DOUGLAS, STEINHARDT AND WSORR SHARE THE SPOTLIGHT DURING "NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS" AWARDS CELEBRATION
CRANDON, WI -- A packed house of 371 off-road racers, their teams, sponsors, promoter's and officials converged for a huge celebration and the 2006 "Night of Champions" awards banquet at the Indian Springs Lodge and Convention Center near Crandon, WI. Year-end prize money was distributed to Lucas Oil CORR racers, World Championship rings were presented to 11 class winners and the two biggest prizes in the sport were also awarded.
Following the awards presentation, the new Lucas Oil World Series of Off-Road Racing unveiled its 2007 race schedule and other details.
Headlining the event was Scott Douglas, the 2006 winner of the BorgWarner Shootout. Douglas was awarded the coveted BorgWarner Cup and accepted the prize on behalf of Ford Trucks. He was also presented the $7,500 sterling silver and gold BorgWarner Championship Driver's Award. Douglas, El Cajon, CA, also won closed course off-road racing's most prestigious event in 1997. He is the only active driver to have won the award twice. The veteran off-road racer and a sentimental favorite received a standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd when he received the BorgWarner awards.
Mark Steinhardt, Rhinelander, WI, took home the bulk of the hardware and big checks during the Sportsman portion of the program for his outstanding season in the Single Buggy division. Steinhardt was named Sportsman Driver of the Year, won the CORR Sportsman Single Buggy Series Crown, won the World Championship title for the class and received year-end prizes from both KC Hilites and MasterCraft Race Products.
On hand to award the KC Hilites Year-End Award was Michael DeHaas, president of KC Hilites. DeHaas awarded Steinhardt $1,500. Another $1,500 in KC Hilites year-end contingency was paid to Dan Baudoux, Hemlock, MI, ($1,000) and Ross Hoek, Holland, MI ($500) for their accumulated points totals for the season.
Off-road World Champions were recognized in 11 classes. Making the special World Championship ring presentations was Cliff Flannery, president, Crandon Raceway.
Reigning 2006 World Champions included:
Scott Douglas, El Cajon, CA, 2006 Pro 4 4x4 pickup truck Crandon World Champion, Amsoil Kumho Rancho Ford 4x4
Mike Oberg, Eagle River, WI, 2006 Pro 2 2-wheel drive pickup truck Crandon World Champion, Amsoil Kumho Rancho Chevrolet
Rodrigo Ampudia, Jr., Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, 2006 Pro Lite compact pickup truck Crandon World Champion, Papas & Beer Goodyear Ford
Dan Baudoux, Hemlock, MI, 2006 Sportsman 2 pickup truck Crandon World Champion, CST BF Goodrich Ford
Dave Waldvogel, Fond du Lac, WI, 2006 Sportsman Stock pickup truck Crandon World Champion, Toyo
Craig Metz, Rhinelander, WI, 2006 Light Buggy Crandon World Champion
Mark Steinhardt, Rhinelander, WI, 2005 Single Buggy Crandon World Champion (Repeat)
John Mason, Plymouth, WI, 2006 Super Buggy Crandon World Champion
Chris Kaiko, Neenah, WI, 2006 Johnsonville Formula 4x4 truck Crandon World Champion, Ford Yasakawa Maxxis SUV
Brent Anderson, Park City, MT, 2006 Schaefer's Food Mart American Sedan Classix Crandon World Champion
Mike Mills, Escanaba, MI, 2005 Enduro Trucks Crandon World Champion, Ford ("Three"-peat)
Lucas Oil CORR Series champions and top 10 finishers in five classes were recognized by Terry Severson, technical director, CORR Sportsman. The list of drivers recognized at the banquet includes:
Sportsman 2 Dan Baudoux, Hemlock, MI Ford/BF Goodrich
Stock Truck Keith Steele, Madison, WI Chevrolet/Kumho
Super Buggy Scott Schwalbe, Rhinelander, WI Toyota/BF Goodrich
Single Buggy Mark Steinhardt, Rhinelander, WI BF Goodrich
Light Buggy Craig Metz, Rhinelander, WI Kumho
Pro drivers winning titles in 2006 include:
Pro 4 Johnny Greaves, Abrams, WI FCP Toyota/BF Goodrich
Pro 2 "Crandon Carl" Renezeder, Laguna Beach, CA Lucas Oil Nissan/BF Goodrich
Pro Lite Chad Hord, Felch, MI Lucas Oil Nissan/Kumho
The 2006 Lucas Oil CORR Sportsman Rookie of the Year was Dan Beauchamp, Escanaba, MI, Stock Truck Class. Scott Schwalbe, 2006 Super Buggy Series Champion, was awarded $2,500 in contingency from Toyota for winning his class. Another Toyota racer, Johnny Greaves, Abrams, WI, 2006 Lucas Oil CORR Series Pro 4 champion, was recognized for winning the 2006 FCP Chairman's Cup race, another key prize in closed course racing circles.
In addition to comments from DeHaas, special remarks were made by Dennis Weaver, BF Goodrich Tires, and Ed Cercek, representing Kumho Tires. Weaver presented Steinhardt and Schwalbe special customized BF Goodrich racing suits for the 2007 season.
"We are very pleased by the turnout," said Flannery. "We couldn't have jammed in one more table and we appreciate the fine support of both the Forest County Potawatomi and Lucas Oil in hosting this important event," he said. "It was a pleasure to have so many Pro drivers trek to the banquet in support of the Sportsman," he commented. Flannery noted that two Lucas Oil CORR Pro Series champions -- Greaves -- and Chad Hord, Felch, MI, 2006 Pro Lite compact pickup class winner, attended and were recognized at the banquet. Hord's Nissan Frontier is sponsored by Lucas Oil.
The banquet was the last event in the Midwest for racers under the CORR banner. Introduced later in the evening was the Lucas Oil World Series of Off-Road Racing (WSORR). Doug Davis, general manager, WSORR, took the opportunity to comment on the state of off-road racing and made several key announcements, including the 2007 WSORR schedule, payback, contingency, three-year prime time TV contract, Series goals and the objectives of the sanctioning body. "It was a state-of-the-union address by Davis about closed course off-road racing in the USA," said Flannery. "Doug set the table for the successful launch of the WSORR as the premier closed course sanctioning body in the country," he said.
Also speaking was Jamie Devney, motorsports marketing manager, Lucas Oil Products. Lucas Oil is the title sponsor of WSORR. Gus Frank, chairman, Forest County Potawatomi Community told the audience, "We want to be part of something like WSORR that is grassroots, a turnkey Series with true, experienced professionals behind it. We want to be part of this project, and we hope to see you at the races this summer."
The FCP is the presenting sponsor for WSORR. Others commenting about the upcoming World Series Tour 2007 were Weaver and DeHaas. In attendance were various promoter's including Flannery, representatives from the U.P. 100 Raceway in Bark River, MI; Owotonna, MN; and I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, MI.
Both the FCP and Lucas Oil are founding sponsors of the WSORR and both entities have signed long-term three year deals with WSORR. The deal includes a three year prime time TV contract on SPEED Network TV. Joining Lucas Oil and the FCP as founding sponsors is BorgWarner Corporation.
The 2007 WSORR schedule includes eight races -- eight for Pro racers and seven for Sportsman. The World Series opens the 2007 season May 12-13 at the Steele County Fairgrounds in Owotonna, MN, less than an hour south of the Minneapolis/St. Paul market and near Rochester.