ASCoT, Sooner Region banquet summary

Jason Johnson & Brian McClelland Among Top ASCS Honorees TULSA, Okla. (November 16, 2008) -- More than $200,000 in cash and contingencies was doled out Saturday night as the American Sprint Car Series National Tour/Sooner Region...

Jason Johnson & Brian McClelland Among Top ASCS Honorees

TULSA, Okla. (November 16, 2008) -- More than $200,000 in cash and contingencies was doled out Saturday night as the American Sprint Car Series National Tour/Sooner Region Awards Banquet took place at the Cherokee Casino in Tulsa, OK.

Eunice, LA, hotshoe Jason Johnson reeled in the lion's share of the evening's awards, collecting $50,000 plus contingencies for capturing his first O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National championship along with car owners Alan and Lanny Row of Greenville, TX.

"When I first told my dad about 15 years ago that I wanted to go ASCS racing and win a championship, he just laughed and said 'Yeah right, you're gonna go beat Gary Wright and those guys'," Johnson explained of the early stages of his career.

"I've thought at times along the way that there were bigger and better things out there, but three years ago I got back together with the Row's (Alan and Lanny) and that's the best thing that could have ever happened."

Tulsa-area shoe Brian McClelland became one of just four drivers to repeat as 2008 ASCS Regional champions by collecting American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region championship honors for the second year in a row.

Also receiving top honors over the course of the evening were ASCS2 Micro Sprint champions Jerrod Wilson (Outlaw), Andrew Felker (Non-Wing) and Blake Hahn (Restricted "A" Class).

The balance of the top eleven in ASCS National points and the top nine in Sooner Region points were honored as well along with the top ten in each Micro class.

Joining Johnson as National Tour honorees were series runner-up Gary Wright (Hooks, TX), third-place finisher Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK), fourth-ranked Zach Chappell (Talala, OK), fifth-ranked Garry Lee Maier (Cimarron, KS), sixth-ranked Eric Baldaccini (Keller, TX), seventh-ranked Nick Smith (Broken Arrow, OK), eighth-ranked Kenneth Walker (Sapulpa, OK), ninth-ranked Travis Rilat (Forney, TX), tenth-ranked Gary Taylor (Sapulpa, OK) and 11th-ranked Kathryne Minter (Bedford, TX).

McClelland topped a field of Sooner Region honorees that included Kolt Walker (Graham, TX), Joe Wood, Jr. (Oklahoma City, OK), Matt Covington (Glenpool, OK), Justin Melton (Flower Mound, TX), Michael Brown (Lawton, OK), Gary Taylor (Sapulpa, OK), Eric Baldaccini (Keller, TX) and Sherman Davis (Sand Springs, OK).

Jason Johnson, Wright, Wayne Johnson, Chappell, Maier, Baldaccini and Minter each received awards for Perfect Attendance on the National Tour, while McClelland, Kolt Walker, Covington and Melton recorded Perfect Attendance on the Sooner slate.

Jason Johnson picked up another $1,500 as the 16th Annual Toyota Tundra ASCS Speedweek champion, with the balance of the top five in ASCS Speedweek points receiving their portion of the $6,500 Speedweek points fund including Zach Chappell, Wayne Johnson, Garry Lee Maier and Gary Wright.

Jason Johnson's crew chief, Philip Dietz, picked up the Brodix Lee Maier Crew Chief of the Year award.

Jason Johnson also picked up the Lowest Average Draw award, the same award he won in 2006.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Gary Taylor received the Highest Average Draw award. Taylor was also presented with the Horizon Award, which is annually awarded to a driver who displays promise of glory in future seasons with ASCS.

Twenty-year-old Eric Baldaccini got the nod in the Brodix Rookie of the Year battle, worth a set of Brodix heads, by edging out fellow rookie contenders Kenneth Walker, Gary Taylor and Kathryne Minter.

Zach Chappell earned the Hard Charger Award by accumulating the most passing points during the 2008 season.

Veteran car owner Scott Brown was presented with the Sportsmanship Award. Brown generously loaned one of his engines to rival Wayne Johnson when the latter ran short of luck over the course of Speedweek.Kenneth Walker was presented with the Newcomer of the Year award, worth $1,000 in cash.

Seventeen-year-old Kathryne Minter was presented the 2008 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.

Also capturing the ASCS Midwest Region championship in 2008, Nebraska's Jack Dover picked up the 2008 Most Improved Driver award with the ASCS National Tour, an award that also came with a bare set of Brodix cylinder heads.

Several announcements were made over the course of the evening as well, with confirmation that a dozen one-hour events will be televised on the VERSUS Network in 2009 on a two-week delayed basis. There will also be a two-hour 2009 season wrap-up show on SPEED to highlight the 2009 Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters which will feature a schedule of events offering up $6,000 to win and $500 to start along with a $250,000 points fund. The events that will be televised will be announced soon.

The 2009 slate of events for the Lucas Oil Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters currently consists of 21 solid dates, with another ten tracks awaiting solid dates. Another dozen or so events are under very strong consideration, with a likely total of approximately 40 events in 2009.

The 17th Annual ASCS Speedweek will take place at the same six tracks that hosted the annual event in 2008 with the $3,000-to-win and $300 to start purse in effect. The Speedweek events, which will not be National point races, will include a $10,000 point fund.

Also introduced over the course of the evening was new ASCS employee Mike Sweeton. The veteran Chili Bowl announce hailing from Joplin, MO, will serve as the traveling announcer for the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters during 2009 while also fulfilling various marketing and promotional efforts in the Tulsa office.

Regarding rules for 2009, it was announced that any team changing engines during the course of a night will be forced to start at the tail of their main event, a rule designed to curb the use of short-lived, high-expense engines.

A revised Passing Points system that will be in use on the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters as well as all Regional Tours was also introduced. The improved system will provide a greater emphasis on positions gained and also deducts points for positions lost, with fewer ties in points also a result.

On the Regional front, it was revealed that the Sooner Region will be divided into Northern and Southern portions. The "Northern" portion, consisting of traditional Sooner Region venues throughout Oklahoma, currently has a dozen events slated for 2009. The "Southern" portion, most likely dubbed the Lone Star Region, currently has approximately 15 events slated throughout Northern Texas in 2009. None of the Sooner or North Texas events are expected to conflict.

The 2008 O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series consisted of 34 nights of racing action with no rainouts along the way as 347 different drivers competed in at least one event. The American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region slate consisted of 19 events, with 112 drivers taking part in at least one event.

Additional information regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.

-credit: ascs

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Scott Brown , Travis Rilat , Nick Smith , Andrew Felker , Justin Melton , Blake Hahn , Wayne Johnson , Gary Taylor , Matt Covington , Jason Johnson , Kolt Walker