Chemung Banquet Honors Racing Excellence in 2023 and Before by Carol Houssock

Track champions

(Chemung, NY) Chemung Speedrome's 2023 banquet completed business for the year. A packed house gathered at the Best Western Grand Victorian ballroom in Sayre, PA for the event. Promoter Ray Hodge dedicated the banquet to the late Peyton Shaw, last year's 4 Cylinder Rookie of the Year and Waverly High School senior killed in a tragic car accident just before Christmas.

Lee Sharpsteen backed up last year's title by earning another in the Buckley's Automotive Modified division. In 11 races, he picked up 4 wins and in 3 other races he was among the top five. In addition to running for the title, Lee's family also ran up and down the Interstates so his son, Leevi, could compete at Millbridge Speedway in NC. The family also experienced tremendous sorrow with the death of Peyton Shaw, whose relationship with their children was more like family than many have with blood relatives. Sharpsteen plans to defend his title, and to bring Leevi on board in a Bandolero this year. He'll also hope to capture the title at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida, where he'll race in their Speedweeks for the 602 Modifieds beginning this weekend.

Nick Robinson started 2023 with a DQ, essentially missing the entire first race in the Blauvelt Funeral Home Super Stock division. He came back and won the next two races and two others later in the year. From week two on, in the 11 other events, he never finished lower than third in a division packed with hard-hitters and talent. Robinson also won the ROC Foar Score championship in '23. He is weighing options for the upcoming season.

Josh Parker is now three-for-three. Parker won his third championship in the Marion Decker Agency Hobby Stock division. In its three years of existence at Chemung, it's the fastest-growing division and he's the only champion ever crowned. In the 13 races run, Parker never finished outside the top five, and he picked up two feature wins along the way. He is also unsure of his plans for 2024.

When the season began, Joey Bevacqua had some big events coming up, such as leaving to attend UNOH in August. They sold the Super Stock and he focused on his 4 Cylinder he would run when he could. He ran the full season and was one of just two drivers to park in victory lane. He did that four times and put together a solid season to earn his first championship. Now part of an ARCA team through UNOH, he said he will race when he can this season.

In the Serendipity Ice Cream Bandolero division, Devin Gullo claimed the overall championship running in the Bandit age group. Joey Allowatt, last year's overall winner, won the Outlaw title. Both young men dominated the action in '23 and both visited victory lane as either the overall or division winner in 8 of the 9 features. Gullo will join his older brother, Anthony, in the Hobby Stock division this season.

Special awards: Rookie of the Year, Tyler Harbst (Modified); Best Appearing Car, Brandon Ameigh (Hobby Stock); Mechanic of the Year, George Kent (Modified); and Sportsmanship, Modified car owner Frank Morich.

Track promoter, Ray Hodge, thanked the track's sponsors and employees, and spoke of some new sponsors coming on board for this year. Both Ray and Operations Manager Jerry Sinsabaugh provided some comic relief, with random pictures and unique captions and some light-hearted digs. Hodge mentioned that racers will have one week off in May, June, July and August again this year, something that gives everyone a break. He added that the ROC will be at the track four times, two with the Modified Tour and two with the Sportsman Series. The schedule has been out but will soon include greater detail. Begun last year, Hodge then presented two awards to loyal fans. They went to Jim Monaco and to Mark and Lilly Taylor.

Emcee and track announcer Carol Houssock mentioned that George Kent from Horseheads, NY was inducted into the Eastern Motorsport Press Association's Hall of Fame. Houssock, an EMPA Board member, presented Kent with his award since he had been unable to attend the organization's banquet last month. She highlighted his Hall of Fame-worthy career. Kent was thankful to be recognized for his decades in the sport.

Houssock highlighted many of the special moments everyone experienced at the Speedrome in 2023, both light-hearted and serious. She also thanked all the race teams, Ray and Ellen Hodge, sponsors, and everyone at the track for their hard work and investment in racing at the Speedrome.

Race teams and fans are encouraged to watch for the detailed 2024 schedule and other news on the track's website† and on the official Facebook page - Chemung Speedrome - Racing at the Drome. Anyone having questions regarding the schedule, rules, track rental, or track operations can call Ray Hodge at 607-483-3468.

Track champions (L to R): Joey Allowatt (Bandolero Outlaw); Josh Parker (Hobby Stock); Lee Sharpsteen (Modified); Joey Bevacqua (4 Cylinder); Nick Robinson (Super Stock). Missing from photo Devin Gullo (Bandolero Bandit/Overall Champion).

Track announcer and Board member of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association presented George Kent his EMPA Hall of Fame award.

George Kent

Flynn Energy & Propane
Speedrome Promotions Group LLC
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