SWS: 2003 Awards Banquet notes

Ziehl tops Southwest Sprint honorees at inaugural Series Awards Banquet Rick Ziehl of Las Cruces, N.M, topped honorees at Saturday night's inaugural USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series Awards Banquet in Tucson, Ariz. The 2003 series ...

Ziehl tops Southwest Sprint honorees at inaugural Series Awards Banquet

Rick Ziehl of Las Cruces, N.M, topped honorees at Saturday night's inaugural USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series Awards Banquet in Tucson, Ariz. The 2003 series champion was among recipients of distinctive year-end and special awards distributed at the Carolina Homestead to top series performers.

Ziehl, who succeeded Mike Boat as the series titlist (Boat won the 2002 USAC New Mexico/Arizona championship), was presented a special High Achievement and Performance Award at the conclusion of the ceremonies, emceed by USAC VP/News & Communications Dick Jordan. Joining series coordinator Hal Burns in making the presentation to Ziehl was USAC VP/Western Operations Tommy Hunt

Preceeding addresses by Jordan, Hunt and Burns, the attendees were read a congratulatory letter from USAC President/CEO Rollie Helmling, who was unable to attend due to business commitments in Indianapolis, Ind.

In addition to Ziehl, drivers finishing in the "top-10" in final series standings also receiving awards included, (2-10) Brandon Lane of Mesa, AZ, Robert Hall, Jr. of Show Low, AZ, Ronnie Clark of Tucson, AZ, Beau Binder of El Paso, Texas, Kaylene Verville of Avondale, AZ, Mike Martin of Yuma, AZ, Shon Deskins of Phoenix, AZ, Bruce St. James of Phoenix and Matt Rossi of Glendale, AZ.

Lane was named the series' "Rookie of the Year," while St. James picked up the "Most Improved Driver" Award. Other special recognition went to Clark (Hard Charger), Binder (Hard Luck), and Deskins (Best Appearing Car), and Verville, USAC's first-ever female Sprint Car feature winner in 2002, was named the series' "Most Popular Driver."

Dave Burns of Santa Fe, N.M. was presented the prestigious "Hank Arnold Award" for dedication, commitment and achievement by Arnold's daughter, Shirley Galbreath, and former car owner Don Brown.

Leighton Crouch of Shallowater, Texas accepted the "Sportsmanship Award" in recognition of his attitude on and off the race track and cooperation with series officials, while Hall received an "Outstanding First-Year Performance" Award.

A special thank you was extended to Pacific Air Cargo for their sponsorship of the affair and for their assistance in making the November "Hawaii Sprint Car Classic" a reality. In addiiton, C.L. Bryant Company was also recognized for their contributions to the series.

Arizona resident Dick Wallen also addressed the attendees regarding his progress on the planned commemorative book and video chronicalling USAC's 50-year history which are expected in early 2006.

USAC's Southwest Sprint Car Series Officials also came in for special recognition, receiving appreciation plaques from the USAC Headquarters in Indianapolis.

The 2004 USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series schedule is in the final stages of completion and is expected to be released later this week.

--USAC--

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Series USAC
Drivers Mike Boat , Shon Deskins , Leighton Crouch , Rick Ziehl , Beau Binder , Brandon Lane , Ronnie Clark , Bruce St. James , Jordan Dick