Tag Archives: Chemung Speedrome

“Daryl Lewis, Jr. Gets It Done at the ‘Drome, Picks Up Big Chemung Sportsman Modified Win”

by Carol Houssock”

Photo Emily Knowlden

(Chemung, NY) Chemung Speedrome opened the 2021 season with a big show that honored two men and ended with several new faces in victory lane. While rain washed out the Friday portion of the track’s planned two-day opener, promoters Ray and Ellen Hodge added three scheduled divisions to the Saturday program. Sam’s Bar & Grill in Sayre, PA sponsored the show, which included a 75-lap memorial for the late Gary Marshall. During intermission the track presented a plaque to Gil “Buck” Sharpsteen as their Grand Marshall. Sharpsteen, well known in the area racing community, was deeply moved in receiving this honor in front of so many family members and friends.

Three heats and a draw among the top four in each set the field for the 75-lap headliner. Heat wins went to Daryl Lewis, Jr., Tony Hanbury and Zach Knowlden while Bill Chandler, Jr. and Lewis drew the two best starting spots.

Lewis sailed around on the outside during the opening lap and led the way, with Zack Curren in hot pursuit. Curren waited for the right moment coming off turn four and the lead was his on lap 12. TJ Potrzebowski and Tony Hanbury were also marching forward and when Chandler went high, they took over the inside lane. By lap 45 the top four had about 8 cars lengths between each of them.

The first caution came out with 51 laps complete when Gary Noe spun. The restart was disastrous for Curren, who got turned around in turn four. Hanbury was sent to the rear for initiating the action that resulted in both Curren and Teddy Bowen spinning. With Curren restarting at the rear, Lewis reclaimed the top spot.

A few more single car spins put the field under caution. Lewis faced challenges on those restarts by Potrzebowski, Bryan Sherwood and Knowlden. Meanwhile, both Hanbury and Curren were working the traffic and moving closer to Lewis.

The final caution came with six laps remaining. For this restart it was Charlie Sharpsteen alongside Lewis, with Knowlden and Curren right behind them. Over the final five laps Curren passed Sharpsteen but ran out of time to fight for the lead. Lewis went on to notch a career-first win at Chemung, followed to the line by Curren, Sharpsteen, Knowlden and Hanbury.

“That was a great race ‘til lap 51, and Zack was the class of the field,” Lewis said in victory lane. “I had a good ca that was tight in the center and we had a distributor problem earlier. But I’m glad it ended this way.” Racing at Chemung, challenging to drivers with the track’s unique corners, was different for Lewis for another reason. “It’s weird running with no mirror here. I kept looking and there was no mirror there.”

A lucky draw, on a day honoring his father, put heat winner Lee Sharpsteen on the pole for the 25-lap Super Stock feature. The race got off to a bad start when a sloppy start and bumping on the front stretch resulted in a wreck in turn one. As Anthony Gullo and Nick Robinson sat together in the turn under yellow, Paul Godby approached at speed. He drove up and right over Robinson’s car, and he continued with part of Robinson’s back bumper. Four more cautions came out by the time six laps had been recorded. Robinson got caught up in another incident that removed even more sheet metal from him battered #15. During the seventh caution Garrett Zacharias caught the back of Frank Chapman’s car as they entered turn two and turned him around. Both restarted at the rear, as had many cars up to that point. The race resumed with Cameron Nichols alongside Sharpsteen and with Tim Gullo and RJ Zacharias right behind them.

The end of the race was not good for either of the Zacharias racers. Garrett’s motor blew with seven laps remaining, and a lap later his father, RJ, lost the grip and spun by himself coming off turn four. It cost him an almost certain top-5 finish. The final six laps saw Gullo working hard to get around Sharpsteen. Gullo seemed to have the advantage in turns three and four but Sharpsteen had him covered in one and two.

When lap 25 clicked off Sharpsteen had led every lap and parked his new-to-him #8 in victory lane. Gullo finished second, followed by Nichols, Robinson, and Evan Rygielski. “I got a little tight. Tim raced me clean. Some others not. But I appreciate that he did,” Sharpsteen told the crowd. He was joined in victory lane by his father and many other family members on a special day. Bill Frisbie, Jr. and Rygielski won the other heat races.

The 4 Cylinder division ran a caution-free 20-lap race. Earlier Russ Bulger, Jr. and Greg Moldt, the track’s 2019 champion, had won their heats. Luck of the draw put Joey Bevacqua and Bulger on the front row while Moldt started fourth. As the field negotiated turns one and two, Moldt went three-wide and emerged as the race leader. He held that lead, over Bulger, for the first six laps before losing it to Bulger. Bevacqua and Monica Robinson waged a great battle for third and they were soon joined by John Byrd. Just as the checkered waved for Bulger, his father was involved in an incident on the back stretch.

