October 7, 2002
KIRKWOOD, NY…When Five Mile Point Speedway hosts the season ending Southern Tier Open on Saturday, October 19th, Mitch Gibbs will be gunning for a record. Gibbs will be out to tie the legendary Chuck Akulis for most wins in a season at Five Mile Point.
Gibbs has had a spectacular year, capturing 12 feature wins and the 2002 358 Modified Track Championship at the Point. Gibbs pilots the Heroux Excavating #94 on Saturdays at the famed quarter mile oval.
His 12 wins included an impressive string of five in a row at one point. He has been especially strong in extra distance events. He captured the 50 lap Irv Heath Memorial in June. Gibbs then went on to claim top honors in the 52 lap 52nd Anniversary Special in July. He is coming off a dominant performance in September’s Southern Tier 100 where he led 93 of the 100 laps.
Akulis is a 14 time Five Mile Point Track Champion at Five Mile Point. He holds the record of 13 wins in a season. He is one of the 50 Greatest Drivers in Five Mile Point Speedway and joins the late Tim Olenski as the only two drivers to have had their numbers retired. Akulis is also in the DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame.
What would it mean to Gibbs to tie the record? "It would be a great honor to tie Chuck Akulis for that record", said Gibbs. "He was one of my heroes growing up. We are definitely going to go after it", he added.
It looked as if Gibbs might shatter the record going into August. He picked up his 11th win on August 10th and still had as many as five chances to reach 13 and beyond. He had an uncharacteristic DNF on August 17th and the August 24th race was rained out. Another DNF in the Season Championship event on August 31st left him with just two chances to tie.
He conquered the first hurdle by winning the Southern Tier 100 and can now tie the record by winning the Southern Tier Open on Saturday, October 19th. Of course, there will be a large field of cars looking to beat him to the finish. Last year’s Southern Tier Open drew a 57 car field. Gibbs overcame two early race accidents to charge to a third place finish in that event.
Be sure to make it to Five Mile Point Speedway on Saturday, October 19th to see if history can be made. The Big Block and Small Block Modifieds will be joined by STAR Series Championship events for the Pure Stocks and Four Cylinder Stocks. Race time is 5:00 p.m.
Saturday’s show will cap off a big weekend that begins on Friday, October 18th with Southern Tier Open events for the 360 Sprint Cars along with the Sportsman and Grand American/IMCA Modifieds. Race time on Friday will be 7:00 p.m.
Five Mile Point Speedway is located at the intersection of routes 17 and 81 in Kirkwood, New York, near Binghamton. For further information, please call the speedway office at 607-775-5555 or log onto our website at www.fivemilepointspeedway.net.