All Stars Crown Champion Greg Wilson to Wrap Up 2006 Season (ROSSBURG, OH) 1-7-07 The biggest story of the 2006 racing season with the All Star Circuit of Champions was rain. Eleven events were cancelled due to Mother Nature's lack of...
All Stars Crown Champion Greg Wilson to Wrap Up 2006 Season
(ROSSBURG, OH) 1-7-07 The biggest story of the 2006 racing season with the All Star Circuit of Champions was rain. Eleven events were cancelled due to Mother Nature's lack of cooperation, so it was only fitting that the skies would once again open up on the day of the 2006 Season Championship Awards Banquet in Rossburg, Ohio. This time, however, the All Stars were able to stay dry as the award ceremony was held inside the Eldora Ballroom at Tony Stewart's place. Mr. Stewart himself was on hand to participate in the sold out event in front of 700 fans, friends, crew, owners, and drivers. The All Stars shared the stage with the Sunoco American Late Model Series, the UMP Modifieds, and the Eldora Stock Car division in a combined event honoring the top drivers from the 2006 season.
10th Place -- Butch Schroeder (owner Dave Jessup)
Butch Schroeder from Leipsic, OH was unable to run every race in 2006, but when he was able to make it he was a contender each and every time. Schroeder drove his black #7k hard and racked up several good finishes around the state of Ohio. Butch and Dave plan to team up again in 2007 and make a run at the full All Star schedule, however they may miss the first few events in Florida. "We had some good times and we ran competitive," said Schroeder. "We didn't finish the deal quite a few times. This year we just want to finish the deal." Car owner Dave Jessup stated "I'm glad I chose Butch to drive my car. He takes real good care of my stuff and he's a real good guy." He continued, "We're trying to find some more sponsorship money and we'd like to go the whole All Star route. If not we're just going to do the best that we can around here."
9th Place -- James Mosher (owner/driver)
James Mosher completed his first year behind the wheel of a 410 sprint car in 9th place in season points. He hails from Albuquerque, NM and came to the Ohio area not knowing anyone and not having ever been to any of the tracks on the schedule. James used his time with the All Stars to learn and fine tune his operations. He finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year points and will be pursuing other opportunities in 2007. James was not present to accept his award.
8th Place -- Dale Blaney (owner George Fisher)
Fowler, OH's Dale Blaney was a tough competitor each and every time he hit the track in 2006, but unfortunately due to an illness in owner George Fisher's family they were not able to travel as much as they would have liked. Dale was the most consistent driver during Ohio Sprint Speedweek picking up two victories and the 24th Annual Ohio Speedweek Championship. He will once again pilot Fisher's #2 in 2007 and they will travel to as many events on the All Star schedule as George is able to commit to. "We didn't get to race full time," said Blaney. "We hope to race a little more this year. I just want to thank Guy Webb for this whole All Star series. Greg Wilson did a good job. I guess he's the new ambassador of the All Stars." Blaney went on to say, "I want to thank George Fisher. He's the owner, the mechanic, and the sponsor on the car and he does everything for us. He couldn't be here tonight -- he's at home with his wife who's been sick for a few years now. We'll run as much as we can next season, but if we had a few more sponsors we'd be able to run a little bit more." Blaney also mentioned that he is retired from working at Sharon Speedway and that will allow him more time to do more racing in 2007.
7th Place -- Barry Ruble (owner/driver)
Barry Ruble is somewhat of an "iron man" of the All Star series. The Burton, OH driver is a veteran of the sport and has been with the All Stars for several years. He has experienced many ups and downs over the years and it was consistency and determination that were the keys to Barry's success in 2006. Barry plans to return to the All Stars in 2007 in his family owned #63. "We had a good year even though we were a little short on funds," said Ruble. "I want to thank the good Lord for letting us do it." He went on to say, "We just come in with our own game plan and do the best that we can with what we've got."
6th Place -- Brandon Martin (owner John Martin)
Brandon Martin from Attica, OH was one of the young guns of the series in 2006. He did not join the series until after the events in Florida last February and then got off to a bit of a slow start with some mechanical problems, but the team began to gel as the season went on and he finished the year strong just a handful of points out of the Top 5 in season points. Brandon chased Chad Blonde all season long in Rookie of the Year points but never caught him as he finished in the runner up spot. Brandon will return to the All Stars in 2007 in the family owned BMI Racing #11m. "I started out running go-karts and moved up to 305's running at Fremont and Attica and we just kept building our program and ended up here," said Martin. "I'm real proud to be here. We didn't go to Florida and hurt us in the points but we got faster and ended up having a decent year." He continued, "Hopefully next season will be better and we'll stay inside the Top 10 and continue to build a better team."
