Tennis great Billie Jean King once said, "Champions keep playing until they get it right." While the sport of tennis may be the complete polar opposite of short track auto racing, the statement holds true particularly this year at Claremont Speedway. Elks Lodge # 2099 hosted this year's season awards banquet as four new track champions were crowned, the rookies of the years were rewarded, and others were recognized for their racing efforts this season.
Three of the four divisional champions had never won any type of championship until this year. Waiting 17 years to claim his first-ever championship, "Radical" Ricky Bly took home top honors for the first time in the Super Streets division this season recording 3 wins, 10 top 3's, 11 top 5's, and 13 top 10's. Bly bested 3rd generation racer, Dylan Bodreau, and last year's rookie of the year, Hayden Scott, to win the title.
With his last title coming in a different acumen of racing, Sunapee's Dana Smith took home his first Tour-Type Modified title with a dominating season in the ground pounders. 3 wins, 92 feature laps led, and 2 heat race wins were all tops in the division. Smith's last title came in 2008 in what were then known as the Pepsi Modifieds, Nick Salva finished 2nd while Christopher Bolton was 3rd.
A high school senior was the class of the field this season in the Limited Sportman as "Polish Prince" Tyler Janovsky claimed his first championship by holding off rookie Chris Colburn to win the title by 4 points. Janovsky had 2 wins on the year, 8 top 3's, 10 top 5's and 13 top 10's. Janovsky finished 3rd in last year's points' battle.
Wildcatter Zach Lyn hopped in a 4-cylinder for the first time last season and took home the title in dominant fashion this year with a speedway-high 6 wins, 123 feature laps led, and with his worst finish being a 4th in Race #1. Dale Squires Jr. had a comeback season to remember as he finished 2nd in points while Kyle Currier came home 3rd for the 2nd year in a row.
A 60-year old driver was one of three to be honored with the title "Rookie of the Year." Dr. Sam Giveen finished only 2 points ahead of Zachary Morse to be declared the ROY. Limited Sportsman pilot, Chris Colburn, carried on the family name as he claimed the Limited Sportsman division. Colburn also had a division-tying best 3 wins and was runner-up in the points' battle. Unity's Craig Smith represented the Super Street division as he finished 4th overall in points and recorded a win during the season.
14-year old Briana Akusis won the Most Improved Driver this season. Awarded to the individual who showed the most improvement from the beginning to the end, Akusis had 3 top 5's on the year.
Super Street rookie Alex Poisson was awarded the Hard Luck Award. Taking home a tool box donated by Zullo Fabrication and Graphics, Poisson finished 14th in points with his best finish being a 9th place effort.
Guest speaker Karl Fredrickson, publisher of Speedway Illustrated, awarded the race teams with open-trailers a year's subscription to the magazine before speaking. Fredrickson spoke of social media effects and short track racing.
Door prizes were provided by New England Racing Fuels and The Home Depot. An all-you-can-eat prime rib and stuffed chicken meal was served by the Elks.
Thank you to the nearly 250 people who attended as we are already looking forward to next year.