STEELE, MASON, VANDEN HEUVEL DOMINATE WSORR 2008 POST SEASON AWARDS
MILWAUKEE, Wis., (October 9, 2008) - Keith Steele, John Mason and Dan Vanden Heuvel dominated the Lucas Oil World Series of Off-Road Racing (WSORR) "Night of Champions" Awards Banquet much as they dominated racing during the regular season by walking away with a combined nine awards during the annual event held at the Potawatomi Bingo and Casino in Milwaukee, Wis., last weekend.
Mason and Vanden Heuvel shared the prestigious WSORR PRO Driver of the Year Award and Steele was named as the top SRT (Sportsman) driver in 2008. All three racers also were WSORR season class champions and Steele added a World Championship ring for his Super Truck title earned during the BorgWarner World Championship weekend at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway.
Steele made the most trips to the podium (five) of any driver by also winning end of the season awards from KC Hilites and MSD Ignitions.
"This was really a dream season and it all starts with the support of my family and friends at the shop and at the track," said Steele, of Madison, Wis., as he then paid tribute to his primary sponsors Monster Energy Drink, Goodyear and USG Sheetrock along with a host of others. Steele won eight races and finished on the podium in 11 of the 12 rounds of racing.
Mason, of Plymouth, Wis., had nine podium finishes and four wins on his way to the PRO Super Buggy title in his Mendeola Goodyear Honda in 2008. "I'm proud of the year we had, all the hard work that went into it, all the sponsors. Especially Mendeola coming on board this year was just a great boost to our program," he commented.
"I decided at the last minute to run this season off our own dollar," said Dan Vanden Heuvel as he accepted his PRO Driver of the Year award. "Fortunately, the World Series has a great payback so I was able to run off their dollar all year," he added. The off-road veteran from Appleton, Wis., celebrated his 30th year of racing with nine podiums and three wins in his Maxxis Chevy.
The PRO Rookie of the Year award went to Dave Waldvogel of Fond du Lac, Wis., who had two podium finishes and finished fifth in the PRO 2WD points race in his Bendix Toyo Chevrolet. Mitch Dorr, of Rockford, Ill., had three podiums and a win in his BFG Ford Stock Truck to share Rookie of the Year honors with Ron Schreiner, of Hudson, Wis., who finished on the podium four times on his way to fifth place in the final Super Truck standings in his 9-Inch Floater Uweld truck.
Other major awards announced during the ceremony included Ford Trucks as the PRO Truck Manufacturer of the year with Cliff Irey of Ford Truck Motorsports accepting on behalf of Ford and Goodyear as the PRO Tire Manufacturer of 2008 with Jack Cummins, off-road racing program manager, accepting on behalf of Goodyear.
The awards banquet featured special presentations and comments from major WSORR sponsors including Lucas Oil, the Forest County Potawatomi, Traxxas( and BorgWarner. Tom Fredrickson represented Lucas Oil on stage, FCP Tribal Chairman Phil Shopodock and FCP Race Team Manager Tom Boelter spoke on behalf of the Potawatomi, Damron Atkins of Traxxas presented special RC trucks to Series champions and Skip Cline was on hand representing BorgWarner.
Doug Davis, president and general manager of WSORR, announced the 2009 World Series schedule which once again includes 12 rounds of racing beginning with the season opener at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., May 30-31. Tour 2009 again visits Crandon International Raceway, Wis., June 20-21, Bark River International Raceway, Mich., July 10-12, Oshkosh Speedzone, Wis., July 24-25, another visit to Bark River August 8-9 and the season finale at Crandon for the historic 40th Annual BorgWarner World Championships( Labor Day weekend, September 4-6. Davis also announced that WSORR will be supporting a national charity in 2009, the American Diabetes Association. The series will donate a portion of each venue's profits to the ADA's local chapter, located in that area.
Davis also announced that the 2009 season again includes a $100,000 dollar purse at each event and will include three major Cup races, including the most prestigious short course off-road race event in the country - the BorgWarner Shootout. He noted that the World Series of Off-Road Racing has now paid out in excess of $1.6 million to drivers in the last two seasons, in addition to contingency awards. "We have a vibrant, healthy and competitive off-road race Series," he said at the banquet. "How competitive? The Series had 52 different racers reach the podium this past season", he commented.
The 2008 World Series season witnessed new champions crowned in nine of the eleven WSORR classes. Dave DeMaegd, Mishawaka, Ind., was able to successfully defend his Formula 4x4 crown in his Goodyear Jeep and Rob Weiland, of Hortonville, Wis., repeated as Classix champion in the Grassroots Classix division in his Goodyear Chevrolet. Highlighting the class championships was the sixth overall PRO Light Pickup title of Jeff Kincaid, Argonne, Wis. Kincaid, driving his Traxxas Potawatomi BFG Toyota, won seven races on the WSORR circuit and the Potawatomi "Decision at Sundown" Challenge Cup race. Kent Brascho, Pell City, Ala., was the PRO 4x4 Series champ in his Lucas Oil Goodyear Chevrolet and also won the prestigious 15th Annual Potawatomi Chairman's Cup race. Off-road racing's most prestigious award, the $125,000 BorgWarner Cup, was presented to 2008 winner Scott Taylor, of Belvidere, Ill., for his Labor Day weekend victory at hallowed Crandon Raceway in his Skyjacker BFG Ford.
SRT class champions for 2008 included Mike Vanden Heuvel, of Appleton, Wis., who won seven of the 1600 Light Buggy races during the season in his Toyo machine. Eric Ruppel, of Chetek, Wis., won the Stock Truck crown in his Phil's Inc., BFG Ford and Mark Steinhardt, of Rhinelander, Wis., was the 1600 Buggy champ in his Phil's Inc., BFG machine and DeMaegd the returning champ in Formula 4x4. The 2008 WSORR Grassroots class champions are Weiland in Classix and Jim Van Rixel in Enduro Truck.
2008 World Championship rings were handed out to the winners in all 11 WSORR classes. Winners included: Ross Hoek, Holland, Mich., PRO 2WD, Skyjacker Goodyear Ford; Chad Hord, Felch, Mich., PRO Light Pickup truck, Boss Snowplow Amsoil Kumho Mazda; Johnny Greaves, Abrams, Wis., PRO 4x4, Monster Potawatomi BFG Toyota; Tim Lemons, Harrison Township, Mich., PRO Super Buggy, Goodyear Toyota; Keith Steele, Super Truck, Monster Goodyear Chevrolet; Eric Ruppel, Stock Truck, Phil's BFG Ford; Mark Steinhardt, 1600 Buggy, Phil's BFG; Mike Vanden Heuvel, 1600 Light Buggy, Toyo Tires; Tim Moeller, Hastings, Minn., Formula 4x4, Goodyear Ford. Grassroots World Champions were Matt Dale, Skandia, Mich., for the Enduro class in a Ford and Weiland won Classix. Both won the special title on Goodyear tires.
Official sponsors for WSORR include Lucas Oil Products, Forest County Potawatomi, United Trailers and Sunoco Race Fuels. General Tire serves as "Official Tire" of WSORR. Official "R/C car" of WSORR is Traxxas.
Additional sponsors include Skyjacker, E3 Spark Plugs, BorgWarner and Super Clean Degreaser. Nationwide coverage of World Series events airs on SPEED TV with coverage of the 2008 WSORR season beginning in November. Dates and times to be announced.