BULL & MILLER RACING TEAM CELEBRATE TITLES AT ARDC AWARDS BANQUET Hazleton, PA - Ray Bull, Bloomsburg, PA, was crowned as the Driver's Champion for the sixth consecutive year at the American Racing Drivers Club Awards Banquet last Saturday...
BULL & MILLER RACING TEAM CELEBRATE TITLES AT ARDC AWARDS BANQUET
Hazleton, PA - Ray Bull, Bloomsburg, PA, was crowned as the Driver's Champion for the sixth consecutive year at the American Racing Drivers Club Awards Banquet last Saturday night. The Miller Racing Team and owner Mike Miller collected its first Car Owner's Championship due to an outstanding season by driver Steve Buckwalter.
Bull had to come from behind in order to win the 2005 Driver's title. He and Buckwalter waged a torrid battle for the championship throughout the just-completed season. Due to unforeseen mechanical problems, Bull had to jump into teammates' cars a few times during the summer to earn valuable points. On Saturday, at Lobitz Catering Hall in Hazleton, PA, Bull talked about those tough times, and how much he values his team.
"This one is special because of how hard this team worked this year," noted the winner of 44 ARDC main events. "The problems we had made us stronger and I can't thank my team enough for all their hard work. And Dave Shirk, my teammate, giving up his ride so I could gain some points.I just can't say enough about all the guys on this Mega Motorsports team."
After receiving the championship hardware for his first Car Owner's title with ARDC, Mike Miller gave all the credit to the driver who made it possible, along with his crew chief. "This is nice, but it should really go to Steve (Buckwalter) and Ed (Heffline). They had the car prepared so well for every race, and it was fast and hooked up each time out. This title is due to their efforts."
Those efforts earned Heffline the Ken Hickey Mechanic of the Year Award. He was responsible for the weekly maintenance of the Victory Motorcycle no. 5, and Buckwalter also charged him with installing the proper set-up on the car.
"Ed knows how I want the car to handle; how I want the car to feel," stated Buckwalter, who led the series with eight victories in 2005. "We are definitely on the same page as far as set-ups.I trust him completely."
Andy Martin was named the Schaefer/Peters Memorial Rookie of the Year. The Gordonville Flash notched his first career ARDC triumph at Little Valley, NY, in September. Martin also had ten more finishes inside the top-five, and a total of 18 top-ten finishes out of 22 feature races run by ARDC in 2005.
The Galen Halteman Memorial President's Award was given to Eric "Butch" Zipp for his dedication to the club and sportsmanship. Zipp, who owns the number 99 driven by his brother Scott, is always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in the pit area. He also served as the engine tech person in '05.
Ted Schmid began his racing career in 1948, and for the past 17 years he's been competing with ARDC. For his support and loyalty to the club, Schmid was awarded the Lifetime Membership/ ARDC Hall of Fame plaque last Saturday. An overwhelmed Schmid, from Lititz, PA, accepted the award, then admitted that he is "more pumped up than ever to go racing."
Susquehanna Speedway Park, the home track of the ARDC Midgets for 2006, was recognized for its outstanding contribution to the club. Promoter Todd Fisher accepted the plaque, noting that he "wants to help the club grow as much as the club can help Susquehanna grow."
Nick Fornoro, Sr. was named as the recipient of this year's Bill Schindler Founder's Award. Unfortunately, the patriarch of the popular racing family was unable to attend the banquet. Mel Mowbray spoke on Fornoro's behalf and accepted the award.
The Checkered Flag Fan Club and its representative, Tommy Cochrane, presented ARDC Media Information Director/Announcer Barry Angstadt with a Service Award, while Jolene Ulrich, the club's "Cone Girl", received a special gift. Ulrich, who completed her first season as an ARDC official, was given a small cone with a string attached to it. Her duties during the racing season included the handling of the restart cone, and this small replica will allow her to "practice" over the winter.
Plaques of appreciation were presented to all of the ARDC officials, and every car owner who fielded a midget in 2005 was recognized with a plaque bearing a photograph of his/her car. All of the tracks who hosted ARDC events in 2005 will also be receiving a plaque to show the club's appreciation for their hospitality and support of midget racing.
The club's new Board of Governors was also introduced to the crowd at the banquet. Leading the organization in 2006 will be President Ron Lauer, Vice President Lou Zrinski, Secretary Kathy Kurtz, and Treasurer Fred Schell. The Driver's Representative and Booking Agent will be Mike Miller, while Dyke Becker will serve as the Owner's Representative. Keith Mory will fill the Trustee's position on the Board, and Jeff Martin will be the Board Member at Large. Lauer, Kurtz, Schell, Miller, and Mory all served in the same capacities in 2005.
Many of the ARDC teams are preparing to compete at the 20th Annual Chili Bowl, to be held in Tulsa, OK on January 11 through the 14th. The club will also take part in Motorsports 2006 in Fort Washington, PA, and at the EMPA Convention in Trevose, PA at the end of January. Several teams also plan to display their midgets at various car shows during the winter months.
The American Racing Drivers Club would also like to thank Ms. Motorsports, Ashley Diehl, for attending the 66th Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday night. Ashley assisted ARDC officials with the presentation of awards and posed for photographs with all of the recipients.
As of now, the first ARDC sanctioned race in 2006 is scheduled for Friday, April 14 at Susquehanna Speedway Park.