(November 22) - As the end of the calendar year draws near, officials from the International Pro Stock Challenge (IPSC) used their annual awards banquet as the stage to unveil plans for the series' future. The biggest announcement of the night...
(November 22) - As the end of the calendar year draws near, officials from the International Pro Stock Challenge (IPSC) used their annual awards banquet as the stage to unveil plans for the series' future.
The biggest announcement of the night came when Competition Director, Randy Black, told the crowd gathered at the Saint John (New Brunswick) Hilton that the 2000 IPSC champion will walk away from the banquet next year with $30,000 (USD).
It was also announced that, effective with the start of the 2000 season, all winnings will be paid in U.S. funds. The race winners will continue to receive $5,000 - but when the difference in the exchange rates (U.S. & Canada) is taken into consideration, it amounts to a 50% increase. A huge round of applause was heard from the banquet guests as Black spoke.
"We see this change as positive for everybody," Black said. "As long as the currency exchange rates stay favorable toward the U.S. dollar, the Canadian competitors will always leave the bank with more than their check was written for, while the U.S. teams will never leave with less. It was a real disadvantage this year (for the U.S. teams) with our Canadian race purses being paid in Canadian dollars."
The series will see 12 races with the season opening May 6th at Scotia Speedworld in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Race day formats will continue as in '99, with time trials setting the starting order for heat races, and the finishing order of the heat races setting the starting order of the feature event. The features will be 150 laps in length with the exception of a 200-lapper at Scotia Speedworld on August 19th. This race will feature the biggest payout ever for a stock car race in Eastern Canada with the winner receiving $10,000 (USD).
1999 series champion Scott Fraser, from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, is impressed with the potential he sees with the IPSC.
"It was really an amazing year," said Fraser. "We had almost 1,000 laps of competition and no really big wrecks. That says a lot for the caliber of drivers we've got and for the control the series officials have over the competition. We know better than to get into intentional bumping incidents because we'll be penalized. It was good, hard, but clean racing all year long. It should only get better from here."
Fraser, 28, was the recipient of the championship accolades at the banquet, which included winnings of more than $20,000 (CDN) and the Kelly Cup - the championship trophy named for '98 series champion Scott Kelly, who passed away on May 2nd of this year after a long battle with cancer. Emotions ran high at the gathering as Kelly's wife and parents presented the trophy to a driver who had run many laps with Scott Kelly.
"We started racing together at 16," said Fraser of Kelly. "In all the races we ran, we always raced each other clean. He was a true racer and a friend. It's a real honor to receive this award named for him."
Of the 112 racers who competed or attempted to compete in '99 IPSC competition, the top 15 received points fund money. They were (in order of final finish): Fraser, Ben Rowe, Tim Brackett, Adam friend, Mike MacKenzie, Scott Robbins, Bilodeau, John Flemming, Jerry Babb, Dan Eddy, Kirk Thibeau, Gary Drew, Sam Sessions, Leo Cochrane and Steve Henderson.
Several post season awards were also distributed. Rowe received the Bud Challenge for scoring the most points in the three IPSC events held at Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine. Fraser received the Derek Lynch Racing Most Laps Led Award for leading the lost laps in all six '99 IPSC races (369 of 957 for 38.6%) and the Provincial Electric Maritimes Most Laps Led for leading the most laps in the three Scotia Speedworld events (286 of 452/63.3%). The Grisdale Racing Consistency Award went to Thibeau (a random draw among the teams loyal to '99 IPSC competition).
Two awards were decided by the drivers. The Snap-on Tools Teamwork Award went to Flemming for having the most helpful team on the series. The Most Sportsmanlike Driver Award went to MacKenzie.
"We've got to work hard to keep this momentum going," said Black. "The banquet was an incredible evening and a fitting end to our '99 season. But we know next year, and beyond, are going to be lots of hard work. The season may be over, but there are many long hours ahead of us over the winter to make sure we continue to grow and make things better for everyone involved.