Jimmy Zacharias Capitalizes on Brother’s Bad Luck at Chemung, Wins 5th Sunoco Mod Feature


It was a night of elation over career-first wins and heartbreak over one, possibly two, disqualifications. Throw is a couple doses of bad racing luck for feature leaders, and some were in search of the voodoo doll that had to be somewhere on the grounds. Winners to close out the month of July included Jimmy Zacharias (Sunoco Modifieds), Mike Nichols (unofficial – Super Stocks), Jacob Gustafson (4 Cylinders), Keith Youngs (INEX Legends) and Garrett Zacharias (Bowen Racecars Bandoleros).

To say defending Sunoco Modified champion TJ Zacharias has had a disappointing season is far from an understatement. Watching him lead 23 laps and end up dumped into the turn one foam along with Jesse Kent only served to emphasize just how tough it has been this year. Last week’s feature winners in the twin-20’s, Zack Knowlden and Connor Sellars, won the two heats. Corey Mosher and TJ Zacharias, both in #17 cars, made up the front row for the start. TJ led the way from the get-go, with Knowlden right behind him. Jimmy Zacharias and Sellars ran nose-to-tail for third, while Paul Johnson rounded out the top five. The first 32 laps were run caution-free but the yellow came out when Knowlden slowed with a busted radiator after leading three laps mid-race. On the restart, it appeared that Sellars got up into TJ Zacharias, who then slid into Jesse Kent. Both Zacharias and Kent went hard into the turn one foam blocks and were done. Jimmy Zacharias, who said during the caution period that he had an issue with his throttle linkage, restarted for the final time with Nick Morich beside him. While Zacharias held on for his division-leading fifth win, some other drivers posted strong finishes that were badly needed. Morich was seconded, followed to the line by Paul Johnson, Gene Sharpsteen and Sellars. “I hate it for TJ and I’m glad I didn’t have problems there at the end,” Zacharias said following his win.

“I haven’t been happy with the car all night long,” Mike Nichols said from victory lane after winning both his heat and the 25-lap Super Stock feature. The race took less time to run than it took track officials to tech the top finishers. As of press time, track inspectors weren’t entirely happy with Mike’s car either, and the win is pending further review. Nichols started on the pole alongside Jason Duke. Heat winner Tim Gullo got around Duke and set his sights on the #72 of Nichols. Behind that pair, Duke got trapped on the outside and lost positions to Terry Potrzebowski, Jim Lamoreaux and Nick Robinson. That trio ran together for the lion’s share of the race, while up front the gap between Nichols and Gullo widened a bit. Nichols took the double checkered flags for his 3rd win this year, but it is yet to be finalized. Gullo finished second, with Potrzebowski, Lamoreaux and Robinson among the top five.

4 Cylinder rookie Tyler Harbst learned quickly that his career-first win wouldn’t hold up following post-race inspection. His #2 appeared to have swept the action, but an illegal head and left-side weight served as a one-two disqualifying punch. Harbst and Sarah Gooch brought to the green for the 20-lap feature and Harbst quickly pulled away. By lap five Triston Kline and Jacob Gustafson were locked in a battle for second. Kline got the spot and took the lead on a lap six restart following an incident involving Gooch and Ben Perry. Harbst reclaimed the lead and again pulled away while Gustafson maneuvered his way toward the front. At the finish Harbst had the apparent win but Jacob Gustafson is now the overall winner in another sweep. Monica Green, Perry, Greg Moldt and Kline all finished in the top five. Kevin May’s sixth place finish was enough to earn him the winner among those running RWD cars.

When your brother dominates a division, has bad luck and you earn a career-first win, it’s not totally unexpected to hear “it sucks for him”. So said Kyle Youngs, after winning the 20-lap INEX Legends feature. Kevin Youngs and Gary Ham won the two heats but each had issues later. Chuck Lohmeyer and Daniel Carter brought the field to the green. Carter led the way, followed early on by Teddy Bowen. The first of two cautions came when Kyle Youngs spun after contact with his brother, Kevin. The latter pitted and restarted at the rear. Carter maintained the lead on the restart until losing the top spot to Gary Ham. His time up front was short-lived, however, as he slowed and was the first one out with a broken axle. The lead went back to Carter, who held on until Keith Youngs took over with nine to go. Over those nine laps he pulled away from the others and exited his car a winner. Carter finished second, with Pat Judson, Kyle Youngs and Teddy Bowen all in the top five.

