With five laps remaining in Saturday's Race of Champions DART Modified Tour 75-lapper at Dunn Tire Raceway Park, Chuck Hossfeld's perfect season was clinging both on the fortunes of a deflating left rear tire and the challenges of Matt Hirschman.
Despite the obstacles, Hossfeld won his fourth consecutive ROC DART Modified Tour event. Also this weekend, in another big open-wheel event, 358 Modified driver Stewart Friesen claimed his first career Sprint Car victory in Friday's American Sprint Car Series Patriot Sprint event at Ransomville Speedway.
Hossfeld, of Ransomville, came into Saturday's race having won the last three ROC events -- at Shangri-La Speedway in Owego, Oswego Speedway and last Friday at Spencer Speedway. He did not attend the ROC event at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
His drive for continued perfection looked in order when has passed Hirschman on the inside of Turn Two on lap 55 to gain the lead. But in the waning laps, Hossfeld realized that something was wrong with the car. His tire was deflating. The tire made it just far enough as it was flat in Victory Lane. Hirschman claimed second by a bumper.
"That was going on for five or six laps," said Hossfeld of his tire woes. "If there had been another caution I would have been done. I held up Matt and just tried to protect the inside lane. The tire's flat. I don't get scared very easy but that was pretty scary."
Hossfeld's pit crew also was instrumental in the victory. Under a caution on lap 33, almost the entire field including leaders Mike Leaty, Erick Rudolph and third-place running Hossfeld dove to the pits for tires. Hirschman remained on the track to inherit the lead.
Hossfeld's team got him out of the pits first so that when the race resumed, Hossfeld was second to Hirschman, setting up his opportunity to later execute the winning pass.
"If anyone was watching the race they saw my pit crew get me out first and they won the race," stressed Hossfeld. "This year I have a good motor program and car."
Hossfeld continues to lead the ROC points over Hirschman.
Charles Buchanan and Sege Fidanza added to their 2010 multiple win list at Dunn Tire Raceway on Saturday.
Buchanan won his second 4-Cylinder race of the year at DTRP. He also has collected a pair of victories at Wyoming County International Speedway. He is the brother of Dunn track announcer Dave Buchanan and the son of track drag racing official Chuck Buchanan.
"The car was great and fun to drive," said Buchanan.
Fidanza retired last winter but left the door open that he may have an opportunity to stay behind the wheel if a ride became available. He has jumped aboard the Rutherford-Johnson Racing Sportsman class machine this season and won his second straight feature at the Lancaster track.
Fidanza was leading late in the 35-lap Sportsman headliner but was passed by Andy Jankowiak just as the caution flag waved on lap 27. On the restart, Fidanza was able to motor back by Jankowiak.
"Man, he caught me sleeping and came right around me and passed me," said Fidanza. "I had to step on the gas harder."
When Friesen stood in Ransomville's victory lane Friday night at first the atmosphere seemed very ordinary.
Friesen has won there numerous times over the years in the 358 Modified division, as recently as two weeks ago. But one could tell from the excited expression on his face that his first Sprint Car victory was no ordinary win.
Friesen, who led every lap Friday, drove for team owner Doug Emery's Patterson Motorsports team. Friesen was triumphant by about 10 car lengths over Bobby Breen with brother Blake Breen and American Sprint Car Series point leader Jared Zimbardi of Little Valley next.
"I got acclimated to this car down at East Bay [Fla.]," said Friesen, 26, of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. "I got out front early and Jared got underneath me on that one restart and I put a slider on him to get it back.
"The car started to go away a little bit so I moved my wing back a little bit on that last restart and I really should have went farther with it. It was still pretty free coming out of the corners.
"I love the Modifieds but it's something to win here this year in two different types of cars."