Champions of USAC's 2001 Western Racing Series were honored at the USAC Western Awards Banquet November 25 at Binion's Horseshoe Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas, Nev. Tony Hunt of Fair Oaks, Calif., Danny Ebberts of Canyon Lake, Calif.
Champions of USAC's 2001 Western Racing Series were honored at the USAC Western Awards Banquet November 25 at Binion's Horseshoe Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas, Nev.
Tony Hunt of Fair Oaks, Calif., Danny Ebberts of Canyon Lake, Calif. and Walt Johnson of Sun Valley, Calif. took top driving honors in their respective racing series as the "top-10" drivers and car entrants in each series received distinctive awards during the ceremonies.
USAC VP/Western Operations Tommy Hunt and VP/News & Communications Dick Jordan orchestrated the award presentations, which also included numerous special awards to deserving recipients.
Tony Hunt was joined by car owners Lori and Bob Scott of Paradise, Calif. as the champions of the USAC Western Sprint Car Series. Ebberts was joined by car owners Thomas Ebberts of Canyon Lake, Calif. and Vince Schlacter of Anaheim Hills, Calif. as champions of the WorldCom Western Midget Car Series and Johnson was joined by car owner Guy Barber of Camarillo, Calif. as champions of the WorldCom TQ Midget Car Series. Each accepted distinctive championship rings, while the drivers received Hoosier Jackets and tote bags from Gardner Designs and the owners received tote bags from Simpson Race Products.
Champions of the 2001 Russell Racing School Series were also recognized, namely Ross Fonferko of LaPorte, Texas and Scott Speed of Manteca, Calif. Fonferko won the Russell Pro Triple Crown title and Speed was the Formula Russell Series titlist.
"Rookies of the Year" revealed at the banquet were Ryan Flynn of Chico, Calif. (Sprint Cars), Danny Stratton of Riverside, Calif. (Midgets) and Michael Bliffen of Lakewood, Calif. (TQs).
Hoosier "Most Improved Driver" awards went to Troy Cline of Santa Clarita, Calif. (Sprints), Josh Wise of Riverside, Calif. (Midgets) and Steve Lambert of Port Hueneme, Calif. (TQs).
Mitch Hart of C.L. Bryant Co. presented "Hard Charger Award" jackets to Tony Hunt (Sprint Cars), Robby Flock of Murrieta, Calif. (Midgets) and Chris Hedge of Camarillo, Calif. (TQs).
Longtime USAC official Dick Hindman of Long Beach, Calif. accepted the Curly Merrill "Let's Go Racing" Award for his numerous contributions to the Western racing series, while defending Western Midget Car Champion Wally Pankratz presented the prestigious "Joe Lynch Memorial Award" to Joe Fontana of Redondo Beach, Calif.
Western Chief Steward Bob Pool also was recognized with awards, including one from Tommy Hunt for his dedicated service to USAC.
A special address was delivered by USAC's new President-Elect Rollie Helmling of Vincennes, Ind., while WorldCom National Midget Car Champion Dave Darland also greeted the attendees with news regarding his recent recovery from injuries sustained in a September Sprint car accident and his plans for 2002.
The banquet concluded with recognition for USAC's hard-working Western official team and a touching presentation by Cookie Pool to her husband Bob of replacement distinguished-service medals he had earned during his tenure in the United States Armed Forces.
Fred Adams and Jim Lewis of Racing Edge Videos treated attendees to Western action footage during the reception and cocktail hour.