Drivers awarded at annual Skyview Drags banquet and awards ceremony
Skyview Drags packed The McKinley at the corner of North and Main Streets in Endicott, N.Y. on Saturday for their annual banquet and awards presentation. With a host of awards to be presented in each class, The Daily & Sunday Review Publisher Greg Zyla, alongside Skyview Track Announcer Bob Russell served as Master of Ceremonies.
First on the schedule was the announcement of big news for the 2013 season at Skyview Drags, located on Skyline Drive in Tioga Center, N.Y. Northeast Open Competition will be moving their program to Friday nights to allow more racers an opportunity to participate. There will also be a new Pro Stick class on the Saturday program, with details yet to come.
The most exciting feature of the night had to be youth who received awards and recognition. The most surprising for those unfamiliar with the excitement offered at Skyview Drags every weekend, from May to October, is the number of women who compete and win. A good example would be the Super Pro winner, Kathy Keikel of Binghamton, N.Y. Keikel and husband Don own Precision Crankworks in Kirkwood, N.Y.
Their love of drag racing extends from their business, with the sponsorship of the Junior Dragster Class competition, to driving against each other on the track. Kathy narrowly beat out Don to win the Super Pro division. "I could not do this without my husband," Keikel said, "he's the light of my life."
The Keikels were also awarded Sponsor of the Year for their contribution to making the Junior Dragster Class possible. Kathy tried to mention all the kids who race in Jr. Dragsters, and apologized for any she might have left out.
"We're so proud of all the kids," she said, "it's our third year sponsoring these amazing youngsters."
And for the second year in a row, Tim Zyla from Sayre walked away with the Pro Class Championship Cup.
Maybe a good motto for Skyview would be 'the family that races together, stays together.' Although many families field drivers including mom, dad and kids; all the speedsters recognize their family's contribution to their efforts on the track. And the ownership of Skyview Drags is a family affair as well, with many drivers thanking owner George Swansbrough and his family for their hard work and dedication to keep the track going.
An interesting family of racers from Friendsville, Pa. are the Teeds, with Randy, Mel, and daughters Haley and Randi - all competing at Skyview. Randi was one of the big winners of the night, going home with trophies for Jr. Dragster Champion and Outstanding Driver of the Year, where she beat out drivers over twice her age that have been
racing since before she was born.
"It's the first time a junior driver won," Greg Zyla said of Randi Teed's Outstanding Driver of the Year award, "everyone was treated the same in voting." Zyla praised Teed for her win in Pittsburgh, Pa. and competitive showing in Memphis, Tenn.
"I want to thank my family, and the Gallick's. They helped out a lot," Teed said when presented her award. The Gallick's are Jeff and Sue Gallick from Athens, Pa., with daughters Julia and Jaclyn. Jeff took home the Northeast Open Competition trophy and fifth place in the Pro Class. Julia also drives at Skyview and placed tenth in Pro Class competition.
But the Teed's were not done taking their turn at the podium yet. Haley Teed was the First Runner Up in the International Hot Rod Association Super Series Junior Division, based on the results of each driver's first 30 runs down the track. Haley sings the National Anthem before each competition, and hopes to have a career in music one day.
"I want to be a singer, but you will always see me at the track," Haley Teed said. "Drag racing is my first love," she added.
Haley's sister Randi was the winner of the Jr. Super Series competition. Randy Teed was not absent at the podium either. Randy took home sixth place in the Bike and Sled Class, but his award was not what he'll remember 2012 for.
"I'm very proud of them, real proud," Teed said of his daughters, "they made it a great year for me and Mel."
Rob Withers won the Bike and Sled Class division for 2012.
Another proud father was Greg Zyla, who presented his son Tim with the Pro Class Championship Cup. The elder Zyla spoke of the odyssey of buying their car from fellow competitor Manley Houghtalen of Sayre, and thanked Skyview regulars George and Jeff Coleman along with their business, Coleman's Sales and Service in Barton, N.Y.
"Whenever there was a problem, they took care of it quickly," Greg Zyla said of the Coleman's, adding that Houghtalen sold them "one heck of a race car."
Tim Zyla thanked his father upon receipt of the award.
"Without him none of this would have happened," Zyla said.
Tim Zyla started racing when he was 18, and has shot up through the ranks for his second consecutive Pro Class title. Tim thanked the Gallick and Teed families, and his sponsors Hoosier Tires, ARP, Lucas Oil, and Vegas Fuel Energy. Zyla's car has been 'wrapped' in an attractive graphic promoting Vegas Fuel.
For more information about Skyview Drags, a complete list of 2012 winners, and highlights of upcoming changes to the 2013 schedule, visit Skyviewdrags.com and find them on Facebook.
"It's tough to win, but when you pull it up to the starting line, good things can happen," Greg Zyla said.