2003 USPRO banquet report

The USPRO Racing Series inaugural season came to a conclusion with a season ending banquet Saturday night at Guerrazzi Restaurant in Lansing, Mich. The traveling series was acquired by the American Speed Association and has been renamed as the ASA...

The USPRO Racing Series inaugural season came to a conclusion with a season ending banquet Saturday night at Guerrazzi Restaurant in Lansing, Mich. The traveling series was acquired by the American Speed Association and has been renamed as the ASA Late Model Series.

Mark Kortz, who won twice, was honored as the USPRO Series' first champion. The Brooklyn, Mich., resident will be listed as the only USPRO championship because of its new affiliation with ASA. Besides the championship trophy Kortz received an ARP body, a Goodyear jacket, $100 Team Tech award, $100 Port City award and a painting of his car. "Winning the USPRO Championship was awesome! I want to thank my crew for all their hard work. This series is a dream come true. The cost effectiveness in this series took away many of the roadblocks for myself and other drivers and it allows us to showcase our skills rather than how much money we can spend to be fast," said Kortz. "The banquet was great ... my crew, family and I really enjoyed the 2003 USPRO season in review video."

Mike Carter won the USPRO Rookie of the Year title by 75 points over Shaun Whitney and also finished second in the season ending points, 29 points behind Kortz. The Highland, Mich., driver received his Rookie of the Year trophy, a second place trophy, an ARP body, $75 Team Tech award and a $100 Port City award. "I want to thank my father for all his help. He is the most dedicated person I know. Sometimes it isn't easy being a father/son team. I also want to congratulate Mark (Kortz) on his championship. I learned a lot watching him this year, both on and off the track. He is a true professional. That race I had with Mark at Owosso was the most fun I've ever had in a race car." said Carter.

The Top 20 drivers all received trophies and over $8,000 in contingency awards was handed out. Brent Hook, Bob Varney and Shaun Whitney were third through fifth in points. Each man also received a $100 Port City award with Hook getting a $50 Team Tech award for being third in points.

Other awards handed out were: Most Improved Driver-Rick Everidge, Hard Luck Award-Steve Shlater Jr., Stone Vos Professionalism Award-Mike Simon and The Chris Throgmartin Sportsmanship Award-Shaun Whitney. Simon also won a 5-Star body in a random draw between the drivers.

A surprised Ron Varney Jr. was presented a trophy from all the drivers, teams and series officials for an outstanding first season. Ron, who received an standing ovation from the 175 attendees, was deeply honored and touched by the overwhelming support from everyone involved in the USPRO Racing Series. "It was a perfect culmination of the one of the successful first season of any new series in many years," said Varney Jr.

"It has been great to race in a series that was cost effective and put the driver back in the seat. It was an honor to present the promoter award to my brother Ron Varney, I am very proud of him as a brother and as a driver in the series. He did a wonderful job in 2003 for all of us. The standing ovation he received made my night," said Bob Varney.

ASA Vice President, Mark Gundrum, was in attendance and provided the banquet attendees with insight as to the direction the 2004 ASA LM season. "I can say that from a personal and professional standpoint that everyone involved in the business of ASA Racing is extremely excited about the partnership that has developed into the ASA Late Model Series," said Gundrum.

Among those attending were: Ed Lyons from Ford Racing, Ron D'Larm from Speedway Graphics, Tom Adair from Valvoline, Larry Varney from Wynn's, Claude Plante from DTS, Paul Zimmerman and Jim Leasure from Spartan

and Calhoun County Speedways and Chris Kamley, owner of Tri City Speedway.

Other awards were donated by DTS, Good year, RV Performance, K & N, Bassett Wheels, Holley, Stone Vos, Speedway Graphics, Kortz Racing, Valvoline, Wynn's Race Fab, Defender Bodies, Ford Racing, GM Racing, Magellan Securities, Howe, Team Tech, Port City and Amsoil.

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