Utica-Rome Awards banquet summary

AWARDS BANQUET CLOSES OUT THE UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY 2006 SEASON VERONA, NY- On Saturday November 11, the 2006 Utica-Rome Speedway season officially came to a close at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona, NY with the annual...


VERONA, NY- On Saturday November 11, the 2006 Utica-Rome Speedway season officially came to a close at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona, NY with the annual Awards Banquet. Nearly 500 guests filled the Mohawk room to see the top 10 drivers in each division receive their accolades for the 2006 season, with over $65,000 being handed out between point and tire money.

For the second consecutive year, Willy Decker was the driver receiving the huge $8,000 check for winning the 2006 Utica-Rome Speedway 358-Modified championship. Bobby Varin had the point lead going into the last night of competition at the fast Vernon half mile but an expiring power plant and Decker's second place run allowed the 2005 champion to repeat as the 358-Modified champion. Varin slipped to second in the standings and had to settle for the $6,000 runner-up check. Varin had four wins on the season. Ted Lamb (1 win) collected $4,000 for his third place efforts, with Todd Burley (3 wins) and Jamie Christian collected $2,500 and $2,000 respectively for their top five finishes in the point standings. Paul Kinney (1 win), Mitch Gibbs, Gus Schmidt (1 win), David Orr, and John Ramsey were also recognized for their top 10 finishes in the standings. In all, over $25,000 was handed out to the top 10 in points. Bill Shantel, Jr. was given the Rookie of the Year in the 358-Modifieds with David Orr awarded the Most Improved Driver award. Bobby Varin was given the Hard Charger award. Special thanks go out to Mirabito "The Energy Leader" and Gene Cole, both who make this stellar point fund possible.

Mike Button was recognized at the 2006 Utica-Rome Speedway Sportsman Champion, his first ever title at the Vernon oval. An incredible turn of events on the last race of the season saw then point leader Kyle Lewis receive an on track penalty that relegated him to the pits, opening the door for Button to claim the title. A fourth place run in the event was enough for Button to claim the title. Button had one victory on the year. Another driver slipping by Lewis in the standings on the final night was Jeremy Vunk. The second place finish in the standings was two time winner Vunk's careers best. Lewis (1 win) fell to third in the standings with Brad Alger and Paul Carey (2 wins) rounded out the top five. The rest of the top ten to be recognized were Steve Way (3 wins), Matt Janczuk, Tim Nye (1 win), Casey Williams, and Alan Barker (1 win). Rookie of the Year went to Danny Varin, who scored a win on the same night as his father Bobby. Most Improved went to Matt Janczuk while Jeremy Vunk was the Hard Charger.

Jerry Holmes was on hand to collect his fourth Pro Stock championship after a stellar 2006 season with seven wins. Bret Belden (4 wins) was second in the standings with Jim Normoyle (2 wins) third. Tom Denton (2 Wins) and rookie Chris Mackey filled out the top five in the standings. The rest of the top 10 awarded point money was Dave Moyer, Don Decker, Bill Knapp, Ed Ostrander, and Mark Effner. Chris Mackey was awarded the Rookie of the Year with Ed Ostrander given the Most Improved Driver award. Former champion Bret Belden received the Hard Charger Award.

For the third consecutive season, Russ Marsden was recognized as the 2006 Pure Stock champion after another dominating season, with 10 wins in 16 events. Chris Cunningham (2 wins) was able to keep the chase for the title close, even holding the point lead late in the season, but fell short in the last several weeks to finish in the second spot in the standings. Ron Hawker (1 win), Curt Prevo (1 win), and Glenn Forward rounded out the top five spots. Filling out the top were Tim Janczuk, Shawn Dunn, Frank Hyatt, Jim Thomas, and Chris Carr. The Hard Charger award went Chris Cunningham with Rookie of the Year going to Chris Carr. The Most Improved Driver award went to Tim Janczuk.

In his first full season in the IMCA Modified division, Jim Roberts was named the Utica-Rome Speedway Champion, grabbing three wins en route to the championship. Aaron Jacobs finished in the runner-up spot with Kevin Buff (2 wins) was third. Rounding out the top five was Mark Chrzanowski and Ken Rogers. Mike Smith (4 wins), Bob Banks, Dale Caswell (1 win), Pete Anderson, and Bill Anderson were the remaining top ten point getters.

During the evening, General Manager Dick Sweet mentioned that many new things are on tap for the upcoming 2007 season, including the return of the "New Yorker" event to the speedway. The 2007 version will be 200 laps in length and be exclusively for the 358-Modifieds. More details will be coming during the winter months. Also he made it point to announce that the huge point fund, again with the help Mirabito "The Energy Leader", for the 358-Modifieds will remain intact for the 2007 season, with $8,000 again going to the point champion in the 358-Modified division.

Track announcer Mike Mallett handled the microphone throughout the evening with local comedian Joe Peck keeping the large crowd entertained during dinner. The Uptown/Downtowners kept the large throng dancing until the midnight hour.

Special thanks go out to all the sponsors, drivers, crews, officials, and fans that helped make the 2006 season a resounding success.

To keep up to date on any news on the upcoming 2007 season, log on to www.uticaromespeedway.com. For more information, call the speedway office at (315) 829-4557.

-credit: urs

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Bobby Varin , Chris Carr , Mike Smit
Teams Williams