Malcolm Wins 72nd Season Opener at Five Mile Point

KIRKWOOD, NY – Brian Malcolm started off the 2022 Five Mile Point Speedway racing season the same way that he ended the 2021 season, with a victory.  Malcolm recorded the win in the GRIT Series Crate Sportsman 25 lap feature on Saturday in the 72nd consecutive season opener.  The victory was worth $1,000.  Buck Mills, Sr. was the winner of the tenth annual “Tommy Boy 20” for Factory Stocks.
Bryce Bailey and fourth-generation driver Gordon Smith led the Insinger Performance Crate Sportsman field to the green for the 25 lap feature event.  Bailey jumped out to the lead at the start as Smith dopped several spots early.  Malcolm quickly made his way in to the second slot as Ray Leonard and Kenny Peoples, Jr. also worked past Smith.  The first caution of the race flew on lap 8 and was quickly followed by another yellow.  On the second re-start Malcolm took advantage of the high side of the speedway as he got the edge on Bailey for the race lead.  Bailey immediately slowed with a broken front shock and headed to the pits on the 9th circuit.
When racing went back to green Malcolm had the edge of Peoples.  Peoples had made his way from the ninth starting spot to make a serious challenge to the two-time Modified Track Champion.  At this point Gordon Smith had rallied and was back up to the third slot.  On lap 12 fifth place runner Seth Zacharias pulled to the infield with mechanical problems.  On that same lap Vermont’s Marty Kelly, III spun after contact in turn thee bringing out another yellow.  Mike Nagel, Jr. went to the pits during this yellow flag period.
On the restart Peoples, who was making a rare appearance to the speedway looked to be the weekly competitor as he overtook the race lead from Malcolm.  Malcolm appeared to be caught by surprise as he now had to work again to recapture the race lead.  On lap 17 he did just that by taking the high side of the speedway and returning back to the race lead.  Smith was now setting his sites on Peoples for the second slot when the final caution flew on lap 20.  Ray Leonard had slowed with a flat tire and went to the pits.  When green flag racing continued Malcolm was able to open up his lead as Smith immediately challenged Peoples for the runner-up slot.  Smith took over second but was unable to make a challenge for the race lead.  Malcolm went on for the victory in the Knopka Excavating ride.  The combination led to the Fall Series Championship for Malcolm as well. Smith finished second after moving up from the Slingshot division at the end of 2021. He recorded a win in the Futures Sportsman division in the Fall Series.  Peoples wound up third with a great drive and Tim Guild finished fourth after starting twelfth.  Marty Kelly came on strong after being spun on lap 12 to finish fifth.  Heat winners were Marty Goodwin, Bailey and Blaine Klinger.
The tenth edition of the “Tommy Boy 20” for Factory Stocks saw Buck Mills, Sr. lead wire to wire in the 20 lapper for the victory.  Mills had a spirited battle with Rich Sharpsteen during the course of the feature.  Sharpsteen had to settle for second place with Brandon Conklin finished third, his best ever FMP finish. Brian Lloyd and Grayson Albanese completed the top five finishers. The race was sanctioned by the GRIT Series.
Jerry Lobdell Jr. and Steven Deinhardt led the Street Stock field to the green for their 25 lap feature race. At the drop of the green Deinhardt raced out in to the lead as Lobdell settled in to second place.  Lobdell remained close and returned the favor on lap four as he worked back in to the race lead.  Lobdell went on to lead the balance of the race for the $500 victory.  Lobdell was the Fall Series Champion at the speedway.  Deinhardt had to settle for second at the finish.  Matt Roberts, a late arrival to the speedway started seventh and raced to third.  Kurt Decker and Tyler Yeagle completed the top five.  The race was slowed by only one caution.
Jared Green also started off 2022 like the way he ended 2021 in the 600 Modified division.  Green finished off the 2021 race season with a victory and repeated the feat on Saturday in the 20 lap main event.  Green started on the outside pole and like many others he used the outside line to his advantage to take the immediate lead. Green led all 20 laps but Nick Kennedy also found the high side to his liking as he mounted a challenge during the second half of the race. Kennedy was able to pull close on several occasions but was never able to make a bid for the lead.  Green recorded the win with Kennedy taking second. Dylan Robinson, Mike Robinson and Ali Scutt completed the top five slots.
