Touring Series All-Star Series Banquet Review

Kosiski awarded 7th Busch All-Star title WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (Nov. 22, 1998) Champion Steve Kosiski and other drivers of the Busch All-Star Series, a part of the NASCAR Touring Division, were honored Saturday at the annual Busch All-Star ...

Kosiski awarded 7th Busch All-Star title

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (Nov. 22, 1998) Champion Steve Kosiski and other drivers of the Busch All-Star Series, a part of the NASCAR Touring Division, were honored Saturday at the annual Busch All-Star Series Champions Banquet, which was held for the second straight year at the University Park Holiday Inn.

Kosiski, of Omaha, Neb., is the driver of the Malvern (Iowa) Trust and Savings Bank and Cen-Pe-Co Lubricants-sponsored Chevrolet and is the only driver to have competed in all 214 Busch All-Star Series races since the series' inception in 1985. Kosiski also is the only driver, to have scored seven series championships. His prior titles were in 1987, 1990-92 and 1994- 95. This year's point title came on Oct. 10, the final night of competition. The driver of the familiar yellow No. 52 car won the first Busch All-Star Series race in 1985 and was the runner-up in points that year, finishing just one point behind champion Roger Dolan. "It's great to be up here again -- it's wonderful for us," said Kosiski, 38, one of three drivers to capture four feature wins this season. The end of his 1998 season did not go exactly as planned, Kosiski said, "and I guess we focused on that. "It took a great start and a great middle to bring us here, and a great team to put everything together to keep the whole operation going all season long," said the series' winningest driver, with 49 career victories to his credit. With seven championships to his credit, Kosiski said he has heard himself compared with NASCAR Winston Cup legends Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty. He also noted that his family members collectively have won 14 various NASCAR titles. Despite that, however, Kosiski said he and his racing brothers, Ed and Joe, focus on "the respect of this series and the respect of the competition. We know how strong everyone can run, how easily you guys can humble us in racing. So it's never forgotten." Jim Wilson, the founder and director of the Busch All-Star Series, congratulated Kosiski, his crew chief Wayne Mason and car owner Al Burdic on their achievement. Wilson also said everyone involved in the Busch All-Star Series has really accomplished something worthwhile. "I knew in 1985 that we had some of the very best drivers in the country right here in the Midwest, and my dream then was to bring all of these drivers together for a touring series," he said. "I think we have reached that goal, and my dream has come true. "We have the best drivers in the country running on the Busch All-Star Series. I'm very proud of every one of them." Wilson also lauded Busch All-Star Series track operators and their officials, series officials and series sponsors, including Anheuser-Busch, Boubin Tire and Automotive/McCreary Tire Co., ConAgra, Gatorade Thirst Quencher, JE Pistons, Kosiski Auto Parts, STP Corp. and 76 gasoline. He later presented plaques of appreciation to sponsor representatives who were present, including Jerry Boubin of Boubin Tire and Automotive; Susan Hampel, representing ConAgra; Ed Shull of Gatorade Thirst Quencher; and Bob and Grace Kosiski of Kosiski Auto Parts. Phil Roberts, who has been the Busch Series' media coordinator since 1990, served as the banquet's master of ceremonies for the ninth year. "For 14 years, the Busch All-Star Series has provided top- notch dirt track racing for spectators all over the Midwest," Roberts said in his opening remarks. "We have been and still are NASCAR's only touring series that competes exclusively on dirt tracks. That, I think, is most appropriate in 1998, as NASCAR celebrates its 50th Anniversary, because NASCAR didn't begin on superspeedways -- it started in cow pastures and on dirt tracks and sandy beaches. "We are a constant reminder of NASCAR's roots. We carry on a proud tradition of power slides around turns, rooster tails of dirt flying from the rear wheels. You are the people who make that possible, not unlike the Lee Pettys, the Johnny Beauchamps, the Herb Thomases and the Tim Flocks who traded paint at short dirt tracks in NASCAR s formative years." Special awards Saturday went to:

Ray Guss Jr. of Milan, Ill., winner of the Gatorade Front Runner Award, who narrowly edged out Gary Webb of Blue Grass, Iowa, and Steve Kosiski for that honor. Shull, director of NASCAR marketing for Gatorade Sports Marketing, presented Guss a $2,500 check, a plaque and a classy leather jacket commemorating his accomplishment. "We are extremely proud to be part of this series," said Shull. "We've just renewed our contract with NASCAR, so I'm pleased to let you know we'll be here for years to come." "I want to thank Ed and Gatorade and also want to thank all the other corporate sponsors who helped this series," Guss said. "This is one great series, with lots of competition, and I really like being part of it."

