- Thursday 30 January, 2014
As the song “Parade of the Charioteers” from the film “Ben-Hur” played and a cascade of lights danced around them, the 2013 Summit Motorsports Park champions walked by their beaming families, friends and fellow racers to take their places front and center for the 40th Annual Accel Banquet of Champions at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions on January 25.
The evening’s blinding blizzard conditions were not enough to deter Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster presented by Wiseco Novice champion Allyson Downs, who was accompanied by her dad, Mike; Intermediate champion Stephen Crowell, who was accompanied by his dad, Steve; Advanced champion Scott Chitty, who was accompanied by his dad, Terry; Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike champion Rick Poole, who was accompanied by his girlfriend, Tabitha Gittins; Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation champion Joe Childs, who was was accompanied by his son, Noah; Mr. Gasket Pro champion Wes Buckley, who was accompanied by his sister, Kelsey and Mallory Super Pro champion Randy Scheuer, Jr., who was accompanied by his girlfriend, Mandy.
“I’m very proud of all our champions, as they represent the very best of what Summit Motorsports Park is all about,” said Bill Bader, Jr., who was exuberant behind the microphone, along with Bill Bader, Sr., for the event’s duration.
After acknowledging DJ Lubinski for producing the opening video and TJ Jordan for creating the champion videos, Bader, Jr. went on to thank track sponsors — including Mr. Gasket (now Accel Performance Group), B’laster, Muscle Products Corporation, Quick Fuel Technology, the Lions Club, Classic Trophy Company and Ink, Inc. — for their support of the event.
The drivers who placed sixth through tenth in points were recognized, including, in Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation: Geoff Case, Marlon Howes, Nate Holzhauer, Chad Moss and Blaine Hurst; in Mr. Gasket Pro: Matt Obertanec, Nick Moss, Jason Fleenor, Steve Obertanec and A.J. Buchanan and in Mallory Super Pro: Eric Manuel, Justin Vickers, Chris Bear, Nick Akoury and John Boes.
They were followed by the drivers who placed fifth in points, including Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster presented by Wiseco Novice driver Josh Keller; Intermediate driver Aubrey Collins and Advanced driver Heather Saalman; Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation driver Lucas Buckley; Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike rider Craig Adams; Mr. Gasket Pro driver Brian Cireddu and Mallory Super Pro driver Barney Barnhart.
Fourth place awards went to Bear Motorsports Junior Dragsters presented by Wiseco Novice driver Ava Lawson; Intermediate driver Kyle Beno and Advanced driver Nina Jacob; Mallory Super Pro driver Allen Moore; Mr. Gasket Pro driver Kevin Chess; Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike rider Ed James and Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation driver C.J. Yaeger.
Third place honors were in place for Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster presented by Wiseco Novice driver Simone Walker; Intermediate driver Courtney Grisez and Advanced driver Dylan Northup; Mallory Super Pro driver Kirby McLennan; Mr. Gasket Pro driver Nick Hastings; Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike rider David Liguori and Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation driver James Ring.
Second place saw Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster presented by Wiseco Novice driver Alexa Hurst; Intermediate driver Zac Gill and Advanced driver Jaeden Durst; Mallory Super Pro driver Scott Sill; Mr. Gasket Pro driver Joe Oswald; Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike rider Kevin Adams and Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation driver Katrina Moss.
Applauded for representing Summit Motorsports Park at the NHRA Junior Drag Racing League Eastern Conference Finals at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee were Red Team members Scott Chitty, Aubrey Collins, Zachary Etzel, Courtney Grizez, Frankie McCullough, Dylan Northup, Kalob Smith, Thomas Summers, Simone Walker and Derrick Wolfe; White Team members Sadie Anderson, Allyson Downs, Zac Gill, Owen Hoover, Annie Kordeleski, Zackary Manual, Alex Nardi, Jacob Oiler, Justin Saporito and Schuyler Turner and Blue Teammembers Valerie Bennett, Brandon Bennett, Kyle Beno, Jaeden Durst, Daniel Findley, Alexa Hurst, Nina Jacob, Joshua Keller, Davin Pollard and Heather Saalman. At the race, the team was honored with the Team Spirit Award; the White Team tied for third place with twenty-seven points and Owen Hoover was crowned Eastern Conference Finals champion. During the banquet, he was met on stage by friend Garret Bader, who presented him with his coveted Wally.
