Poughkeepsie Raceway - Developing Racing's Next Generation
Warren Rosenberg and Clark Thompson, MetroSports Magazine November 7, 2020
The New York metropolitan region and its northern Hudson Valley suburbs hold a sacred place in the history of American auto racing going back well over a century. One of the earliest events was the 1896 Cosmopolitan Race, a 60 mile road course running from New York’s City Hall to what was then the then site of the Cosmopolitan Magazine headquarters in Irvington, NY, and back. On February 12, 1908, the New York to Paris race set off from Times Square in New York City and headed north, up Broadway through Harlem, and continuing along what is now Route 9 through Yonkers, Tarrytown, Ossining, Peekskill, Wappingers Falls, Poughkeepsie, and Hudson before turning west at Albany. On April 24th of that year, the Briarcliff Trophy Race set off as part of the Vanderbilt Cup race series.
While these events featured known American and international racers, the region was beginning to develop its own race drivers at small home tracks throughout the region. Included among these tracks were the 1 mile dirt oval at the Poughkeepsie Fairgrounds opened in 1900, the ½ mile dirt oval at the Rhinebeck Speedway opened in 1904, the 1 mile dirt tri-oval at Goshen, opened in 1908, the Carmel Racetrack in Putnam County opened in 1929, the 1/3 mile dirt oval at Brewster opened in 1949, and Poughkeepsie’s Arlington Speedway opened in 1951 among others, all closed now with some just remnants on satellite images and others just memories.
Some well-known race car drivers got their start in just this way including NASCAR’s Regan Smith who began racing go Karts in Cato NY at the age of 4, as did Martin Truex, Jr, from Mayetta, NJ, and Andy Lally from Northport NY. Other local race car drivers growing up in the region and covered previously in MetroSports Magazine include Joey Logano, Middletown, CT, Kristina Esposito of Mamaroneck, NY, Josh Green of Mt. Kisco, NY, and Aurora Straus of Cold Spring, NY (pictured below, top row, left to right).
Pictured Above, Bottom Row in Karts: Aurora Straus, Josh Green, Kristina Esposito, Brenden Tymon
Carrying this tradition into the present is the 1/5 mile paved oval currently operating as Poughkeepsie Raceway. The track originally opened in 1986 as a 1/8 mile dirt oval operating under the names of the Mid-Hudson Speedway and the Dutchess Kartway. The facility was converted to its current form in 2001. The current owner of the Poughkeepsie Raceway, Dawn Tymon told MetroSports Magazine that, “I wanted to get this track up and running again for the kids and adults as well. Racing has become a lost sport and in today’s society it’s important to get family and friends together in a team effort to provide the experience of a life time, for all involved. It’s a passion of mine as Well as Brendon’s to bring acing to a reality for so many that want a chance to experience what racing has to offer.“ The Brendon she’s referring to is her son, fourteen year old Brendon Tymon, part of this racing family along with dad Kevin, and mom, Dawn, all with racing experience. Pictured below are Brendon and Kevin in pre-race preparation.
Brendon, from Oxford Connecticut, is currently a freshman, in the 9th grade at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury CT. He raced in his first Kid Kart at the age of 3 ½ at MotoTown U.S.A. and moved on the Kid Champ Kart series at the family’s Poughkeepsie Raceway at the age of five. He is now competing Junior Champ karts and will possible move up to Senior Champ karts next year.
Brendon enjoys the competition and also meeting new people in the sport. He told MetroSports Magazine that, “I get butterflies in my stomach before I get on the track but once I get on the Grid, I go into a focus zone, thinking and strategizing about what’s about to happen to take the Checkered Flag.” Brendon proudly drives the #34 kart reflecting his position as the 34th, and last, grandchild born into the Tymon family.
“I started racing Bandelero‘s at age 8, which is a small scaled-down NASCAR car with suspension. I raced these on tracks at the WaterFord SpeedBowl in CT, Bethel Motor Speedway in NY, Riverhead on Long Island, and at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bojangles 500, two years in a row. But, Poughkeepsie Raceway is special because it’s my home track and 1/5 mile asphalt and fast. Racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway was special because of the level of competition and meeting new people from all over the racing circuit.”
“Kyle Bush is a Driver I’ve always admired and look up to. I’ve enjoyed racing in the King Of Asphalt Series in my Champ Kart and The Bojangles 500 Shootout Series in my Bandolero. Someday would love to race in the NASCAR Cup Series.” By the way, not unlike Brendon, Kyle got his first driving experience at the age of six in a go-kart and is a two-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion.
While racing can be a challenge for anyone, it has proven to be a therapy for Brendon. Diagnosed at the age of one with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) an Autism Spectrum Disorder, Brendon has struggled with everyday life. With the right team in place and lots of support from family and professionals, he’s learned to work with his learning disorder. According to his family, “racing has helped him tremendously with his everyday life. He will tell you the sky is the limit. Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you can’t do something!!”
We asked Brendon if there was anyone he would like to thank for helping him in his young driving career. “I have my parents to thank, along with my Grandfather, Grandma and Tia. And my sponsors thru the years.”
Tony Power Motorsports Engines
Mike Perry RPM Set Up
Chris Daley Tires
“I’m very thankful for everyone who has made all this become a reality for me.”
And the closing comments from Brendon, “Drive safe, but fast. Be a smart driver and bring home the win. Always shoot for your goals.” We trust that he will and we look forward to his debut on the NASCAR circuit.
Poughkeepsie Raceway photographs by Clark Thompson www.ClarkShots1.com