BETHEL, NY – While the weather outside was frightful with much of Sullivan County, NY out of power due to a strong nor’easter snow storm, but the inside of the Ramada at the Sullivan in Rock Hill N.Y. was delightful this past Sunday which found a packed gathering of excited racers for their annual awards banquet.
Guests were treated to a buffet style dinner along with hor d’oeuvres hour, dessert, and cocktail bar. The top ten drivers in season long point standings were each recognized and awarded trophies for their achievements. It was a fun evening by all in attendance.
In the Sportsman class, Jeff Richardson an ageless veteran driver found himself winning another championship title at the speedway. His multiple championships include not only Sportsman but in the Modifeds and Street Stocks ranks as well. Richardson had to work hard for the championship though as it came down to the wire going into the final race of the season. He was able to beat the 2016 point champion Kyle Redner by a mere 54 points. Richardson solidified himself as the Champ by collecting six feature wins, 17 top fives, and 5 heat wins over the course of 19 races.
Blair Culhane nailed down his first track championship at the speedway in the BMS Modified class for 2017. Culhane ran strong and smart all season long, collecting six wins, 17 top fives, and four heat wins to defeat longtime modified stand out competitor John Cote to pick up the elusive championship. Cote hung with Culhane all season long in the points battle and came down to the final race. Cote fell just a mere 46 points back.
Legends found an underdog taking home the track championship in the class this past season. Newcomer Peter Bennett was not only new to the track but was also new to the Legends class for 2017. Bennett improved each week and was able to score consistent finishes not normally seen by a rookie. On the final night of points, Bennett upped it up a notch and took home his first career win at Bethel. It was a spectacular stand out season for the well reserved rookie driver.
Ed Butler collected his second track championship in the Pro Stock class. All season long Butler had to contend with another track champion Kenny Atkins and it was a battle of the heavyweights throughout the season. Butler went into the final night of points with a very slim lead but was able to hold on and take home the championship.
Fan favorite Amber Van Orden picked up her second career street stock championship off the strength of five feature wins, 17 top fives, and 4 heat wins over the course of the season. However, it was no easy task as Walt Henry was chasing close behind all season long while posting four feature wins, 14 top fives, and seven heat wins. It came down to the last night in points, with Amber Van Orden holding on for the championship by beating Henry by the slight margin of just 26 points.
Other track champions also included Mike Travis in Four Cylinder Expert who has proven that he has mastered all in the four cylinder pure stock ranks. Mike’s highlight of the season was winning the inaugural ‘Hippie Bowl’ which ran in front of a packed grandstand , Dan Houghtaling in Four Cylinder Novice drove flawlessly all season long and racked up consistent finishes every week picking up two feature wins along the way, and Mike Roth in Bandoleros who was in a season long duel with Anthony Bello. Roth, on the strength of a very strong second half of the season, the twelve time feature winner picked up his first track championship over the very competitive Bello who remained in striking distance for the title all the way to the final points race.
Other prestigious awards presented were:
Crew Chief of the Year : Rudy Roth
Sherri Barnes Woman in Racing : Tonya Van Orden
Fellowship in Racing : Bob Jashembowski
Most Improved : Verwys Racing
Dick Crumley Sportsmanship Award: Gary Van Orden Sr.
Best Appearing Car: Felicia Reichenbaugh and Mario Contarino.
Rookies of the Year: Al Archiere (Sportsman) , Tyler Dachenhausen (Modified) , Peter Bennett (Legends) , Art McArthur (Pro Stock), Brian Bauerfeind (Street Stock) , John Houghtaling (Expert), Cliff Levinson (Novice), Anthony Bello (Bandolero), and Tabitha Riordan (True Rookie).
The awards banquet also included a preview into the ‘Feel the Excitement’ 2018 race season. Schedules were given out with sponsor product samples for the upcoming season along with the announcement of several big sponsors and marketing partners announced.
Peter “Crackers” Reynolds, track promoter along with George Van Arsdall Jr. (General Manager) were proud to present Extreme Energy Solutions / Extreme Kleaner as the weekly division sponsor of the open wheeled sportsman and Shakelton Auto & Truck Centers (NAPA) as the weekly division sponsor for the fan favorite street stocks.
Also announced was that Sunoco Race Fuels by Insinger Performance have signed on as the official fuel of Bethel Motor Speedway and its racers which will help increase the drivers point fund. Hoosier Racing Tires will now be the official tire for Sportsman, Modifieds, Pro Stocks, and Street Stocks. Sportsman will be using Hoosier D-400’s and the other classes will utilize the Hoosier G-60. These tires were the tire of choice last year so there will be very little change if any but now thanks to Hoosier Racing Tires additional money will be contributed toward our point fund and purse structure.
Some highlights of the 2018 race season include the Short Track Super Series ‘Fall of 69’ on Sunday, September 30th, ‘Catskill Clash’ on Saturday, October 13th, ‘November Fest’ weekend on November 3rd & 4th, Zoom & Doom Destruction Day on Sunday, July 15th along with former speedway racing reunions for Moc-A-Tek, Pine Brook, and Danbury held respectively on Saturday, May 26th, Saturday, June 16th, and Saturday, July 21st.
Please check out our complete 2018 race schedule on our newly revised website at www.bethelmotorspeedway.com showcasing a fresh look at Bethel Motor Speedway. ‘Feel the Excitement at Bethel Motor Speedway’!