Bethel Motor Speedway Legend, Steve Conklin of Claryville, NY will be our special guest host for Opening Day at the speedway on Saturday, April 22nd.
How the Legend Got Started : Steve Conlin said “My father got me involved with racing with a 39 Chevy Coupe at Tri -Valley Speedway in Grahamsville, NY. I was just a kid but we had a race track on Redhill in Claryville which was up in a field on my grandfather’s 100 acre farm. Believe it or not I was driving everything then and would test anything he was building, my dad built race cars, home made motorcycles and three wheelers, he even built me an electric motor cycle with a car starter for power. Then we got more involved when my Uncle Ray Cole got involved and together we built the # 22 37 Chevy Coupe that Don Smith from Claryville drove to many wins.”
Steve’s illustrious racing career as a driver started back in 1986 when he bought a Chevy Camaro bodied Late Model from fellow racer and cousin Mike Cole. The car was actually a former Buzzie Reuttiman #00 who of course is another story of Racing Heroes. Mike Cole also ran the #4 number which Steve inherited when he got the car. Steve ran Accord Speedway on Fridays and often ran Moc-A-Tek Speedway on Saturdays using the same car on both nights. Steve ran well picking up multiple feature wins with the car at Accord Speedway and was consistently a Top 5 runner. Some of the other drivers Steve competed against was the likes of Bethel Motor Speedway Official Bill Haley, Northeast Vintage Modified Club President Ed Stevens, and other hotshoes like Jimmy Banks, Donnie Smith, & Ron Santowsky.
In the Early 90’s, Steve traded in his Late Model racer and decided to try Modified racing on the asphalt at Sullivan County Speedway (Bethel). It ended up to be a very wise decision as Steve really reached the pinnacle of his success running open wheel on the pavement. Of the approximate 85 feature wins that Steve has about 75 of those feature wins come from his very fast Family Affair # 4 Modified at Bethel. Some of Steve’s strongest competitors were Jeff Richardson, Everett Pierce, Charlie Howe, Jerry Curry, John Cote, and Paul Martin. In 1994, was Steve’s ultimate season as he picked up 11 feature wins along with picking up the track championship, he then went on to pick up the much coveted award of winning the most asphalt modified feature wins in the entire Northeast based on Area Auto Racing News. Steve also picked up three wins running Mini Sprints too.
Steve was not only a winner on the track but he was also a winner in the pits. He was a true sportsman, helping out many fellow racers with repairs, parts, and advice in the pit areas. Steve was always known to keep his cool and composure even on the worst nights, always being a true professional even though he strictly did it for hobby. Steve was also well known for doing a great job of keeping his car looking good and mechanically sound on a weekly basis, a true test of ultimate mechanics.
Steve also picked up additional awards in racing as well. He picked up Racer of the Year, Most Popular Driver, and Best Appearing Car awards over the course of his career.
Steve is very excited to be Bethel Motor Speedway’s first Guest Host and is looking forward to it. Come out to Bethel Motor Speedway this Saturday Night to not only see the first points races of the season for all regular classes but to see Bethel Motor Speedway’s legendary driver Steve Conklin! Come join us for the excitement as we get started in the 2017 race season! Support you local short track!