By STEVE PADOS
ACCORD, NY – The bright colors of the fall foliage were displayed throughout the Hudson Valley area as warm sun rays greeted a great crowd to the Accord Speedway grounds on Saturday. The later afternoon weather turned a bit cooler as the day wore on but it did not deter from the excitement or the enthusiasm of the combatants on hand as the Accord Speedway closed the curtain on their regular season with the running of the third annual Halloween Havoc event. The Palmer Family completed their seventeenth successful season of ownership and promotion of their pristine quarter mile facility nestled in the foothills of Ulster County in New York State. The multi-faceted show brought out 125 race car entries of all makes and sizes with both male and female driving stars seeking to close out the season in a fender banging blaze of glory. The event was sponsored by the John J Liggan Insurance Agency located in Rosendale, New York. Special assistance came from ASI Trophies and Dreaming of the Mouse Vacations. Many special activities for the children in the Halloween themed event throughout the day brought about much fun for the kids and the crowd and the exciting action on the track provided the fans with some great memories on a day they can remember for some time to come.
Accord, New York resident Tony Kowlachuk had his hot rod humming and was spot on and richer for the experience as he withstood an early challenge form Rich Ricci III to go and and capture the fifty lap Arkel Motors Sportsman event that paid $1,500.00 to win. The Upstate Auto Pure Stock division feature found former track champion Chris Streeter in championship form as the former track champion took over the lead with two laps remaining and drove to victory in the biggest payday of the season for the affordable racing division. “The Captain” Jeremy Quick captured the Northeast Wingless Sprint Car event with a wire to wire win. Jeff DeGroat made short work of the 46 car field and withstood a late rally from Gene Helms and Mike Skelly to capture the Emmanuel’s Marketplace Four Cylinder 50-lap Enduro finale. Brandon Conklin captured the trailer race event despite the fact the boat he was towing landed in a heap off of turn four.
The carnival-like atmosphere brought out a great crowd with plenty of children adorned in their colorful Halloween attire. In a great gesture from the Palmer Family, the costume clad kids were all treated to a participation trophy and were further treated to some excellent candy treats administered from the drivers, fans and Accord staff during their Halloween parade through the grandstand area. Miss Accord Speedway, Michelle Campbell led the costume parade. Avery Stella and Landon Gabriel were the lucky recipients of bicycles donated by ASI Trophies and Dreaming of the Mouse Vacations. The Rich Roosa Family entertained the crowd with hayrides that traversed through the speedway grounds including the pit area so they could see the teams readying their race cars for the day’s events. Michael Hatzistergos provided the balloon sculpturing and Emma Fredericks was in charge of the pumpkin painting. DJ Tim Adams provided the Halloween themed music.
The Upstate Auto Pure Stock “Ghostbuster” excursion put the full fendered drivers to the ultimate test with their long distance event. Former champion Ray Tarantino wasted no time in establishing the point and only the restarts brought the field in behind him as he owned the speedway throughout the early laps of the event. from start to finish. On lap-24 things took a turn for the worse for Tarantino as he made contact with a slower car and damaged his race car and dropped out of the event. 2017 track champion Travis Brockner took over the lead and led for three laps until he slid up the race track and found Chris Streeter more than willing to take advantage of the slip up and dart into the lead. Streeter led the final two laps to record the win. Brockner capped off a great year at Accord with a runner-up finish. John Hechinger drove from 15th position to finish third while Bob Sleight, who was going for his third straight win of the event was fourth after starting 24th. Former track announcer Joel Murns returned to the speedway and completed the top five. Livy Johnson, Walt Henry, Steve Williams, Amber VanOrden and Jim Maher completed the top ten.
Tony Kowlachuk took the lead at the start of the Arkel Motors Sportsman “Hocus Pocus” fifty lapper and established himself quickly as the man to beat. Kowlachuk led through the first twelve laps until a restart found Rich Ricci III out-dragging him on a restart. Ricci was quick but Kowlachuk stayed with him while a very good group of racers increased the pressure as Tyler Johnston, Joey Bonetti (from 19th), Jamie Yannone and Chris Lynch fought for positions. Ricci led through lap-29 when Kowlachuk re-established himself as the point man. Ricci began having some issues with his race car as Tyler Johnston and Joey Bonetti both slipped past him. Johnston could get close to Kowalchuk but the day belonged to Tony as he raced to victory and secured a great pay day. Johnston was in for runner-up honors while Joey Bonetti was third Jamie Yannone fourth and Jimmy wells completing the top five after starting the event from 13th. Matt Shultz, Rich Ricci III, Connor Otten, Dave Demorest and the returning Phil Goetchius completed the top ten.
Jeremy Quick knows his way around the Accord Speedway and won the drag race over 2017 track champion Eric Jennings to go and wire the field as he capture the twenty lap WRWD Radio Northeast Wingless Sprint battle. Eric Jennings was a strong second with Bobby Tersillo, Heidi Hedin, Corey Wood, Larry McVay and Branden Gates following.
