Bethel LogoBETHEL, NY – For 2013 BMS Modified champion John Cote, Bethel Motor Speedway’s Victory Lane is a familiar place. After all, the 17-year veteran of the track has visited it more than 100 times. This past Saturday, he made his 111th career trip to Bethel’s winners’ circle – his third of 2015 – in dominating fashion, in spite of running only a limited schedule.
Frank James, who has himself become a serious contender as the season has worn on, started on the pole, but Cote wasted no time putting his car out front, as he took the lead on the initial lap. Cote had a fast car all night, and he quickly began to distance himself from the competition, leaving James and current point leader Ed Dachenhausen to battle for the second spot behind him. The 20-lap event went green to checker with no cautions to slow the pace, and Cote led the way lap after lap. Dachenhausen made his way to second and gave chase to Cote, but Cote proved to be untouchable as he maintained a sizeable lead over the field. Dachenhausen had to be content with second as Cote claimed his first win since mid-May. James was third to cross the line.
Heading into the final weekend, Cote is the only driver mathematically able to grab the championship from Dachenhausen, but Dachenhausen has the advantage of a comfortable 75-point cushion. Blair Culhane is locked into the third position in the point standings for the season.
Jerry Curry took off from the pole and picked up his seventh win of the season in the 358/Sportsman class, but the win did not come without its share of challenges. Rich Coons started alongside Curry, but Curry nosed out front at the drop of the green. Rick Mill came to second with just two laps in the books, and he immediately began to apply pressure to Curry. A red flag with six laps down set the stage for a front row restart between Curry and Mill, and Mill got the advantage. Mill remained on the point until lap 11, when mechanical difficulties set in and he was forced to retire from the event, giving the lead back to Curry. Curry stayed out front for the remainder of the race, in spite of the challenges of Rich Coons. Curry crossed the line ahead of Coons and Jeff Richardson.
Both Curry and Kyle Redner are still mathematically able to take home the division title following this coming week’s events. Curry leads Redner by 55 points in the standings. Dan Dulin, who was the 2014 Rookie of the Year in the class, heads into the final weekend third in points.
Legends driver Teddy Hodgdon has had quite the season – he picked up his first career win at Bethel in July, and has since followed it up with several additional wins in a season that was highlighted by his becoming the youngest driver ever to win the prestigious LegendStock event in August. The young driver has continued to impress, picking up his fifth win of the year this past Saturday in an event that was cut several laps short after exceeding the time limit. Rookie David French started on the pole, with Drew Bottge to his outside. French grabbed the lead as soon as the green flag waved, leaving Bottge and Jim Sylvester to fight for the second spot. With four laps complete, Alex McCollum entered the fray, taking the lead briefly before French reclaimed it. McCollum laid claim to the top spot once again several laps later, but was relegated to the rear of the field for rough riding. This put French out front once again, with Hodgdon and Allan Pedersen in his rearview mirror. As the three ran in tight quarters, Hodgdon was able to make a successful bid for the lead, and he took over the top spot on lap 13. Five laps later, the caution flew and the checkered flag was thrown, as the time limit had already expired. French was second in the final rundown, and Pedersen was third.
Joseph Graf has already secured the 2015 title for the Legends Pro/Masters/Semi Pro class. Heading into the final track points event, Richie Coy is second in the standings and Brad Lowmaster is third. McCollum has also secured a championship, taking the title for the Young Lions class. Hodgdon heads into the final event second in points, with Gillian Kirkpatrick third.
Defending Bandolero champion David French locked up his second consecutive championship several weeks ago, but his win this past Saturday gave him a perfect record for the 18 races that are counted for the season in the division. Rookie Tyler Dachenhausen started on the pole and led the first lap before French powered his way to the lead in the caution-free event. With just three laps in the books, Rudy Roth IV worked his way into the second spot, and he set his sights on French. French, however, consistently hit his marks lap after lap, making it virtually impossible for the competition to catch him. French drove on to the win, followed by Roth and Dachenhausen. While the title has already been claimed, Sean Verwys heads into the final event second in the standings, with Jessica Ricci third.
In Beginner Bandolero action, Joey Aungst took off from the outside pole to claim his fourth consecutive win and eighth of the season. At the drop of the green, Aungst took the lead over pole sitter Isabella Macchia. By lap three, Conner Piasecki had moved into the second spot. He challenged Aungst over the remaining laps, but had to settle for second as Aungst crossed the line ahead of Piasecki and Macchia.
