In the middle stages of the SST Modified 100 late Saturday evening at Wyoming County International Speedway’s Fall Shootout, Shawn Nye and Daniel Majchrzak found themselves each pursuing separate agendas. In the end, as the checkered flag fell, it was mission accomplished, with Nye notching the big win and Majchrzak placing third to secure WCIS’ SST Modified season points championship.
Also Saturday at WCIS, Maddy Virts placed a solid third in the 4-Cylinder 40 to clinch the WCIS 4-Cylinder points crown.
Majchrzak started the SST Modified 100 from second while Nye began his quest for victory from eighth. Majchrzak held a slim points lead over Timmy Lewis Jr. On lap 17, Majchrzak’s title hopes fell into serious jeopardy. With the field under caution on that lap, Majchrzak – while running in the top five – suddenly went to the pits to get a new air cleaner. From that point on, the race was no longer about winning for Majchrzak but rather trying to charge back through the field over the remaining distance to get back close enough to Lewis to save his championship bid.
When the green flag reappeared, Majchrzak began his charge while Nye continued to work his way toward the lead. On lap 74, the race leader Tony Hanbury had contact with second place Joe Evans, resulting in Evans hitting the backstretch wall hard. Evans was done and Hanbury restarted from the rear of the field. Nye inherited the top spot and Majchrzak not only had worked back up to Lewis but had passed him and was now running fourth. Nye sailed to the victory over Cam Ayers and Majchrzak.
“I don’t know what happened on the backstretch,” Nye said about the decisive accident. “Early on I almost got by (Hanbury). I don’t think he was handling as good as my car. In the end I would have liked to actually get by him racing but he got sent tail because the track apparently thought he put the guy (Evans) into the wall. From there I just had to bring it home and run my line and win the race.”
As Nye was celebrating in Victory Lane, a few yards away Majchrzak was busy spraying Champagne in excited glee as the track’s newly crowned SST Modified champion. He spoke about how he overcame Saturday’s race adversity.
“Real early in the race my air cleaner came off and I was running right up in the top five,” Majchrzak said. “That was extremely aggravating. The crew ended up pulling an air cleaner off one of the Super Stocks that I had run earlier in the day.
“If there was another thing that could have gone wrong it did. A little while later I lost power steering. I also got tagged in the rear by a lapped car. The low oil pressure light also came on. The whole race seemed against us but we pushed through.”
Virts, a 15-year-old ninth grader, was pleased with her championship. “I was a little stressed about points being a rookie and a lot of rookies don’t go out and win their track championship so this is great and now I have tears of joy,” Virts said.
Also at WCIS Saturday, Chris Vogler won the NYSS Super Stock Sandra Vogler 51, named in his late mother’s honor.
Sunday winners during the final day of the Fall Shootout were Matt Hirschman, American 100, and Dave Krawczyk, Super Stocks. Krawczyk is the 2016 WCIS Super Stock champion, winning an incredible nine times there this season.
Stewart Friesen, a Niagara-on-the Lake native, captured the Big Block Modified Bud Light 200 Sunday afternoon at Oswego Speedway. The race is the marquee event of Super DIRT Week XLV. Friesen grabbed the lead from Tim McCreadie on lap 193.
Holland makes changes
On Thursday, Holland Motorsports Complex General Manager Tim Bennett announced that the NASCAR Pro Modifieds will be reinstated next season as the premier weekly NASCAR class at the Southern Erie County oval. The NASCAR Pro Modifieds were the premier class there since 2007 until Bennett dumped them from the Holland weekly race program for the 2015 season, citing insufficient car counts during the 2014 Holland season. During the 2014 season the NASCAR Pro Modified car count at Holland averaged 15 cars per week.
They were replaced for the 2016 season by the NASCAR Pro Chargers. While the Pro Charger class has good drivers and solid competition, the class had a lukewarm season at Holland at best. Only an average of 12 cars came to race.
In 2016, Holland ran two NASCAR Pro Modified specials. The George Decker Memorial ran in July and 22 cars showed up. Encouraged by that result, in August Bennett added the NASCAR Pro Modifieds to the Sept. 3 season finale with a 75-lap special, stating that he was testing the waters to see how many cars would come to Holland that day. He said a good car count Sept. 3 could possibly result in the NASCAR Pro Modifieds returning to headline status in 2017.
On Sept. 3, 16 NASCAR Pro Modifieds came to Holland and Bennett deemed that number coupled with the Decker race car count is sufficient enough to bring the class back weekly as Holland’s NASCAR premier division next season.
Recalling Yates, Loretto
Internationally renowned automotive and racing journalist and television commentator Brock Yates, 82, died this past Wednesday from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Yates, a Buffalo native and a member of the Lockport High School Class of 1951, authored numerous stories, books and columns over many years and his writing was well respected.
Along with his journalism Yates is best remembered as the inventor of the “Cannonball Run” cross country auto race in 1971. His accomplishments during his storied career would fill many chapters of a book.
Meanwhile, Pete Loretto Jr., 71, of New Oregon, died Saturday from cancer. Over many years he served as a crewman, race official, radio show host and was well liked and respected. He was considered one of the greatest ambassadors for local auto racing.