UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY HONORS CHAMPIONS, OFFICIALLY ENDS 2005 SEASON VERONA, NY (NOVEMBER 13)- The beautiful Turning Stone Casino and Resort was the site of the 2005 Utica-Rome Speedway Awards Banquet this past Saturday evening on Saturday ...
UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY HONORS CHAMPIONS, OFFICIALLY ENDS 2005 SEASON
VERONA, NY (NOVEMBER 13)- The beautiful Turning Stone Casino and Resort was the site of the 2005 Utica-Rome Speedway Awards Banquet this past Saturday evening on Saturday November 12 as over 500 attendees helped celebrate this past season at the Vernon oval. The large gathering of race teams, track officials, and fans saw nearly $85,000 in point and tire money distributed to the racers and team owners for their efforts throughout the 2005 season.
Vernon's Willy Decker enjoyed his finest season ever behind the wheel of the Tom Cullen owned 1x, netting 2 wins and finishing every point event in the top 10. That consistency laid the groundwork for his first ever 358-Modified track championship at the Utica-Rome Speedway, becoming the first Vernon native since Sonny Seamon in the mid-70's to win the title in the headline division at the track. Decker and his team were awarded $8,000 for their efforts in the 2005 season. Todd Burley finished in the runner-up position in the standings after garnering 4 wins on the season which gave the Spencerport driver $6,000 out of the huge 358-Modified point fund. Long time Utica-Rome Speedway regular Mitch Gibbs (1 win) finished up the season the third spot in the standings and a $4,000 check with Bobby Varin (2 wins) in fourth, netting $2,500 in point fund money. Ted Lamb (1 win) rounded out the top five in the point standings, picking up $2,000 for his fine season. Utica-Rome Speedway veteran Gus Schmidt was awarded $1,500 for his sixth place efforts, with Paul Kinney netting $1,300, Jamie Christian (2 wins) earning $1,200, John Ramsey (1 win) getting $1,100, and Don Mattison (1 win) getting $1,000 for finishing out positions seven through ten in the overall 358-Modified point standings. Utica-Rome Speedway management would once again like to thank the Mirabito Fuel Group for their large contribution to the Utica-Rome Speedway 358-Modified point fund.
Despite a very successful 25 year career driving in various classes and earning many victories, Sportsman veteran Paul Carey had never claimed a track championship. 2005 saw that change, as Carey survived one of the tightest point battles ever in the Sportsman division at the Utica-Rome Speedway to net his first ever championship. Carey's 3 wins and 12 top 5 finishes proved to be the formula to his 2005 success. Billy Price (1 win) and Mike Button (2 wins) pressured Carey right until the final checkered flag flew, falling just short by finishing in second and third in the standings respectively. Kyle Lewis (2 wins) had breakout year in 2005 with a fine fourth place in the standings while 2004 Utica-Rome Speedway Sportsman champion Jessica Zemken struggled to repeat her success of her championship season. Zemken failed to find victory lane but completed every lap and had 8 top 5's, netting her a fine fifth place in the final standings. Steve Way (3 wins) was in the title hunt for most of the season with late season bad luck dropping him to sixth place while young Kenny Stafford (3 wins) had up and down season en route to a seventh place finish in the final standings. Opening night winner Jeremy Vunk (1 win), Tim Nye, and Tim Mayne rounded out the top ten positions in the final Sportsman point rundown.
Jerry Holmes was honored for his fine season at the Vernon oval which saw him net 7 wins on his way his third Pro Stock title. Former Pro Stock champions Bret Belden (2 wins) and Tom Denton (2 wins) fell short in their pursuit of another title, finishing second and third in the final rundown. Mark Effner was honored for his best season, a season that showed no wins but several runner up finishes gave him a strong fourth place in the points with Jim Normoyle (1 win) rounding out the top five. Chad Ray (1 win), AJ Digsby, Bill Knapp, Don Decker, and Jason Rood (1 win) rounded out the top ten in the standings and were all recognized for their 2005 season.