The first of two cautions in the 10-lap Bowen Racecars Bandoleros took place on the opening lap. When the race did get underway Brian Rygielski led Seth and Garrett Zacharias off turn two and he held the top spot for five laps. G. Zacharias passed him on the sixth lap while Evan Rygielski took over second from his cousin. Brian Rygielski and S. Zacharias got together with just three laps remaining. The final restart had G. Zacharias and E. Rygielski lined up side by side. Zacharias prevailed but on the ninth lap he drifted a bit high in turn two. That gave Rygielski the passing room he needed and he took over. Evan (Bandit class) held on for the win, but Garrett joined him in victory lane as the top Outlaw. B. Rygielski finished third, S. Zacharias fourth, Josh Duke fifth. G. Zacharias won the heat race.

The visiting ATQMRA’s put on a fast and furious 25-lap event the had excitement all through the 16-car field. Matt Janish and Ryan Tidman won the two qualifying races while Ron Mullen and Geoff Sutton started from row one. The race itself was slowed by four cautions, the last of which likely cost Janish a win. While running second to Tidman he dove to the inside on the 19th lap and spun, forcing him to the rear for the final restart. “It’s a shame (for him), there’s plenty of room for four cars here and we race like that everywhere we go,” Tidman said of the contact from Janish. Over the last seven laps Tidman and Joey Bailey put on a great show for the fans and finished 1-2. Buddy Sload, Sutton and Jeff Kot rounded out the top five. Tidman has won the last two races and holds the point lead as the series continues.

This Saturday night starting at 6 PM (August 5th) the track presents the Race of Champions Modifieds competing in a 75-lap event, along with the Classic Asphalt Modified Series (15), INEX Legends (20) and Bowen Racecars Bandoleros (10). Pits open at 4 PM, grandstand gates open and practice gets underway at 5. Admission is $22 for adults, $20 for seniors 65+, $6 for kids 6-12, and free for kids 5 and under.

Of note:
· Jimmy Zacharias, Mike Nichols and Jacob Gustafson won the “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” bonus for free wings at Buffalo Wild Wings in Horseheads, NY.
· The last ATQMRA appearance was during Chemung’s 2014 season.
· Keith Youngs was just the third winner this season in the INEX Legends division. Kevin Youngs and Pat Judson had won the previous eight features.

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Sunoco Modifieds (40 Laps): JIMMY ZACHARIAS, Nick Morich, Paul Johnson, Lee Sharpsteen, Gene Sharpsteen, Connor Sellars, Corey Mosher, Gary Coon, Chris Clemens, Damon Frutchey, TJ Zacharias, Jesse Kent, Zack Knowlden, Don Mosher
Heats: Knowlden, Sellars

Super Stocks (25 Laps – UNOFFICIAL): MIKE NICHOLS, Tim Gullo, Terry Potrzebowski, Jim Lamoreaux, Nick Robinson, Jason Duke, John Lane, Frank Chapman, RJ Zacharias, Derrick Tarbox, Jim House, Jordan Mathews, Chad Lane, JP Harbst
Heats: Nichols, Gullo

4 Cylinders (20 Laps): JACOB GUSTAFSON, Monica Green, Ben Perry, Greg Moldt, Triston Kline, Kevin May (RWD), Sarah Gooch, Allen Stephenson, Jason Peck, Ricky Lane, Sr., Tom Tremper, Paul Platt, Zack Bennett, (DQ: illegal head and left side weight issue – Tyler Harbst, finished 1st)
Heats: Kline, Gustafson

INEX Legends (20 Laps): KEITH YOUNGS, Daniel Carter, Pat Judson, Kyle Youngs, Teddy Bowen, Kevin Youngs, Max Evans, Chuck Lohmeyer, Charlie Lohmeyer, Gary Ham
Heats: Kevin Youngs, Ham

Bowen Racecars Bandoleros (10 Laps): EVAN RYGIELSKI, Garrett Zacharias (Outlaw), Brian Rygielski, Seth Zacharias, Josh Duke, Griffin Montfort-Balfour, Jeffrey Noe
Heat: G. Zacharias

ATQMRA (25 Laps): RYAN TIDMAN, Joey Bailey, Buddy Sload, Geoff Sutton, Jeff Kot, Mark Yoder, Matt Janish, Rob Neely, Matt Roselli, Joey Payne, Eric Corum, Cole Mullen, Chad Parks, Jon Keller, Dave Gorbatuk, Ron Mullen
Heats: Janish, Tidman