2006 Banquet notes

[ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ] Wright & Hafertepe Among top ASCS Honorees TULSA, Okla. (November 12, 2006) -- Approximately $200,000 in cash and contingencies was doled out Saturday night as...

[ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]

Wright & Hafertepe Among top ASCS Honorees

TULSA, Okla. (November 12, 2006) -- Approximately $200,000 in cash and contingencies was doled out Saturday night as 15th Annual American Sprint Car Series National Tour/Sooner Region Awards Banquet presented by Wesmar took place at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds Cafeteria in Tulsa, OK.

Hooks, TX, veteran shoe Gary Wright reeled in the lion's share of the evening's awards, collecting $50,000 plus contingencies for capturing his third consecutive O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National championship.

Whether Wright vies for a fourth consecutive championship remains a question however, as the entire Wesmar-powered Southwest Express/The Shop/Richwood Express No. 9 Maxim operation remains for sale.

"I've had a lot of calls about it, but nobody has come with the money yet," Wright commented. "I've been working on my motorcross track down in Hooks and I'm building a go-kart track too. So next year I might be motocrossing it and go-karting it as a promoter, or I might be racing if the right deal comes along. You just never can tell what might happen. Either way, it's been a lot of fun and it's a real honor to get another championship."

Just three days after celebrating his 21st birthday, Sam Hafertepe, Jr., of Sunnyvale, TX, became the youngest of ten ASCS champions in 2006 by collecting American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region championship honors.

The balance of the top fifteen in ASCS National points and the top ten in Sooner Region points were honored as well.

Joining Wright as National Tour honorees were series runner-up Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA), third-place finisher Jesse Hockett (Warsaw, MO), fourth-ranked Nick Smith (Broken Arrow, OK), fifth-ranked Travis Rilat (Forney, TX), sixth-ranked Sean McClelland (Collinsville, OK), seventh-ranked Darren Stewart (Bixby, OK), eighth-ranked Trey Robb (Newcastle, OK), ninth-ranked Sam Hafertepe, Jr., tenth-ranked Tony Bruce, Jr. (Liberal, KS) and 13th-ranked Abe Sherwood (Drumright, OK).

With Johnson racing in Australia and Hockett in competition in Arizona, Alan Row was on hand to accept Johnson's awards while David Korte accepted on Hockett's behalf. Pulling double-duty on both the National Tour and Sooner Region, Hafertepe topped a field of Sooner Region honorees that included fellow National Tour regular McClelland, who tied for second with Kevin Ramey. The balance of the Sooner Region top ten honorees included Brian McClelland (Tulsa, OK), J.P. Bailey (Ft. Worth, TX), Dex Eaton (Owasso, OK), Eric Baldaccini (Keller, TX), Johnny Miller (Burleson, TX), Derek Cottrell (Fletcher, OK) and Justin Melton (Flower Mound, TX).

Wright, Smith, Rilat and Robb each received awards for Perfect Attendance on the National Tour, while Hafertepe, Ramey, Sean McClelland, Brian McClelland, Bailey, Eaton, Baldaccini and Cottrell recorded Perfect Attendance on the Sooner slate.

Wright's crew chief, Ron "Scooby" Burkett, picked up the Brodix Lee Maier Crew Chief of the Year honors for the third year in a row.

In the hotly-contested Brodix Rookie of the Year battle that included five rookies among the top thirteen in points, Nick Smith got the nod over Hockett, McClelland, Robb and Sherwood. After earning Rookie of the Year honors in 2005, Tony Bruce, Jr., picked up the 2006 Brodix Most Improved Driver award.

Sean McClelland was presented the Ronald Laney Hard Charger Award as well as the Sportsmanship Award.

Darren Stewart collected the inaugural Wesmar Hard Luck Award as well as the Butler Built Highest Average Draw award, with Jason Johnson presented the Butler Built Lowest Average Draw award.

Fourteen-year-old Trey Robb was presented the 2006 Hilborn Injectors Young Lion award, which is annually presented to a promising driver under 21 years of age for their support of the American Sprint Car Series.

Jesse Hockett was presented the Hilborn Injectors Horizon Award, which is annually awarded to a driver who displays promise of glory in future seasons with ASCS.

Abe Sherwood was presented the COMP Cams Newcomer of the Year award.

Several announcements were made over the course of the evening as well, including the addition of I-30 Speedway's 20th Annual Short Track Nationals to the 2007 ASCS National Tour schedule, the Race for a Wesmar Engine in 2007 in which drivers from all ASCS Regions will have the opportunity to win a complete Wesmar engine and the use of a narrower Hoosier right rear tire in 2007. Details on each of these items and others will be released soon.

The 2006 O'Reilly ASCS National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores consisted of 26 events with a record 337 different drivers competing in at least one event. The American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region slate consisted of 15 events, with 150 drivers taking part in at least one event.

The ASCS National Tour will include nearly 60 nights of racing in 2007, with a $150,000 point fund in place once again with $50,000 earmarked for the series champion. The 2007 season gets under way with East Bay Raceway Park's annual "King of the 360's" Winter Nationals near Tampa, FL, on January 25-27. The three-night event culminates with the $10,000-to-win Ronald Laney Memorial on January 27.

-credit: www.ascsracing.com

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Series Sprint
Drivers Darren Stewart , Johnny Miller , Travis Rilat , Jesse Hockett , Nick Smith , Justin Melton , Dex Eaton , Kevin Ramey , Jason Johnson , J.P. Bailey , Sean McClelland