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 championship run.
  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 car.
  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 sponsorship.
  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.



©2010-2017 Chemung Speedrome / RGeePro


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