COONS HEADLINES LIST OF USAC CHAMPIONS AT FRIDAY'S 53RD "NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS" CELEBRATION Triple Crown Champion Jerry Coons Jr. and the rest of USAC's 2008 racing champions accepted year-end awards and accolades Friday night in Indianapolis, Ind.
COONS HEADLINES LIST OF USAC CHAMPIONS AT FRIDAY'S 53RD "NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS" CELEBRATION
Triple Crown Champion Jerry Coons Jr. and the rest of USAC's 2008 racing champions accepted year-end awards and accolades Friday night in Indianapolis, Ind. at the organization's 53rd "Night of Champions."
Emcee Rob Klepper orchestrated the presentations, which included driver and car entrant champions, Rookies of the Year, Most Improved Drivers and special award recipients at the Indiana Roof Ballroom.
National driving champions Coons, of Tucson, Ariz., Cole Whitt of Alpine, Calif. and Alex Bowman, also of Tucson, topped the list of recipients of year-end cash and commemorative awards. Each also received a "Key to the City" of Indianapolis, while Coons also received the prestigious True Speed "Triple Crown Award" as the fifth driver ever to achieve the career feat of championships in all three of USAC's National racing series.
Coons won both the K & N Silver Crown and National Sprint Car titles, while Whitt was the Mopar National Midget king and Bowman the National Ford Focus Champ. Bowman's name will be inscribed on the perpetual Henry Ford Sweepstakes Trophy.
National car entrant champions were RW Motorsports of Lederach, Pa. (Silver Crown), Dynamics, Inc. of Milford, Ohio (National Sprint Car), Keith Kunz Motorsports of Columbus, Ind. (National Midget) and Bowman (Ford Focus).
Other driving champions honored Saturday night were Tanner Swanson of Kingsburg, Calif. (Western Sprint Car), Nic Faas of Huntington Beach, Calif. (Western Midget); Mike Spencer of Temecula, Calif. (Lucas Oil USAC/CRA Sprint Car); JoJo Helberg of Rohnert Park, Calif. (Young Automotive Rocky Mountain Sprint); Travis Young of Franklin, Ind. (Regional Midget), Kyle Hamilton of Danville, Ind. (Midwest and Indiana Ford Focus); Bradley Riethmeyer of Hutto, Texas (Carolina Ford Focus); Ian Miille of Pleasanton, Calif. (California Paved Ford Focus); Alex Bowman (California Dirt Ford Focus); Caleb Armstrong of New Castle, Ind. (Kenyon Midget); Kipp Posey of Lehi, Utah (Utah Developmental Ford Focus), Branden Allen of Yorkville, Ill. (USAC/UMARA Ford Focus) and Charlie Butcher of Santa Barbara, Calif. (Junior Ford Focus). Hamilton also won the 2008 Adam Petty Trophy as USAC's top "Wednesday Night Thunder" driver.
Car entrant champions honored Friday night also included TK Motorsports of Kingsburg, Calif. (Western Sprint Car); Western Speed Racing of Fresno, Calif. (Western Midget); Ron Chaffin Motorsports of Madera, Calif. (Lucas Oil USAC/CRA Sprint Car); Gregg Steele of Shelbyville, Ind. (Midwest and Indiana Ford Focus); Tracy Trotter of Denver, N.C. (Carolina Ford Focus); Ian Miille (California Paved Ford Focus); Alex Bowman (California Dirt Ford Focus); Pam Young of Franklin, Ind. (Regional Midget); Neil Armstrong of New Castle, Ind. (Kenyon Midget); Kerry Posey of Springville, Utah (Utah Developmental Ford Focus) and Marc Wachter of Yorkville, Ill. (USAC/UMARA Ford Focus).
Holley Performance Products, Inc. presented Earl's Fast Qualifier Awards to USAC's 2008 qualifying champions: Tracy Hines, Bobby East, Tanner Swanson, Nic Faas and Mike Spencer.
Irish Saunders and Dennis Sherman of Hoosier Tire Company, presented distinctive Hoosier jackets to each USAC driving champion.
USAC President Kevin Miller also presented USAC Special Recognition Awards to General Motors Corporation (Corporate) and Daryl Guiducci (individual) for their long and dedicated service to the racing community.
Steve Lewis of Laguna Beach, Calif. was named as the recipient of USAC's prestigious Roger McCluskey Award of Excellence, recognizing his long tenure as a USAC car owner and organizer of the annual auto racing Performance Racing Industry Trade Show.
Delphi Corporation of Troy, Mich. was presented the Jack O'Neal Safety Award in recognition of their commitment to safety in auto racing.
The Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department received the Jim Blunk Award for their significant contributions to the sport of Midget racing.
Toyota also presented their Toyota "Top-10" year-end cash awards to the top-10 car owners in the 2008 USAC National Midget Car Series. Western Speed Racing of Fresno, Calif. was also saluted as the winners of the 2008 "Toyota Challenge" championship.
Winners of the 2008 Calico Coatings "Power Trip Awards" for engineering excellence were Roush-Yates Engines of Mooresville, N.C. (Silver Crown), Speedway Engine Development of Indianapolis, Ind. (National Sprint) and Esslinger Engineering of El Monte, Calif. (National Midget).
USAC's 2008 National "Race Organizers of the Year" awards were presented to Doug Fritz of Richmond International Raceway (Silver Crown), Terry McCarl of Southern Iowa Speedway (Sprint) and Ralph Capitani of Knoxville Raceway (Midget).
Steve Arpin of Ford Frances, Ont., Canada and Chad Boat of Phoenix, Ariz. earned 2008 USAC National "Rookie of the Year" honors. Boat claimed both the Sprint Car and Bob Stroud Memorial Midget awards and Arpin was the recipient of the Silver Crown award.
Cole Whitt of Alpine, Calif. was named USAC "Most Improved" National Driver of 2008.
Shane Cottle of Kokomo, Ind. accepted a special commemorative plaque as the 2008 winner of USAC's Pay Less "Little 500" Sprint car race at Anderson, Ind,
USAC's 2008 "Mechanical Achievement of the Year" award went to the Hoffman Auto Racing Team of Milford, Ohio.
Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind. was presented the 2008 USAC Simpson "Super License," earning the most National feature event points.
Buck and Betty Rice of Pro Source Consultants of Grand Saline, Texas presented their 2008 "Hard Work" awards to Billy Boat Motorsports (National Sprint cars) and Keith Kunz Motorsports (National Midgets).
Second and third-place drivers and car entrants in USAC's National racing series also received their year-end recognition and awards.
Special tributes were also displayed honoring USAC's previous "Triple Crown Champions" Pancho Carter, Dave Darland, Tony Stewart and J.J. Yeley,
Joe DeFabis of DeFabis Photography, USAC's Official Portrait Studio, presented USAC Championship Photo Artwork to the 2008 National driving champions.
Floral decorations were provided by Jockish Flowers of Indianapolis. Tim Spillman of Auto Racing Ministries delivered the invocation, while video presentations were courtesy of Dean Mills Video Productions and Dick Wallen's Racing Classics.