The 2017 Bethel Motor Speedway is shaping up to be one of the most exciting seasons to date. This year each night will consist of Guest Hosts who will be our Grand Marshall’s of the evening. Many former racers have expressed interest in coming out and being a part of the FUN!
A Guest Host will consist of being our pace car driver of the evening, many former racers love to be pacing the field this time they will do so in the beautiful coupe convertible pace car that is sponsored by Affordable Home Improvements. Guest Hosts will also be on the starters stand to throw a honorary green flag to start a race generally the class that they were most known in. Guest Hosts will also be interviewed by our track announcer to hear some great racing anecdotes from the past drivers. Speedway Promoter / Race Controller Mike Hager states “I’m very thankful towards Affordable Home Improvements for providing the sponsorship to make this happen”. He pointed out “We have many former racers that are so excited to be guest hosting a night at the speedway, I’m glad this fun unique twist at the speedway is creating so much enthusiasm.” He quickly added “It is great to have these racers coming to do this!”
Currently we have these former drivers who will be taking on the position of Guest Host on their designated evenings. They are listed below. Any interested former drivers are welcomed to contact us for any remaining open nights at the speedway.
Joe Aulabaugh (5): Former OCFS Street Stock Champion will be joining us as a Guest Host in 2017 at Bethel. Known as “Jumping Joe” he picked numerous feature wins at OCFS. He is most well known for his sharp fast looking 5 Alive orange Camaros.
John Bailey (19x) : Former multi- feature winning driver at Bethel and OCFS. Most known for running Street Stock, Pro Stock, and BMS Modified, John was always known for his immaculate looking cars and always a threat to win each and every week.
Carol Birchwale (90): Carol was always a fan favorite popular racer at OCFS. She picked up multiple feature wins in the highly competitive street stock class before moving onto the open wheeled sportsman class. She was also a feature winner in the Sportsman class too! Carol is no stranger to Bethel as she has run the last few Vintage TQ events at the speedway.
Mark Braun (J3): Although never turning laps at Bethel, Mark sure was a winner. He picked up multiple feature wins with his two tone blue J3 Camaros at OCFS back when there was at least 50 street stock in the pits each week. In fact the “J” part of the number was picked up by many of the other local street stock teams from that area including the “J30” that Clarence Palmer used. Mark is very interested in Bethel for 2017 and plans to compete in the Slingshot race with his son handling the driving chores.
Tom Cannizzaro (73): Known as “The Master”, Tom basically won everywhere and everything involving Northeast full fender dirt racing action. He picked up multiple track championships at both Accord and OCFS. Tom was also a well tuned traveling man picking up the Mr. DIRT Street/Pro Series Championship. Tom also was victorious, winning with his Pro Stock at Super DIRT Week in Syracuse.
Steve Conklin (4) : Most known for running Modifieds at Bethel. Steve was always “Mr.Consistency” finishing in top positions each and every week with his Family Affair # 4. Steve is a former track champion multiple times and has numerous feature wins. Steve also proved success on the dirt as well running Late Models at Accord and Moc A Tek Speedways too.
Mike Dean (19) : “Mighty” Mike Dean is another famous chauffeur that ran Bethel back in it’s heyday years when you had to qualify into the features. Mike picked up several track championships and numerous feature wins. Mike may be best remembered with his beautiful plum colored cars but also ran a Waltrip Western Auto #17 replica in the famed Bombers class.
Tom Dembek (6): The Dembek name is in historic measures when discussing street stock racing at OCFS. Tom picked up many feature wins and a championship before moving up to 358 Modifeds. The Dembeks were also a threat to win on the DIRT Street Stock Tour. Tom was always a threat to win with his candy apple red # 6 Camaro.
Mike Deyo (14) : “Smiling” Mike Deyo is best known for being a weekly warrior at Accord Speedway. Mike was a threat to win each Friday with his beautiful green/black #14. Mike picked up numerous feature wins at Accord. However, many don’t know that Mike started his racing career at Bethel teaming up with Joe Barnes and running a blue Ford Torino # 21. Mike is also the father of highly acclaimed Race Promoter Brett Deyo, who will be having the Short Track Super Series sportsman series race at Bethel in the “Summer of 69” in August.
Darryl Debetta (86) : Known as “Mr. Excitement”, Daryl was always a fan favorite with his trademark Red, White, & Blue patriotic # 86 cars. He was most known running Bomber & Hobby Stock at Bethel. Darryl was always a fast force nailing down numerous feature wins and taking several Championship Titles in very competitive years at the speedway. Daryl also had a very successful Enduro career as well.
Bobby Knipe (18) : Bobby started off running in the street stock class and won everything under the sun in the seasons he competed in the class. After conquering all in street stock, he set his eyes to the Sportsman class, there too he had considerable success and picked up numerous feature wins. Bobby then set his sights on Big Block Modifieds and again found much success picking up feature wins at Lebanon Valley and OCFS. Bobby is more than humbled of being able to take part of being a Guest Host at Bethel Motor Speedway in 2017!
Dan Nappi (2K) : Dan grew up watching the racing at Danbury Racearena rooting on his favorite driver Kenny Webb in his #2K. When Dan got his own race car, he used his childhood idol number for his car and found the same success as Kenny Webb. Dan was always a threat to win with his street stock and picked up numerous feature wins at OCFS. Dan then went onto to the Sportsman class and again found success picking up wins along the way. Dan is very interested with Bethel in 2017 and likes the idea of the “Remembering Danbury Night” on July, 15th.
Vinny Testanero (173) : Former BMS Modified driver Vinny Testanero will also be guest hosting at his favorite track in 2017. Vinny picked up multiple feature wins running his beautifully prepared Montvale Auto Body #173 in modifieds. Vinny known as a versatile driver has driven many different types of race cars over the years but ranks the modifed racing at Bethel as his highest. He is very excited with the schedule that Bethel Motor Speedway has for 2017!
Kathy Tolf (5) : Kathy is a former successful hard knuckle driver that competed weekly at OCFS during it’s peak of street stock racing. Kathy was not afraid to get her hands dirty and race hard wheel to wheel with the toughest drivers of the class. Normally it was an achievement to just qualify for the feature. Kathy was known for her blue driver suit with the pink stripe and her beautifully prepared white # 5 Camaro. She is very excited to be a part of the “Women in Racing” Night scheduled on May, 13th.
Bob Vichioli (19): Connecticut’s Bob Vichioli was a standout street stock driver in the 1980’s. He was a strong runner at OCFS and picked up several feature wins. Bob also followed the street stock series that took him to other tracks in the Northeast region. Bob was very competitive in the series and ran well at all the tracks. He is best known for his black and white # 19 cars.
Practice for all classes plus Legends, Bandolero, Vintage Modifeds, and Enduro Races is coming up this Saturday, April 15th. Gates open at 2pm, cars hit the track at 4pm. Grandstand admission is FREE!
Then on Saturday, April 22nd is our “Opening Day” all classes will be in competition. See who will be our first feature winners of the season will be. Come support your local short track racing at Bethel Motor Speedway !