Irwindale WRS banquet

Glendale, Calif. - - Irwindale Speedway's NASCAR Weekly Racing champions and their crews were celebrated at the track's annual banquet at the Glendale Hilton, in Glendale, California on Saturday night, January 6. An enthusiastic gathering of...

Glendale, Calif. - - Irwindale Speedway's NASCAR Weekly Racing champions and their crews were celebrated at the track's annual banquet at the Glendale Hilton, in Glendale, California on Saturday night, January 6. An enthusiastic gathering of some 540 were on hand as over $50,000.00 in year-end prize money and special merchandise awards were handed out to five divisions of top-placing drivers. Pat Patterson acted as Master of Ceremonies with assistance from Speedway Vice President Bob DeFazio and Director of Competition Chris Morgan. Each thanked the assembled group for their contribution to a great year of weekly NASCAR racing excitement and each forecast even more competitive racing in the upcoming season.

Super Late Model winner Greg Voigt of Santa Barbara, Late Model champ James Weston of Goleta, Super Stock victor Jeff Green of Long Beach, Grand American Modified first place finisher Rip Michels of Mission Hills, and the top man in the Mini Stocks, Bob Reed of Riverside, all took home special NASCAR trophies as well as checks for their stellar efforts at IS in the 2000 season. Each received a unique "Irwindale 2000 Championship" ring. In addition, Irwindale's Chief Executive Officer, Jim Williams , personally commissioned and sponsored special 2000 season Winners' Jackets for the fabulous five.

Trophies were presented to first through tenth place drivers in all five NASCAR weekly racing divisions. James Weston received additional recognition from Daytona Beach for his first place finish in NASCAR's Pacific Region and Voigt received a check for $5000 from Miller Brewing for his winning performance in the Miller Lite Challenge series.

James Valk, Tim Evans, Ron Rayburn, Brett Barnett, Robert Sellers, and Torrance Brown all received "Mechanic of the Year" plaques from True Value Hardware.

Five Irwindale drivers took home "Rookie of the Year" honors for their 2000 seasons: James Bruncati (Glendora) in Super Late Model, Tony Green (Oak Hills) in Late Model, Tom Topping (Glendale) in Grand American Modified, Dan Fitzgerald (Saugus) in Super Stock, and Pat Ackley (home town missing) in Mini-Stock. All received specially engraved Swiss Army wristwatches.

Lee Ladd, NASCAR Mini-Stock regular and car-owner from Thousand Oaks, was awarded the "Sportsman of the Year" trophy for his many contributions to the sport. The award was a well-deserved pat on the back for one of the Speedway's staunchest supporters and a benefactor of many drivers.

T.K. Karvasek, from North Hills, was announced as Irwindale Speedway's "Most Popular" driver. The colorful Super Stock pilot was the perfect choice for the honor, being as admired by the grown-ups as much as the kids. Win or loose, his pit was invariably the first stop for hundreds of happy fans after the races.

Many other Irwindale Speedway supporting companies gave very welcome additional prizes, among them: Simpson Helmets, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn (Arcadia), Lincoln Welders, 5-Star Racing Bodies, Frank's Radios, Ultra Wheels, CL Bryant (76 Racing gasoline), Advantage Ford Lincoln-Mercury, and SoCal Performance.

Irwindale's regular weekly racing season gets into high gear early this year on March 17. That's when the mighty NASCAR Super Late Models roar into action with a 100-lap opener. Also on that evening's bill will be the Grand American Modifieds and the Super Stocks. The NASCAR Late Models will fire off on March 24 and the Mini-Stocks will start their season on April 7.

--Doug Stokes

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Jeff Green , Tim Evans , Bob Reed , Rip Michels , Chris Morgan
Teams Williams