When you accomplish a big feat in racing, Ransomville's Chuck Hossfeld says, there's more to savor than just the thrill of victory.
Equally or more important is the hard work it took to make it happen, the high quality of the competition that you beat and best of all, sharing the accomplishment with the friends that helped shape the big moment.
Hossfeld captured the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Tour-Type Modified championship in a five-race series last week at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida.
The asphalt Modified ace did not win any of the individual races, but he placed in the top five in four races and was seventh in the series-concluding Richie Evans Memorial 100 last Friday to clinch his second career World Series Tour-Type Modified championship. The other was in 2012.
The World Series event annually draws many of the best asphalt Modified drivers from the Eastern United States.
"It's a feat in itself to win this championship," Hossfeld said. "This championship makes me feel great, to be honest with you.
"We built a new car and it worked really well. Joe Mancuso, who takes care of our car and the team, did a heck of a job making it fast and working with it all week. It was a good team effort and everyone that was involved did a great job. Best of all, I enjoyed it with friends."
Hossfeld won at Bronson Speedway in Florida on Feb. 9 before going to New Smyrna and then used consistency to shape his World Series championship effort. He had feature race finishes of fifth, fourth, second, third and seventh for a title-winning total of 230 points. Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa., finished second in series points with 214, despite taking the checkered flag in the last three races.
Two other locally based drivers participated in World Series Tour-Type Modified competition. Tonawanda's Andy Jankowiak placed 13th with 156 points, and Orchard Park's Patrick Emerling was 15th with 150.
Hossfeld said that in some of the past seasons the Modified car counts were a bit lackluster at New Smyrna for the World Series competition, but he said some of the races this year had as many as 27 entrants.
He credited Series' tech director Ricky Brooks for standardizing the rules, which Hossfeld said helped lead to the increase.
"He has worked very hard at making everything legal down there," Hossfeld said. "There's no more cheating and craziness that once went on there back in the old days. Because of that you see the car count went up. ... So if you think about all the Modifieds that were at New Smyrna from all over the East Coast, to win a championship is something to be very proud of."
Fans and teams at Bronson and New Smyrna were surprised when Hossfeld arrived in the pits with his race car painted red instead of the trademark No. 22 black machines he has fielded the last several seasons.
"I let my girlfriend Shari design it," Hossfeld said, laughing. "She did a heck of a job on it. She got more compliments on that car than I did for my racing."
One would predict that Hossfeld will have a guaranteed spot waiting for him in the Friends of Auto Racing (FOAR Score) Fan Club Hall of Fame following retirement as a driver one day.
He has captured many race wins and championships at various tracks over the years, including the 1999 Lancaster Speedway Modified championship. He also has eight career Lancaster U.S. Open feature race wins, including five Modified and three Sportsman triumphs to tie him with Andy Jankowiak for the most career U.S. Open wins in the event's 30-year history.
In 2018, he secured his fourth career Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series season points title.
Hossfeld won the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified 250 three times, in 1999, 2005 and 2014, all at Oswego Speedway. (Since 2017, the event has been run at Lake Erie Speedway.) He is a three-time victor on the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway.
Hossfeld, 38, has been racing asphalt Modifieds since the mid-1990s, starting as a teenager when he was given a chance to drive a potent Modified owned by the late Bill Colton Sr. How much longer does Hossfeld expect to drive? The answer is tied into the very same reason he cherishes his World Series title so much – the people he enjoys the sport with.
"To be honest, with you I take my race driving career day by day," Hossfeld said. "It's a huge commitment to do what we do racing-wise. Over time, I've sacrificed a lot to be able to do it. The biggest thing I can tell you is that I like the camaraderie with the guys. We have a great group of guys, some that have been with me for like 20 years. So to have your friends and your people do it with you is what's really the big thing for me. We've had more laughs this week than most people would have in a year. That's what makes it fun.
"To think about what we accomplished last week and to do it where not one of us had an argument or fight amongst ourselves is great. It's a neat thing."
If Colton were alive today, he would be doing something he always did when he enjoyed Hossfeld's many successes – lighting a trademark victory cigar.