January 22, 2017
Chemung Speedrome Honors Drivers, Thanks Many
by Carol Houssock
Race teams, fan, and track employees gathered for an evening
of awards and celebration at Chemung Speedrome’s 2016
season-ending banquet, this year held at Tioga Downs Casino
in Nichols, NY.
TJ Zacharias earned his 2nd Speedrome championship in the headline NASCAR
Sunoco Modified division. Zacharias picked up 3 feature wins
and edged his brother Jimmy for the title on the final week.
“The original plan was for Jimmy to do something else on
Friday nights but then he changed his mind,” he said at the
celebration. “He’s tough and I had to fight that much harder
to pull it off.”
Zacharias, from Candor, NY, gave credit to his family for putting him in
the best equipment and for his crew and sponsors who helped
make it all possible. Regarding his 2017 plans he said he’ll
be back to go for championship number three and to join so
many talented drivers in the track’s headline division.
Gene Sharpsteen received the coveted Sportsmanship Award. A Sunoco
Modified competitor, Sharpsteen is well regarded among his
peers, lends a hand when asked, and is a great example to
others. Jesse Kent, who ended the year third in Sunoco
Modified points, was honored for his Determination. Kent was
a factor each race week despite running in older equipment.
He did have the benefit of his grandfather’s (George Kent)
knowledge but the rest was up to him. Zack Knowlden often
found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time,
generally while engaged in a strong run. For that he
received the Sunoco Modified Hard Luck Award.
Nick Robinson from Chemung, NY capped off a great year and earned the
Super Stock championship. His six feature wins led the
division. “To do this when I spent eight weeks at
correctional officer training in Albany and got to the track
just before start time is a tribute to my father and the
crew,” Robinson stated. He’ll be back this year for another
Chad Lane ended his rookie Super Stock season second in points and was
named Rookie of the Year. Frank Chapman, who returned to
Chemung after a 39 year absence, did so in a beauty of a car
and won the Best Appearing Car Award.
Chemung, NY’s Monica Green successfully defended her 2015 4 Cylinder
championship. Her five feature wins was a division-best and
she never finished outside the top 10 in any of the feature
races. “This is great and I’m really thankful to Nick
(Robinson, her fiancé) and everyone who helps out or
sponsors the car,” she stated. Her 2017 plans do not include
a run for another championship although she did not rule out
racing from time to time. Green runs a Front Wheel Drive
Jordan Mathews won the title for those running Rear Wheel Drive 4
Cylinder cars. He finished the year second in points
overall. Mathews opted out of attending his high school
graduation and was at the track to race that night. Two-time
feature winner, JP Harbst, was named the 4 Cylinder Rookie
of the Year.
Alexandria Smith pulled off racing’s hat trick and won her third
consecutive INEX Legends championship at age of 17. During
her speech the Millerton, PA racer said she would not be
going for championship number four and would not be in a
Legends car in 2017.
Kevin Youngs, who finished 17th in the INEX Legends feature, received the
track’s Hard Charger Award. Youngs showed great improvement
as the season went on, became a factor each week, and parked
in victory lane on three occasions. That kind of momentum
should lend itself well for the new season.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Garrett Zacharias, was a
great recipient of that award for his efforts in the INEX
Bandolero division. This year, with the rookie stripe gone,
he won 13 of the 15 Bandolero features and claimed his first
Chemung championship as an Outlaw. The Candor, NY driver
credited his family and sponsors and always thanks “all the
fans” in victory lane. He’ll be back to defend his title.
Bryce Bailey, 2nd overall in Bandolero points, earned the championship
among the Bandits. He won the other two features, one time
finishing 1-2 with his brother, Shea.
Track announcer Carol Houssock had dubbed Garrett Zacharias and Bryce
Bailey ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ and presented each of them
with a plaque bearing that special title.
Kathy Grodski, track manager, provided opening remarks and handed out
several achievement awards. This year’s recipients included
Bill Morich, Allen Mathews, Gary and Debby May, and Carol
Houssock. She also expressed gratitude to the race teams,
all of the track’s employees, and those who help with track
Race Director Ray Hodge reminded everyone that the Speedrome is moving
back to Saturday night racing. Chemung kicks off the 2017
season on Saturday, May 6th, with practice on May 5th.
Sunday, May 7th will serve as a rain date for the opener.
The tentative 2017 schedule is on the track’s website
www.chemungspeedrome.net. Information will also be posted on
the Chemung Speedrome-Racing at the Drome Facebook page.
Anyone having questions regarding the schedule, rules or track operations
can call John White at 631-745-9805 or 631-722-3800.