown, Greg Moldt
INEX LEGENDS, 8 cars (20 Laps): GARY HAM (1), Kevin Youngs, Daniel Carter, Chuck Lohmeyer, Jody Buckley, James Anderson, Charlie Lohmeyer, Anthony Gullo
BANDOLEROS, 5 cars (10 Laps): JEFFERY NOE (1) Outlaw Winner, AIDAN GARDNER (1) Bandit Winner, Nolan Barker, Nial Gardner DNS: Chase Sinsabaugh