Path Valley honors region's top race drivers. Spring Run, PA_ Two Wheel Promotions recognized more than 100 of the region's top drivers and kart riders at the 15th annual Path Valley awards banquet Saturday, Nov. 23, in a split-level gala at the...
Path Valley honors region's top race drivers.
Spring Run, PA_ Two Wheel Promotions recognized more than 100 of the region's top drivers and kart riders at the 15th annual Path Valley awards banquet Saturday, Nov. 23, in a split-level gala at the Pleasant Hall Fireman's Hall.
Three of the seven Friday night Path Valley Speedway Park sprint and stock car champions were repeat title winners, and Jimmy Brookens who won the 600cc Sprints championship in 2002, stole the night's show with his serious claim that he is also a rookie. The popular Fayetteville driver won the 270cc championship last year but this was his first year in the 600cc sprints.
As part of the evening awards veteran announcer Bob Johnson of Altoona entertained with interviews of everyone honored and his colorful commentary on their racing seasons.
Brookens told the crowd of more than 400 his secret to successful racing. "I count to five and turn left," he said, "and then I count to five and turn left again." Disabled from a motorcycle racing accident, Brookens uses hand controls on his micro sprint, and his fellow competitors joked that if he could really steer his winning #11S then he wouldn't have to bump them out of his way.
From his wheelchair, Brookens said all of the credit for his success should go to his family and crew. "All I do is drive it," he said. Next year, Brookens later said, he plans to race the same sprint, and his goal is going to be to have fun. "I've done this long enough and won two championships at the toughest track around, so I've earned the right to just enjoy it," he said.
Scott Ellerman of Landisburg said his second consecutive championship in the PA 305 Sprints at Path Valley is due to some great maintenance by his crew, the many sponsors who advertise on his ride, and a little luck. Ellerman said he plans to return with his winning #115 next season, "because I can't afford to move up to a bigger engine sprint." As with most of the champions, Ellerman said he would welcome an offer from a sprint car owner.
The third repeat champion, Ricky Harper of Three Springs, has won titles in three of the past four years in the high-speed four cylinder mini stock division. In appreciation for his winning #75, Harper presented four-foot trophies to his car owner, mechanic and crew chief. He said he and his car owner are still undecided about what they will race next season.
Sean Good, the Middleburg driver who won the prestigious 270cc Sprints title in only his second year of racing, said he will return to Path Valley with the East Coast Motorsports factory car each Friday night in 2003. His Elite Chassis #14 won seven features in 2002 including the Blaise Alexander Memorial at Greenwood Valley and three Path Valley features, and Good plans to also race at area Saturday night tracks and at Kutztown on Wednesdays.
After two years as a dominant force and frequent winner in the V8 street stocks, Weston Alleman won his first Path Valley championship by more than a race over veterans Randy Patterson and Doug Hoffman. Alleman, of Newburg, said he plans to race at both Path Valley and Silver Springs next season and his goal is to race a limited late model at the Springs the following season.
Mike Beidel of Fayetteville came from rookie of the year last year to champion this season in the four-cylinder thunder cars. After offer his thanks to his family, crew and sponsors, Beidel said he is still undecided about next season but he appreciates the friends he made and the sportsmanship he saw in the big class of thunder cars.
Harrisburg's Ray Swank told the crowd he was deeply honored to accept the Legends Cars championship trophy and jacket because he had the privilege of racing with some of the very best drivers in the whole country. He plans to defend his title in 2003.
Each of the top ten drivers present at the banquet in each of the seven divisions received trophies, points money, and additional prizes. John Goshorn of Goshorn Racing Supply presented each champion with a custom jacket.
"Everyone seemed happy and enjoyed themselves, and our sponsor support this season was just outstanding," said promoter Ken Geesey. "It took about four hours just to give away all the door prizes! We are proud to have some of the best drivers anywhere racing every week at Path Valley, and announcer Bob Johnson did an excellent job making the presentations and interviewing each one who attended."
Among the special awards presented the Rising Star award went to Alex "Alkie" Cunningham of Hancock Md. who finished fifth in the 270cc Sprints in his rookie season. Josh Dressler of Thompsontown won Rookie of the Year honors for his eighth place finish in 270cc Sprints. Terry Peters racing presented championship jackets to the 270cc and 600cc champions and to the Rookie of the Year.
Past Legends Cars champion Butch Brough of Newville earned the season's Hard Luck award with mechanical problems through the season and a spectacular front stretch crash in one of the final races. In spite of his bad luck nights, Brough still finished third in points. More than 20 drivers, including Brough, were recognized for perfect attendance at every points race. Brenda McCartney and Brian Casner won the special drawing for fuel for those who had reserved their pit spots.
Promoter Ken Geesey and Two Wheel Promotions recognized all of the track workers, without whom racing would not happen, and also honored the Lack-Tuscarora Ambulance for their dedication to the safety of all the racers.
The track previewed slightly revised rules to those in attendance and a first look at the tentative 2003 schedule. The 2003 season will open Saturday, March 15, with a Bug Day for all the Friday night classes. The first race is planned Friday night, March 21, for the seven regular weekly classes. The Bug Day for karts and quads is scheduled Saturday, March 22, and the first race for the Strictly Stock class of junkyard cars is that night. The first Saturday night race for AMA motorcycles and the Legends Cars is planned for March 29. The major change is that the Strictly Stock junk car class will race twice a month in 2003 at the request of many of the drivers.
The split-level awards program featured recognition of the top riders in the Burris Racing karts and quads program that races Saturday afternoons prior to the banquet, and to the Friday night Sprints and stock car drivers following the feast catered again by Dodies of Chambersburg.
Each of the kart champions earned trophies and points monies and Burris Racing provided jackets for all the young champions and Burris SS tires, wheels, neck braces, hubs, sprockets and other hardware for those in second through fifth who attended. Butch Diller, President of the Pennsylvania Dirt Karters Association, congratulated the top Path Valley riders and announced that the PDKA State Championship Series has scheduled three World Karting Association sanctioned races at Path Valley in 2003.
The 2002 four-wheeler champions were Dane Delancey of Port Royal in the two strokes and Corey Burhman of Chambersburg in the four strokes.
The 2002 kart champions honored were Ian Sheaffer, Kid Karts; Danny Wiles, Heavys; DJ Holland, Jr. Restricted; Garrett Kuhns, Lites and Jr. Stock; Alex Benda, Jr. Sportsman I and Jr. Sportsman II; Jimmy Slaseman, Caged Rookies; Brad Thomas, Mediums; Jim Slaseman Sr., Sr. Champs; Troy Imler, Open; and Miles Burd, Extra Heavy. Rookie of the Year went to Zack Fouse who finished second in the Jr. Sportsman I class. Perfect attendance awards went to Fouse, Kuhns and Holland and special Family Support Awards were given to the Slaseman Race Team and the Holland Race Team.
The Path Valley Speedway Park is located in Spring Run PA a mile north on PA Route 641 from the intersection with PA Route 75, halfway between Port Royal and Hagerstown. It is five miles east from the Willow Hill Exit 14 of the PA Turnpike. The new phone number at the track for promoter Ken Geesey is 717-349-7111. For information on the 2003 schedule and rules, race teams and fans can consult the website at www.pathvalley.com or they can email Two Wheel Promotions at email@example.com.