.J. Potrzebowski took advantage of a late-race caution flag to defeat hard-charging Matt Hirschman and win the Sunoco Race of Champions Modified Tour Kayak Pools 100 Saturday night at Holland Speedway.
With the field in tow during a lap-92 caution period, Potrzebowski found himself at the head of the pack, with Tony Hanbury, Zane Zeiner, Earl Paules and Hirschman following. On the restart, Hirschman took to the outside groove and began to fly by the competition ahead, working his way into second place on lap 96. Just as he seemed about to pass Potrzebowski, however, the 11th caution flag of the race was waved.
When the race resumed for the final four laps, Potrzebowski had enough speed to get to the finish first ahead of Hirschman, Hanbury and Zeimer in that order.
"The caution before the last one, I didn't get the tires cleaned off good enough and I was really skating and we ran just enough laps to get the heat back in them," said Potrzebowski, who had taken the lead from Lee Sherwood on a lap-5 restart. "Then that last caution came out and I was able to race better after that."
Hirschman believes he might have won, were it not for the final caution.
"It was exciting for the fans and it was exciting for me, when we moved up into second and we got a caution and I was right on the outside of T.J. for the lead," said Hirschman, the son of veteran Modified standout Tony Hirschman. "It's hard to say now, but I think it would have been ours if it hadn't been for that final caution."
The late race charge of Hirschman was not the only scare that Potrzebowski had to endure. In what was an odd-looking development, Potrzebowski brought the field toward the green flag following a lap-43 caution. Suddenly, he and Hanbury, who was running in second, got hooked together.
The caution immediately reappeared. Despite the fact that most of the field had passed them, Potrzebowski and Hirschman were allowed back to their front-running position because the race had not actually restarted.
"We were swerving our cars and we got them hooked together and it was a bad deal for the both of us," said Potrzebowski. "The track did the right thing and let us restart back at the front and that was the end of that."
While running second, Hanbury was nearly knocked out of the race on lap 92 when Matt Parsons ran into him from behind. Hanbury's car began to do a sideways spin exiting Turn Two, but somehow Hanbury was able to recover and keep going while Parsons spun to the infield.
"I didn't expect it because I didn't even see him in the mirror," said Hanbury. "All of a sudden he shot to the inside and hit me and got me sideways. I was reaching all over the place and when I was reaching around to get the wheel, my HANS Device became unhooked and I was freaking out about that. It was pure luck I didn't crash."
Potrzebowski's win was his second career Modified triumph at Holland. He won a 50-lapper a few years ago and finished third in the ROC event July 1 at Lancaster.
Saturday's race was rain-delayed for nearly 90 minutes on lap 11.
Mike Fiebelkorn Jr. turned in a sensational effort in Holland's NASCAR Late Model 30-lapper, as he held off Dan Domanowski and Shawn Dunning in a three-car shootout over the last 16 laps to post his second win of the Holland season.
"These two guys are premier guys here and I knew they were going to be tough," said Fiebelkorn. "I think I drove harder in those last 16 laps then I've ever driven before."
Other Holland winners were: Neil Hopkins, NASCAR Pro Modifieds; Jason Dieter, NASCAR Chargers; Bob Slippy, Pro Fours; Mike Eckam, Figure-Eight.
Elsewhere, West Seneca's Paul Grigsby scored a big win in the Super Stock feature Saturday night at McKean County Raceway. Todd Andrews won the Late Model headliner.
Genesee Speedway victors Saturday were: Rich Vargo, DIRT Sportsman; Dan Mayer, DIRT Pro Stocks; Stubby Pangrazio, Super Stocks; Brian Farnsworth, Street Stocks; Frank Moyer, Mini Stocks; Bruce Rotoli, Junkyard Dogs.