Scott Lynch crowned 2003 champion in NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series.
RENO, Nev. (Dec. 12, 2003) - Scott Lynch was presented with the championship trophy and more than $140,000 in post-season awards during a special awards ceremony for the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series at the showroom of the Eldorado Hotel in Reno, Nev., on Friday, Dec. 12.
Lynch of Burley, Idaho, clinched the title by 14 points - while becoming just the second driver in the 50-year history of the series to capture the championship as a rookie.
The end-of-season awards pushed this year's team winnings for Lynch to $222,416. In addition to a $60,000 bonus from series sponsor R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., he also received $40,000 in team winnings from the NASCAR point fund. Other special awards presented to the 23-year-old driver included the prestigious Raybestos Brakes Rookie of the Year Award; the Bud Pole Award and $3,000 from Goodyear.
"It was an awesome year and not only did we earn both the rookie of the year and the Winston West titles, but we were able to give Dodge their first Winston West championship since 1976 and that is definitely an honor," Lynch said after receiving the championship trophy. "I am so very proud of this team. They are truly the greatest and most of the credit for our outstanding season goes to them. They make it all happen, I just drive."
Scott's father, Jim Lynch, received the Champion Owner trophy, while the Champion Sponsor Award was presented to Rich Godfrey, of Yerf-Dog. The team's crew chief, Charlie Wilson, won the Champion Crew Chief Award and the team's engine builder, Kevin Kroyer, received the Clevite Engine Parts Engine Builder of the Year Award. It marked the fourth consecutive year Kroyer has won the award.
This year's awards ceremony, which featured SPEED Channel broadcaster and former NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Phil Parsons as master of ceremonies, included a special commemoration of the 50th season of the series and a salute to R.J. Reynolds' for its sponsorship of the series through its Winston brand for 33 years. Fourteen former series champions in attendance were honored, as well as some special guests, for their contribution to the series. NASCAR officials presented Winston representatives with a special award in recognition of their long-term support of the series.
Austin Cameron of El Cajon, Calif., received the Most Popular Driver Award. Cameron, who missed four races earlier in the season after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer, returned to competition in July and scored two wins in the second half of the season. He posted a major post-season victory in winning the inaugural NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway in early November.
Series veteran Scott Gaylord of Lakewood, Colo., won the year-end award from POWERade, along with $5,870. He had won the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award at four events during the season, for advancing the most positions in a race.
Of the eight different drivers to win races in 2003, three were first time winners. Of the six different drivers to win a Bud Pole Award during the season, meanwhile, five accomplished that feat for the first time.
The 2003 season marked the first year for NASCAR's realignment of its regional racing program - with the Winston West Series joining with the Busch North Series to form the NASCAR Grand National Division. The change was aimed at providing a clear path for local and regional racers to advance towards the three national NASCAR series.