John Bankston award created at Knoxville Raceway

KNOXVILLE, IOWA (SEPT. 1, 2001) - John Bankston, the Beaumont, Texas, sprint car racer who lost his life mid-summer at the Eldora Speedway in Ohio, will be remembered at the Goodyear Masters Classic sprint car event at the Knoxville...

KNOXVILLE, IOWA (SEPT. 1, 2001) - John Bankston, the Beaumont, Texas, sprint car racer who lost his life mid-summer at the Eldora Speedway in Ohio, will be remembered at the Goodyear Masters Classic sprint car event at the Knoxville Raceway next May and every year afterwards. Upon receiving approval from the late driver's mother, the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum and the Knoxville Raceway are pleased to announce that the award recognizing the top time-trialer at the Masters event has permanently been renamed the "John Bankston Memorial Quick Qualifier Award." The hard-charging southern gentleman posted quick-time at the Goodyear Masters Classic, a 360-cubic-inch sprint car event only open to drivers age fifty and over, in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

According to museum director Thomas J. Schmeh, "John loved competing in the Masters event and he dearly wanted to win it, and we loved hosting him in Knoxville. He truly was one of the classiest and nicest sprint car drivers that I've ever had the pleasure to meet. And he was a heck of a racer. He finished ninth in his first Masters in 1997 and he followed that up with a second in '98 to Jerry Crabb, a disappointing nineteenth in '99, another runner-up in 2000 to Terry Pletch, and he ran eighth earlier this year with a tire going down."

Photographer Palmer Berger has agreed to provide photos of Bankston for the three unique plaques which will be debuted on May 31, 2002, during the tenth annual Goodyear Masters Classic. Each "John Bankston Memorial Quick Qualifier Award" will list all previous fast-timers, including current Masters event and track 360 c.i. sprint car record- holder Cliff "Woody" Woodward. One plaque will be presented to John's family, another to that evening's top time-trialer, and the final one will be proudly displayed in the National Sprint Car Museum near the memorial brick purchased in his honor by his friends, the Kriner and Thompson families of Pennsylvania. {TB}

Past Goodyear Masters Classic "Quick Qualifier Award" Winners:

1993 - Larry Dickson - 18.308 seconds (new event record) 1994 - (time trials not held) 1995 - Lloyd Beckman - 18.245 seconds (new event record; note: Beckman was 68 years old) 1996 - Cliff "Woody" Woodward - 16.697 seconds (new event record) 1997 - Cliff "Woody" Woodward - 17.009 seconds 1998 - John Bankston - 17.011 seconds 1999 - John Bankston - 17.398 seconds 2000 - John Bankston - 17.296 seconds 2001 - Cliff "Woody" Woodward - 16.191 seconds - new event & track record

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Series Sprint