"Lee Sharpsteen Collects Sunoco Mod Title Laurels, Robinson Doubles Up at Chemung Banquet" by Carol Houssock(Chemung, NY) Chemung Speedrome's 2022 banquet will be remembered for the many emotions that ran through the Best Western Grand Victorian ballroom in Sayre, PA – from joy, in celebrating so many racing accomplishments, to sorrow in acknowledging many who are no longer with us. Promoter Ray Hodge dedicated the banquet to the late Dave Machuga, who passed away shortly after the final race in September. The banquet itself had a record number of attendees in the Hodge promotional years.
Lee Sharpsteen capped off a great season and garnered his first-ever championship at Chemung. A competitor at the Speedrome for years and in several divisions, he earned the 2022 Sunoco Modified championship. During the season, running for the Matt Jilson-owned team, he picked up a feature win in June. Overall, his eight top-5’s and nine top-10’s kept him on top of the point standings. Lee now joins his brother, Charlie, as champions in Chemung’s headline division.
The 2022 title chase for the Insinger Performance Super Stocks went right down to the wire. Nick Robinson, who had previously won the title three times, did it again in 2022 with seven top-5’s and nine top-10’s.
It was a history-making year, as Nick Robinson also earned his fifth Chemung championship, but first-ever in the 4 Cylinder division. A longtime supporter of the division with multiple cars for others, Robinson picked up a division-leading six wins.
Josh Parker successfully defended his Marion Decker Agency Hobby Stock championship. Eight drivers picked up feature wins in the growing division. Parker earned one win and had six top-5’s and 9 top-10’s in the ten races.
Kalysta DeMark, who competed in both the Bandolero and Hobby Stock classes, picked up seven Bandolero feature wins, more victories than any other racer at the Speedrome in 2022. Chase Sinsabaugh won his third championship in a row representing the Bandit age group.
Several drivers also received special awards:
Rookie of the Year – Danielle Sharpsteen (Modified), Joey Bevacqua (Super Stock), Kalysta DeMark (Hobby Stock), Peyton Shaw (4 Cylinder); Hard Charger – Zack Jaynes (4 Cylinder); Hard Luck – Matt Jenkins (4 Cylinder); Most Improved – Jason Duke, Jr. (Super Stock); Best Appearing Car - Dave Machuga (Hobby Stock); Knock the Dust Off – Mike Lattimer (Hobby Stock); Mechanic of the Year – Matt Jilson (Modified); and Sportsmanship – Brian DeMark (Super Stock/Hobby Stock).
Track promoter, Ray Hodge, thanked the track’s sponsors and employees, many of whom were in attendance. He especially thanked the owners of Reese’s Restaurant, who are big supporters of the track and Nick Robinson. Sadly, their business recently burned to the ground. Both Ray and Operations Manager Jerry Sinsabaugh provided some comical relief, complete with random pictures and unique captions. Hodge put to rest a rumor that Modifieds would not be racing at the track in 2023. They will, and he stated that the schedule will be very similar to what was run in 2022. They are working on the schedule and will post it when finalized.
Hodge then presented several additional awards, two of which were presented to loyal race fans. The loyalty of Alex Granger and Mike Jones extends to the banquets they also attend. Granger said he first attended races at Chemung 70 years ago. Dedication to Motor Sports awards were given to track employees Carol Houssock, Brandy Duke and Tom Bellinger. Finally, Hodge presented the Leo Stapleton Memorial Award to his right-hand man, Jerry Sinsabaugh. “I couldn’t do this without him. I wouldn’t do this without him,” Hodge stated. The award had only been given on three occasions dating back to 2001.
Emcee and track announcer Carol Houssock highlighted many of the special moments everyone experienced at the Speedrome in 2022, including tributes to friends who passed away, the various special events, and the return of both the Powder Puff and Mechanic races. She also spoke of last weekend’s trip to Mobile International Speedway (MIS) in Alabama. She saw first-hand the many pieces of the track promotion puzzle as a guest of track promoter Gina Schild-Knowles. She ended her comments by asking everyone to thank Promoters Ray and Ellen Hodge, along with Jerry Sinsabaugh, for all their hard work to keep racing alive while facing the same issues as those at MIS.
Race teams and fans are encouraged to watch for the 2023 schedule and other news on the track’s website www.chemung-speedrome.com and on the official Facebook page ‘Chemung Speedrome – Racing at the Drome’. Anyone having questions regarding the schedule, rules, or track operations can call Ray Hodge at 607-483-3468.
Track champions (L to R): Kalysta DeMark (INEX Bandolero), Lee Sharpsteen (Sunoco Modified), Nick Robinson (Insinger Performance Super Stock and 4 Cylinder), Josh Parker (Marion Decker Agency Hobby Stock).
(L to R): Powerful trio: Lee Sharpsteen (Sunoco Modified), Harry Nikulich (engine builder for top two division champs), Nick Robinson (Insinger Performance Super Stock)