Story By: KENNY SHUPP / OUTLAW SPEEDWAY – WATKINS GLEN, NY – The Harbor Hotel, located on the southern shores of beautiful Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen, NY was the site of the 4th Annual Outlaw Speedway Awards Banquet.
After a mouthwatering prime rib buffet dinner, co-emcees Mel Thomas and Kenny Shupp took to the podium, gave their opening comments and then announced the top ten in the final point standings in each of the regular weekly classes of competition as well as the top point finishers in the youth Bandit class along with the Outlaw Speedway American Racer Tire Crate Sportsman Series that was run on various nights throughout the season.
Track owner, Tyler Siri’s partner, Jordan Lynch was present to hand out the checks and hardware to the top point finishers.
Picking up the Friendly Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram Modified Track Championship for the second time in the past three years, Super Matt Sheppard was awarded the winner’s check of $5,000 for claiming the title. With 10 feature wins to his credit at the Yates County oval during the 2019 campaign, Sheppard capped off a stellar season by winning numerous track titles along with the overall point tally in the Short Track Super Series (north and south) while finishing runner up in the DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series.
In his acceptance speech Sheppard thanked his dedicated crew and sponsors and made his plans known that he will be back at Outlaw Speedway in 2020 to defend his title. Nine-time Outlaw Speedway champ, The Hurricane, Steve Paine was second overall in the finally point standings followed by 2018 Track Champion, AJ Slideways, Alan Johnson. Track owner, The Boss Man, Tyler Siri along with his hired driver, The Doctor, Danny Johnson tied for fourth and fifth respectfully in the point standings. Billy Paine received the Rookie of the Year honors in the FCDJR Modified Division. Paine also comped full time in the Sunrise Insulation American Racer Sportsman Division.
Brian Fish of Watkins Glen was crowned the Track Champion in the Sunrise Insulation Crate Sportsman Division, his first such title. By virtue of four feature wins along with way Fish bested a top-notch field of Crate Sportsman drivers in the popular American Racer shod class. Pavement transplant, Jimmy Zacharias came up just a bit short in the final point standings and walked away with a well-deserved runner up finish. American Racer Series Champ, Tommy Collins Jr. tied with 2018 champ, Karl Comfort for third and fourth as Outlaw Speedway DIRTcar Hoosier Tire Sportsman Champion, Will Shields rounded the top five. Allison Teed was crowned Rookie of the Year.
Like Fish in the Sunrise Insulation Crate Sportsman Division, Shields also picked up his first ever track title at Outlaw Speedway. With three feature wins during the regular season and a steady wave of top five finishes Shields was able to hold off AJ Lloyd to claim the title as lady competitor, Nichole Hoag nailed down the third spot. Veteran racer, Steve Gray came home fourth in the final point standings followed by third generation driver Alex Payne who rounded the top five. Payne also picked up Rookie of the Year Award.
Dylan Cecce was able to stare down the two time and defending Stan’s No Tubes Street Stock Champion, Glen Whritenour and claim the track title. By virtue of his 8 feature wins in 2019, Cecce claimed his first Street Stock title at the popular Yates County race facility as he was able to dethrone his number one nemesis. GW, with six regular season feature wins was able to keep Cecce within striking distance throughout the entire season but had to settle for second in the final point standings. CJ Guererri finished third in the points as second generation driver, Jake Karlnoski claimed one feature win to pick up fourth while veteran driver, Carl Cleveland rounded the top five-point finishers.
Second generation pilot, Brandon Smith went on a late season win streak to pick-up his first championship in the Marion Decker Insurance IMCA Modified Division. Having competed in other classes throughout his career, Smith used his years of experience to take down 2018 IMCA Track Champion, Rodney Morgan in route to the title. Brad Smith claimed third in the point standings followed by a pair of ageless veterans in Dick in the Dirt Rich Karlnoski and Carl Sparky Hills. Track Champion, Smith won six feature events during the regular season.