The Summit Motorsports Park team was celebrated for earning the championship at the North Central Division NHRA Summit Racing Series Team Finals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. Representing Mallory Super Pro was Randy Scheuer, Jr., Barney Barnhart, Chris Bear, Nick Akoury, Justin Vickers, Dominic Locilento, Jr., Tabitha Gittens, Kirby McLennan and Steven Schmidt, while the Mr. Gasket Pro team consisted of Wes Buckley, Brian Cireddu, Jason Fleenor, Steve Obertanec, Keith Crippen, Ed Moreland, A.J. Buchanan and Fred Nolen. Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation included James Ring, Joe Childs, Katrina Moss, Lucas Buckley, Blaine Hurst, Nate Holzhauer, Chad Moss, C.J. Yeager, Gary Hurst and Nick Hastings, who qualified in Pro but chose to compete in Sportsman at the event. Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Pro Bike featured Rick Poole, Kevin Adams, Ed James, Perry Paugh and Craig Adams. Nick Hastings went on to win in Sportsman and Craig Adams won in Super Pro Bike, and all received further support and encouragement by team captains Nettie Damron and Bobbie Bader, who was resplendent as she greeted champions and award-winners on-stage at the banquet.
“I look at our team that won a second Summit Team Finals in just three years and cannot help but be proud,” said Bader, Jr. “They’re the best. I would take our racers, top to bottom, and put them up against the best in the county.”
Best Appearing awards went to Mallory Super Pro driver Ed Varney; Mr. Gasket Pro driver Matt Ball; Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation driver Ryan Bittle; Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike rider Herb Baker; Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster by Wiseco Novice driver Bryce Buehrer;Intermediate driver Courtney Grisez and Advanced driver Alex Nardi.
Rick McWaters received the distinguished Sportsman of the Year title,and additional award recipients included Dominic Locilento, Jr. for Most Improved; C.J. Yeager for Rookie of the Year; Paul Bursley for the Appreciation Award; Sharon Rood and Vanessa Lowe for Gals of the Year; Summit Racing Equipment for Sponsor of the Year; Wiseco Performance Products for Manufacturer of the Year and BangShift.com for Media of the Year.
Summit Motorsports Park drivers who competed on the national level in 2013 and were recognized during the banquet were NHRA North Central Division 3 Top Sportsman champion Jerry Albert; NHRA North Central Division 3 Top Dragster champion Marco Abruzzi and NHRA North Central Division 3 Super Street champion Phil Smida.
The well-attended event highlighted sportsman racing programs, including the Mr. Gasket Super Series, which provides top performers with more than $50,000 in cash; the Super 64 which awarded qualifiers the chance to win $100,000 in cash and awards; the R&R Auto Body Paint My Ride Program, which secured a racer a new paint scheme for their car and the TFC Transportation Bonus, which enhanced the Accel Sportsman class with an additional $3,900 in point fund money and included a bonus in Mr. Gasket Pro and Accel Sportsman for an additional $2,600 in cash.
Focus also was placed on Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster presented by Wiseco offering drivers a chance to compete in the 2013 points chase for $5,000 in cash and awards and Summit Racing Equipment providing the top eight Novice, Intermediate and Advanced drivers the opportunity to race in the Shootout at Shakedown for a share of $7,000 in cash and prizes.
Appropriately — and obviously to the delight of many — the evening ended with the playing of the Beach Boys song “Little Deuce Coupe.”
Please visit www.SummitMotorsportsPark.com for write-ups on the champions and some of the award-winners, and more, in the days to come.
By Mary Lendzion