November 5th, 2017
Chemung Speedrome Honors Drivers at 2017 Banquet
by Carol Houssock

  It was an evening of awards and celebration. The event was Chemung Speedrome’s 2017 season-ending banquet, held again this year at Tioga Downs Casino in Nichols, NY.

  Jimmy Zacharias earned his sixth Speedrome championship in the headline NASCAR Sunoco Modified division. Zacharias picked up a division-leading seven feature wins and his performance also earned him NASCAR’s NY State title again this year. He took time to thank those who helped him get started as a young boy and ended with the tremendous support from his family and sponsors. He said he’ll be back for title number seven in 2018.

  Other award winners in the Sunoco Modified division included Garry Coon, Rookie of the Year; Zack Knowlden, Most Improved Driver; and Connor Sellars, Hard Charger. Curtis Cowles, who was at the Speedrome when it reopened in 2001 and periodically since then, was there every week in 2017 and earned Car Owner of the Year honors.

  The track’s coveted Sportsmanship Award also went to a driver in the headline division. Paul Johnson, whose family operation recently suffered a tremendous hit in the loss of his father, represents his own family and the Speedrome racing family extremely well.

  Nick Robinson successfully defended his Super Stock title in a tight battle that went down to the final laps run. Robinson’s prepared comments indicated his plans are to run weekly and hit as many NYSS events as possible. Robinson’s father, Jeff, accepted on his behalf as Nick had already made plans to attend the World Finals in Charlotte when the banquet date was announced.

  Jeff Robinson was also named Mechanic of the Year. John Lane won the Super Stock Determination Award for a fight that earned him a win in 2017. Tim Gullo’s #M37 Super Stock won the Best Appearing Car award for his tribute to his exclusive sponsor, Ithaca Gun Company.

  Jacob Gustafson was the overall champion in the 4 Cylinder division, running a front wheel drive car. In addition to his five overall feature wins, he also picked up two more for best in the FWD category. Gustafson, who hit 10 different tracks this year, said the commute from Webster, NY every week was tough and he hopes to make a few appearances at Chemung in 2018. Kevin May, who finished fifth overall, won the RWD title.

  Other award winners in the 4 Cylinder division included Tyler Harbst, Rookie of the Year; Triston Kline, Determination; Ben Perry, Most Improved; and Zack Bennett, Hard Luck.

  Kevin Youngs, who was unable to attend, was the track’s INEX Legends champion. John Bowen accepted his award. Race Director, Ray Hodge, thanked John Bowen for stepping up to sponsor the Bandolero division this past year. Teddy Bowen, a former Bandolero champion who finished the season third in points, was named Rookie of the Year.

  Garrett Zacharias successfully defended his Bowen Racecars Bandolero title in a season that included six overall wins and four more as the top Outlaw. His animated speech included a message to everyone to ‘make racing great again’. Evan Rygielski was the track’s Bandit champion. He earned two overall and two division wins in 2017. Seth Zacharias, third in points, was named the Most Improved Driver in the division.

  Kathy Grodski, Track Manager, presented several awards to track employees for excellence in their respective areas. She and Race Director, Ray Hodge, noted the Speedrome’s growth in recent years and thanked the race teams, sponsors and fans for making that happen.

  Hodge addressed head-on the various rumors of his 2018 plans by saying nothing has been decided and he has yet to discuss the upcoming season with track owner, John White. For now, he urged people to avoid the rumor mill and to wait for official word on the 2018 season.

  Finally, the track remembered two special friends of the Speedrome, John Flock and Vern Johnson, who passed away recently. Hodge said John Flock was a tough but fair Race Director when he was hired five years ago to announce. He mentioned Flock’s wit and his days sharing space in the tower. Track announcer and event emcee, Carol Houssock, said she first met Vern Johnson several years ago at another track and always enjoyed her conversations with him about racing and life in general. She said she was impressed by his dedication to his son, Paul, and appreciated his focus on family.

  Race teams and fans are encouraged to watch for the 2018 schedule on the track’s website, and also on the Facebook page ‘Chemung Speedrome – Racing at the Drome’.

  Anyone having questions regarding the schedule, rule changes, or track operations can call John White at 631-722-3800.



©2010-2017 Chemung Speedrome / RGeePro


Contact Track Owner
John White
(631) 745-9805
Summer Office
(607) 529-9998

Winter Office
(631) 722-3800