2004 Banquet summary

IHRA Celebrates Champions with Most Successful Banquet in its History IHRA hosted its 34th annual Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series awards banquet Saturday in Covington, Ky., crowning the 2004 World Champions and special award winners from the...

IHRA Celebrates Champions with Most Successful Banquet in its History

IHRA hosted its 34th annual Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series awards banquet Saturday in Covington, Ky., crowning the 2004 World Champions and special award winners from the season. The banquet was the most attended and most successful banquet in IHRA's history.

Clay Millican was awarded his fourth consecutive IHRA Top Fuel World Championship, as well as the $200,000 check that accompanied it. Millican, the career leader in IHRA pro wins, was also awarded Sportsman of the year, considered the highest honor IHRA bestows.

Mike Janis was awarded his second World Championship in Pro Modified. It was a rocky ride back to the top for the Lancaster, N.Y., native. A pit fire at Budds Creek nearly ended his season, but Janis and his crew were able to put his 1963 Corvette, dubbed the Widowmaker, back into contention. To cap off his night, he was named as Pro Driver of the Year.

Rob Atchison was awarded his second consecutive crown in Funny Car. It looked as though his friend and rival Mark Thomas might have had the edge in the early going of the season, but the London, Ontario native came back strong and defeated Thomas by just 23 points for the season crown.

John Nobile, from Dix Hills, N.Y., took home his first ever Sunoco Race Fuels Pro Stock World Championship. The championship came on the strength of his first ever Pro Stock victory. His season was also enough to earn him Most Improved Driver of the Year.

Bill Bader was awarded the IHRA Man of the Year. The former IHRA President highlighted his speech by congratulating the World Champions one by one and by subsequently bringing his family onstage.

The successful Summit SuperSeries crowned its champions for 2004 in both the Box and No Box categories. Taking home the championship in Box was Jonathan Tromp, from Aruba, and winning the championship in No Box was John Hochstedler, from Niles, Michigan.

Tromp brought a large Aruban contingent with him, and they watched as he was awarded a check for over $27,000, two Pit Pro bikes, a turn key Worthy Dragster, and ironically enough, a trip for two to Aruba.

Hochstedler, winner of the No Box championship, raced at Osceola Dragway in Osceola, Indiana. For his championship, he was awarded a check for over $27,000, a Pontiac G6, a Huntsville 540 engine, and a trip for two to Aruba.

Jamie Silance won the Erson Cams Top Sportsman World Championship. Anthony Bertozzi was awarded the World Championship in Mallory Top Dragster. It was his 14th IHRA championship. Slate Cummings was awarded the ACCEL DFI Super Stock World Championship.

Craig Marshall was crowned World Champion in Hays Stock. The ACCEL Quick Rod championship was awarded to Ron Folk. "The General," as he's known, won his first World Championship after watching his son Nick take home the Top Dragster crown last year.

Steve Furr was crowned World Champion in Lakewood Super Rod. The Harrisburg, N.C. native was also named Sportsman Driver of the Year. Ed Pauley, delivering the most heartfelt speech of the evening, was crowned as World Champion in Hurst Hot Rod. The Shelby, N.C. resident had made 13 IHRA finals without winning an Ironman before breaking through this year at Kinston. He was also named as Most Improved Sportsman Driver. Monty Bogan Jr., of Jonesville, S.C. was crowned as GM Performance Parts Top Stock World Champion.

Other 2004 IHRA awards recipients included:

Moroso Grand Champion: Scott Stillings

Track of the Year--Sportsman: Abilene Dragstrip, Tommy Dupree

Track of the Year--National: Milan Dragway, Bill and Pam Kapolka, Chris and Deneen Baxter

Track Operator of the Year: Scott and Laura Gardner, Cordova Dragway Park

Track Promoter of the Year: Ralph Hester, Immokalee Regional Raceway

Sportsman Rookie of the Year: Bill Levatino Jr.

Crew Chief of the Year: Doug Kuch (Bruce Litton and Doug Foley)

Pro Rookie of the Year: Doug Foley

Associate Sponsor of the Year: Bill Taylor Enterprises

Sponsor of the Year: Mr. Gasket

During the IHRA team breakfast on Sunday, the following received recognition awards for their achievement:

Team Member of the Year: Duane Eiskant

Best Customer Service: Kelly Devine

Best Team Player: Bryan Sansbury

Performance Award: Bob Stinnett

-ihra-

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Series Drag
Drivers Mike Janis , Mark Thomas , Clay Millican , Bruce Litton , John Nobile , Doug Foley