March 4th, 2012


Champions Honored at Annual Awards Dinner.


Binghamton Riverwalk Site of Great Function For Five Mile Point Speedway Teams.


- Champ Announces He Will Not Defend In 2012 -

Stewart Friesen Honored For Third Consecutive Five Mile Point Speedway Modified Title


BINGHAMTON, NY - The Five Mile Point Speedway Modified championship will be wide open in 2012.

Stewart Friesen, who has dominated the Southern Tier quarter-mile oval in recent seasons, announced he would not return to defend the crown in 2012 during Friday night's Five Mile Point/Race of Champions Awards Banquet at the renovated Binghamton Riverwalk Hotel in Binghamton, N.Y.

Announcer Leon Andrus worked the microphone for the Five Mile Point portion of the awards dinner, which also included presentations for the Race of Champions Dirt and Asphalt Tours. A gathering of more than 500 were present for the gala event.  Friesen, 28, was lauded for his third consecutive big-block/small-block Modified crown at the Southern Tier oval driving for car owner Tadd Parks.  The Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., driver won eight point-season events and secured the crown by 65 markers.

Friesen and the Parks operation head to a different weekly Saturday night speedway closer to home in 2012.  "We really enjoyed our time at Five Mile Point and had some good times," Friesen said after receiving $5,000 and championship hardware. "We'll be back at Five Mile for all of the big shows. Fonda is a lot closer for Tadd and his family (of Sauquoit, N.Y.). It's a new challenge for us."  Friesen accrued 858 points in the final tally.

First-year Modified driver Justin Holland of White Lake, N.Y., authored a solid season placing second with 793 points. Holland, a graduate of the Sportsman division, reached Victory Lane at the Point in May with his family fielded Rockbusters No. 280.

Holland, of course, shocked the Modified world in October 2011 when he won the Short Track SuperNationals year-end event at Five Mile, setting the stage for his first full Modified season.
Steady Shaun Walker of Masonville, N.Y., finished third with 727 points, followed by Kevin Bates of Lake Ariel, Pa. (703 points) and Jim Gabriel Jr. of Binghamton, N.Y. (688 points).

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Nick Rochinski of Dickson City, Pa. (679 points), Ken Titus of Kirkwood, N.Y. (611 points), Mike Nagel Jr. of Susquehanna, Pa. (603 points), Scott Brady of Whitney Point, N.Y. (586 points) and Brian Puckett of Old Forge, Pa. (576 points).

Nick Petrilak of Greenfield Township, Pa., was honored for his Sportsman title. Petrilak was a four-time 2011 winner en route to the title. He finished 37 points ahead of Spencer, N.Y., driver Mike Austin.  Petrilak's career dates back to the Street Stock division at the now-defunct Lake Moc-A-Tek (Pa.) Speedway.

Other Five Mile Point champions recognized were Scott Bennett (IMCA-Modified), Ryan Stone (Street Stock), Andy Brigham (Lightning Cat Expert), Scott Heeman (Lightning Cat Novice), Wendy Elliott (A League of Their Own) and Rob Warner (Figure Eight).

The Knapp family, fixtures at Five Mile Point, presented their annual Glenn Knapp Sr. Car Owner of the Year Award to low-key Sportsman owner/driver Mike Austin. The unheralded Austin was also honored by Five Mile Point management with the "Head of the Class" Award.

Brian Cochardo's Pit Steward Awards went to Bill Leonard and Ed 'Rhino' Bradley. Cochardo recognizes individuals who contribute to the speedway each year from his unique perspective in the pit area.

Other special awards distributed included:
Best Appearing Car - Scott Brady (Modified), Nick Petrilak (Sportsman), Ryan Stone (Street Stock), Shawn Bruce (IMCA-Modified), Damian Bausenwein (Lightning Cat Expert) and Josh Wilbur (Lightning Cat Novice);

Most Improved Driver - Ken Titus (Modified), Mike Austin (Sportsman), Todd Sutliff (Street Stock) and Andy Colwell (Lighting Cat Expert); and

Rookie of the Year - Justin Holland (Modified), John Kovatch IV (Sportsman), Ryan Stone (Street Stock), IMCA-Modified (Jay Hoyt), Duane Kinne (Lightning Cat Expert) and Scott Heeman (Lightning Cat Novice).

Five Mile Point Speedway's 62nd racing season opens on April 1 with a Race of Champions Sportsman event plus Trackside Products RoC Street Stocks, XCel 600 Modifieds, Lightning Cats and Factory Stocks. An open practice will be held the prior day on Saturday, March 31st.


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