Like Smith in the Marion Decker Insurance IMCA Modifieds, Adam Austin is also a second-generation driver. For Austin the “19” season started off very slowly and it appeared as though he wouldn’t be able to back up the 4 Cylinder Track Championship from last year. However, Austin was able to win seven of eight features from May thru July, took over the point lead and even with a late season slump was able cruise to the championship. Scott Lehman Jr. picked up four feature wins during the 2019 campaign as he held off father, Scott Lehman as the two finished second and third in the point standings. Josh Oles wound up fourth as Jeremy Bunn rounded the top five point finishers. Lee Fritz was crowned Rookie of the Year.
Like Adam Austin in the mighty 4 Cylinder Class, 2018 Marion Decker Insurance Hobby Stock Track Champion, Marc Minutolo was also able to successfully defend his track title. By winning two features during the regular season, Minutolo was able to hold off Eric Williams for the title. Casey Wagner, Jamie Eldredge Jr. and Wayne Ellison finished third thru fifth respectfully in the final Decker Insurance Hobby Stock point standings. The Marion Decker Insurance Hobby Stock Rookie of the Year was Kenny Hunt.
As mentioned earlier, Tommy Collins Jr., who finished third in the weekly Sunrise Insulation Crate Sportsman Division was able to capture the $2,000 to win 2nd Annual Outlaw Speedway American Racer Crate Sportsman Series which held a half a dozen races scattered throughout the 2019 season. With a win in the 4th Annual Fall Nationals and a second place finish to Kenny Peoples Jr. in the 4th Annual Dutch Hoag Memorial, Collins Jr. was able to seal the deal. Try as he might, journeyman competitor Kenny Hammond was just a few points from claiming the title and had to settle for a hard earned second. Hammond was able to hold off track regulars Karl Comfort, Will Shields and Steve Gray as they finished in the top five point paying positions.
The awards started off appropriately with the Winner’s Circle Deli Bandit Division for young upcoming competitors. Steve Perkins III claimed the Track Championship is convincing style as Dylan Riley, Levi Riley, Blake Parsons and Ethan Decker completed the top five point finishers.
Congratulations to all competitors!
A complete listing of all the final point standings in each of the weekly classes that competes at the facility can be found by logging on at www.OutlawSpeedwayLLC.com.
When Thomas and Shupp had concluded their remarks and presenting the top point finishers, track owner, Tyler Siri then took to the podium and addressed the packed room of drivers, car owners, sponsors, fans and track employees.
Siri reviewed the 2019 season, his fourth as track owner and gave a brief overview of what to expect in 2020 including the return on the Brett Deyo STSS race for the Modifieds. For the fourth straight year the Tony Stewart promoted Ollies All Start Circuit of Champions 410 Sprint Car Series will return to Outlaw in 2020. Back by popular demand the World of Outlaw Late Models will see action for the third consecutive season at Outlaw September as part of the Fall Nationals.
Siri then handed out a multitude of special awards to various track employees and sponsors. Those included:
Sponsor Awards. Knapp and Schlappi, Fisher Tree Service, Sunrise Insulation, Lanes Yamaha, Doug Gross Construction, Friendly Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram as well as Stan’s No Tubes.
Employee of the Year, Sheila Darcy.
Dedication to Motorsports, Tim Gibson.
Car Owner of the Year, Tyler Siri. Owner of two Modifieds in the top five in Modified points.
Media Awards, Mel Thomas, Greg Mesler, Kenny Shupp Jr.
Employee Awards. Ron Povoski, Joe Povoski, Merry Leiterman, Terry Povoski, Steve Whetmore, Joe Crane, Dave Machuga, Sheila Darcy, Tommy Curtis, Sharon Schuyler, Missy Hammond, Pat Baker, Carmen Moss and Family, Alex and Chad Pastrick, Tana Robinson, Mike Welch, Bill and Wanda Wixson, Raymond Kennerup, Dave Wyre and Mark Gurnsey.
By the time the festivities had concluded Tyler Siri and Jordan Lynch had dished out some $40,000 in checks and hardware to the tracks top point finishers.
It was also announced at the banquet that over the course of the 2019 season some $656,534 in weekly purse money was distributed to drivers. A very good number considering the five rainouts the track experienced this past season.
During the off season Siri and his track maintenance crew have been hard at work as the weather has permitted making necessary changes to the tracks infrastructure including totally revamping the front straight away banking configuration, repairing concrete walls and fencing as well as putting several loads of clay down in the turns and repairing trouble spots entering turns one and three.