The Emmanuel’s Marketplace 4-Cylinder Enduro “Zombie” bombers began their event with a pile-up in the third and fourth turns. While it didn’t stop the event, negotiating the area made for some fancy maneuvering from all of the competitors. Early leader Corey Wood was slowed quickly as the traffic was wall to wall allowing veteran campaigner Jeff DeGroat to take over the lead. DeGroat ran clean and strong and was able to miss most of the debris and carnage on the speedway. As the laps clicked off both Gene Helms and Mike Skelly began to challenge DeGroat for the win. DeGroat was up to the task and captured the win with Helms and Skelly right behind him. Joe Rotella was fourth and George Zeininger completed the top five.
In a first for Accord, a trailer race was held and it was an interesting event to say the least. Brandon Conklin took the early lead with pressure coming from Bobby Radivoy. After five laps, Conklin deposited the boat he was hauling into a pile of cars from the previous enduro encounter. Conklin raced the remainder of the way with his trailer upside down and captured the event with Radivoy a close second.
The fun-filled day at the Accord Speedway brought out a great crowd, a great group of competitors and once again proved to be a great day for all racing fans and drivers concerned. The crazy and outlandishly painted enduro cars provided a nice diversion from the ground pounding full size race cars and the bumping and grinding of the on track competition provided for a delightful fall day in the Catskill Mountains. The fun and the entertainment value of the low-cost divisions has proven to be a tremendous opportunity for the budget minded competitors to enjoy their love of racing without having to dip so deeply into their pockets. Popular racer Johnny Bankich with his “Halloween adorned” racer earned the best appearing theme based racer and earned a pie from the good folks at Grandma Anne’s pies. All feature winners also received a pie in the WRWD Radio Victory Lane.
Heat race winners included Rich Ricci III, Nick Johnson, Brian Durbin and Hunter Lapp in the Sportsman. Pure Stock heats were captured by Ray Tarantino, Joe Morris and Livy Johnson. Jeremy Quick and Eric Jennings captured the NEWS Sprint heats. Two consolations were needed to set the Sportsman feature field and Nick Plumstead and Dave Demorest were the winners.
The Chefs in the Accord kitchen were not to be outdone as a variety of hand-crafted sandwiches, chili, chicken noodle soup and plenty of hot beverages. They all proved to be big hits and the chow lines were kept busy all day with the fans really digging into the great cuisine offered by the speedway chefs. By the end of the racing activity all of the cuisine filled many hungry bellies at the speedway.
A big thanks to John J Liggan and his Insurance Agency for their continued sponsorship of the event. For more information regarding Liggan Insurance, check them out through email at: email@example.com.
Kevin Berryman was on hand to capture the day’s activities. For information regarding pictures from the day, go the Accord Speedway website.
A huge thanks to all of the fans who came out to support the event and donated candy to the kids during the Halloween Costume parade.
Arkel Motors Sportsman “Hocus Pocus 50” (50 Laps): Tony Kowalchuk, Tyler Johnston, Joey Bonetti, Jamie Yannone, Jimmy Wells, Matt Shultz, Rich Ricci III, Connor Otten, Dave Demorest, Phil Goetchius, Brandon McGill, Chris Lynch, Raphael Carson, Brian Durbin, Ryan McCartney, Jimmy Johnson, Lem Atkins, Jason Sanville, John Aumick, Hunter Lapp, Nick Johnson, Ricky Sanville, Nick Plumstead, Jerry Curry
Upstate Auto Pure Stocks “Ghosterbusters 30” (30 laps): Chris Streeter, Travis Brockner, John Hechinger, Bob Sleight, Joel Murns, Livy Johnson, Walt Henry, Steve Williams, Amber VanOrden, Jim Maher, Paul Harding, Corey Stanton, Cooper Henion, Ray Tarantino, Jay Smalley, Joey Sheffold, Austin Smith, Chris Kanuk, Mike Arrizoni, Joe Morris, Nick Reilly, Zach Seyerlein, Gary Gamble, Dan Bertholf, Ryan Brockner, Chris Murphy
Northeast Wingless Sprint Cars: Jeremy Quick, Eric Jennings, Bobby Tersillo, Heidi Hedin, Corey Wood, Larry McVay, Branden Gates, Andrew Davis, Tom Radivoy, Larry Drake
Emmanuel’s Marketplace “Zombie” 4-Cylinders: Jeff DeGroat, Gene Helms, Mike Skelly (Best Theme Appearing Car) Johnny Bankich
Trailer Race: Brandon Conklin, Bobby Radivoy
Racing fans are encouraged to begin making plans for the Annual “Gobbler” spectacular coming to the speedway on November 25th. Modifieds, Sportsman and Pure Stocks will be in action for the Saturday event. More details will follow shortly.
For further updates and information regarding all of the news and additions to the Accord Speedway, log on to their well documented website at: http://accordspeedway.com or call the speedway hotline at: 845 626 3478.