Former Pro Stock champion Ed Butler collected his sixth win of the season, coming from the fourth starting spot to take down the win. Vinny Stanton Sr. led the first four laps as Butler quickly marched towards the front. By lap five, Butler had taken over the top spot. Just two laps later, Greg Cohen made his way to second from his sixth place starting position. Cohen gave chase to Butler, but found himself unable to make a successful bid for the lead as Butler led Cohen to the finish. Following post-race tech, third was awarded to Jim Helt. Kenny Atkins heads into the final weekend atop the point standings, with only Helt being mathematically able to contend for the title. Cohen sits third.
Street Stock rookie Walt Henry took the lead from Vinny Stanton Jr. just prior to the halfway point of the caution-free, 20-lap Street Stock event and went on to collect his third win of the year. Stanton started on the pole, with Henry on his outside. For the first seven laps, Stanton showed the way, but Henry applied constant pressure and was unrelenting in his mission to get out front. On lap eight, Henry finally laid claim to the spot. Once out front, Henry never looked back, and Stanton was forced to follow Henry across the line as the checkered flag waved. Kyle Welsch was awarded third following post-race tech. Gary VanOrden Sr. has already clinched the championship over his daughter, defending division champion Amber VanOrden. Steve Smalley heads into the final weekend in the third spot.
Mike Travis picked up his sixth 4 Cylinder Advanced win of the season and extended his points lead to 47 over Dan Curry, the only other driver mathematically able to make a bid for the championship. Eddy Lindstadt and Patty Falkena took off from the front row, with Falkena leading the first lap before Lindstadt grabbed it on lap two. Lindstadt’s time out front was short-lived also, as Travis had made his way from the sixth starting spot to take over the lead with just three laps in the books. Two laps later, 2014 4 Cylinder Novice champion Brian Bauernfeind took over the second spot, leaving Lindstadt to fight for third with Curry. Curry prevailed owith 13 laps in the books and grabbed third, but neither Bauernfeind nor Curry were able to catch Travis, who drove on to the win. Bauernfeind was second, and Curry finished third.
For the fourth time in 2015, Dan Houghtaling found his way to Victory Lane in the 4 Cylinder Novice class, leading every lap of the caution-free event to claim the win. Houghtaling started on the pole, with Felicia Reichenbaugh to his outside. James Shields quickly came to second, and James Curry took over third with three laps in the books. Just prior to the halfway point, Lee Cogswell grabbed third. Cogswell surrendered the position to Gene Helms – who had started ninth – with seven laps remaining. Helms wasted no time taking over second, as he did so on the next lap. Houghtaling had already built up a sizeable lead, however, and Helms ran out of time to catch him. Helms had to be content with second, and Shields crossed the line third. Both John Houghtaling and D. Houghtaling are mathematically able to unseat current point leader David Donovan heading into the final weekend.
This coming Saturday, October 3, the point season at Bethel will conclude with twin 25-lap features for the BMS Modified, 358/Sportsman, Pro Stock, Street Stock, and 4 Cylinder Advanced and Novice classes. The Legends and Bandoleros will each compete in a single feature. Gates open at 2:30 pm, with hot laps at 4:30 pm, and racing set to go green at 6 pm. Grandstand admission is just $6.
The Legends and Bandoleros will return on Sunday for INEX national point races before the racing season at the speedway officially concludes. Gates open at 12 noon on Sunday, with hot laps at 2 pm and racing beginning at 3 pm.
BMS MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. John Cote (New Milford, CT), 2. Ed Dachenhausen, 3. Frank James, 4. Blair Culhane, 5. Robbie Konikowski, 6. Chris Chirico.
358/SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Jerry Curry (Jeffersonville, NY), 2. Rich Coons, 3. Jeff Richardson, 4. Philip Goetschius Jr., 5. Paul Knox, 6. Connor Otten, 7. Rick Mill, 8. Kyle Redner, 9. Dan Dulin. DQ – Dave Werber.
LEGENDS FEATURE FINISH (17 laps): 1. Teddy Hodgdon (Danbury, CT), 2. David French, 3. Allan Pedersen, 4. Jim Sylvester, 5. Gillian Kirkpatrick, 6. Eugene Drew, 7. Dave Riopelle, 8. Drew Bottge, 9. Matt Forsythe, 10. Jerry Macchia, 11. Connor Holderbach, 12. Vern Lafave, 13. Mike Policastro, 14. Richie Coy, 15. Alex McCollum, 16. Mark Foster, 17. Josh Andrews.
BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. David French (Rome, PA), 2. Rudy Roth IV, 3. Tyler Dachenhausen, 4. Sean Verwys, 5. Mike Roth, 6. Jessica Ricci, 7. Bryan Chirico.
BEGINNER BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Joey Aungst (Pompton Lakes, NJ), 2. Conner Piasecki, 3. Isabella Macchia, 4. Katie Verwys, 5. Nick Archiere.
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Ed Butler (Jeffersonville, NY), 2. Greg Cohen, 3. Jim Helt, 4. David Doty, 5. Kenny Atkins, 6. Mac Crawson, 7. Skip LaPolt. DQ – Vinny Stanton Sr.
STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Walt Henry (Maybrook, NY), 2. Vinny Stanton Jr., 3. Kyle Welsch, 4. Steve Smalley, 5. Ryan Brockner, 6. Tweeter Pallom, 7. Jay Smalley. DQ – Gary VanOrden, Amber VanOrden.
4 CYLINDER ADVANCED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Mike Travis (Liberty, NY), 2. Brian Bauernfeind, 3. Dan Curry, 4. Eddy Lindstadt, 5. Ivan Guerra, 6. Patty Falkena, 7. Brent Shaddock, 8. Cody Houghtaling. DQ – Jerry Kingeter.
4 CYLINDER NOVICE FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Dan Houghtaling (Liberty, NY), 2. Gene Helms, 3. James Shields, 4. James Curry, 5. David Donovan, 6. Lee Cogswell, 7. John Houghtaling, 8. Felicia Reichenbaugh, 9. Travis Cogswell, 10. Johnny Bankich.


