Matt Janczuk wins Monday DIRTcar Sportsman Chevrolet Performance Feature over Nicholas Root and Zach Sobotka at Oswego Speedway
By Joe Grabianowski
Matt Janczuk joined Super DIRT Week Champions like Matt Sheppard, Dave Marcuccilli, and Kyle Inman on the all-time DIRTcar Sportsman Chevrolet Performance Feature winners list Monday afternoon.
Janczuk, from Oneida, NY, has been chasing a Super DIRT Week championship for years with finishes of second and fifth in his last two runs at Oswego Speedway.
“This is one of the things on the bucket list that I hadn’t checked off yet,” Janczuk noted.
Janczuk captured the Fratto Curbing Outside Pole Award in Time Trials putting him in prime position to take a stab at the lead on Lap 1. When the green flag dropped on the 50-lap Chevrolet Performance Feature, Janczuk seized the opportunity to drive into the corner farther than 15-year-old pole-sitter Nicholas Root.
He kept his foot down on the 602 Chevrolet Performance engine under the hood and powered into the lead.
“This TEO Pro Car has been so good,” Janczuk said. “I couldn’t do it without my sponsors like Billy Whittaker Cars.”
Thirty-six DIRTcar Sportsman poured into Turns 1 and 2 cleanly to start the race. However, on Lap 2 disaster struck mid-pack. Ryan Dolbear, Trevor Catalano, Jason Reome, and Jason Parkhurst Jr. careened into the Turn 4 wall blocking the track and necessitating a red flag.
The race stopped and started several more times without a steady groove or serious incident but each restart gave drivers a chance to make ground.
“The restarts were key,” Janczuk noted . “Nick (Root) was really good. I figured if I rolled the outside and be smooth he’d go through the hole and I’d beat him to Turn 1 but it didn’t always work out.”
Not only did Janczuk come away with the victory but he was also the halfway leader awarding him a 602 Chevrolet Performace Engine in addition to his winnings.
“What a testament to the team and all the fans for sticking it out,” Janczuk said. “Hats off to the track crew. I looked at the track yesterday and thought we were in trouble. What a great facility and thanks to DIRTcar for putting on the show. Man, what a race.”
Jessica Power, from Kingston, ON, and Mike Fowler, from Fulton, NY, battled in and out of the top three before Zach Sobotka came charging in the final 10 laps.
Unfortunately for Fowler, his championship run took a hit as the left front lost air late in the race. The No. 410 did everything to stay ahead of the pack but Fowler fell to 20th.
After 50 laps of DIRTcar Sportsman action, Janczuk remained cream of the crop and stood on top of the Chevrolet Performance Feature podium. Root, from Geneva, NY, finished in his wake.
Root started the week winning the SRI Performance/Stock Car Steel Pole Award. However, the driver and crew were concerned about a vibration. Putting all worries aside, Root planned his foot firmly on the accelerator to bring the field to green but Janczuk jumped him and never gave him another shot.
“I had the expectations that Matt Janczuk was going to be one of the ones to beat,” Root said. “I had a really good car but I started to pick up that vibration again. I got some oil on the ground over there”
The young racer was calm and collected despite the high stakes. Root survived and thrived at the extended 51st Super DIRT Week.
“I have to thank my crew and all my sponsors. We’ve had a great year but now we’ll finish out this last race at Brockville, maybe Middletown, and see what we can do for the rest of the season.”
The Hurricane Harvey 30 winner and Brewerton Speedway Track Champion Zach Sobotka crossed the line just behind the #30 of Root.
Sobotka, from Parish, NY, drove from 11th to third in the 50 laps, left wishing weather didn’t shorten the race from its original 75 laps.
“All those restarts gave me opportunities to make moves,” Sobotka said. “As soon as we hit 40 laps I knew it was time to start sending her into the corner. I just got up on the wall and never lifted. It just kept sticking for me. I don’t know how we could have made the car any better there. If we had more laps we could have caught them.”
Another driver who made big moves was James Michael Friesen in the No. 72f. Friesen, from St. Catharines, ON, powered up 19 positions to claim the Penske Racing Shocks Hard Charger Award for $500.
The DIRTcar Sportsman Series goes to Brockville Ontario Speedway to finish off its points championship. After that, all eyes are on the World Short Track Championship at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Oct. 26-28.
Chevrolet Performance Feature (50 laps)
1. 33X-Matt Janczuk; 2. 30-Nicholas Root; 3. 38-Zach Sobotka; 4. 33-Richard Murtaugh; 5. 52-Jessica Power; 6. 10%-Chad Edwards; 7. 21C-Tanner Warner; 8. Z8-JT Sperring; 9. 35-Nelson Mason; 10. 01-Zach Buff; 11. 115-Dylan Madsen; 12. 72F-James Friesen; 13. FOX28-Tyler Stevenson; 14. 64-Tyler Corcoran; 15. 7M-Cody McPherson; 16. B24-Brendan Gibbons; 17. 18E-Gavin Eisele; 18. 3A-Adam Hilton; 19. 10-Karl Comfort; 20. 410-Mike Fowler; 21. 80-Dominic Roselli; 22. 92-Andrew Buff; 23. 38JR-Jason Parkhurst Jr; 24. 5EJ-EJ Gallup; 25. 28X-Stephen Marshall; 26. 2-Taylor Doxtater; 27. 1X-Willy Decker Jr; 28. 95-Kearra Backus; 29. 8-Kevin Chaffee; 30. 29-Nick Heywood; 31. 02-David Boisclair; 32. 27-Jason Reome; 33. 54T-Trevor Catalano; 34. 31B-Ryan Dolbear; 35. 23T-Scott Towslee; 36. 66B-Jason Bruno