September 22nd, 2003
KIRKWOOD, NY...The biggest weekend of racing all season at Five Mile Point Speedway is set for the green flag this Friday and Saturday, September 26th and 27th. It’s the National Quarter Mile Dirt Track Championship Weekend, highlighted by the 34th running of the Binghamton Pepsi-Cola Southern Tier 100 for 358 Modifieds on Saturday.
Some of the greatest Modified drivers in the history of northeast Modified racing have driven to victory in the Southern Tier 100. It began in 1964 when Kenny Meahl took the win over Billy Rafter and Jerry Townley. In 1965 local hotshoe DeForest Chalker scored his only win in the event. Chalker’s nephew Billy is the car owner for current Five Mile Point standout Jim Crawn, who is coming off a win in the 50 lap Season Championship event at the Point.
The local drivers continued their domination of the event over the next six years. In 1966 Chuck Akulis won his first of three Southern Tier 100’s. The driver with the most Southern Tier 100 wins is Don Beagell. The first of his four wins came in 1967. He followed that with wins in 1970, 1971 and 1975.
The legendary Dave Kneisel notched his only win in the race in 1968 by taking the victory over Eddie Rafferty, Don Beagell, Bennie Stevens and “Wee Willie” Allen. Roger Beagell, who always ran up front in this event, scored his only win in 1969. He beat out Chalker, Carl Nagel, Lester Green and Akulis at the finish.
Gerald Chamberlain broke the seven year stronghold that the locals had on the race by winning the 1972 version. He beat out Kneisel, Danny Mitchell, Jackie Wilson and Roger Beagell in his only win at the Point. In 1973 Stan “The Man” Ploski dominated the event, taking the win over Roger Beagell, Dick Longstreet, Kneisel and Canadian Terry Edwards.
Sammy Beavers kept the invaders streak alive by winning the 1974 edition. He was followed by Buzzie Reutiman, Kenny Moore, Akulis and Jimmy Winks. Don Beagell’s fourth win came in 1975 over Jack Johnson, Pete Cordes, Moore and Kneisel.
“Jumpin Jack” Johnson won his first of two in 1976. Johnson beat Roger Beagell, George Ely, Billy Deskovich and Bob Keesler to the stripe. Akulis’ second win came in 1977 over Don Beagell, Darrell Welty, Frankie Schneider and Rich Eurich. “Mr. Outside” Kenny Brightbill was the 1978 winner after a torrid battle with unsung local hero Red Graff. They were followed by Akulis, Lou Lazzaro and Pete Bicknell.
Jack Johnson’s second win came in 1979 when he was chased to the finish by Welty, “Magic Shoes” Mike McLaughlin, Akulis and Brian Stevens. Akulis’s third victory in the event came in 1980, making him the only driver to win the race in three different decades. He was followed by the “Canadian Blast” Davey Moore, Charlie Castle, Carl Reynolds and Roger Beagell.
A young Carl Reynolds held off the seasoned veterans for his only win in the event in 1981. He was followed by Akulis, Castle, Don Slack and Harvey Hainer. Alan Johnson notched his only Southern Tier 100 win in 1982 over Akulis, Slack, Lazzaro and Dick Sundgren. The race was discontinued during Jim Randall’s years as Promoter. The race was brought back in 1989 when current Promoter Dan Harpell took over.
Harpell’s good friend, and relative unknown Jim Mahaney made a name for himself by winning the 1989 return of the Southern Tier 100. He was followed by Mike Colsten, Butch Tittle, Billy Decker and Pat Ward. 1990 saw Mike Colsten win his first of two Southern Tier 100’s in probably the most exciting finish in the history of the race. Colsten had a huge lead and had a flat tire in turn one of the final lap. He kept the car going while Mike Nagel closed in. As they crossed the line it was Colsten by inches over Nagel. Danny Johnson, Bill Williams and Jack Johnson rounded out the top five.
Danny Johnson became the third different Johnson to win the race. His win came in the 1991 version over Frank Cozze, Alan Johnson, Hank Goranson, Jr. and Akulis. Billy Decker scored his first of two wins in 1992 when the race became a weekend event for the first time. Decker was trailed by Danny Johnson, Brett Hearn, Cozze and Akulis.
The 1993 Southern Tier 100 was postponed three times by weather and was pushed back to the Spring of 1994 where Colsten would claim his second win. he was followed by Decker, Mike Ricci, Danny Johnson and Doug Worthing. Brett Hearn pulled off the biggest win in Five Mile Point Speedway history by capturing the 1994 Southern Tier 100. Hearn won the $10,000 Triple Crown bonus and took home $22,180 for winning the race. He was followed by Akulis, Decker, Ward and Reynolds.
The race became a 200 lapper in 1995 and 1996 under DIRT sanction. In 1995 it was “Barefoot” Bob McCreadie taking the win at the track where he scored his first career DIRT feature win in 1981. McCreadie was followed by Cozze, Steve Paine, Danny Johnson and Jimmy Horton. In 1996 it was Hearn scoring his second win over Doug Hoffman, Decker, Dave Camara and Tim Fuller.
The race went back to 100 laps in 1997 and Decker captured his second Southern Tier 100 victory over a hard charging Mike Clapperton. Brian Weaver, Butch Tittle and Paul Jensen rounded out the top five. In 1998 the Sportsman became the headline division at the track and the race continued on. Jim Crawn scored the impressive win over Ralph Mele, Dave Locke, Mike Button and Dave Rosa. Rosa would scored the biggest win of his career in the 1999 version by taking the victory over Tim French, Randy Davenport, Tony Ross and Mark Terry.
Brian Davis won the 2000 Southern Tier 100 in the final race with the Sportsman as the headliners. Davis came within a tenth of a second of the Modified track record in the impressive run. The 358 Modifieds returned as the headline division in 2001 and Kirk Horton claimed his biggest career win. In 2002 Mitch Gibbs added to his record tying single season win total by capturing his first Southern Tier 100.
The race has brought in some of the greatest names in the history of Modified racing. Find out this Saturday who will add their name to the list as the winner of the Binghamton Pepsi-Cola Southern Tier 100. The weekend kicks off on Friday with Southern Tier Championships for the Sportsman, Street Stocks, UMP/IMCA Modifieds and the Four Cylinder Stocks. Race time on Friday is 7:00 p.m.
The two day show culminates on Saturday with the 34th running of the Binghamton Pepsi-Cola Southern Tier 100 for 358 Modifieds. They will be joined by the Northeast Pure Stock Championship. Race time on Saturday is 6:00 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 www.fivemilepointspeedway.net. and then make it a point to “Get To The Point”.