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BINGHAMTON, NY…Two-time Sunoco Race of Champions winner Geoff Bodine will be returning to the place he grew up as the Grand Marshall of the 65th Sunoco Race of Champions 200 this Sunday, October 4th.  For the first time the Chemung Speedrome will host the storied event, a race track originally built by the Bodine family and later re-built and opened by Bob Stapleton.

Bodine, a two time winner of the Sunoco Race of Champions will be returning to his roots for the 65th edition of the RoC.  His victories in the 1972 RoC at Trenton Speedway and the 1978 edition at Pocono solidified his standing as one of the greatest open wheel Modified drivers of all time.  His victory in the 1986 Daytona 500 came as no surprise to the northern race fans that saw him in action behind the wheel.  Bodine also had three International Race of Champions victories which pitted the best names in the world auto racing scene during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

“I’m looking forward to returning home for the RoC weekend,” said Bodine.  He added, “It will be great to be part of the first ever RoC 200 being hosted at Chemung.”  Race of Champions Director Andrew Harpell commented, “Geoff has provided our race fans with some amazing drives during his career and we are thrilled to have him returning for the weekend.”  He added, “This clearly has special meaning to him and his family with their connection and contributions to Modified racing.”

In July Race of Champions Director Andrew Harpell announced the change of venue from the long time host Oswego Speedway to the Chemung Speedrome.  After 20 plus years Harpell will conclude his involvement with the event this October as western, New York auto racing industry leader Joe Skotnicki has purchased the rights to the event. The sale will become official in January.  Harpell commented on the venue change, “We wanted to bring the event to the loyal fans of the southern tier region of New York and the Chemung Speedrome was a great fit.  We cannot wait to put on the 65th RoC this Sunday.”  He added, “So many great teams and fans have come out of our region to support the race over the years.  This is my personal way of saying thanks by hosting the event in this area.

