February 4th, 2006

Southern Tier Open To Kick Off Five Mile Point Season On Sun., April 9
By Brett Deyo

KIRKWOOD, NY - Five Mile Point Speedway's 2006 season will begin with one of the oval's most highly-anticipated events: the Southern Tier Open.

Sail panels, big-blocks, small-blocks, 9-to-1 compression engines (or anything in between) and open tires (13 x 92-inch) will rule the quarter-mile on Sun., April 9 with a 50-lap distance set for the ground-pounding Modifieds. The winner will pocket a cool $3,000.

Joining the Mods on the card for the start of Five Mile Point's 56th consecutive year of operation will be the Race of Champions Dirt Sportsman Tour in the 40-lap lid-lifter for the South Region, the heldover BRC Lazer Late Model event from Nov. 6, 2005, plus a full program for the Late Models and Pure Stocks. Race time is 2 p.m.

"The Southern Tier Open has become a favorite for our fans and racers," said Five Mile Point owner/promoter Andrew Harpell.

"For race teams, it's a chance to use up tires or shake down new equipment before they get into the point battles. Fans get to see sail panels, new paint schemes and drivers who rarely compete against each other battling wheel-to-wheel at the Point."

The Southern Tier Open was run for the first time in 1970, complimenting the Southern Tier 100. Setting the races apart were open carburetion and more liberal rules for the Open. Canadian Ivan Little won the inaugural event on Oct. 24, 1970.

Lou Lazzaro (1971), Frank Mears (1972), Stan Ploski (1973), Chuck Ciprich (1974) and Jack Johnson (1975) joined the list of Southern Tier Open winners before the race was discontinued for 25 years.

Dan Harpell resurrected the event in 2000, with Jim Crawn taking the win. Mike Colsten took the checkered first in 2001. Mitch Gibbs was victorious in 2002 as part of his 13-win season. In doing so, Gibbs joined Stan Ploski as one of two drivers to win both races (the Southern Tier Open and 100) in the same year.

Rich Keehle Jr. rode the outside line to victory in the 2003 running of the Southern Tier Open, which was the final event contested under FMP's Dan Harpell era.

Gibbs again returned to victory in 2004 with Andrew Harpell at the reigns on the facility, repeating his double-victory of '02.

Last year, New Paltz, N.Y., native Rich Ricci Jr. fended off older brother Mike to score the triumph. Gibbs, Brian Weaver and Alan Rudalavage rounded out the top five. 35 cars entered the event, run in the spring for the first time.

Other winners during last year's April 16-17 Southern Tier Open included: Bryan Howland (Patriot Sprint Group); Ryan Olsommer (Sportsman); Mike Stolarcyk III (FMP Modified); Bill Trego (Street Stock); Charlie Gilbert (Pure Stock); and Harold Humphrey (Four Cylinder).

An open practice session is tentatively set for Sat., April 8 from 2-6 p.m.

The official 56th Season Opener is set for Sat., May 6 featuring a 50-lapper for the Modifieds, plus Sportsman, sanctioned IMCA-Modifieds, Street Stocks and Pure Stocks. Point battles will begin for all divisions on that night.

For more information on Five Mile Point Speedway, contact the track office at (607) 775-5555 or visit the official website at: