- Monday 28 January, 2013
NORWALK, Ohio -- The beauty of the 39th Annual Mr. Gasket Banquet of Champions transcended the ambiance of candles, professional sounds and lights, and fine dining January 26, 2013 at Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio.
The Summit Motorsports Park family celebrated each others’ joys and triumphs, flooding the banquet hall with the true beauty of enduring friendship and support.
After drag racing drama and shared challenges, the racing family applauded the 2012 season and spoke with hope of the next season and garage projects in progress.
“Banquets are always nice,” said Larry Hurst, Norwalk, Ohio. “I’ve been to the national banquet before. They’re not any better than this.”
Larry’s wife, Connie Hurst, enjoyed the evening and approved of Al Gottschling’s surprise award.
“What I look forward to is who’s going to be Sportsman of the Year,” Connie Hurst said, adding Larry and their son, Brian Hurst, made Summit Motorsports Park history as the first father and son to both win the most prestigious honor.
Bob and Judy Moss, Amherst, Ohio, parents of racer Chad Moss and grandparents of racers Nick and Katrina Moss, shared a table with Sarah Moss and Don Mann from Faller, Ohio.
While Bingo deserved her raves as top entertainment, Judy Moss lauded the banquet, too.
“I thought the presentations to all the racers were very nice,” Bob Moss said. “They make a big deal out of it.”
“They make the racers feel good,” Judy Moss said.
“I just enjoy it,” Don Mann said. “I like the whole thing. They keep it moving. I’ve got to hand it to them. They spend a lot of money to get where the top ones are.”
Dave and Priscilla Perrotti, Euclid, Ohio, enjoyed racing family photos on the large screens. But for them the most moving portion of the awards ceremony piqued with the announcement of Al Gottschling as Sportsman of the Year.
“That made me cry,” Priscilla Perrotti said. “He deserved it. I think everybody at the table was crying.”
Overall the banquet was presented well, Priscilla Perrotti said. “When the band came out it was really neat. The National Anthem was good. Norwalk puts a lot of work in that.”
Alyssa “Fergie” Ferguson, Lodi, Ohio, picked the opening video as her favorite of the evening.
“I liked Billy’s intro this year,” Alyssa Ferguson said. “That was a good pump up to get us going.”
“I liked the intro,” said Janelle Ferguson, West Salem, Ohio. “I did like the food.”
Andrew Taylor, who ran his 1989 Formula Firebird in his first year in Lakewood Stock on Saturdays and Wednesdays, caught the excitement of the banquet.
“It’s excellent, very good,” Andrew Taylor said. “Can’t wait until next year, honestly. I also enjoyed the opening video. It was very great. It was excellent, very professional.”
“The banquet was great, just like it always is,” said Kaytie Boyer. “It was great hearing everybody, supporting everybody, especially Heather Saalman’s and Kaitlin Zietlow’s videos and their speeches. T.J. Jordan and D.J. Lubinski did an amazing job.”
Kaytie Boyer’s running a spruced up 1988 Thunderbird next year in Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation.
“It’s getting repainted,” Katie Boyer said. “My dad’s friend is doing it. It will be light blue like always. On the bottom half will be different stripes. But it will look cool, I promise.
“We picked out paint colors today, but the design is done,” Kaytie Boyer said. “I’m so excited!”
Other winter projects find A.J. Buchanan, Vickery, Ohio, with his Mustang spread out in pieces in the garage, a continuation of repairs begun by his father during the Halloween Classic.
Debbie Lampshire, Cleveland, said her husband, Kevin, must hold back on some planned improvements until after the Super 64 in the spring, so he qualifies for Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation.
“My son won a pair of slicks and gave them to Kevin,” Debbie Lampshire said. “We are dropping the transmission off next week. We do racing on a budget.”
Hoping to plant seeds of racing desire in youngsters, Debbie and Kevin Lampshire shared the banquet weekend with grandchildren, Kaylee, seven, and Cameron, 12.
“We brought two of the grandkids for the dinner for the first time,” Debbie Lampshire said, adding Kaylee perked up when she saw Junior Dragster champions on stage. “We’ve come every year for the water park and everything, but we couldn’t get them out of the water.
“What we do every year for their family gift is Friday night at Kalahari,” Debbie Lampshire said. “And we get to come here and hang out with just the four of them.”
And finally, from the perspective of a newbie to the Mr. Gasket Banquet of Champions weekend: After seeing the fabulous prizes, no wonder y’all love Bingo!
Sponsors of the 39th Annual Mr. Gasket $50,000 Super Series Banquet of Champions include:
* B’laster -- Need to loosen a rusty bolt or stuck nut? Lubricate your garage door? Restore engine performance on your car or lawn mower? Improve engine performance? Nothing moves faster than B’laster.
* Pepsi -- Passion for Performance.
* Norwalk Lions Club -- Has been around since 1946 with a mission to end preventable blindness. Lions Club participates in projects important to the community and schools.
* Trick Flow Heads -- Your ultimate bolt-on performance.
* Ink, Inc. -- From design to distribution, if it’s commercial printing, we’ve got you covered.
* Mr. Gasket.