This & That: A Few First-Time Winners – DTD Exclusive


The big long weekend of racing kicked off on Friday and locally two teams were on top of the board with first time wins.  Andy Graves of Middleburgh recorded his first win in the Pro Stock division at Utica-Rome and the Palmer Race Team of Howes Cave, with JaMike Sowle of Fultonville at the wheel picked off the first of twin 20-lap features at the track in the Modified division at Utica-Rome.  

For both Graves and Sowle, the wins were their first at the Vernon oval.  Graves has made the track his home on Friday nights this season and currently sits fourth in points in the Pro Stock division.  “We blew a motor last week and thought we would be off awhile, but the next day I got a call from Billy Yurkewicz and he said you can’t give up now and he bought this motor,” said Graves in his victory lane interview.  

Sowle said it was a very special win for him, it was his first win at Utica-Rome and his first big block Modified win.  “It means everything, I couldn’t be here without Carole and Alton Palmer,” said an elated Sowle in Victory Lane. “They’re the biggest helpers and supporters I’ve ever had.”

Fonda Speedway was back in action on Saturday with the inaugural Dave Lape Memorial and Stewart Friesen was able to take the lead from defending track champion, Matt DeLorenzo on lap 22 and go on to win, his 87th at the Track of Champions.  “Dave was my hero as a little kid,” Friesen told Mimi Lazzaro in victory lane.  

Lebanon Valley wrapped up the big racing weekend with the Super DIRTcar Series event, King of Spring paying $13,500 to the winner and Matt Sheppard took home the big check to Savannah, NY.  Although we were scheduled to go we watched on DirtVision for some great coverage.  It was also great to hear Mike Warren on the mic for the SDS from the track were he grew up and had his first shot at announcing.  

Both the Indy 500 and the Coke 600 ended with controversy, something that many will form an opinion on.  We have our opinions but don’t choose to share them in this effort because if you look at the history of racing as much as we do you will find that as much as things change they also remain the same.  

Demetrios Drellos of Queensbury, NY, was born into a racing family and has shown the racing world that he  intends to make a mark in racing under the Drellos name.  The No. 111 that Demetrios drives has a deep history in local racing.  His grandfather, Chris owned cars that raced at Fonda in the 1960’s and were driven by several of the drivers that contributed to Fonda gaining the “Track of Champions” nickname.  

Young Demetrios had thoughts of racing as a toddler and began racing a soapbox derby car as soon as possible.  His next move was to Slingshots before moving to Modifieds in 2013.  Since then he has become one of the young stars of dirt racing.  This past year he took one more step and tried his hand at Late Model racing in Florida during the Sunshine Nationals in January.  His talent to adjust and learn new challenges became apparent to those who watched.  He was able to drive the Late Model and learn from those around him.  He was awarded a win during the events after the winner of the feature was disqualified for illegal tires.  

Demetrios also has a full-time day job working in his family owned septic business besides all the time he spends in the race shop.  The Drellos team consists of his wife, Lexi and son, Paxton along with his parents George and Dawn and many loyal sponsors on the No. 111 Modified that he races weekly this season at Albany-Saratoga and Fonda.  Sponsors are Drellos Motorsports, Caroline Street Pub, Fox, Swift Springs, Green Management, Cronins Golf Resort, Gross Electric and Northwinds Mobile Home Park.  Crew members are Buddy, Joe, JoAnne, Danny, Tom, Bruce, Rob, Lynette and many others that have helped over the years.  

Young Bodie Marks of Scotia races his JR Slingshot at area tracks, Glen Ridge, Utica-Rome, Lebanon Valley and Hamlin Speedway in Pennsylvania.  

Although he’s been racing only two years, he already has many successes in his short career and a large group of sponsors to support him in his efforts.  Sponsors include 1945 Speed & Custom, Marcella’s Appliance Center, DRH Trucking & Excavating, Lubie Lease LLC, Prestige Seal Coating, Caprara’s, Turnpike Glass, MHJ Auto Carlove, Nesco Services Inc., BNB Property Services, Gabriel’s Supermarket, The Shop Automotive Detailing, DH Graphx, Capital Area IT and Mohawk Taproom.  His crew each week is Derek, Chuck and Kurt.  And of course we know like all young racers there are two strong supports behind him, his parents, Derek and Lisa Marks.  According to his Facebook page Bodie has seven wins this season alone.  

Until next week please send all news and/or comments to