Champions Honored at Annual Awards Dinner.
- Champ Announces He Will Not Defend In 2012 -
Stewart Friesen Honored For
Third Consecutive Five Mile Point
By BRETT DEYO
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
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
First-year Modified driver Justin
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
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
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
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
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
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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