By Greg Hertzog
CALLICOON November 29, 2005 The Club at The Villa Roma provided the backdrop for a festive awards banquet on the evening of Saturday, November 19 that closed the curtain on the 2005 Catskill Mountain Speedway season.
The highlight of the program was the crowning of the track champions. Jerry Curry claimed top honors with the CMS Modified title. Tom DeMarmels walked away with the Pro Stock championship, while Todd Gadoury was tops in Street Stocks. In the 4-Cylinder divisions, Ray Van Der Molen was honored as the Senior champion, and Mike Herman led the Juniors. Paul Dodorico was named the champion for the semi-regular Legends.
The quiet and soft-spoken Jerry Curry started the 2005 season with a string of four consecutive Modified wins. That sizable early points lead and his teams resolve would be put to the test through the rest of the year. But the Roberti Saab No. 10 team battled through the bad luck, giving the Neversink driver his first ever track championship.
Im glad its over. Its a long season, said Curry, looking back at a season of ups and downs.
At seasons end, Curry led the division with seven feature wins. He amassed 15 top-five finishes in 21 starts, propelling him the division title.
Oh yeah, well be back [to defend the championship], said Curry, who is already looking forward to the 2006 Catskill Mountain Speedway season.
Wayne Kirkpatrick, Steve Galgano, Bob Van Wagenen and Glenn Smith filled in the remaining top five CMS Modified spots.
The Pro Stock division proved to be the most competitive title race throughout the entire season. After the final checkered flag flew, the top six drivers finished within 85 points of each other.
A win on opening night, coupled with early season rainouts, changed to focus for the defending champ Tom DeMarmels.
I wasnt planning on racing full time this year. [With the early points lead] we had to see where it would go, he said.
DeMarmels 2005 season mirrored that of Currys in the Modified division in that success early in the season was followed by some bad luck. That kept the title chase exciting for the fans, but not so for the Parksville Homes No. 90 team. Though some late season troubles made the points race closer then they would have liked, the team persevered, giving the Grahamsville driver his second consecutive division crown.
DeMarmels finished the season with four wins and 15 top-fives in 21 starts. After capturing his second straight title, DeMarmels plans on running a limited schedule in 2006.
I wont be back full time [next year], he said. Im going to spend more time with my family.
Finishing only seven points behind Tom DeMarmels in the final Pro Stock standings was his brother John DeMarmels. Clarke Bradford, Mike Southerton and Joe Barnes rounded out the top five.
It was a dominating performance that gave Livingston Manors Todd Gadoury the Street Stock championship. Piloting the Sniper Chassis No. 29, he led all divisions with 14 feature wins. He tallied 20 top-fives in 21 starts, which allowed him to lead the standings from wire to wire.
In 2006, Gadoury plans to join an already competitive Pro Stock division.
Ill be moving up [to Pro Stocks] next year, he said. When you have a season like we did, its the right thing to do.
The move up will put the Street Stock title up for grabs in 2006.
Mike Skelly, Charlie Houghtaling, Kenny Atkins and Wayne Hajek rounded out the final top five in Street Stock points.
The Pure Stock division was new this year. Despite low car counts early in the season, the division saw a tight back and forth battle for the championship.
The chase came down to the final event, when Rob Trotti regained the points lead and picked up the championship. Trotti, who lives in Livingston Manor, visited victory lane three times in the JD Motorsports No. 69. He totaled 10 top-five finishes in 13 starts.
Both Eric Davis and Ed Gallaghen finished within five points of Trotti. John Brush and Jason Chevalier rounded out the Pure Stock top five.
Statistically, the 4-Cylinder Senior division was dominated by two drivers, but that doesnt mean the rest of the drivers didnt help make it an exciting season.
In 20 starts, Middletown driver Ray Van Der Molen compiled seven wins and 18 top-fives enroute to the division crown.
Mike Houghtaling led the division with 10 wins, but fewer starts relinquished him to second place. Patty Falkena started the season slowly, but an average fifth-place finish in the second half allowed her to place third in the final standings. Woody McGibbon and 2003 division champion Eric Andresen rounded out the final five.
Throughout the season, the highly competitive 4-Cylinder Junior division saw full fields every week. Driving out of Matamoras, Pa., Mike Herman led the division with five wins and 19 top-fives in his 20 starts. Those outstanding performances propelled Herman to his first track title.
Defending champion Dan Curry also had five wins, but he recorded fewer top-five finishes which placed him second in the final standings. Chris Hardenburg, Martin Chevalier and Nick Hendrickson rounded out the top five.
Though they only run a limited schedule, Legends are still a fan favorite when they come to town. Making the tow from Mill Place, NY, Paul Dodorico successfully defended his title on the back of three wins and top-five finishes in all six starts.
Buddy Commerdinger, Mike Mallone, Todd McCollum and Chris Busick rounded out the top five.
Along with the points awards, a number of special awards were handed out. Those awards included:
Hard Charger Awards Wayne Kirkpatrick (CMS Modified), John DeMarmels (Pro Stock), Todd Gadoury (Street Stock), Ed Gallaghen (Pure Stock), Mike Houghtaling (4-Cylinder Senior), Mike Herman (4-Cylinder Junior).
Rookie of the Year Rob Trotti (Pure Stock).
Best Appearing Car Award Gary Borrell (Pro Stock).
Fan Favorite Award Jerry Curry (CMS Modified).
Sportsmanship Award Dave Adams.
Perfect Attendance Awards Modified Jerry Curry and Wayne Kirkpatrick; Pro Stock Clarke Bradford, Tom DeMarmels and Mike Southerton; Street Stock Mike Skelly; 4-Cylinder Senior Patty Falkena; 4-Cylinder Junior Dan Curry, Chris Hardenberg and Mike Herman.
Employee Appreciation Awards: Dave Adams, Lisa Andresen, Donna Aumick, Carol Beggs, Steve Conklin, Don Corbet, Devin Corbet, June Hardenberg, Greg Hertzog, Chloe Hopkins, Lee Jones, Shona Lee LaPolt, Amber McGibbon, Russ Meyer, Fred Mulharin, Ed Stevens, Joann Stevens and Jen Whitman.
This event also ended the inaugural season for rookie promoter Michelle Gannon. Overall, the season exceeded her expectations.
I think things went pretty well, Gannon said.
About this time last year, she took over a facility that required a lot of work just to open the gates.
Gannon credited the many people who helped her in this first year.
From where we were in the beginning, I just couldnt have done it alone, she commented. I really appreciate everyones help throughout the year.