November 2nd, 2013
Ends The 2013 Season At Spencer Speedway
by Gary Spaid
Friday, November 1, marked the
official end of the 2013 Spencer Speedway NASCAR season. The
59th annual awards banquet was held this year at the VFW Post
just outside of Palmyra.
A couple of hundred racers, fans and officials gathered to honor the 2013
Spencer point champions. Both track and NASCAR awards were
Track announcer, Joe Marotta , hosted the banquet, as track race director
Larry Steurrys handed out most of the awards.
Present this year were all five divisional track champions; Brad Salatino
(Legends), Tim Faro (Super Six), Zach Willis (4-Cylinder
Scorpions), Mitchell Wright (Super Stock) and Rusty Smith
(Sunoco Modified). Each one was given the opportunity to speak
to those assembled.
Willis thanked his crew Curt, Pete and Sam, saying, “this championship
belonged to them.”
Faro thanks his family and girlfriend, along with everyone who worked on
the car. Wright thanked John White and the officials for
allowing the teams a place to race each week and put on a show
for the fans.
Sunoco Modified driver Rusty Smith stole the show. He started off
thanking the other drivers. He stated, “I race at a lot of
tracks but at Spencer we all see to have the ‘same reason’ for
racing. Everything there just seems more professional.” He then
started to joke around with drivers like Mike Leaty, ”Yeah, Mike
has won more races then his father this year, speaking of which
I have won more then my father this year too.”
Smith then concluded by thanking his crewmates and car owner, stating,
“All I have to do is show up each week and drive.” He also
thanked his wife Julie and family, and Blue Ox for their
The top three drivers in track points all received beautiful
trophies for their efforts, along with Whelen All-American wall
plaques from NASCAR.
One special moment came when announcing the Scorpion 4 cylinder awards.
Four girls stood proud before the cameras to be in the top ten
in track points; Alison Knoepfler, Beth and Jennifer Dennie and
Carrie Bolton-Brown. Of course the “drive for diversity” is
nothing new at Spencer Speedway, who crowned Amy Catalano a
Sunoco Modified champion back in 2009.
Many special awards were presented. This year’s Hard Charger Awards went
to Bobby Lippa Jr. in the Sunoco Modified division, Brandon
Larner in the Super Stock division, Keith Butler Jr. in the
Super Six division, Joe Clark in the Auto Value Scorpion
4-Cylinders and Josh Marchese in the INEX Legends class.
The Rookie of the Year honors were presented to Carrie Bolton -Brown in
the Auto Value Scorpion 4-Cylinders and Jay Elhage in the Super
Bobby Lippa Jr. picked up a special award for having the Best Appearing
The Spencer Speedway Mechanic of the Year Award went to Michael
Dennie. Dennie fields cars for both of his daughters, Beth and
The Perseverance Award was given to Van Grant in the Super Six division.
The Achievement Award was presented to Brandon Larner.
The Excellence Award was presented to the 75 Auto Value Scorpion Team
headed by driver Zach Willis. The Willis team won four times in
2013, out of just nine races run.
Finally Super Stock driver Willie Strusz took the microphone and
announced the racers had gotten together and wanted to present
Bobby Lippa Jr. with a special award for keeping the Super Stock
division alive and well. Lippa started a traveling series for
the division a year ago.
Larry Steurrys made several announcements about the 2014 season. Official
are in the process of booking several special races and looking
at starting races each Friday at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m. The
annual Spencer/NHRA Drag racing banquet was to follow the next
night at the VFW also.
On the sadder side, word of the passing of former Spencer driver and late
model champion, Pat O’Neil from cancer circulated throughout the
gathering. O’Neil won his sole Spencer track championship in
1958. He had ten Spencer feature wins to his credit in the full
fender division, all in the late 50’s.
Oval track racing at Spencer will open for the 60th season in May 2014.
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Track Related Questions Please Contact: John
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