Champions honored at banquet

ARCA Truck & Midget Champions Honored TOLEDO OH, 11-10-01 -- More than 300 people jammed the Radisson Hotel in Toledo, Ohio Saturday night to honor champions and front-runners from the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series and the ARCA Auto Value ...

ARCA Truck & Midget Champions Honored

TOLEDO OH, 11-10-01 -- More than 300 people jammed the Radisson Hotel in Toledo, Ohio Saturday night to honor 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 third season, crowned Columbus, Ohio veteran Robbin Slaughter as champion for the second consecutive season while the Auto Value Midget Series, in its 22nd season, toasted Spartanburg, South Carolina driver AJ Davis as the new title holder.

The run for the championship was close in both series as Slaughter squeezed out runner-up finisher and '99 series champ Bill Withers by 40 points while Davis won by just 35 markers over three-time champ and veteran Gene Lee Gibson.

Slaughter, in his own Carmen's Vacuum-NAPA Auto Parts Ford Ranger, posted three wins in '01 as well as seven top-fives and 11 top-tens in 12 starts en route to the series crown. "Winning the first championship was great considering how long it took to get there, but winning the second, to me, is even more gratifying," said Slaughter on stage. "I'd especially like to thank Eddy Adams for lending his motor when we were down, and I'd also like to thank my crew chief Tom Cumbow for all his expertise. Even more than a great crew chief, we've become close friends, and I think that's a big part of our success."

To go along with his championship earnings, Slaughter picked up an additional $1,000 from Damon RV and a wire welder compliments of series sponsor Lincoln Welders. In addition, Damon RV provided a motorhome for two weeks for the champ to use on vacation. Other special award prizes for Slaughter included cash and products from Nelson Specialties, Harris Torches & Regulators, Revenge Racing Bodies, Jacobs Electronics, Hawk Brake, Digital Scales by Intercomp, Amerex, Cornwell Quality Tools and Racing Electronics.

Bud Wachholz, the engine builder for Withers, won the $1,000 Clevite-Victor Reinz Engine Builder of the Year top prize while Withers' crew chief Scott Weese won the Cornwell Quality Tools Crew Chief of the Year award, and with it, a Cornwell Tools tool box. All-time series winner Chad Guinn, who also posted the most wins in '01, (four) was awarded third place point money while his father and truck owner Larry Guinn won the QuicShine 99 Best Appearing Truck. Hamilton, Ohio veteran Johnny Witham received honors for fourth including the Cloyes Gears & Products Halfway Lap Leader. Newcomer Brett Oakley won the Hoosier Racing Tires Rookie of the Year award worth $1,000 for his fifth place point finish while Tully Esterline, Jack Weethee, Dave Reeb, Mark Otting and Darren Jones completed the top-ten honorees respectively. Oakley also picked up a chassis compliments of Ed & Company. Stan Maitlen, who finished 11th in points, won the Holley Performance Most Improved Driver while Jeff Speakman picked up the Old Milwaukee Pole award for posting three poles in '01, more than any other driver. Adams won the Performance Fuels Sportsman of the Year honors. Truck owners' Gary Esterline and Jody Stirewalt won ARCA Spirit awards while Kyle Witwer, who fielded three teams in '01 one of which he drove, won ARCA's prestigious Golden Circle award. In addition, truck series veteran David Clay was the recipient of a chassis by Pate Manufacturing.

Davis, who drove for two-time ARCA Auto Value Midget Series champ Rick Harrell throughout the year, won just one event at Columbus Motor Speedway but rarely finished out of the top-five. "It's just now finally starting to sink in," said the 23-year-old Davis. "I'd like to thank the Harrell's for the opportunity to drive first-class equipment and our sponsor Kayo Lumber Company for believing in me. Rick (Harrell) gave me a lot of great advice this year, and fortunately I listened enough that we were able to win the championship." In addition to point fund money and his championship ring, Davis was honored with the Old Milwaukee Quick Time award for posting two quick times in '01, more than any other driver. Davis was also the recipient of a Lincoln Electric welder as well as championship jackets by Carolina Motorsports.

David Cowing, whose car Jimmy McCune drove to a pair of wins in '01, won the car owner championship while McCune, who missed three races in '01, finished fourth in driver points behind Gibson and Sondi Eden. Gibson's father and accomplished open-wheel driver Todd Gibson won the ARCA Sportsman of the Year award. Eden, who won the Shady Bowl Speedway finale in October, was awarded third place driver honors as well as the ARCA Most Improved driver award. Eden joins Sarah Fisher and Sarah McCune as the only female drivers who have won in ARCA Auto Value Midget Series competition. Temperance, Michigan veteran Gary Harrell received honors for fifth ahead of Phil Rutledge in sixth. Rutledge also won the ARCA Midget Spirit award. Seymour Autocraft Engines ARCA Rookie of the Year went to Matt Brun who also finished 7th in driver points. Lincoln Electric Motorsports Director Carl Peters won the ARCA Midget Golden Circle award. In addition, $1,575 was raised throughout the night for the children of open-wheel driver Perry Younce who lost his life in a racing accident.

-ARCA-

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Series ARCA
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Jimmy McCune , Matt Brun