2003 Rookies/Most Improved driver honors announced

Durst, Lewis, Neely & Gregory top 2003 USAC rookies Hessert, Jessup, Walker tabbed for "Most Improved" honors Seven USAC drivers have been selected for additional seasonal honors which will be recognized at this Friday night's USAC...

Durst, Lewis, Neely & Gregory top 2003 USAC rookies
Hessert, Jessup, Walker tabbed for "Most Improved" honors

Seven USAC drivers have been selected for additional seasonal honors which will be recognized at this Friday night's USAC "Champions Night" at the Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis, Ind.

The University of Northwestern Ohio is the presenting sponsor of cash awards which have been targeted for four National drivers, while Jostens of Minneapolis, MN is the presenting sponsor of the 2003 National "Most Improved Driver" Awards.

Ron Gregory of Noblesville, Ind. is the 2003 USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown "Rookie of the Year," finishing 14th in the final series standings. The step-son of former USAC driver Gary Irvin posted top-10 finishes at DuQuoin, Ill. (eighth) and Syracuse, N.Y. (10th). Gregory's year-end awards include a $2,000 cash award from UNO.

Michael Lewis of Noblesville, Ind. and Mat Neely of Robinson, Ill. share the 2003 USAC National Sprint Car "Rookie of the Year" honors. Lewis finished 15th in points and Neely finished 16th. Lewis recorded feature victories in the "Rich Vogler Classic" at Winchester Speedway and the "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Classic" at Salem Speedway in his first-ever starts at those historic speedway and also won the 2003 USAC Western Sprint Car Championship. Neely finished the season with three straight "top-10s" and had a third-place finish at Putnamville, Ind. Lewis and Neely will split the $1,000 year-end cash award from UNO.

Ryan Durst of Lincoln, Neb. Is the 2003 USAC National Midget Car Series "Rookie of the Year," finishing 10th in the standings. He posted seven top-10 finishes and was named "Rookie of the Race" in last Thursday night's "Turkey Night Grand Prix" 100-lapper at Irwindale, Calif. Durst also receives a $1,000 cash award from UNO.

Tyler Walker of Los Angeles, Calif. finished fifth in the Weld Racing Silver Crown standings and is the 2003 series "Most Improved Driver." He had third-place finishes at Springfield, Ill. and Tulsa, Okla. and added a pair of fifth-place finishes.

Marc Jessup of Camby, Ind. earned the National Sprint Car "Most Improved Driver" award with his 14th-place point ranking. He posted a half-dozen "top-10s" in 15 starts, including a fourth at Indianapolis Raceway Park and a fifth at Nazareth, Pa.

Tom Hessert of Cherry Hill, N.J. is this year's "Most Improved Driver" in the National Midget Car Series. Finishing ninth in the final points, he had eight "top10s," including a fifth at Eldora Speedway in June.

--USAC--

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Series USAC
Drivers Michael Lewis , Tom Hessert , Ron Gregory , Tyler Walker , Marc Jessup , Ryan Durst