The Marion Decker Hobby Stock feature was reduced to 10 laps, but fans saw some history made, nonetheless. Jason Peck swept the action. However, his previous racing was not on a pavement. The caution-free race was a great battle between Peck and Dave Decker, who tried repeatedly to find a way around the leader but came up a couple car lengths short at the finish. Tyler Harbst finished third. “I’ve been a dirt guy for 20 years. I live nearby and thought I’d try something different,” Peck said from victory lane.

The youngsters in the INEX Bandolero division had a tough time keeping their machines out of the spin cycle. But some much-needed adjustments mid-race worked for Chase Sinsabaugh. Devin Gullo led the first few laps before yielding to heat winner Derrick Vogler. The final restart, with three to go, set up a great battle among the trio, but it was Sinsabaugh who got the overall win as a Bandit. Vogler’s second place finish gave him the Outlaw win. Gullo and Cullen Sharpsteen completed the rundown.

The visiting NYPA Midgets provided some scary moments during their 20-lap feature. The bulk of the race was a classic battle between heat winners Kyle Hutchinson and Bobby Holmes. Moose Rutherford kept his streak, of rolling his car, alive when he ended up on his side in turn four just three laps into the 20-lap race. Hutchinson led the first 11 laps before Holmes made what was his race-winning pass. With four laps remaining Hutchinson rolled his car and slammed the turn four foam blocks. Holmes went on for the win. “Kyle had a little faster car than me, but when we got tagged up in four it knocked the wheel right out of my hands,” he said from victory lane. “I hope he’s ok.”

This Saturday Northeast ATV presents the Race of Champions Modified Tour for their first of two appearances this season. They’ll be running a 75-lap feature event and joined on the race card by the Insinger Super Stocks (25 laps), 4 Cylinders (20 laps), Marion Decker Agency Hobby Stocks (20 laps), and INEX Bandoleros (10 laps). Pit gates open at 11 AM and grandstand at 12 Noon. Practice will begin at 1 PM and racing at 2 PM. Admission is $23 for adults, $18 for seniors, $5 for kids ages 6-12 and free for kids 5 and under.
For information, log on to the track’s website: chemung-speedrome.com, ‘like’ us on Facebook: Chemung Speedrome – Racing at the Drome, or call Ray Hodge, Promoter, at 607-483-3468.

Of Note:
Ten boys and girls won free bicycles, donated as part of the Marshall Memorial event.
The 50/50 winner’s share went across the border with a fan from Gillette, PA.

Sam’s Bar & Grill Night Results:
Sunoco Modifieds (75 Laps) DARYL LEWIS, JR., Zack Curren, Charlie Sharpsteen, Zach Knowlden, Tony Hanbury, TJ Potrzebowski, Bryan Sherwood, Andy Lewis, Teddy Bowen, Gary Noe, Bill Chandler, Jr., Leo Becker, Pat Judson, Shawn Nye, Ed Dachenhausen (DNS)
Heats: D. Lewis, Hanbury, Knowlden

Insinger Performance Super Stocks (25 Laps): LEE SHARPSTEEN, Tim Gullo, Cameron Nichols, Nick Robinson, Evan Rygielski, RJ Zacharias, Frank Chapman, Jim Yamelski, Paul Godby, Garrett Zacharias, Bill Frisbie, Jr., Jason Duke, Jr., Mark Taylor, Derrick Tarbox, Anthony Gullo
Heats: RJ Zacharias, Frisbie, Rygielski

4 Cylinders (20 Laps): RUSS BULGER, JR., Joey Bevacqua, Monica Robinson, Greg Moldt, John Byrd, Russ Bulger, Sr., Ricky Lane, Mike Ferris, Paul Flye, Jason Peck, Dustin Pruyne, Nick Galusha
Heats: Bulger, Jr., Moldt

Marion Decker Hobby Stocks (10 Laps): JASON PARKER, Dave Decker, Tyler Harbst
Heat: Parker

INEX Bandoleros (10 Laps): CHASE SINSABAUGH (Bandit), Derrick Vogler (Outlaw), Devin Gullo, Cullen Sharpsteen
Heat: Vogler

NYPA Midgets: (20 Laps): BOBBY HOLMES
Heats: Kyle Hutchinson, Holmes

“Chemung Speedrome Swinging Open the Gates with a Season-Opening Two-Day Show”

By Carol Houssock (Chemung, NY) All systems are ‘go’ for the 2021 season opener at Chemung Speedrome, and for the first time ever it will be a Friday night/Saturday afternoon double-header event. Following a pair of practice dates on April 17th and 24th, competition begins on Friday, April 30th and Saturday, May 1st

On opening night fans will see the growing Marion Decker Hobby Stock class (20 laps), 4 Cylinders (25 laps), INEX Legends (25 laps) and INEX Bandoleros (10 laps). Saturday afternoon, on Sam’s Bar and Grill Day, Chemung will hold the annual Gary Marshall Memorial, with the Sunoco Modifieds running an extra-distance 75 lap event. The big show also includes the Insinger Super Stocks (25 laps), and the visiting, popular TQ Midgets. Race time for that one is 2 PM. 

