By LEON ANDRUS
March 2,3,and 4 was the date of the Southern Tier Speed World presented by Mike & Michele Storlarcyk Cars and Trucks of Whitney Point N.Y., held at the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, N.Y. Race cars and speedway personnel come Thursday after the Mall closes to do their set-up and it has been tradition ever since there has been a show there I go down to get a quick peek before the scheduled date on Friday. Friday saw a huge storm late Thursday and most of the day Friday so we did not go that day.
Saturday Delores and I headed to the Mall and got their just after the Mall opened for customers as it is open early for all the folks that walk in there. Delores and I for the most part spent our time at the Thunder Mountain Speedway booth except when we went to get schedules or see what else was going on. I came Sunday and she stayed home so I was gathering some info to pass along from the show. I stayed for the awards and I will let the show folks give you all that info as I will sum it up with one word. WOW!
It looks like the racing in the Southern Tier is really going to be strong for sure with some drivers changing tracks, some expanding their racing and one track changing back to the original race night. Also one surprise at least to me was that their was no representation of Penn Can Speedway at this show or at the Motorsports Expo in Syracuse. Also no Five Mile Point at the Syracuse show. The track changing back to its original date is Skyline going back to Saturday night from their Friday date last year. Time will tell if that is a good move or not as now they go head to head with the most popular track in the Southern Tier Thunder Mountain Speedway. They do have a pretty vigorous schedule with quite a few Sunday shows also. Quite a lot of small wheel car action also between Saturday specials or on the Sunday Card.
Thunder Mountain Speedway has a few guys moving up into the Modified division this season out of the Open or Crate Sportsman class. To name a few that we know for sure is Kevin Jordan who has been a mainstay in the Sportsman for years is coming with the guns loaded. Chance Spoonhower who has dabbled on and off in Modified division is going all out this season. Shane Spoonhower who has raced in the Crates for the past couple of seasons is planning to also run in the Modified division if he gets a motor sponsor. He will have a couple of Crates at his disposal as he pans on running the North and South region of the Short Track Super Series (STSS). That will get started this weekend down at the spacious Georgetown Speedway in Georgetown Delaware. Another to move up and opening up a spot in the Open Sportsman division for the championship is the past two season champion Brian White. His Dad Ed I believe is going to run for the increased money in the Crate Sportsman division but was told also by Nick White another son that his Dad just got an open motor also, so maybe a little double dipping might just be done. The Modified division this season for a thirty-lap feature will be paying $1500.00 which is the highest of all the Southern Tier tracks. Track regular Jeremy Smith had his sharp looking car on display at the booth.
The Crate Sportsman is where the big news is, as this division will be paying a thousand dollars to win weekly and will be running a B-Main if need be. Coty Jackson had a car on display at the booth that he bought recently but had a new one at home they are assembling for use on Saturday nights on the Mountain. This car will be used for specials around the area. Jackson ran a few races last year in a borrowed car but is coming for a full assault this season. New this year at Thunder Mountain and also planning to run Friday’s at the Afton Motorsports Park is Randy Gates who is changing his racing up this season and is going to run many of the specials around also. Dan Burman who basically is a one night a week racer was telling me he will be running both Afton and the Mountain the first few weeks and then evaluate from there.
In the Open Sportsman I didn’t hear a whole lot about but with the championship wide open I expect to see some influx also as I am not sure what the Rookie Sportsman drivers have planned. The Street Stock division looks to once again be strong with top notch competition always in this class of cars.
I didn’t hear much talk on the other divisions there on anyone moving around other classes or anyone coming in but you can be assured there will be as there is every year. The 600cc Modified division seems to still be strong despite Doug Borger signing with Five Mile to run the division there this season. When there was a tour race last year the track always kept the division on the schedule and it might have cost them a car or two. Like I have always said and will always say you truly never now until the gates open for racing. Speaking of which there opening night is scheduled for April 28 with there usual Modified special.
News out of Afton as was reported by their track public relations director JR Kennerup was that the track was looking for a strong season and quite a few drivers making Afton home this season. Jeremy Smith is leaving Brewerton Speedway to concentrate at Afton this season. Darren Smith will also be in competition in the Crate Sportsman class. The one I heard while I was over visiting in the booth was Chad Cook was returning with a new Hig-Fab chassis to try and conquer the newly clayed surface. Cook ran sparingly last year at Thunder Mountain. Street Stocks I get a feeling will definitely be on the rise and of course it was announced earlier that the IMCA division was making a return and will have a full sanction. They have the Saturday Pallooza back on the schedule and two visits from the Short Track Super Series. One last thing is this season there will be racing during the Afton Fair this season. After a couple of practices the doors spring open on April 27.
