The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

August 1, 2013

Motorsports: Zearfoss breaks a leg -- literally and figuratively


Daily Item

---- — By Shawn Wood

For The Daily Item

Jonestown -- Sometimes good things actually come to those who wait.

Brock Zearfoss, 22, of Jonestown, waited three years to get his first-ever 358 sprint car win on July 20.

"We're trying to make this to be my first full year, but it seems likes there's a little voodoo doll that doesn't want me to run a 358," he said. "We'll get past this bad luck streak and put some wins together."

The bad luck came early this year when he broke his left tibia and fibia in a flip March 30 at Selinsgrove Speedway.

"On a restart, I was behind the 29 car (Derek Steward) and I lost the air off the wing," he said. "I tried to gather the car back in and then it hit the backstretch wall and I was hanging on for a ride."

The rear torsion arm broke and it allowed the rear end to slide back far enough out of the hoop that his leg was in the way.

"It was a freak deal," he said. "The torque tube was flopping around and that's when I knew my leg was broken. I was lucky I didn't break my right leg."

He had the tibia and fibia bones pierce the skin underneath the calf muscle. He was transported to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville and underwent two hours of surgery with a prognosis of being out for six weeks.

He returned to racing June 8.

With the departure of Eric Tomecek from the Jon Westbrooke 1W sprint car, Zearfoss found himself a ride for Fridays at Williams Grove and Saturday nights at Selinsgrove.

The ride came about at the end of June.

"Our initial plan this year was to run all of the 358 and 360 shows at the Grove," Zearfoss said. "Right now, we are waiting on my motor to get back. We are building a new motor and then I'll run Jon's car on Friday nights and my car on Saturday nights."

In getting his first career win, Zearfoss made a daring pass to the outside of Turn 2 and drove past Josh Beard on lap 22 of the 25-lap feature for the win.

"I knew that I was better than Josh, I just needed to get the opening that he gave me and once I got past him. I knew the clean air would be better rather than being behind him," he said. "I didn't expect to beat him by three seconds."

Zearfoss began racing the 358s at the end of 2011 season. He went full-time last year.

Zearfoss' cousin is 410 sprint car driver Brent Marks, who is second in the points at Williams Grove and Lincoln Speedways.

"We have real different driving styles," he said. "We talk a couple days a week about how the weekend went, how the cars were handling and what we could have changed. We are both busy with work and we are real close with each other."

Zearfoss bought his first sprint car from Phil Walter.

"Phil took me under his wing in the beginning, he's a real good guy and class act," he said.

The 2013 season marks the 14th year for Zearfoss being involved in racing. He's raced go-karts and 600 micro sprints.

He won the first go-kart race he participated in.

"We led every lap and won the feature," he said. "I was pretty much hooked from that win."

Zearfoss noted that he's a hands-on guy who took care of the maintenance for his go-karts and 600s.

The plan coming into the season was to race at Selinsgrove for the points and hit Williams Grove and Lincoln Speedways when Selinsgrove was off.

"We choose Selinsgrove mainly because of my crew chief, Adam Romig," he said. "He felt the most comfortable with the set up and it was a bigger track for me to learn on."

Zearfoss is 21st in points heading into this weekend.

He played baseball and ice hockey in high school. At one point, he played baseball, American Legion baseball, hockey and raced all in the same month.

"I was a little guy who could run fast and had a decent arm," he said. "I'm 5-foot-9 and all of my cousins are over 6 feet; I got the short end of the stick on that one."

He was offered some money to play Division II baseball, but he wanted to pursue a racing career.

His futures goals include moving to the 410 sprint cars and racing with the World of Outlaws.

But first, he wants to win a championship in the 358s. Getting his first win not long after returning from his injury was a significant first step.