Twelve-year-old Joshua Landers made the move from the Slingshot division into the Crate Sportsman for the 2022 season.  On Saturday Landers made his debut in the Futures Sportsman class and wound up leading every lap on his way to the victory. Landers outpaced Joe Buchanan, Derek Cornish and Kyle Smith for the win.  Two cautions slowed the action in the first two laps then the balance of the race went caution free.
Tim Vandemark returned to the FWD Four Cylinder Expert battle on Saturday and recorded the win in their 20 lap feature event. Vandemark was the 2020 regular season Track Champion and looked back to form on Saturday as he scored the win. 2021 Fantastic Five Champion Dave Simms took the early race lead after starting third and he and Vandemark swapped the lead four times in the first seven laps. Vandemark took over good on lap 7 and was never challenged. Simms dropped out on lap 14 after losing a wheel.  Randy Lane, Mike Ferris, Rich Wagner and Simms were credited with top five finishes.
Cameron Reichenbaugh raced to his first ever Five Mile Point Speedway feature win with the victory in the 15 lap Novice FWD Four Cylinder Feature.  John Maynard, Cody Ames, Bruce Illenberg and Ethan Maynard were the top five finishers.
COUNTER POINTS…A week of wild weather leading up to Saturday’s event certainly left the opener in doubt…Heavy thunderstorms and wind ripped through the area on Thursday evening with snow squalls moving in on Friday…Saturday morning started off with temperatures in the mid 20’s and snow flurries…Track officials did a great job in getting the racing program completed in very timely fashion despite the weather setbacks…An afternoon open practice provided teams with their first time on the track in 2022…The racing program then got underway during the evening…The seven division program was completed in just over three hours on Saturday night…An incredible amount of laps were turned on the quarter mile between the three hour open practice and racing card…The track held up well until the Crate Sportsman 25 lap feature nightcap…Despite the challenging track conditions the race was very entertaining as there were four lead changes and some great charges from deep in the field…The victory for Joshua Landers in the Futures Sportsman class was impressive as the twelve year-old attended the early open practice just with the goal of learning how to shift the car and get track time…The team made the decision after his showing in practice to race the night program and were rewarded with a win…Tom Goodrich paid a $50 bonus to race winner Buck Mills and another $50 to Carter Bixby in the Factory Stock “Tommy Boy 20”. Brandon Conklin collected the $100 Woodhull Bonus that was posted…Gordon Smith, Ned Fitch, Eric Winsor and Chuck Culbertson all moved up from the Futures Sportsman class from last fall and had solid runs in the GRIT 25 lap Cold Cracker for Crate Sportsman…Smith wound up second, Fitch was sixth, Eric Winsor finished sixth and Culbertson placed eighth…
GRIT SERIES INSINGER PERFORMANCE CRATE SPORTSMAN OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (25 LAPS):  BRIAN MALCOLM ($1,000), Gordon Smith, Kenny Peoples Jr., Tim Guild, Marty Kelly III, Ned Fitch, Eric Winsor, Steve Schrader, Chuck Culbertson, Ray Leonard, Seth Zacharias, Mike Nagel Jr., Bryce Bailey, Blaine Klinger, Gary Smith, David Mayo, Marty Goodwin, Matt Brewer.  DNS – Brian Decker, Randy Fox.
STREET STOCK OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (25 LAPS):  JERRY LOBDELL JR., Steve Deinhardt, Matt Roberts, Kurt Decker, Tyler Yeagle, Brian Steigerwald.  DNS – Brad Hurlburt.
GRIT FACTORY STOCK TOMMY BOY 20 OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS):  BUCK MILLS, SR. Rich Sharpsteen, Brandon Conklin, Brian Lloyd, Grayson Albanese, Bob Mills, Carter Bixby.  
GRIT 600 MODIFIED OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS): JARED GREEN, Nick Kennedy, Dylan Robinson, Mike Robinson, Ali Scutt, Larry Furman, Kenny Harris, Josh Towner, Jeremy Williams.