Russ Marsden was honored for his second consecutive Utica-Rome Speedway Pure Stock title which saw him net an incredible 13 victories. Chris Cunningham, Rick Condes, Glenn Forward, and Ron Hawker (1 win) rounded out the top five spots in the standings while Phil Norman, Chris Mackey, Jim Thomas, Dan Hofmann (1 win), and Tim Janczuk filled out the top ten spots.
George Catanzano was once again crowned the IMCA Modified champion at the speedway after an eleven win season and only one finish outside the top five. After winning the first two events of the 2005 season, Bill Anderson slipped to the runner up spot in the standings with Kevin Buff, Aaron Jacobs, and Sean Lias (3 wins) filled out the top five point finishers. Also honored were Bob Banks, Mark Chrzanowski, Dale Caswell, Rodney True, and Mike Jacobs for finishing in positions six through ten.
In 2005, the Four Cylinder Super Stocks were moved from more familiar half mile oval to the smaller inner oval and when the dust settled at the end of the 2005 season, the championship picture remained the same. Chuck Powelczyk took home his second consecutive Four Cylinder title after taking home 4 victories on the season. Newcomer Ken Carson (5 wins) pressured Powelczyk for most of the season but fell just short, finishing in the second spot in the standings. Joey Delacruz (3 wins), Kevin Fassett, and Doug Farsnworth (1 win) rounded out the top five point positions with the rest of the top ten spots going to Rich Murtaugh (2 wins), Chris Kranz, Lorraine Powelczyk, Jim Money (Jim Money), and Adrianne Gilbert respectively.
Mike Emhof of the Central New York Mini Sprints was on hand to present the top ten finishers in the Pro Tire Service/ Parts Plus Super Series with Skip Travis taking home the top honors in the series. Jared Fink, Don Harvey, Jr., Johnny Guarino, and Mike Kiser made up the top five in the 5 race series with Daniel Lampron, Jerry Sehn, Duby Woodruff, Dale Beach, Sr., and James Tomlinson rounding out the top ten spots.
Rookie of the year honors went to Bob Henry, Jr. in the 358-Modified division, with Alan Barker taking home the honor in the Sportsman. Glenn Forward was named the top Pure Stock rookie after a top five effort in the point standings while Rodney True was given the award in the IMCA Modified ranks. Ken Carson, after a 5 win season at the speedway was the top rookie in the Four Cylinder Super Stocks. There were no rookies in the Pro Stocks.
Paul Kinney was named the Most Improved Driver in the 358-Modifieds after a marked improvement over 2004 while Kyle Lewis the recipient of the award in the Sportsman. Mark Effner's fourth place finish in the point standings was enough to give him the Most Improved Driver for the Pro Stocks with Rick Condes earning the same award in the Pure Stocks.
Brian Weaver's disastrous 2005 season fell far short of what he accomplished at the speedway in 2004, which made him the 358-Modified Hard Luck award winner. Casey Williams late season bad luck was enough to earn him the Hard Luck award for the Sportsman with Dave Moyer given the award in the Pro Stocks after a rough 2005 season. Kevin Fassett was given the Hard Luck award in the Four Cylinder Super Stocks while in the IMCA Modified division, the whole division was up for the award except for George Catanzano as they were left behind by Catanzano as he raced off with championship.
General Manager Dick Sweet concluded the event by stating that things are moving forward for the 2006 season, and as of right now, there will be very little change in the program that proved to be very successful in 2005. A possible shift in classes may occur, but nothing definitive has been finalized. Sweet urged everyone to keep up to date with the 2006 program by looking in the trade papers and the best way to get all the latest information, the Utica-Rome Speedway website at www.uticaromespeedway.com.
The Awards Banquet was the final event of a very successful season at the Utica-Rome Speedway, a season that saw some of the most competitive racing on the track and in the point standings ever at the Vernon speed plant. For more information on the upcoming season, please log onto the speedway website or call the speedway office at (315) 829-4557. Remember, the website will have video archived from the 2005 season to help shorten the long off-season. Speedway management would like to thank all the race teams, officials, sponsors, and fans for their continued support and for helping make the 2005 season a successful one.