CORR: 2002 Champions Banquet report

Championship Off Road Racing commemorates its 5th anniversary season with $676,000 payout. 1.4 Avon, Ind. (November 5, 2002)-74 out of 80 drivers in the 2002 CORR Lucas Oil Series qualified for bonus money. Championship Off Road Racing paid...

Championship Off Road Racing commemorates its 5th anniversary season with $676,000 payout.

1.4 Avon, Ind. (November 5, 2002)-74 out of 80 drivers in the 2002 CORR Lucas Oil Series qualified for bonus money. Championship Off Road Racing paid out $473,000 in purse and year-end bonus money in 2002. With the cash provided by manufacturers, tire companies and bonus programs, the total cash distributed this year was $676,000. That is a record payout for seven venues of racing. Four-time Pro-2 champion Scott Taylor became the first CORR driver to eclipse the $100,000 mark. Taylor's total cash from CORR, Ford, BFGoodrich, Precision Gear and wins in the Governor's Cup and BorgWarner races gave him $109,193 for the season.

1.6 More than 400 drivers, sponsors, crew, family and friends attended the year-end celebration of the 2002 CORR Lucas Oil Series at the KI Convention Center and Regency Suites in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The attendance for the CORR Champions Banquet was the largest in Championship Off Road Racing's five-year history.

Seven of the eight division champions were honored at the banquet. John Greaves (Pro-4), Scott Taylor (Pro-2), Jeff Kincaid (Pro-Lite), Mark Kleiman (Stock), Scott Schwalbe (Super Buggy), Michael Seefeldt (Single Buggy), and Josh Hintz (Light Buggy) accepted their trophies and other awards as the 2002 CORR Champions. Sportsman 2 champion Tommy Bradley was unable to attend. CORR President Marty Reid emceed the black-tie affair.

Tom Fredrickson, Director of Motorsports with Lucas Oil, congratulated each driver who finished in the top-ten and presented checks and trophies to each champion. In 2002, Lucas Oil Products was introduced as the Series Title Sponsor. Lucas Oil also sponsored a Bonus Program for the top-three finishers in the Pro divisions.

In 2003, the champions in the Pro-4, Pro-2 and Pro-Lite divisions will have their entire entry free for the year paid for by Lucas Oil. Each second-place finisher in the year-end points will receive a 50% discount on their 2003 entry fees. The third-place finishers will receive a 25% discount on their 2003 entry fees.

Several awards were handed out during the evening, including the Manufacturer Championships, the Kumho Tire Rookie of the Year, the Precision Gear Driver of the Year, the GM Powertrain Mechanic of the Year, and the prestigious Michael Gaughan Award.

One of the highlights at each Championship Off Road Racing awards ceremony is the announcement of the Michael Gaughan Award winner. Each Year, the Michael Gaughan Award recognizes an individual who has made a lifetime commitment to off-road racing. Past winners of the special award include Michael Gaughan (1998), Jim Conway (1999), Walker Evans (2000), and Jim Conner (2001).

The 2002 Michael Gaughan Award winner was given to Goodyear Off-Road Racing Team Member Joe Aguirre. Aguirre, also known as "Little Joe" to many of his friends and acquaintances, has been with Goodyear Racing for 32 years. Each year, he travels to off-road events throughout the county, helping hundreds of racers in several series'.

For the third straight year, three different vehicle manufactures shared the Manufacturer's Championships. Phil Schilke, who has been with Ford Motor Company for 30 years, accepted the Pro-4 Manufacturer championship on behalf of Ford Truck Motorsports. Ford held off Chevrolet 252 to 210. Schilke, who recently retired from Ford, played an integral role when Ford Trucks became the Official Truck of Championship Off Road Racing prior to the 2000 season.

For the fifth straight season, Chevrolet won the Pro-2 Manufacturers Championship. The collective effort by the Chevrolet drivers helped bring home the trophy by a 264 to 212 margin.

With three out of the top-five drivers competing in their trucks, Toyota claimed the Pro-Lite manufacturer championship for the fourth straight year. Toyota won the trophy by 25 points over Ford, 252 to 227. Tom O'Conner with Toyota Racing Development accepted the Pro-Lite Manufacturer Championship award.

For the second season, Kumho Tire sponsored the Championship Off Road Racing Rookie of the Year Program. Ed Cercek of Kumho Tire presented a $2,500 check to the 2002 Kumho Tire Pro Rookie of the Year Josh Baldwin (Pro-4). The 2002 Sportsman Rookie of the Year, Rod Wells (Stock) received $500 check.

CORR also recognizes the GM Powertrain Mechanic of the Year at each Champion's Banquet. The GM Powertrain Mechanic of the Year is presented to the top mechanic in the Pro division. In 2002, Curt Greaves, Crew Chief for Pro-4 champion John Greaves, won the award. John Greaves had 3 wins and 10 top-four finishes in 14 starts, earning his first Pro-4 championship. John Greaves has 28 career wins in 78 starts.

The 2002 Precision Gear Driver of the Year winners also received their checks during the evening. For the second straight year, Scott Taylor (Pro- 2) and Michael Seefeldt (Single Buggy) took home checks of $7,500 and $1,000 respectively for their outstanding performances in the Pro and Sportsman divisions.

Once the evening ended, everyone will begin getting ready for another season of off-road racing. With the 2003 CORR Lucas Oil Series schedule completed, several teams are making preparations for the first CORR Lucas Oil Series event on May 24-26 in Dresser, Wisconsin.

Many questions regarding the 2003 CORR Lucas Oil Series are already circulating. Can Scott Taylor and Jeff Kincaid continue their domination in the Pro-2 and Pro-Lite divisions? Who will challenge John Greaves in the highly competitive Pro-4 division? Will someone step up and knock Tommy Bradley, Mark Kleiman, Scott Schwalbe, and Michael Seefeldt off their pedestals? There is only one way to answer these questions. Racing begins next spring.

-corr-

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