2006 Pro Challenge Awards ceremony notes

Pro Challenge Awards Ceremony Honors 2006 Season and Plans for Future National Title Contenders Mathis and Stroupe Earn Biggest Honors of Night CONCORD, NC (December 12, 2006) -- 2006 will forever go down as the year that the Aaron's Pro ...

Pro Challenge Awards Ceremony Honors 2006 Season and Plans for Future
National Title Contenders Mathis and Stroupe Earn Biggest Honors of Night

CONCORD, NC (December 12, 2006) -- 2006 will forever go down as the year that the Aaron's Pro Challenge Series emerged as a premier scale stock car developmental series. Record car counts and purses, dramatic finishes and a growing fan base at some of the most historic short tracks in the country made this past racing season the biggest in Pro Challenge history.

On Friday, December 8th, competitors, teams, officials, sponsors and families joined together at the University Place Hilton in Charlotte, North Carolina, to celebrate the incredible Pro Challenge season and to honor three-time Aaron's Pro Challenge National Champion Terry Mathis, as well as the Pro Challenge Regional champions and Rookie of the Year Zach Stroupe.

Guests were treated to a video presentation highlighting the personalities and memorable moments from the 2006 season, as well as a multimedia presentation for each of the honorees, making the first-ever Pro Challenge Awards Ceremony an event to remember for all in attendance.

"We tried to model it after the big guys - the NASCAR Nextel Cup Banquet - and I think everyone there enjoyed themselves thoroughly," said John Litzinger, Owner and President of Pro Challenge. "We had all of our top-ten in national points there, as well as all of our regional champions. The turnout was great, as was the response of the event afterwards. Everyone had a great time talking about the season one last time.

"I think it capped off the best season that the Pro Challenge has had as we continue to grow and develop, and I certainly look for a bigger room with more people in it for next year as we continue to grow."

The closest point battle in Aaron's Pro Challenge Series history came down to the final lap at the final race of the season at South Boston (VA), but now-14-year-old Zach Stroupe came up just 84 points short of Terry Mathis, who finished the 2006 Pro Challenge year with his third-straight Aaron's Pro Challenge National Championship.

Mathis' championship earned him, in addition to a custom award and a coveted championship jacket presented by Buck Buckholz from Team USA, a brand-new laptop computer courtesy of longtime series sponsor Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership.

"I really enjoyed this season," said Mathis. "I wasn't planning on running the entire season, but once we started and we started running good, I began to think about it. People were talking some things on the internet, and I don't read it that much, of course now I can with my new laptop, but that kind of set me to go about and see if we could win one more championship, and we did."

Rich Lamprey from Aaron's also presented Zach Stroupe an Xbox 360 in recognition of the young driver's Rookie of the Year title. All five regional champions also received custom jackets, awards and DVD players from Aaron's.

One of the most anticipated awards given out at the awards ceremony was the Most Popular Driver Award. For months, fans have been voting for their favorite Pro Challenge driver on the Pro Challenge Series website, www.prochallengeseries.com. Over 3,000 votes were cast, but in the end 51 Designs Pro Challenge Carolinas Region Champion and Pro Challenge Rookie of the Year Zach Stroupe added to his collection of honors from the ceremony by receiving the most votes in the MPD balloting.

Litzinger also spoke of the big plans for Pro Challenge racing in 2007, including a new National Points structure that will not only enhance regional racing but also make it easier for regional competitors to also vie for the Aaron's Pro Challenge National Championship. Also discussed were the intentions to grow to new tracks with even more competition for the upcoming season, ensuring 2007 as an even bigger season than 2006 for Pro Challenge.

PRO CHALLENGE REGIONAL CHAMPIONS
Canada -- Dennis Thomson
Carolinas -- Zach Stroupe
Florida -- Brad Sanders
Georgia -- Kyle Mitchell
Tennessee/Virginia -- Jamie Blanton

AARON'S PRO CHALLENGE NATIONAL TOP-10 IN POINTS
1. Aaron's Pro Challenge National Champion - Terry Mathis
2. Zach Stroupe
3. John Stancill
4. Justin Morton
5. Jamie Blanton
6. Jason Treschl
7. Dean McIntyre
8. Frankie Roberts
9. Kyle Mitchell
10. Scott Hitchens

PRO CHALLENGE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Zach Stroupe

PRO CHALLENGE MOST POPULAR DRIVER
Zach Stroupe

-credit: usar

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Series Stock car
Drivers Kyle Mitchell