Both Lincoln and Port Royal hosted their season awards banquets on Saturday evening.
Champions were honored and special awards were presented.
The Lincoln Speedway banquet was held at the Wyndham Gardens in West York. Alan Krimes was honored as the 2016 Sprint Car champion at Lincoln Speedway. The title was Krimes' second in three years at the track. His father Larry Krimes was presented with the Mechanic of the Year award.
In the 358 Sprint Car ranks, Chandler Leiby earned his very first points title. It was a bittersweet year for Leiby. The youngster graduated from high school in June, but lost one of his biggest supporters in the fall.Leiby’s grandfather, Bob Leiby, was his car owner and also a co-owner of Lincoln Speedway.
Special awards for the Sprint Cars at the Lincoln banquet were awarded as followed: Sprint Car Rookie of the Year went to young Joe Kata III. Kata made the four-hour trek from his New York state home nearly every week this season.
Most Improved Driver in the Sprint ranks went to Tyler Ross. Ross scored his first sprint Car win this season at Lincoln.
The Harry Fletcher Sportsmanship award went to Dover’s Austin Hogue. Hogue recently announced that he's retired from driving at the end of the season.
In the 358 Sprint class, Brent Shearer topped a very impressive rookie class to earn Rookie of the Year honors. Shearer was one of several rookies to score a win this year. More impressive was the fact that he was one of only four drivers to qualify for every 358 Sprint race at Lincoln this season.
Tyler Esh was named the division’s Most Improved Driver, while Cody Fletcher earned the Sportsmanship award that is named in honor of his grandfather.
At the Port Royal banquet, Doug Esh was honored as the new Sprint Car champion. The title was Esh’s first at the Port. He owns a Lincoln Speedway title in the past and also earned 358 Sprint titles at both Williams Grove and Lincoln.
Second generation driver Andy Haus won his first Late Model point title at the Port. His father Scott Haus is the Port’s all-time wins and championships leader in the Late Models.
Other Port Royal champions this year were Devin Hart in the econo late models, Pete Leister in the xtreme stocks and Nate Gramley in the 305 sprints.
Port Royal’s Sprint Car Rookie of the Year was 10th-place point man Kody Lehman, while second-place point man Brock Zearfoss earned the Most Improved honors. Curt Stroup was the Sportsmanship award winner.
In the Late Models, Dave Brouse Jr. was named Rookie of the Year, while Andrew Yoder was Most Improved and Tim Smith Jr. was awarded the Sportsmanship award.
Veteran racer Tim Fedder was named the Sportsmanship driver in the econo Late Model class.
Port news: Port Royal also had several big announcements at its banquet.
The biggest being that the 50th Anniversary Tuscarora 50 on Sept. 9 will pay the winner $50,000. The Port also announced that the Lucas Oil Late Models will visit on April 23 and the World of Outlaws Late Model will be there on Aug. 19.
Opening Day at the Port will be March 11.
While Lincoln is still working on finalizing its 2017 schedule, opening day for outdoor racing in the northeast will be at Lincoln on February 25.
As many know by now the long standing team of York’s Cory Haas and York car owner Michael Barshinger have parted ways. It was recently announced that Lucas Wolfe will drive for Barshinger in 2017. At the Lincoln banquet, Haas vowed to be back racing in 2017 as well.
Dates to remember: The first weekend in December will be a busy one.
During that weekend, the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing holds its annual Open House. Saturday, Dec. 3 is dedicated to Drag Racing, with York’s Darwin Doll presiding.
On that Sunday, Dec. 4, The York County Racing Club will have it’s annual Christmas Party. That same day, a Memorial Service will be held for racing legend Gary Wolford.
— Bryan Householder writes about dirt track racing. Reach Bryan Householder at firstname.lastname@example.org