Curt Hansen of Dike, Iowa, who defeated Rob Kirchner of Donnellson, Iowa, and Randy Havlik of Madrid, Iowa, in the BASS Rookie of the Year competition. Hansen began racing in 1964 and raced all over the U.S. and even in Canada in the 1960s and 1970s. He eventually hung up his helmet, though, and spent a number of years in retirement, devoting time to his family and other interests. He came out of retirement to join the Busch All-Star Series in 1998 and make a bid for rookie honors. "I'm 54 years old, and I m rookie of the year -- I must be a late bloomer," said Hansen. "Even though we won this award, there were several nights that we were not very competitive. One particular night after the races, a person came up to me, and they said, 'You know, Curt, the only way you could get slower is to get older.' I didn't think that was very nice of my wife (Alice)!" Hansen said it takes a good crew to win the rookie award. With the exception of one new crew member, he said, "I've got a crew I had clear back in the '60s and the '70s, and they're why I won it."

Gary Webb, recipient of a plaque and a $2,500 check as the overall winner in the Bud Pole Award competition. Webb won six Bud Pole Awards -- including four in a row at one point in July - - for his fast times during qualifications. "I consider driving the car the easy part," Webb said. "Everyone in this room gives up a lot to be involved with racing. And I commend all of you for what you do. I want to congratulate Steve and his crew -- they led the points most of the year. They're the champion team, and they deserve it. I want to thank Larry Moring for providing me a good car. The team wins the races for the drivers." Webb also thanked Wilson, the sponsors and the track operators, particularly longtime Busch All-Star Series promoter Al Frieden, for their dedicated support; and added one other cheery note when he said, "And one other thing, Curt Hansen, when I was in high school, I cheered you on! You're a good asset to this series."

Sonny Findling of Kirksville, Mo., who passed 93 cars in competition to win the Kosiski Auto Paris Hammer Down Award. He and the other drivers among the top-10 in the program shared in cash awards presented by the Kosiskis. "I really appreciate Bob and Grace and everything they've done for us," said Findling. "As most of these guys know, winning this award usually means that we don't have a very good starting spot!" Finishing second through 10th, respectively, behind Findling were Steve Kosiski; Bob Helm of Milan, Ill.; Bob Dominacki of Bettendorf, Iowa; Webb; Skip Frey of Ely, Iowa; Guss; Steve Boley of Oxford, Iowa; Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa; and Dave Eckrich of North Liberty, Iowa. Two other awards, whose recipients had been kept secret, also were presented:

Webb was surprised to learn he had won balloting to determine the Busch All-Star Series' most popular driver. "This means a lot to me," he said, thanking those who had voted for him. "One group I did forget to thank when I was up here before were the ladies in our lives -- they give up a lot. They have to listen to how the race should have gone down. They hear the same stories over and over until we come home with a new one, so thank you very much, girls."

Guss was also surprised to receive the Busch All-Star Series Sportsmanship Award. Kosiski, in accepting the Busch All-Star Series' champion's trophy, thanked his sponsors, series sponsors and his crew members, saying "Todd, Mike, Harley and Wayne have been great help throughout all the years. Those guys have been with me many years, and we've become great friends." He and crew chief Mason have been together since the early 1980s, Kosiski noted. "We've had a lot of fun together throughout the years. You know, it's been a great relationship for this team." He also thanked crew members' spouses and his wife, Shelly. "For those nights at the end of the season, when everything doesn't always go well, thank you," said the champ, who works at Kosiski Auto Parts, the family-owned parts business. He and his wife have three children: Aimee, who turns 13 on Dec. 4; Robby, 9; and Brian, 4. In addition to the champion, the other top-20 drivers in points were recognized Saturday. They were Webb; Guss; Dominacki; Birkhofer; Findling; Joe Kosiski, Omaha, Neb.; Helm; Jay Johnson, West Burlington, Iowa; Hansen; Boley; Bill Martin, Council Bluffs, Iowa; Ekrich; 13th, Scott Koskovich, Omaha, Neb.; Kirchner; Frey; Tom Hearst, Tipton, Iowa; Eckrich; Wendling; and Tom Cannon, Iowa City, Iowa. Two Busch All-Star Series officials received service awards as well. Art Daufeldt of Blue Grass, Iowa, a technical inspector, was honored for his 10 years of service to the series. Mable Wilson of Stanton, Iowa, a registrar, was honored for her dedication to her duties. The banquet included a slide program, prepared by Roberts, showing some humorous moments and highlights from the year's racing. The banquet also featured, for the first time, videotapes honoring champion Steve Kosiski and the other Busch All-Star Series drivers. By the time the last checkered flag flew over the 1998 season, Busch All-Star Series drivers had competed in 19 events from April 4 through Oct. 10; traveling throughout Iowa and into Nebraska, Illinois and South Dakota to race. Their stops included many familiar tracks plus new facilities in West Union and Allison, Iowa; and return visits after lengthy absences, to speedways in Greenwood, Neb., and Dubuque, Iowa. There were nine different winners, including first-time winners Ryan Dolan of Lisbon, Iowa, and Findling. Twelve different drivers shared the 19 Bud Pole Awards. The Busch All-Star Series enjoyed a large number of participants in 1998, with 148 different drivers -- up from 126 a year ago -- winning points this season.

Source: NASCAR Online

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Brian Birkhofer , Richard Petty , Jim Wilson , Bill Martin , Tim Flock , Lee Petty