12 USAC "ROOKIES OF THE YEAR" NAMED TO RECEIVE AWARDS AT SEASONAL BANQUETS IN JANUARY Twelve drivers have been chosen to receive distinctive "Rookie of the Year" awards this January as USAC celebrates its 2006 racing season in...
12 USAC "ROOKIES OF THE YEAR" NAMED TO RECEIVE AWARDS AT SEASONAL BANQUETS IN JANUARY
Twelve drivers have been chosen to receive distinctive "Rookie of the Year" awards this January as USAC celebrates its 2006 racing season in Indianapolis, Ind. and Arcadia, Calif.
Mat Neely of Robinson, Ill. (Silver Crown), Scotty Weir of Madison, Ind. (Sprint) and Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Ind. (Midget) have been tabbed as National "Rookies of the Year" by the selection committee, while seven others will receive regional honors. They include Blake Miller of Yorba Linda, Calif. (USAC/CRA Sprints), Bradley Galedrige of Los Altos, Calif. (Western Sprints), Chase Barber of Morgan Hill, Calif. (Western Midgets), Tyler Irwin of Polson, Mont. (Midwest Ford Focus Midgets), Bradley Riethmeyer of Houston, Texas, (Carolina/Virginia Ford Focus Midgets), Sean Carman of Stockton, N.J. (Northeast Ford Focus Midgets), Tim Skoglund of Fresno, Calif. and Michael Faccinto of Hanford, Calif. (California Ford Focus Midgets) and Brian Olson of Puyallup, Wash. (Regional Midgets).
Neely capped his drive to 11th in the Silver Crown standings with a victory in the "4-Crown Nationals" at Rossburg, Ohio. He added four other "top-10" finishes. Weir finished 11th in the National Sprint points on the strength of seven "top-10" finishes topped by a fourth-place at Kokomo, Ind. Clauson's drive to fifth in the National Midget standings included a victory in the "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Classic" race at Salem, Ind. and three other "podium" finishes. His season was abbreviated by a Sprint car accident in August.
Miller missed only five of the 38 USAC/CRA Sprint races and posted a second-place at Santa Maria, Calif. and a pair of thirds at Perris, Calif. to place seventh in the final standings. Galedrige earned his initial Western Sprint feature victories at Tracy and Madera, Calif. and had 11 "top-10" finishes in 14 starts to finish fourth in the points. Second-place finishes at Tracy, Calif. and Tucson, Ariz. plus other "top-10s" helped Barber finish as the Western Midget Series runner-up to champion Jerome Rodela.
Consistency was the key as Irwin compiled ten "top-10" finishes in Midwestern Ford Focus action and earned eighth and 14th in the respective Paved and Dirt standings. Riethmeyer took third in the Carolina/Virginia Ford Focus points, winning the series opener at Kenly, N.C. and adding a victory at Shenandoah, Va. He was also the fastest qualifier on four occasions. Carman had a second, two thirds and two fourths in eight starts and wound up seventh in the Northeast Ford Focus standings. Skoglund and Faccinto each excelled in California Ford Focus racing. They finished 1-2 in the pavement series standings and each posted four feature wins during the campaign.
Olson finished third in the Regional Midget Series points, winning three times and finishing out of the top-four only twice in 12 starts!
National "Rookies of the Year" will be honored Jan. 19 at USAC's 51st "Night of Champions" in Indianapolis, while Western "Rookies of the Year" will be saluted Jan. 26 at the USAC Western Awards Banquet in Arcadia, Calif. Tickets for the National ceremonies at the Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis can be ordered by calling Brenda Stafford at the USAC National Headquarters at 317-247-5151. Tickets for the Western Banquet are available by calling Jeanie Hunt at the Western Offices in Fair Oaks, Calif. at 916-864-8722.