banner

 

 

Afton Speedway hardest hit by week’s flood damage

 

flood

Photo provided by Afton Speedway
This weekly deluge in the Southern Tier has left Afton Speedway underwater and its racing future for this season in doubt.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Motorsports Writer
With plans to write about something else this week, all the flooding in the Southern Tier has sent this week’s column subject in a different direction.
Of course, rainouts have plagued a number of area tracks throughout the 2006 racing season, but the soaking rains of this week may have put one track down for the count the rest of this season. The New Afton Speedway, in my hometown, was completely flooded when the Susquehanna River overflowed its banks. The track, much of the equipment, the concession stands and the track office all took a big hit and much of the stuff may have to be replaced. When the floodwaters recede, Pat Jordan and his staff will head back in and assess the true damage.
“Racing action at The New Afton Speedway is on hold until further notice,” track race director Mike Mallet told me this morning. “There is obviously a lot of damage and Pat will need time to see just how bad it is before we can go forward.”
“It is unbelievable,” Janet Jordan, Pat’s wife, said this morning. “You cannot believe how much water there is at the track and all that area along Route 41. I don’t know where all that water is going to go. I know will take a long time.”
Rain and the overflowing Mohawk River also sent a lot of water onto Fonda Speedway. Though the initial photos I saw did not appear to show as much of a problem as Afton has, but those photos were still taken before the Mohawk River had crested.
Five Mile Point Speedway (Kirkwood) is on higher ground and escaped flood damage, but most roads leading to the track, plus the villages of Five Mile Point, Kirkwood and Conklin have flooded. There will be no racing this week, but track owner Andrew Harpell plans to resume racing on July 8.
“We want to support the town of Kirkwood and surrounding area anyway that we can,” commented Harpell in a press release Thursday. “We don’t want to tie up any of our areas already overstretched medical and fire staff that is needed to put on a racing event.”
For the past day and a half, the parking lot of Five Mile Point Speedway that is entered at both Williams Street and Francis Street has been the solo thoroughfare for area emergency responders and residents in the Five Mile Point area of Kirkwood.
Harpell remarked, “It has been a steady flow of traffic through our parking lot. Town employees and firefighters have had to use our lot for emergency responses and we will continue to accommodate them any way that we can.”
All most of us can do in our area is keep those affected in our prayers and hope that the floodwaters keep going down so people can try to rebuild their lives.
* * *
Skyline Raceway (Blodgett Mills) winners included Chad O’Hara (Sportsman), Mike Smith (IMCA Modifieds), Rich Sharpsteen (Pure Stocks), Bill Fink (4- Cylinder Stocks), Ray Congdon (JunkYard Dogs) and Brandon Neilson (JunkYard Pups).
As for the rain, Skyline Raceway weathered it fine.
“We are all set and ready to go this week,” Audrey Payne said.
Racing action will continue this Saturday with all of the racing action getting underway at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks will also light-up the sky as a part of the Fourth of July weekend activities. For more information, log onto the speedway’s official website at www.skylineracewayny.com.
* * *
Thunder Mountain Speedway (Center Lisle) winners this past week included Paul Jensen (Modifieds); Joey Colsten (Sportsman Modified); Jim Howard (Street Stocks); Mike Wilbur (Pure Stocks); Gary Card, Jr. (4-Cylinder Stocks); Tim Gwardyak (Thunder Dogs) and Ken Underwood (Thunder Pups).
There is a full slate of racing action on tap Saturday night, plus fireworks. Racing will begin at 6:30 p.m. Part of the racing card includes the Trackside Products Super/Pro Stock Series. Track officials are saying this series race will be addressed that night because there are a number of competitors from the flooded Southern Tier area that may not be able to make the race.
“We may make this a non-points race because some of the drivers may not be here because of the flooding,” track spokesman Dick Stark said. “I know there will be fans from that area that will want something to do to. We can give them that brief escape from reality and we are looking to do something at the track to help those who have suffered such a loss this past week.”
* * *
It has been a mixed week for Jeremy Clark and a bad week for Brent Cross as the Cortland drivers had two stops on the NASCAR Busch Grand National East Series since my last column. Clark and Cross finished next to each other in the final results at the Fuccillo Auto Park HUGE 150 on the 3/8-mile Holland (N.Y.) International Speedway last Saturday. Clark was 22nd (32 laps down) while Cross was 23rd (33 laps down).
It was a much better race for Clark Thursday night as he posted his second 15th-place finish of the 2006 season after starting 25th in the Pepsi Busch East 100 at Thompson (CT) International Speedway. Clark was the second Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender across the finish line and is tied for second in the rookie points standings with Dino Ciccarelli (16th) with 32 points. Ruben Pardo took over the lead for Rookie of the Year honors with 34 points after his ninth-place finish.
Cross had handling problems, retired the car on lap 60 of the 100-lap event and finished 26th, two places higher than his starting spot.
Matt Kobyluck won his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race of the season and took over the series point lead. He took the lead when Sean Caisse suffered drive-train failure after leading the first 13 laps. Caisse, the former point leader, was scored 28th and last in the field.
Brian Hoar chased Kobyluck to the checkered flag, less than half a second behind, with Charles Lewandoski recording a career-best third place finish. Mike Johnson was fourth, Bryon Chew fifth, and Mike Olsen sixth. Dave Dion, Jamie Aube, Pardo, and John Salemi completed the top ten.
Next up on the Busch East Series is the Local Dodge Dealers 150 at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pa., on July 8.
* * *
Contact Tom Vartanian at the Cortland Standard Sports Department between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at 607-756-5665, ext. 25 or via e-mail at either SportsReporter88@yahoo.com or sports@cortlandstandard.net.

 

Top cyclists get booted for doping

By JAMEY KEATEN
Associated Press Writer

STRASBOURG, France — A doping scandal knocked Tour de France favorites Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso out of the race Friday and threw the world’s most glamorous cycling event into chaos.
The decision to prevent Ullrich, Basso and likely dozens of others from competing was made a day before the Tour began. Tour director Christian Prudhomme said the organizers’ determination to fight doping was “total.”
“The enemy is not cycling, the enemy is doping,” he said.
Riders being excluded will not be replaced, meaning a smaller field than the 189 racers originally expected.
It is the biggest doping crisis to the hit the sport since the Festina scandal in 1998 nearly derailed the Tour. The Festina team was ejected from the race after customs officers found a large stash of banned drugs in a team car.