Outlaw Speedway in Dmundee, N.Y. had their display also at the all and when I went to get their schedule it was pretty busy so I got to talk to promoter Tyler Siri at the Syracuse show. There I first congratulated him for his win down at the Volusia Speedway back in February. Looking at their schedule they have a very aggressive schedule and like always they open with a bang on Friday April 20 with Saturday the 21st installed as the rain date. Their opener is dubbed the Outlaw Spring Nationals consisting of Lucas Oil ESS Sprint Cars paying $3000.00 to win Modifieds, Grit Sportsman Series paying $1500.00 and a thousand to win for the IMCA cars and the Street Stocks. There also is a $600.00 to win Four Cylinder Outlaw event. That is a big opening night payout but the other Friday night tracks not open yet helps pad the pits and stands which you need.
Finally before closing out the Mall stuff, I need to give a shout out to Five Mile Point regular Glenn Knapp as the streak of being in every Southern Tier race car show no matter where they were is still intact. The car is always a fixture with Brozzetti’s Pizza sponsoring the side of his number 26 Modified. Also Afton Speedway regular Kenny Titus’s number 9 was on hand as always seems to be the case for the past number of years to showcase all the winter hard-work and get the sponsor recognition that they so deserve. Lastly but not least when speaking of the Knapp car it was a rarity as Mom Knapp wasn’t able to make it this year as she is fighting an illness as I found out talking with Cheryl. Get Well Soon!
Just this past Saturday and Sunday the cars, fans, track promoters and promoters of sanctioning bodies and plenty of vendors were at the Syracuse Fairgrounds Center of Progress Building for the big Motorsports Expo. The show this year was the first for new show promoter Jeremie Corcoran as he bought the rights to the show from the Patrick family after last years show. It was the 32nd edition of the great show. The place was packed with fans on Saturday and I thought the show was full with space being used I haven’t seen used in a while. Saturday also saw an impromptu promoter/general manager tire changing contest and it was a nice added touch. Tyler Siri Outlaw owner/promoter was the leader late when Weedsport general manager Jimmy Phelps came in with the quick change. My apologies as I went to watch and didn’t write the time down. Nice job in your first production of a show in this magnitude.
Once again Delores and I spent most of our time at the Thunder Mountain booth and there was three regular competitors with their cars on display. Modifieds of Jeremy Smith and Colton Wilson. Doug Windhausen had his 600cc Modified on display with his usual Terrell Chips and all other assorted snacks on display. They were giving away small bags of chips to all that wanted them. The car was beautiful and was getting a lot of looks and talk as he brought it to the show with sail panels and it looked sharp and the display was great. I wasn’t there Sunday so I have no idea who won what.
The big new news out of the Thunder Mountain booth was the huge Crate Sportsman event that was added between the mall show and this show. I saw it and said wow as it was in a big display. Not all the rules and admission prices or any other divisions running that day. Here is the jist of it though, It is dubbed Thunder Mountain Topless 100 for the 602 Crate Sportsman. $10,000.00 to win and $300.00 to take the green. It will take place on Sunday September 9 and if you are a Thunder regular there is a $1000.00 bonus if you capture the event. What a season for Crates at the Mountain this year with this and the a fore mentioned $1000.00 to win weekly. The big race will have lap money and I will be working on contingencies for this event. B-Main and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a C and D main for this event. If you would like to become a sponsor of this event or a sponsor at the Thunder Mountain Speedway just drop me a line in a pm message on Face Book or email me at the following email@example.com.
One of the sanctioning bodies that is usually there was among the missing this year was the Deyo’s, Brett & Heather from the Short Track Super Series and American Racer Cup. They were at their track in Georgetown Delaware and was holding a test and tune session for this weekends huge opener. Practice was highly requested as the new clay was laid down and the banking has been changed. The track crew got a chance to use the new electronic scoring and work bugs out of other stuff that can crop up. The races are contested on Friday and Saturday March 16 & 17. Small block Modified on Friday paying $4049.00 to win and Big Block on Saturday paying $6949.00 to win. The Modified portion which is also a Bob Hilbert Sportswear Velocita-USA South Region Fueled by Sunoco race. It will be the 50th event for the STSS and it quickly became a don’t miss show. The number 49 is key for this weekend as they will honor the builder and founder of the track as it is a Melvin L. Joseph Memorial and he always raced with 49 on the car. I’m quite sure in the Little Lincoln event a division they run you will see a 49 in that race also. That is the reason for the 49 at the end of the payouts. Rush Crate Late Models with their Four Cylinder Cars and Trucks will be on Friday. Saturday will see 602 Crate Sportsman Four Cylinder Cars and Trucks and Little Lincolns. Just the cars I have seen on Social Media heading down it is going to be great. Hope to see you there and drive safe.
Finally before closing I had a chance to grab a schedule for the Utica Rome Speedway and they have a great season planned. I loved the schedule card with one side highlighting all the specials and the opposite side with the full schedule. Opening day has already been double circled on my calendar as on Sunday April 22 will be their race cleverly called Chill Factor 50 with $3000.00 awaiting the winner of the DIRTcar 358 Modified division. Also on the schedule is a $1000.00 to win Broedel Energy 602 Sportsman, Rookie Sportsman and the Ted’s Body Shop DIRTcar Pro Stocks.
Until next time Race On! If you want to comment or have any news items or concerns send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org