East Coast Speedway
The Missile Re-Launches
By Jason Bonsignore
Champion Speedway, Owego, NY August 15, 2020
Photos by Steve Koletar (winners circle pic is Adam Mittl with Promoter Jason Bonsignore) Action shot of Adam Mittl
While most tracks are shut down for the season due to the Covid situation Speedway is thriving at Champion Speedway in Owego, NY with a growing crowd and large rider base! The pits were again full of competitors for the Speedway Joe Cup/USSGP RD 3. The Speedway Joe Cup pays tribute to the late Joe Hodak, a fan who hardly ever missed a race in 35 years! The USSGP is the qualifying system used to determine which riders from The East Coast would gain births in the US Open Championships in September.
The track surface looked gorgeous at 5pm but unfortunately with a long program of over 60 ATV’s prior to speedway it became a bit rough and was challenging for the riders in Round One.
Dave “The Shark” Clark got started with a win over “Sideways” Spencer Portararo, “Smokin” Dave Oakden and Dalton Oakden in that order. In the next heat “Flyin” Brian Hollenbeck rode smoothly to defeat Jesse Diem, who was followed by Jerry “Buefford” Harman and then “GP” Jonny Oakden. In the closing race of the first round it was Adam “The Missile” Mittl looking strong en route to the checkered flag over Mike Cortese, Len McBride and Mason Higley.
In the Second Round McBride began with a nice win over Dave Oakden with Higley second and Dalton Oakden third before a scary crash marred the next heat. Clark and Hollenbeck exited turn two nearly even but Clark hooked up and drove Hollenbeck into the wall in scary fashion. Unfortunately, Hollenbeck would suffer a broken leg. Portararo would win the re-run with Clark second and Cortese third. Mittl would then keep Diem behind him for 3 points with Harman and GP Jonny in that order.
The story of the last series of heats was Mittl looking like the man to beat as he outdistanced Portararo. Clark and Diem would take Victories as well with seconds being awarded to Dave Oakden and McBride.
The top 8 in points would be put into two semifinals. Semi number one saw Portararo back on top with a win over Diem. Clark was third and Cortese fourth and they would go to the last chance. Semi two had Dave Oakden making a nice start and handing Mittl his first defeat. McBride was third and Harman DNS.
Clark and McBride had a solid race in the last chance but Clark would take the final transfer position to the Speedway Joe A Final.
The 5-time track champion, Mittl, would blast out of the gate 3 spot in the Final to lead it for the duration with Diem chasing him in second. Mittl caught traction on the last corner and got wide but piloted his JUSTICE BROS/TANKS AUTO/JOE V’S AUTO/SCOTTS HEADERS/ARAI/COBRAS MAHAL GM to the finish line first to score his 5th Speedway Joe Cup Title! Diem earned a well deserved second but behind him things got scary as Dave Oakden hooked a major wheelie out of the last corner and wheelied all the way down the straight collecting Portararo in the process and Portararo went down hard suffering a concussion. Portararo was comforted by finding out he had secured enough points to claim the overall 2020 USSGP Series Championship!
The next event at Champion Speedway is the August 29th Moonbeam and McBride Memorial which may also serve as the NY State Championship if Action Park East is not able to open by then and the largest turnout of competitors yet this season is expected!
For more information visit www.eastcoastspeedway.com
View the results of the Speedway Joe Cup here!