Janis, Antonicelli, DeLaney & Salemi inducted into Wall of Fame
LANCASTER, N.Y. (December 7, 2019) – Lancaster Dragway @ New York International Raceway Park (NYIRP) honored the efforts its competitors and teams during the 2019 season on Friday night during the annual awards banquet.
The Variety Club Banquet Hall in Lancaster was the venue for the sold out affair that recognized track champions, award winners and the induction of the 2019 class of the Lancaster Dragway Wall of Fame.
Topping the list of 2019 track champions was Mallare Trucking Top ET champion Jan Winkowski of Cheektowaga, N.Y. WInkowski has piloted his “Lunatic Fringe” Chevrolet Nova 31 seasons at Lancaster, but never won a title until this season.
Reid Ricketson of Darien Center, N.Y. claimed his second Gianna Mazia’s Mod ET track title out of the last three seasons. Ricketson piled up four class wins while en route to the championship.
In Hebeler’s Sales Bikes & Sleds, Lucas Salemi of Amherst, N.Y. won his second career track championship. Salemi and Mike Peters battled all season long with each driver winning five times in 2019, but Salemi prevailed in the points race.
Donny “DJ” Raiser claimed his first track in 24 years by taking top honors in Tread City Tire Street. Raiser, a member of the Lancaster Dragway Wall of Fame, won three times in Street this year.
PJ Marston claimed his first ever Jr. Dragster track title in 2019 during our Tuesday Night racing program.
The fourth ever class of the Lancaster Dragway Wall of Fame was inducted during the ceremonies. Leading the 2019 class was NYIRP track owner, car builder and former racer Vito Antonicelli. Antonicelli and his wife Sylvia, along with Mike Swinarski, purchased the racing facility just weeks before the start of the 2019 racing season.
Joining Antonicelli was racer and contributor Mike Janis. Janis got his start racing at Lancaster and has gone on to win Pro Modified World Championships in both NHRA and IHRA. He is also the owner of Jan-Cen Racing Engines and Jan-Cen Motorsports, which is located in Elma, N.Y. Jan-Cen builds engines for racers around the world.
The third member of the 2019 class was former racer and graphic designer Den DeLaney. DeLaney competed for a number of years at Lancaster, but is best known for his artwork. Dan “The Sign Man” DeLaney has designed and hand painted numerous race cars that have competed around the country.
The final inductee into the Wall of Fame was former racer and car builder Jim Salemi. Salemi owns and operates G-Force Racing Cars, which is an industry leader in building “doorslammer” style drag racing cars. Salemi is also the father of Bikes & Sleds champion Lucas Salemi.
A few individuals were also recognized for their efforts during the 2019 season with specialty awards. Wayne Cleveland was honored as the Sportsman of the Year. Diane Frank received the Libby Gaymon Award for her support of the Bracket Finals team that traveled to Pittsburgh this past September. Top ET racer Ann Marie Nugent was given the Most Improved Driver Award. She was the only driver to rack up two wins in Top this season.
With the 2019 season now in the books the staff and management of NYIRP will reflect on their first season as the stewards of Lancaster Dragway & Speedway during the holiday and Christmas season, and then turn their attention to preparing for 2020. The NYIRP ownership group thanks the Western New York racing community for their support during these past months, and looks forward to continuing the tradition of racing at Lancaster.
PHOTO BY SHARON HUGHES