Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – ACCORD, NY – For quite a few years since 2013, Accord Speedway has had the distinction of hosting the final dirt racing event of the season, known as The Gobbler.
With the pandemic situation in New York in 2020, there was no racing at all at the Ulster County bullring. The original promoter of The Gobbler, Brett Deyo, hosted a Short Track Super Series Gobbler event at Georgetown Speedway in November of 2020. Brett wanted to keep the tradition of The Gobbler going. He also said that he was hoping that a condition of normalcy would resume in New York State in 2021 so The Gobbler could return to Accord.
And so it is that the 2021 edition of The Gobbler will return to Accord this Saturday, November 20th. It’s one final time in 2021 for racers, crews and fans to get together for a day of racing and camaraderie. It doesn’t matter whether the weather is unseasonably cold or warm. The competitors gather, knowing that this is their last chance to get together for the season. And to chase one more possible victory. The car counts for all divisions have always been good and it’s a race date that so many fans circle on their calendars.
Saturday’s race card is being sponsored by H.O. Penn.
In addition to the Modifieds, other division on the schedule for Saturday are Sportsman, Pure Stocks, Four Cylinder, Rookie Sportsman and Slingshots. A Four Cylinder Enduro will cap off the program.
The Modifieds will be racing for a winners purse of $5,000. Second is worth $2,500 and third is $1,500. The Sportsman top 3 will pay $1,500 for 1st, $750 for 2nd and $500 for 3rd,
Accord ran November races back from 2002-2004 called the Turkey Chase 100. After that, it wasn’t until 2013 that Brett Deyo and Accord Speedway owner, Gary Palmer, got together to bring November racing back to Accord.
There have been 6 previous editions of Accord’s Gobbler. The first five of these were run under the Short Track Super Series banner. The most recent Gobbler in 2019 was run under the direction of the Palmer family.
Four different winners have visited Victory Lane in the six events. Anthony Perrego raced to his first ever Accord win in the inaugural Gobbler in 2013. Perrego repeated as the 2016 winner.
Andy Bachetti is another 2 time Gobbler winner, grabbing wins in 2017 and the most recent event in 2019.
Jackie Brown Jr was The Gobbler champion of the 2014 version which was postponed until April of 2015.
And The Doctor, Danny Johnson, scored his Gobbler win on December 5th, 2015. It was the latest race date in the history of Accord Speedway.
Looking to rebound after the difficult year of 2020, Accord was plagued with rainouts through the course of the season. In addition to the originally scheduled Opening Night, there were numerous other programs lost to the elements. The month of August was especially difficult with 3 of the 4 programs lost.
But there was still great action at the track when Mother Nature cooperated. In the 12 Modified features that were contested, there was 8 different winners.
In the first actual race action in 17 months, the Short Track Super Series event, The Battle of the Bullring, kicked off Accord’s season with Anthony Perrego taking the big win. Perrego has now recorded 14 wins at the track.
Danny Creeden was the leading Modified winner at Accord in 2021 with 3 wins and winning the Modified championship. The 3 wins pushed Creeden’s total at Accord to 16.
In addition to Creeden, Danny Tyler and Jesse Marks were the other Modified racers to score multiple wins with 2 apiece. Tyler’s Accord total now stands at 16, This was the first season that Marks has recorded multiple wins and he now has 3 at Accord.
Jerry Higbie had a dominating win on May 21st this year for his 24th Accord triumph.
Jimmy Wells drove the Jim Winchell #17 into Victory Lane on June 25th for his 9th Modified win.
After a 4 year absence from Victory Lane, Richard Smith had the winning drive on September 3rd for his 4th Accord win.
And Joe Judge raced to a very popular win on September 10th. It was Judge’s first trip into Accord’s Modified Victory Lane.
Ten drivers made it into Accord’s Sportsman division Victory Lane in 2021.
Kyle Rohner led the way with 3 wins and a championship. Brian Durbin won his first 2 Sportsman features in 2021.
Single wins were recorded by Joey Bruning, Tyler Johnston, Mike DuBois, Cole Hentschel, Matt Shultz, Nick Plumstead and Travis Green.
It was Steve Davis who won what may have been Accord’s best race of 2021 when he took his 2nd consecutive win in the Joe G Great Crate Race. Davis, racing on tires that were completely used up, made a late race pass of Rohner to take the lucrative win.
No matter what happens Saturday, Walt Henry will have the honor of the racer with the most victories at Accord in 2021. Henry has visited Victory Lane 6 times in 2021 and is the Pure Stock Champion.
Jayden Sleight picked up his first two career wins and Codi Clark was also a two time winner in 2021.
Single Pure Stock wins went to John Hechinger and Mike Vigiletti.
In the 6 Northeast Wingless Sprint Races, wins went to Jeremy Quick with 3, Eric Jennings with 2 and Dan Malley had a single win. Malley is the division champion.
Tim DeGrote picked up 3 wins in the Fireball 4 Cylinder Division on his way to the championship.
Richard Smith and Jeff DeGroat each recorded 3 wins. DeGroat’s red car, that made a late season debut, looked especially impressive.
Robert Beach had two 4 Cylinder wins while Jesse Norman and Dave Donavan each had a single victory.
Madison Lewis had 4 wins as she was the Slingshot champion. Ashley Rogosich had 3 wins with single wins recorded by Zach Cordova, Jim Pollard, Matt Sydoryk, Frank Twing Jr and Alex McCann.
Rookie Sportsman with multiple wins in 2021 were Patrick Dempsey with 3 and Ashton DeWitt with 2. Single wins went to Austin Smith, Eddie Owens, Mike DuBois Jr, Billy Fiske, Kevin Murphy, Brady Cordova and John Doty.
Saturday’s schedule has the Pit Gates open at 10:30. Spectator Gates open at 12:00 and Hot laps beginning at 1:00.
The weather forecast at this writing looks to be excellent for Saturday. Perfect for late November racing. Racers, crews and fans are encouraged to keep an eye on Accord’s Facebook for any further developments.