2002 Awards Banquet summary

Top ARCA Touring champs Guinn, Baumgartner honored. TOLEDO OH, 11-2-02 -- More than 300 people jammed the Grand Ballroom of the Radisson Hotel in downtown Toledo, Ohio Saturday night to honor 2002 champions and front-runners from the ARCA...

Top ARCA Touring champs Guinn, Baumgartner honored.

TOLEDO OH, 11-2-02 -- More than 300 people jammed the Grand Ballroom of the Radisson Hotel in downtown Toledo, Ohio Saturday night to honor 2002 champions and front-runners from the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series and the ARCA Auto Value Midget Series.

The Lincoln Welders Truck Series, in its fourth season, crowned Erie, Michigan driver Chad Guinn as champion while the Auto Value Midget Series, in its 23rd season, toasted Ottawa Lake, Michigan driver Dave Baumgartner as the new titleholder.

Guinn, in his father and champion truck owner Larry Guinn's BFI-Northland Collision Ford Ranger, posted five wins in '02 among nine top-five finishes and nine top-10s. In addition, the all-time series winner with 15 career victories led 190 laps en route to his first touring series title. "This is a great honor," said Guinn on stage. "I want to thank my sponsors BFI and Northland Collision for all their support and especially my mom and dad for the opportunity and for standing by the program. We've got so much quality help; Chuck Carroll is one of the finest crew chiefs there is anywhere, in any series. I also want to thank the Hahn family for lending our team a motor when ours was broke. Without their help, I wouldn't be standing here tonight."

Guinn's enormous point lead suddenly evaporated towards the end of the year when he fell out of three consecutive races with engine trouble. Fellow racer Paul Hahn then came to the rescue lending Guinn their own motor enabling the eventual champion to regroup. To go along with his championship earnings from series sponsor Lincoln Welders, championship jackets and rings, Guinn picked up an additional $1,000 from Damon RV and a Lincoln Electric wire welder compliments of Lincoln Welders. Guinn's crew chief Chuck Carroll was honored as the Holley Performance Crew Chief of the Year and awarded the $2,500 top prize while engine builder Tom Hooker won the Victor Reinz Engine Builder of the Year award. Carroll also was honored as the Spirit Award winner. Other special award prizes for Guinn included cash and products from Nelson Specialties, Harris Torches & Regulators, Revenge Racing Bodies, Jacobs Electronics, Pate Manufacturing, Ed & Company, Digital Scales by Intercomp and Racing Electronics.

Piqua, Ohio driver Jeff Speakman was honored for his second place points finish as well as the Old Milwaukee Pole Award for his season-high four poles, and the QuicShine 99 Best Appearing Truck honors. New Haven, Indiana driver Pete Wormcastle and Fairfield, Ohio driver Darren Jones tied for third in points and were honored as such. Wormcastle also won the Cloyes Gear & Products Halfway Lap Leader award. Sixteen-year-old Sidney, Ohio rookie driver Brandon Knupp took fifth place driver honors as well as the Hoosier Racing Tires Rookie of the Year Award. Brett Oakley was honored as sixth place driver with veteran and 1999 champion Bill Withers taking seventh place honors as well as the Performance Race Fuels Sportsman of the Year award. Two-time champion Robbin Slaughter, Joe Wormcastle and Jack Weethee completed the top-ten driver honorees respectively. In other special awards, rookie Kevin Reeb, who finished 12th in points, picked up the Holley Performance Most Improved Driver award.

Baumgartner, driving for his father and champion car owner Jim Baumgartner all year, picked up three victories at Flat Rock, Mansfield and Shady Bowl Speedways en route to his first touring series title. "It feels great; no question about it," said the 25-year-old champion. "It's something I'll always have on my resume; maybe it can even help take us to the next level. I'd like to thank, first and foremost, JB Motorsports, which is my father. He puts up first-class racecars, Simpson Race Products, Autocraft Engines, Weld Wheels and Hawk chassis. Mike Streicher builds one heck of a chassis and helps us a ton with all his set-up information. But this feels great; we're gunna relish in our championship, at least for awhile before we figure out what we're gunna do next year." In addition to point fund money from Auto Value Parts Stores, championship rings and jackets, Baumgartner was also honored with the Old Milwaukee Pole Award for posting three quick times in '02, more than any other driver. Baumgartner was also the recipient of a Lincoln Electric wire welder as well as an ignition box by Nelson Specialties.

Sondi Eden, who finished second in series points, was at the Fast Track driving school in Concord, North Carolina and was unable to attend. Series veteran Gary Harrell, in Don Putinta's Autocraft-Hawk, was honored as the third place driver, his career ninth top-10 points finish. Car owner Putinta was additionally honored with the Sportsman of the Year award. Yorktown, Indiana rookie driver Adam Schuyler was honored as the fourth place driver, and in addition, won the Seymour Autocraft Engines ARCA Rookie of the Year award. Second-generation driver Chris Hettinger was the Most Improved Driver award winner to accompany his fifth place points finish. Barberton, Ohio driver Ryan Gillenwater was honored for 8th in driver points while Isaiah Bross was honored for 10th. The Midget Series Spirit Award went to longtime series official Steve Lindahl. In addition, $1,352 was raised throughout the night for the children of open-wheel driver Perry Younce who lost his life in a racing accident.


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Series ARCA
Drivers Brandon Knupp