In addition to the Speedrome’s regular classes, the track welcomes back the Race of Champions Modified Tour for two shows this season. The first will be on week two, Saturday, May 8th, with the second on the annual Watkins Glen weekend (August 7th). The New York Super Stocks will also compete twice at the Speedrome, on June 18th and July 23rd

The Speedrome is coming off a disappointing 2020, where just one event was held before the pandemic’s strict rules put an end to the season. It is important that fans and race teams will comply with all rules and regulations so that a full season can run without issues or interruptions. Fans must wear a mask upon entry and when walking around. Social distancing, except among family groups, must also be observed. The track received approval to open, providing these rules are followed. Seating will be limited to 20% of capacity.

 In addition to the open practice sessions, Chemung is also holding its first, of what is hoped to be an annual, car show and swap meet on Sunday, April 25th from 1 to 5 PM. “We scheduled this last year but with COVID it never happened. This year it’s happening, and we’ve had a lot of interest,” said Promoter Ray Hodge. “We’ll have space set up for anyone that wants to display and sell anything they have, for a $25.00 fee per booth.” The show itself if free to the public. “We’ll also have a chicken BBQ for those wishing to purchase food.” For information, or to reserve a spot, contact Hodge at 607-483-3468 or Jerry Sinsabaugh at 607-738-8829. 

For the double show on April 30th/May 1st, gates open to the public at 5 PM on Friday night, with practice at 6 and the first competitive laps getting underway at 7. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for kids 6 to 12, and free for kids 5 and under. On Saturday the pits open at 11 AM, with grandstand and practice at 1, and racing at 2. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $5 for kids 6 to 12, and free for kids 5 and under. The track will honor Gil (‘Buck’) Sharpsteen during the May 1st show, when he’ll serve as Grand Marshall.

 Fans and racers can keep up to date at the track’s new website (chemung-speedrome.com) and on the official Facebook page (Chemung Speedrome – Racing at the Drome).

“Cautiously Optimistic Chemung Speedrome Releases 2021 Schedule”

by Carol Houssock (Chemung, NY) 

“We have no idea right now if the State will allow us to open. We’re waiting for direction from state and local health departments as well as the Governor, but we’re planning to open on schedule if allowed,” stated Speedrome Promoter Ray Hodge. Hindsight is 20/20, but in 2020 Chemung saw just one event before the shutdown that wiped out the rest of the season.       

 Hodge and Race Director Jerry Sinsabaugh have worked tirelessly to bring an energetic and intriguing schedule to race teams and fans for the upcoming season. Like bookends, the Speedrome is scheduled to begin and end 2021 with two-day programs.          

“One of the big changes this year we’re really excited about is we’re holding a four-race series using track rules for both the Sunoco Modifieds and the Super Stocks,” Hodge added. “These are non-Chemung points races (Cup Series) and we’ll have a champion for each.” Buckley’s Automotive has come on board to sponsor the Modified series, with each of their races paying $1,000 to win.       

While the pandemic had a dreadful impact on racing in New York’s southern tier, the business community is being supportive of racing’s return in a big way. “We’re thrilled that so many businesses have come on board to be the title sponsor for a division, to sponsor race nights, and to purchase signage at the track,” Sinsabaugh stated. Division sponsors now include the Marion Decker Agency Hobby Stocks and the Insinger Super Stocks.          

The Race of Champions Modified Series will roll into Chemung twice again this year. Their first visit will be on May 8th, with the annual Watkins Glen weekend event on August 7th. Both of those shows will take place on Saturday evenings. The popular New York Super Stock series also returns for a pair of events, on June 18th and July 23rd.               

Chemung is also planning to honor several racing greats and special groups this year. “We’ll have $5 admission nights for Law Enforcement, Firefighters/EMT’s/First Responders, and Town of Chemung residents. And we’re continuing to honor Veterans on one special night, with free admission for them,” said Sinsabaugh. Other honorees include Buck Sharpsteen (Grand Marshall) and memorials for Ed Bidlack, Gary Marshall, Ed McGuire, and Russ Tubbs. Fans can cheer on the Sunoco Modifieds, Insinger Super Stocks, 4 Cylinders, Marion Decker Hobby Stocks, INEX Legends and INEX Bandoleros.

Cars return to the Speedrome for testing on April 17th and 24th, with a double-header the following weekend, April 30th and May 1st to get the season going. Day 2 of the opening weekend will include the TQ Midgets.  

The schedule and the track’s new website are still being tweaked but racers and fans are reminded to go to the official site on Facebook, ‘Chemung Speedrome – Racing at the Drome’ for all the latest news. When construction is complete, the new website will have details on race nights, sponsors, and where to go for more information.           

“Fans in general, and kids in particular, have their own Appreciation nights this year, but everyone at the Speedrome greatly appreciates the support we’ve all received. We’re hopeful that we can move forward with our plans to bring the sights, sounds, and smells of racing back to this legendary facility,” said Hodge.               

For more information call Ray Hodge at 607-483-3468.