Turkey Night "Rookie of the Race Award" celebrates 5th year -- special trophy + $500. Irwindale, Calif. - - The Don Basile "Rookie of the Race" Award for the annual Thanksgiving Night Grand Prix ("Turkey Night") was begun five years ago to honor...
Turkey Night "Rookie of the Race Award" celebrates 5th year -- special trophy + $500.
Irwindale, Calif. - - The Don Basile "Rookie of the Race" Award for the annual Thanksgiving Night Grand Prix ("Turkey Night") was begun five years ago to honor the late co-promoter of the oldest midget race in the country.
Don Basile was J.C. Agajanian's partner and "right hand man" when the two of them revived the event at Gardena Stadium in 1955 after the closing of Gilmore Stadium in 1950. His connection to
The annual Thanksgiving Day midget race, which began at Gilmore Stadium in 1934, was a huge part of Basile's life, being THE race that originally got him involved in the sport , thereby launching an illustrious racing career that was recognized in 1999 by his induction into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.
To celebrate the fifth year of this award, the Basile family has upped the cash part of the award to a nice, round $500 which goes along a beautiful trophy which is also a clock. The special award goes to the highest-finishing first year driver at the annual Thanksgiving Night GP* which will take place on November 28 at the ½-mile Irwindale Speedway located just East of Los Angeles.
Past winners of the Basile Award are certainly some of the best and brightest in the open wheel ranks. Kasey Kahne won the first award 1998 at Bakersfield Speedway, Dave Steele got the commemorative clock and the nice check at Irwindale in '99, followed by Aaron Pollock in 2000, and Bobby East in 2001.
There is absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind that the 2002 Basile winner will be another "Driver to Watch" in seasons to come -- Don Basile's great racing legacy has been and will continue to be very well-served by this important annual award.
*The Basile family would like to pay special thanks to USAC VP Dick Jordan who keeps track each year of the drivers who are eligible for this prestigious award.