5th Place -- Danny Smith (owner/driver)
Danville, IN's Danny Smith is a true veteran of the sport of sprint car racing and a true ambassador as well. His 5th place finish was an amazing accomplishment in 2006 considering he lost his wife to cancer in the early part of the season. He missed several races to take care of things at home, but came back with a strong finish at the end of 2006 to move into 5th place. Danny will return to the All Stars in 2007 to make a run at the championship in his own #4 car. "The last four years have been pretty tough," said Smith. "Four years ago I lost my dad. Three years ago my mechanic passed away working on the race car. Two years ago my shop burned down and I thought it couldn't get any worse. Then of course last year I lost my wife." He went on to say, "Without family and friends you couldn't get through it. What helped me get through this was my racing family. It was pretty much just survival last year, but maybe the Good Lord will give me a break and we'll have a good '07."
4th Place -- Paul May (owner Mike May)
Paul May has spent a few years with the All Stars and along with his experience gained over the past few seasons he also learned patience. His aggressive driving style earned him the nickname "The May-niac", but it wasn't until he learned to combine that style with a little finesse that he began to see more success. The Terre Haute, IN native had a solid season and narrowly missed the Top 3 in season points. Paul will return to the All Stars in 2007 in his family owned #71m and has his sights set on the championship. "We had a much better season in '06 than we've had in the past," said May. "We stepped up our engine program. We pretty much all season without hurting a motor. That gave us more time to concentrate on the car and for me to concentrate on my driving."
3rd Place -- Chad Blonde (owner Julie Blonde)
Chad Blonde was a hard charger throughout the 2006 season, much to the surprise of many fans who had never heard of this driver from Litchfield, MI until he started making waves early in the season in Florida. The orange #5b had people asking questions about who was behind the wheel. Chad had a great year with several good finishes, including his first All Star victory at Mayetta, KS. His consistency and hard charging style earned him the 2006 All Star Rookie of the Year title, however his plans for 2007 hinge on sponsorship funding. "I want to thank my parents for taking me as far as they could with my sprint car career," said Blonde. "The highlight of the year was winning my first All Star race at Mayetta. I've wanted to run with the All Stars for 5 years and we finally did it this year. I really enjoyed my first All Star win."
2nd Place -- Brock Mayes (owner Jim Mayes)
Brock Mayes narrowly edged out Chad Blonde for 2nd place, but had he not missed one event mid season he would have been challenging for the title had the final event not been rained out. Instead Brock finished the season in the runner up spot, but had a season worthy of a championship crown. He ran strong through every event and was always in the mix at the end of the night. Brock is currently racing in Australia and will return at the end of April. He will then return to the All Stars to run the remainder of the 2007 season in his family owned #11b. Brock's father Jim Mayes accepted his award. "Brock is having a great time racing down in Australia," said Jim. "He called me up and said to make sure I thank everybody. He's driving for Jeff Kendrick and it was a great opportunity for a young driver to go down there." He went on to say, "We're going to chase the points with the All Stars again next season but we're going to be behind when he gets back." He also said, "I want to congratulate Greg and Verl on the championship. They're great guys and great to be around. Greg has done a lot to help Brock with his racing. Also, thanks to Guy for a great All Star series. We really enjoy it."
2006 All Star Champion -- Greg Wilson (owner Verl Warnimont)
Greg Wilson, though he is still considered one of the younger drivers in the sport, used his years of experience racing with the All Stars and formerly driving for his uncle Bob Hampshire to notch his first season championship. Greg is the first new champion in 8 years with the series that saw Chad Kemenah win the past 4 championships and Kenny Jacobs win the 4 years prior to that. Greg and new car owner Verl Warnimont set their sites on the series championship from day one and worked hard all season long to accomplish that goal. Greg took the early points lead with a win at Attica early in the season and never looked back. The All Star Circuit of Champions congratulates Greg on his accomplishments this past season and we look forward to him returning to the series to defend his title.
"It's pretty cool to be standing up here," said Wilson. "Verl took a big chance putting me in his car this year and we're going to come back next season and try to defend our title." He continued, "I have to thank Verl and Sabrina for taking the chance. I put two car owners out of business in about 6 months. Not only did they give me the opportunity to drive, they've become great friends. He wants to build this into something special." He went on to thank his family, crew, friends, and fans. "Thanks to the All Stars and to all the guys we race with. It's been a lot of fun and I have a lot of respect for those guys."
Owner Verl Warnimont was asked if he made the right choice on drivers last winter and said, "I think I made the right decision. I had a lot of choices and the phone was ringing off the hook from across the nation. I chose Greg because he lives about 5 miles from me and it worked out for us."
Other awards handed out for the 2006 season:
The Hard Luck Award went to Brandon Martin for his struggles early on in the season, but he eventually turned his bad luck around and finished the season strong. The Crew Chief of the Year award went to DJ Sanders who works for Paul May's #71m team. Paul May won a set of heads by random draw from Bob Williams of All Pro heads.
The All Stars distributed nearly $200,000 in cash and prizes to the Top 10 drivers of 2006. Thanks to the drivers, teams, fans and friends of the series for their support this past season. The 2007 season should be bigger and better than ever. Stay tuned for more announcements and the release of the 2007 schedule which will consist of nearly 50 events, 7 of which will be co-sanctioned with the World of Outlaws once again.