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   The Chrome Horn - Modified News


The Race Really Does Not Count Until Lap 50
by Denise DuPont

Modified teams headed south this February away from the snow and cold of the Northeast to the sunny warm state of Florida. Before heading to the 51st Annual World Series of Asphalt Racing at New Smyrna Speedway, teams made a pit stop at Bronson Speedway for some high banked short track competition. This year is the second annual tour type modified race event at Bronson Speedway and the modifieds doubled their presence at the track.

Earlier this month track owner and promoter, Ann Young, announced that the race winner would pocket $2,400 including the Northeast Race Cars & Parts $200 gift certificate. It was also conceivable that if the leader of lap 49 led that entire final lap to the checker, the leader would earn the $490 Bill Mitchell bonus. The winning team would pocket $2,890 plus a set of Hoosier Tires, 10 gallons of Sunoco Race Fuel and the 5th starting berth in the Richie Evans Memorial 100 at New Smyrna Speedway.

In addition to the winning purse, Brad LaFontaine of Northeast Race Cars & Parts presented a $200 Gift Certificate to all who start the “Kickoff To Speedweeks 50” Powered By Sunoco Race Fuels race.

After qualifying sixth, Jimmy Zacharias from Candor, NY. started on the pole after pulling the lucky number one during a redraw of the top six qualifiers. Starting first Zacharias led the field to green and secured the lead. It did not take Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT. long to challenge Zacharias for the top position. The two had fun exchanging the front spot until finally Preece settled in the lead and Zacharias in third.

“I saved my tires a little bit at the beginning when I got the lead and then Ryan came up and passed me. Then he back it down so I backed it down.” Confessed Zacharias. “We played cat and mouse for about ten to fifteen laps. Then he took it and I said go ahead. I have lost a lot of races burning up my tires last ten laps into a race. The race really does not count until lap 50. So there is no point in going for it early trying to run for the win. So I saved the tires a little bit. I probably beat my tires a lot more than I wanted trying to get back to them so I backed off. That is racing.”

Hard racing continue until lap 39 when a red flag/caution was thrown for a driver (Cory Lane) getting out of his car while stopped in the infield. Drivers were warned at their pre-race meeting meeting that if they stopped on the track or in the infield they had to remain in their cars or a caution would be brought out.

Once the driver got back in his car, the green flag was thrown and racing resumed. But Preece’s modified was not as stout as it was before the caution. He and Hirschman picked up where they left off racing hard. The two made contact on lap 45 bringing out the last race caution. Both driver’s pitted with only Hirschman returning to the rear of the field.

Zacharias was sitting in third when the incident occurred and he inherited lead. He depended on his spotter’s judgment and calls and the call made just before the accident saved him. “Wayne Darling was spotting for me and he came on the radio with about 15 laps to go and he told me just to back it off a little bit and let them two duke it out because something is going to happen”, explained Zacharias. “He called it right. If it wasn’t for that we would have been right there in the middle of it and all three of us probably would have been right on top of each other. It would been worse. So all and all, he told me to back off and I listened to him and we came out on top. It wasn’t pretty but we will take it.” Said Zacharias about being in the right place at the right time, crossing the finish line first and being the big winner of the night.

Chris Young of Calverton, NY time trialed fourth and drew to start on the outside pole. He quickly slid back as the seasoned drivers took over the top positions. Hanging in the top five Young drove a solid consistent race and was able to finish second. “It was exciting.” Expressed Young with a big smile on his face. “I got an outside pole on the last restart with five to go. It was like a mid-range restart. It was too fast for low gear and too slow for high gear. So I was in low and coming out of four we bumped wheels just as I was shifting and then I just did not get the lift to get the tranny into high and I lost a couple of car lengths. By the end I had run him back down but I just did not have enough time to get back by him. I could have passed him once I got to him but to make up three car lengths in that amount of time and to try and get by is just not enough. I wish that I could have got him.”

Pole winner Matt Hirschman came to Bronson Speedway to try to conquer the high banked short track. But his plans were destroyed when he was caught up in a late race incident. Both he and Preece are smooth drivers and unfortunately they were caught up racing hard for the win. “Coming out of turn four we touched.” Hirschman stated about the race mishap. “My car hopped up on his side and after that we were both just along for the ride. So there was no intent at that point of either of us making that happen. Ryan was just all over the race track and he certainly did not give me a lane. I know several times where he would come across my front bumper and I checked up or lifted because I did not want to spin him out. Normally if I would feel that it would not have been my fault if he did spin. If he spins because of contact with me you are going to go to the rear and I know that.”

“But I do not race that way and he knows that.” Hirschman is known for his clean race style on the track and his ability to win when he can without taking any risks. “I definitely know a bunch of other drivers that would have punted him out of the way or drove into the corner and slammed into him. Where I went as low as I possibly could. We did not touch at all but we did come together coming off of turn four. We did not need that (incident) that is for sure. So it makes a lot more work for us”.

Ryan Preece qualified one spot out of the pole and redrew for a position five start. He wasted no time charging through to the lead and it appeared that he was the car to beat. Then during the last ten laps the #6 modified was all over the track with what appeared to be handling issues. Preece explained what happened: “My car was a tick free. The red flag-caution did not come out quite where I wanted it. And actually I did not want a caution at all. I still do not know why that caution came out, but what are you going to do.”

So what happened that took Preece out of the race? “Coming off of turn four we were both a little high on the track but what are you going to do. We just touched wheels. Getting into turn three, I knew he was there and I knew that it was over so I kind of rode the outside.”

Being the professionals they are on the track, the two driver got together after the race to understand what occurred. “We spoke after the race and he thought not that I pinched him but that he was pretty low and I felt that I was as high as I could be coming off the corner.” Stated Preece. “Then we touched wheels. It was a racing incident and by no means do I think that he would stuff me or would I wreck him. It is not really worth it. If you look at both our pasts, we don’t really wreck race cars. So I do not think that either of us would really do that. It just happened. Unfortunately the car just got too loose too soon. If that caution did not randomly come out it may have been a different race but you never know. That is why it is called racing!”

So modified team will regroup, prepare their cars and head onward to speedweeks and racing at New Smyrna Speedway. See you back On Monday for more modified racing.

Notes from Bronson Speedway:

What did you think of Bronson Speedway?

Jimmy Zacharias
“The track is unique. This is the kind of racing and tracks were I come from back home – small track with high banking. Where Matt runs short tracks but Ryan is use to bigger tracks. The track really did not give me an advantage because it would have come down to me, Matt and Ryan anyways. And those two are two of the best drivers that you can race with. Nine times out of ten they are probably going to beat me but we came out on top for this one.”

Matt Hirschman
“I did like the track and I liked racing here. It was fun track to dive so I have no regrets of coming. I enjoyed the track but I did not want to leave here that way.”

What did you think of competing on the American Racer tires at Bronson Speedway?

Chris Young
“The tires were consistent. I will give them that. My hands were full consistently. We were trying to get the car to turn earlier in the day and I still have not gotten it to cut going into the corner so that compounded our loose off issue and yet complemented each other. So that was why my hands were so full.”

“As the tires, they held up. If you look at my times, my times towards the end of the race were very close to how I was running at the beginning. There was no big drop off like the guys on the Hoosiers had. If everybody was on them, it would had been a very different race. Economically they are more affordable. So price wise here at Bronson, they are good that way. “

Did the track use up your tires?

Ryan Preece
“I would not say that I used the tires up during the race because they look great. Last year on the tour on the car I ran z-link and I probably should have made one more adjustment in the tire department. But I felt that the car was really good and I did not need to.”
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
: February 19, 2017

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