Evergreen Raceway payed tribute the 2023 class champions and others during the annual Awards Banquet held on Saturday evening at Carmen’s Country Inn and Gardens in Drums.
A fine gathering of drivers, teams, staff and their families filled the spacious hall for an evening of celebration and accomplishments.
Heading the list of honorees was Tour Type Modified champion Blake Barney of Jackson, NJ. Barney drove the renowned Dick Barney owned No. 14 to a perfect mark of top-5 finishes in each race this season that also included a victory on June 18. For Barney, who began his career here, it was his first Evergreen championship.
Nesquehoning’s Mike Sweeney had a record setting season in garnering the DW Machine and Fabricating Company Late Model class title. Aside from a strong showing that saw him win a division high four times and never had a finish lower than third, he also set a track record for most Late Model championships at four. Those victories also elevated him into the realm as the all-time winningest Late Model driver amongst eastern Pennsylvania short track asphalt racers, with 74 and counting. It was the sixth overall title for Sweeney.
Mike Pollack fought long and hard throughout the season and his efforts paid off nicely as the Freeland area racer collected his second consecutive Harry’s U-Pull-It Street Stock crown.
On the strength of two wins, the first and last race of the season, plus consistency week in and week out with a class best eight top-5s along with every feature run being a top-10, Pollack proved best of all. His highlight came in the final race when he led every circuit of the George Wambold Memorial 81 lap feature.
The 602 Crate Modifieds completed their second season as a weekly Evergreen class and to say the competition was as good as it gets with an amazingly even stacked field would be a huge understatement.
Yet despite the closeness, Neil Rutt III from Atlantic Highlands, NJ was able to produce a steady string of results with the most significant coming in with a top-5 finish in each feature he ran.
The icing on the cake came at the track’s annual King of the Green where Rutt went on to clinch the title with a victory.
And not only did Rutt take top honors with the 602 Crate Modifieds at Evergreen but he also claimed the championship in the Evergreen Raceway/Mahoning Valley Speedway Duel Track Series.
Veteran racer Jerry Hildebrand of Mountain Top scored his second Evergreen Modified championship in the past three seasons.
Hildebrand was locked in a very title point battle that went right down to the wire between himself and three others. He solidified his championship efforts by winning the second half of a twin bill during the King of the Green. 2023 marked his 35th year behind the wheel of a race car.
No class saw more cars this past season then the Himmer Graphics 4-Cylinder Stocks and no one was more dominant then Micah Adams of Lake Ariel.
After starting the year in a head-to-head duel against Jimmy Ayre, Adams kicked into high gear over the second half of the season and reeled off five wins over the last six races and after taking the checkered flag at the King of the Green, he would wrap up the memorable campaign with a class leading six wins. In nine races he was either first or second in eight of them.
It was his second 4-Cylinder Stock championship and third overall of his career, having also won the Novice title in 2019.
The McNulty Funeral Home Novice division saw Tyler Skordensky romp to six wins in eight starts and cruise to the championship. Skordensky’s solid season included most heat wins, most laps led, most top-5s and winner of the King of the Green. He will be moving to the 4-Cylinder Stocks next year but leaves as the all-time wins leader with the Novice’s.
Brandon Cook, who hails from Edwardsville, raced to a record third straight Factory Stock title. Cook won twice en route to the championship although he had to hold off Blane Barry in the finale, beating him by a mere 10 points.
Cook will now be taking his talents into the Late Models starting in 2024.
The popular JuiceBox Division was part of the awards ceremony and youngsters from all the age groups where given trophies and goodie bags thanks to Mengle Hauling of Weatherly and Barbush Auto Sales and Service of Drums.
Rebecca Barbush and Tony Hilliard where recognized with Appreciation Awards for their work throughout the year with the JuiceBox kids. Also receiving an Appreciation Award was longtime Evergreen handyman Larry Danko for his untiring dedication and hard work behind the scenes.
Sarabeth Mesko, who races with the Novice class, was named the receipt of the annual Tony Fisher Memorial Award.
Evergreen owner/promoter Jason Makarewicz closed the affair by thanking everyone for the great support and looks forward to his ninth season at the helm in 2024.
The speedway will close out his year this coming Saturday, December 16 at 1:00 pm with a 4/6-Cylinder Enduro, Spectator Drags and the JuiceBox Division. Grandstand admission in only $5.
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