Avon, Ind. (December 8, 2000)The CORR EXXON Superflo family had a chance to get away from the dirt and mud for an elegant evening to celebrate the Tour 2000 champions on December 2 at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Indianapolis. With the grind of a...
Avon, Ind. (December 8, 2000)The CORR EXXON Superflo family had a chance to get away from the dirt and mud for an elegant evening to celebrate the Tour 2000 champions on December 2 at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Indianapolis.
With the grind of a grueling season over, the teams, sponsors, family and friends associated with the EXXON Superflo Series reflected on a year of thrills, spills, celebration, and disappointments. The evening had its share of laughing, cheering, and crying as five of the eight champions from the Sportsman and Pro divisions were on hand to pick up their trophies and celebrate with their fellow competitors for a successful 2000 campaign. Overall, drivers in the Pro and Sportsman series' collected nearly $ 690,000 in prize money for the season.
The evening also featured the presentation of the prestigious Michael Gaughan award, recognizing an individual who has made a lifetime commitment to Off-Road Racing. Following a tremendous career in off-road racing, including 139 victories and 20 championship titles in thirty years, Walker Evans was the unanimous choice for the award.
Michael Gaughan congratulated Evans on a pre-recorded video, and reminded Evans, who is an old friend of Gaughan's, that he received his award before Walker (1998), and that it is named after him. Evans, who was dressed in his traditional cowboy hat and bolo tie, gracefully accepted the award and added that he hoped he could play more golf and relax when he is not working in his shop.
At the conclusion of his speech, he encouraged his son, Evan, to "Keep up the good name of Evans" in racing. At that time, Evan Evans came to the stage, and with his father, announced that 2001 would be Evan's farewell tour.
Evan has joined Finley Motorsports of Spartanburg, S.C., and will race full time in stock cars starting in 2002. He will join former Championship Off-Road competitors Robby Gordon, Jimmy Johnson, Ricky Johnson, and Brendan Gaughan as drivers who used off-road racing as a stepping-stone to future success in Motorsports.
Following the dinner and season highlights video, the Manufacturer Championship Trophies were presented to Toyota, Chevrolet, and Ford.
Accepting the Pro-Lite Manufacturer trophy for Toyota was Tom O'Connor. Toyota swept the top three spots in the division, as Jeff Kincaid, Chris Brandt, and Mark Krueger combined for 14 victories and 40 top-five finishes.
Chevrolet dominated the Manufacturer points in the Pro-2 division with the help of 10 combined wins from Evan Evans, Dan Vanden Heuvel, and Kevin Probst. Eight of the top ten drivers in the Pro-2 division drove Chevrolet's, compiling 10 wins and 65 top-five finishes.
Mark Hansen of Ford Trucks was on hand to accept Ford's Pro-4 Manufacturer Championship trophy. Ford finished in eight of the top ten spots in the division, winning 10 rounds and 59 top-five finishes. Rob MacCachren (first), Curt LeDuc (third), and Scott Douglas (fifth) were three Ford drivers who finished in the top-five in Tour 2000.
In his first season with CORR, Mark Kleiman won Rookie of the Year honors in the Sportsman Division. Racing in the Stock division, Kleiman won four consecutive rounds (3 through 6), as well as Round 9. He finished in a tie for second with Keith Steele. Everything was new for Kleiman in 2000, and he said he mainly wanted to have fun and enjoy the season.
Tour 2000 marked J.R. Wheeler's first season in the Pro-Lite division. In 17 starts, he had seven top-five finishes with a best finish of second place in Round 17 at Heartland Park Topeka. He received the Pro Rookie of the Year honors in front of several of his family and friends, who made the short trip from nearby Martinsville, Ind.
Pro-Lite driver Jeff Kincaid and his team took home three trophies on the evening. Douglas Kincaid, his father and crew chief, won the Gordon Stoney award as the 2000 Mechanic of the Year. He led Jeff Kincaid to a CORR record of 12 wins in 18 starts. Kincaid's dominating season enabled him to win his first CORR title in the Pro-Lite division, as well as capturing the Precision Gear Driver of the Year award in the Pro division.
In one of the more touching moments in the evening, Kincaid gave credit to his "number one sponsor"his father. He also noted that a racing wife is hard to find, and he was appreciative of his family for their support over the past eleven years.
Pro-2 champion Scott Taylor took home his second consecutive Pro-2 championship trophy. Following his seven victories in Tour 2000, Taylor now has 17 career wins in 50 starts with CORR. Taylor and his team had to work hard in the final stretch to hold off Evan Evans.
For perhaps the first time this year, Tommy Bradley was shaking all over. This time, though, he was not driving. The Tour 2000 Sportsman 2 champion said he felt more comfortable behind the wheel of his truck than speaking in front of a crowd. The host of people did not stop Bradley from shedding a tear or two when he thanked his family for their commitment and support over the years. Bradley, who won 9 out of 12 races, including two second-place and one third-place finish, was also named the Precision Gear Driver of the Year in the Sportsman Division.
When Steve Federico strolled to the podium to accept his award for the 2000 Single Buggy championship, the room was filled with anticipation on how Federico would respond. Not shying away from mentioning his sponsors, Federico proceeded to pull out hat after hat, thanking each sponsor that helped him on his way to the championship. Undoubtedly the biggest showman of the night, after each sponsor recognition, he tossed the hat into the crowd. He also, like the others, thanked the never-ending support from his family.
Sportsman Stock driver Jerry Edgerton accepted his award for the Tour 2000 Stock championship. The race for the Stock championship came down to the final round between Edgerton, Keith Steele, and Kleiman. Edgerton won the last round, and held off both drivers by four points. He also thanked his hero, Walker Evans, who inspired him to compete in off-road racing.
Champions Gary Behrens (Light Buggy), Chad Hord (Super Buggy), and Rob MacCachren (Pro-4) were unable to attend the banquet because of prior commitments. Each of these drivers claimed their first CORR titles in Tour 2000. It was announced that Hord, who has six career victories in the Super Buggy division, would compete in the Pro-Lite division in 2001.
Anticipation is building for the 2001 season, which begins in May. 2001 will see a return to Fort Dodge, Iowa (July 28-29) and Topeka, Kan. (September 22-23), two venues that made a successful debut in Tour 2000. Also on the schedule is Antigo, Wis. (June 9-10), Crandon, Wis. (June 23-24, September 1-2), and Bark River, Mich. (July 14-15, August 11-12).