The Sunoco Race of Champions Weekend will take place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Chemung Speedrome in Chemung, New York.  On Friday there will be no racing activities but there will be a Chicken BBQ presented by Phil’s Chicken House famous BBQ.  Driver registration and pre-event ticket sales will continue on Friday at the Chemung Speedrome offices.

On Saturday the Race of Champions Sportsman 125 lap feature event will take center stage highlighting many of the weekly Chemung stars in competition.  Teams from all over the northeast will be on hand for that event.  The biggest INEX Legends Car event in the northeast will also be on the Saturday evening card.  Their 30 lap event will see one of the richest purse payouts in the entire northeast for the teams in competition.  Chris Zacharias has posted bonus money for the “Shirley Shootout” B-Main event that will see every non-qualifying Legend Car driver receiving some cash for their attempt to make the show.  Teams from six different states have shown interest in the Legend Showdown at the Drome presented by PA Notary Services.

Also on Saturday the Bandolero division will be in competition along with a Four Cylinder Open.  Area businessman Jerry Sinsabugh has raised over $700 in bonus money and gift certificates for all of the young competitor’s in the Bandolero division.  This will be an outstanding event for both of those classes as well.  Racing on Saturday will get underway at 6 p.m.

On Sunday the Chemung Speedrome will become the focus of all eyes in northeast auto racing as the 65th running of the Sunoco Race of Champions Modified 200 will take center stage.  The 200 lap event will pay a minimum of $10,000 to win with a driver able to walk away with well over $15,000 with additional posted bonus lap money.  The Race of Champions is the second longest consecutively run auto racing event in the United States.  Second only to the Indy 500.  The Super Stocks and Front Wheel Drive Four Cylinders will be part of the Sunday action with racing set to begin at 2:15 p.m.

The Race of Champions offices can be contacted at 607-775-5555 or by emailing the office at  Tickets can be purchased by phoning the speedway offices and using your major credit card.  A full weekend schedule and pricing can be found at  Kids 5 and younger will be admitted FREE of charge both days!


Andy J on the Road Episode 1

IMG_6182Andy Jankowiak has joined the Myracenews team and will be sharing his travels with our readers. This is his first installment which he originally posted on Facebook. Enjoy following Andy around the country racing his modified, SST modified and his TQ. Welcome aboard Andy.

A long time ago, way back in 2007 I was a hot shot teenage street stock competitor. I enjoyed some success in my sport of choice in my teenage years so I’m sure you can imagine that I could sometimes be a little full of myself. (I know, its hard to imagine me being cocky right?) So one day I’m hanging around the shop over at Trey’s and I’m fresh off of a couple of wins. I’m walking tall. My buddy Alvin was always quick to take me down a peg (still is). He tells me “You think your good? You know Karl won 13 features in one year once.” The challenge was accepted. By years end I had fallen just short. I had 12. Season over. Done. Then I see a poster while vacationing at the North South Shootout. “Turkey Derby”. They had a factory stock division. I fell in love with the idea. This was the first time in my racing career that supporters and friends asked me a now commonly asked question. “Why?” “Why are you going to that race?” At that time my answer was simple. A stubborn persistence to Trey’s challenge. We ended up going. We won the event. The friendships that were established and strengthened in that weekend are some that I value greatly today. (Jersey loves me!) Jake called it the smartest dumb decision we ever made. I spent a grand to win 150 but I get to look at that golden turkey standing atop a marble platform every time I look at my trophy case. I carry that enthusiasm with me to every race. When the nights in the shop seem to go on forever and I want to go home and sleep I have one thought that doesn’t let me quit. “Maybe I’ll win” “What if I skip this one and we were going to win” The guys on my team that are standing next to me at 5 am, covered in grease have the same song in their heart. “Lets get a win tomorrow”. We aren’t always so fortunate, racing is tough and it only gets tougher the father we go. Its impossible to think about going to Bowman Gray, Seekonk, Oswego or Hickory and say we’re going to go and win a race. That’s to lofty for anyone to say. We always believe that we can though. I know I do. Still….when I crossed that finish line at Hickory Motor Speedway to finish out last weekend I’m still not sure I believed it. Its taken this long for me to process what we did that weekend and it still hasn’t completely sunken in. I knew we could do. If I didn’t think we could I wouldn’t have been there. Its all a bit overwhelming I suppose.

