Petrie Earns 1st USSS Championship, His 3rd Indy Car Title November 25, 2001 -- PHOENIX, Arizona -- Ken Petrie, of Parker, Colorado, earned the 2001 United States Speedway Series Driver Championship in the series inaugural season, his third...
Petrie Earns 1st USSS Championship, His 3rd Indy Car Title
November 25, 2001 -- PHOENIX, Arizona -- Ken Petrie, of Parker, Colorado, earned the 2001 United States Speedway Series Driver Championship in the series inaugural season, his third Indy car championship after taking the American IndyCar Series title in 1995 and 1996.
Petrie said this has been a dream season for his Precision Racing team, as he racked up some amazing statistics. He captured six of eight poles, with track record setting runs at Sandia Motorsports Park, Dodge City Raceway Park, and Firebird International Raceway. He went on to lead at least one lap in every race and took the checkered flag first in five races, driving four different March Indy cars, all powered by stock-block Chevrolet engines and sponsored by Precision Industries. In addition, he completed 244 of 245 race laps this season.
"Arlon Koops, my chief mechanic, gives me a great car right off the trailer every time and I have tremendous confidence in everything he does. I'm looking forward to trying to repeat my championship next year, but I think it's going to be hard to top the tremendous season we've had this year," said Petrie, "It's just been a lot of fun, racing in USSS. This is a great group of competitors, lots of good clean racing. I know I've said this before, but I just have to say it again, I think any driver who wants more racing bang for their buck should really take a close look at racing an Indy car with the United States Speedway Series."
Longtime Indy car crew chief Arlon Koops, of Castle Rock, Colorado, was named the Aviaid Chief Mechanic for the 2001 USSS Championship, a most-deserving award for the man who has helped put Petrie's venerable 1985 March Indy car into the winner's circle more times than any other Indy car in the sport's history.
Finishing second in the standings was Phil Erickson, of Phoenix, Arizona, driver of the Erickson Companies Lola-Buick, with Team Manager T.J. Clark and Chief Mechanic Chris Diedrich. Phil won his first Indy car race in only his second season behind the wheel and he was recognized as the USSS' Most Improved Driver of 2001. His well-appointed and always professional team at Fast Line Motorsports was also deemed Best Appearing Team of the Year.
Eric Koselke, of Indianapolis, finished third in driver points and was awarded the USSS special award for Most Persistent Driver. He overcame various mechanical problems throughout the year in his Lennon and Associates Lola-Chevrolet to consistently finish in the top five and fight for his first podium finish.
The USSS 2001 Team Championship went to McDonald Motorsports, based in Winchester, California, with Chief Mechanics George Lewis and Keith Pautz and four different drivers: team ownJohn McDonald, Eric Koselke, Mark Swigart (Ridgecrest, CA), and Jim Webb (Van Nuys, CA). Their hard work and consistency also earned the team the special award for Most Improved Team in USSS.
The Top Rookie Driver in the 2001 USSS championship was Mike Koss, of Bronson, Michigan, driving the Koss Klassic Boats Lola-Buick. Koss, an experienced oval track racers, finished third in only his second race in an Indy car, fielded by the Loophole Racing team of Bud and David Hoffpauir.
The USSS Most Persistent Team Award was presented to the Buckley Racing team of owner/driver Dale Buckley, and his crew of Don Shaw, Don Johnson Sr., and Don Johnson Jr. They simply refused to give up, working down to the wire to get Dale's car into as many races as possible through the season.
The 2001 USSS Track Promoter Award was earned by Dawn Freeze and Larry Pittsley at Sandia Motorsports Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They hosted two USSS events in 2001 and worked hard to put record crowds into the stands each time. USSS will return to Sandia in 2002 for two more events.
Larry and Vicky Pond of the National Auto Sport Association were recognized for their huge contribution to USSS with the Event Promoter Award. USSS worked with NASA to present its events at Las Vegas International Raceway, Pikes Peak International Raceway, Firebird International Raceway, and Sandia.
A final special award was presented to Billy and Phil Erickson for their Esprit de Corps and Outstanding Hospitality in hosting the 2001 USSS Awards Presentation, Sunday night at their company headquarters in Phoenix.