Pinkowsky Four-Time Portland Champ Portland, Ore. The 18th Annual Banquet of the Stars highlighted the first full season on the new clay-racing surface at Portland Speedway-The Dirt Track. The 18 year NASCAR Weekly Racing Series track crowned ...
Pinkowsky Four-Time Portland Champ
Portland, Ore. The 18th Annual Banquet of the Stars highlighted the first full season on the new clay-racing surface at Portland Speedway-The Dirt Track. The 18 year NASCAR Weekly Racing Series track crowned champions in several divisions with three-time asphalt Late Model champion Tom Pinkowsky picking up his fourth WRS track title and first on the new clay-racing surface. Joining Pinkowsky on stage were Sportsman Champion Martin Stanwood, two-time Street Stock Champion Scott Puncochar, Four-time Figure Champion Dan Cherington, and inaugural Women's Auto Racing Champion Kari Puncochar.
The WRS Grand American Modified division saw a furious battle go down to the final event and was the asphalt veteran Tom Pinkowsky of Vancouver, Wash. claiming the title over dirt track ace Eric Sayre also of Vancouver, Wash. Despite Sayre's six feature wins to Pinkowsky's two, Pinkowsky was able to land his fourth track title by virtue of consistent finishes that left Sayre shaking his head by a mere two points. Sayre did not go home empty as he won nearly every special award for the division including the Timber Wolf Hard Charger Award.
Also collecting honors for the 2001 racing season in the Modified division was Don Jenner, collecting both the Sportsman-of-the-Year and Most Improved Driver award. Zoe Minsker, the only female driver competing in the WRS feature division won the Rookie-of-the-Year title and finished 13th in the final point standings.
The ageless Martin Stanwood claimed his second track championship ten years after his first title. Despite a winless season, Stanwood used his experience to finish in the top five nearly every week and thwart the late season charge of multi-time winner Dale Holland to win the Sportsman crown.
Andy Church took home Sportsman-of-the-Year honors in the full-bodied stock car class, with Ross Greiff being voted the Most Improved driver in the division.
Scott Puncochar took up were he left of in 2000 and was out front all year as he claimed his second straight title in the Street Stock division. Puncochar had a stranglehold on the points lead all season in route to a convincing defense of his asphalt title. Curt Nusom grabbed Sportsman-of-the-Year honors, with first time winner Dustin Wilkenson being named the Most Improved driver in the class.
The Cherington's have kept the Figure 8 title in the family since the inception of the class five years ago. Dan Cherington won seven times in route to his fourth divisional title in five years. Cherington was nearly unstoppable all season as he marched from the back of the field every week. The crowed pleasing class also recognized Joe Cherington as the Sportsman-of-the-Year, and Kelly Nace as the Most Improved driver.
The newly formed Women's Auto Racing (WAR!) division delivered just as their name would suggest. The women were tremendously competitive on the third-mile clay surface and it Kari Puncochar picking up the inaugural championship. Jackie Graham was voted Sportsman-of-the-Year, with Rookie-of-the-Year C.J. Thom collecting the Most Improved Driver Award.
John Miller of Irontech Welding and Industrial Supply sponsored the Rookie-of-the-Year program for each division. Collecting Rookie honors for the first on the clay-racing surface were Zoe Minsker in the WRS Grand American Modified division, Hal Farness in the Sportsman class, Brian Puncochar in the Street Stocks, John Schave in the Figure 8's, and C.J. Thom in the WAR! division.
Two special awards closed the 18th Annual Banquet of the Stars as Rose Farness, track chief scorer, was honored with the Dave Naas Memorial Sportsmanship Award for an official who demonstrates the dedication and service that Dave Nass showed during his many years of service. Doug Mitchell, driver of the Timber Wolf #37 car in the Sportsman Division, was honored as the Overall Sportsman-of-the-Year Award winner. Mitchell languished through perhaps his most difficult season in racing, but never lost his motivation and desire to win. He supported the racetrack through his many public appearances at car shows, civic events, and promotional autograph sessions. Mitchell also developed a unique program that offered a race fan to join his pit crew for selected events during the course of the season.
The racing action will resume in April 2002 as the same divisions will return contest for championship in Portland Speedway's 77th racing season. Log on to www.portlandspeedway.com for all the latest news and information about Portland Speedway-The Dirt Track.