A Modified win at Oswego and a win at Hickory Motor Speedway. I may have been able to call it a career on either accomplishment and been satisfied. For a heart that beats for racing you cannot possibly ask for anything more. They say you remember the first wins the best. I can recall my first win in the Hangover 100 in 2004, I can go lap for lap when I won my first street stock race in the 2006 US Open. All I can remember from the Oswego race was trying not to puke on the last lap because I was so nervous. “Just don’t spin out, we have a good lead. All you can do to screw up now is spin out.” This was my logic the last 2 laps. I mean…it worked lol. Oswego was just the perfect race for us. We had a pit stop plan and the race played perfectly into our strategy. The car could not have handled any better and we capitalized. It was just perfect.

Hickory? Not as perfect. We played a similar strategy but I just over adjusted the car on the pit stop. To tight! Ugh. I wasn’t sure where we would fall but I could tell we still had a fast car. I knew some of the guys would back up to us on a long run and all of them pretty much did, except one. We got to second once it was go time but our run stalled out there behind the 95. I adjusted my line but the best I could do was keep pace. Then it happened. Coming to five to go the leader was caught in the left front tire by a lap car. Both cars diverted in different directions and gathered themselves. We pulled a “Moses” and “parted the seas” between them and split though the middle. The yellow lights didn’t come on so I knew that the 95 must have gathered himself. Richie Evans assured me on the radio that he had and that this race wasn’t over. I ran my favorite Perry Speedway line for the last 5 laps, right in the middle. It was enough.

Wow. We just won Hickory. I’m living it as I’m typing it.

Lost to some extent in the excitement was our stellar weekend this past weekend at Waterford! It felt like we had just gotten home from Hickory and we were off to Connecticut before I could type out a long boring racing story! I guess this ones a two-for. We got to Waterford on Saturday and we were fast quick. This can be problematic for two chassis gurus like me and Rick Kluth. Being fast early means we have lots of time to use our awesome chassis knowledge to make it better! In a collective team effort we worked hard and made some big changes. When it was all said and done we successfully lost a half a second and made the car basically UN-driveable. A fantastically terrible pill draw by Steve Mendoza on top of this landed us in the back of a heat, and then a consi. Wisdom finally prevailed for the B-main when we decided to try the Saturday setup again. That was a swell plan. We won our way into the race and got a 6th place finish with a tight race car! I feel like we missed a bit of an opportunity. If we had more practice tuning time and i called for a better adjustment on the stop i think we could have been so much better. We had it up to second but we were just pushing the right front to hard and faded. Still a great effort against a great field! We were happy to take it after a long day.

My favorite part of this stretch run since my last post still may be watching my Leximarie Lily running her first racing laps in me and Jody London’s go kart. I was so very proud of her. She did a good job. Made some passes high and low, clubbed into a few things and got better as the day went.

I was asked in an interview the other day if I’m frustrated about not having a big sponsor. While a big sponsor might make life easier if it ever where to happen, I honestly in my heart could not possibly ask for anything more then what I have in my racing life. To do what were doing and to have the people behind me, I’m the luckiest guy in racing. I wouldn’t trade what I have right now for anything. I owe that to all of you who make this possible for me to do all this. If I had a million years on this earth I don’t think I could ever repay all the favors that got me to that finish line at Hickory. I’m just grateful.

Next time you ask me why I’m going to that race that doesn’t make any sense, I will probably give my rough justification that I made up that week. Deep down though, this is why we do it. I couldn’t be any happier.

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