Series Night of Champions report

Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Concludes 2008 Season with Annual Night of Champions Charlotte, NC-- November 2, 2008--The 2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series 2008 season concluded on Sunday ...

Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Concludes 2008 Season with Annual Night of Champions

Charlotte, NC-- November 2, 2008--The 2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series 2008 season concluded on Sunday night with the annual Night of Champions at the Hilton University Plaza in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Over $850,000 in cash and prizes were awarded from the 2008 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship point fund, making it the largest point fund in short track racing. Eighteen drivers received a point fund check and spoke on stage, many of whom were accompanied by their car owners, who also spoke.

The night began with a moment of silence for Terry McCarl and his family after the passing of his brother Tommy McCarl on Sunday. This was followed by an invocation from Don Grabey, the Competition Director for the World of Outlaws.

Tom Derry, the President and Chief Operating Officer of the World Racing Group, welcomed all the drivers, team members, car owners, promoters, officials, media members, sponsors and those in attendance to the annual Night of Champions.

"It's great to be here tonight," said Derry. "This is a celebration of the 2008 season. "We have the best teams in motorsports here and the best promoters. We have the whole family here tonight and are celebrating all the great accomplishments of the 2008 season. It takes everyone working together to make this all happen and we have a lot to be proud of. I want to thank everyone who is here tonight for dedication and hard work."

Also addressing those in attendance was: Brian Carter, the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of the World Racing Group, as well Ben Geisler, the Chief Marketing Officer for the WRG, along with Chris Dolack, the Vice President of Public Relations for the company and Carlton Reimers, the Series Director for the World of Outlaws.

A number of awards were presented over the course of the night to drivers, promoters, officials and team members, beginning with the Crew Chief of the Year award which went to veteran crew chief Sonny Kratzer, who helped Kerry Madsen to a sixth-place finish in the series championship standings on the strength of 37 Top-10 finishes.

The Promoter of the Year Award went to Julie and Craig Dollansky from CDR Promotions for their events at Clay County Fair Speedway in Spencer, Iowa and Princeton Speedway in Minnesota. The race at Clay County was a standing room only sellout crowd for the second consecutive season.

"We have really enjoyed promoting the races," said Julie Dollansky. "The Clay County race is in my hometown, so that is a very special event for me. The event has been great and it's been great for the fair as well. It's been exciting and something for the town and the people there to look forward to as well."

The Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award was presented to Lucas Wolfe, who hails from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Despite missing nearly two months of action with a back injury, he picked up nine Top-10 finishes, including a runner-up finish at North Central Speedway in Minnesota.

"It's definitely an honor to receive an award named after Kevin, especially being from the same area as him," said Wolfe. "I want to thank the Jim and Laura Allebach for giving me the chance to come out here this season and hopefully we'll be able to pursue this for many years to come."

The inaugural Outlaw Award went to Art and Carol Malies from Work'N Woody, the Official Push Truck and Safety vehicle of the World of Outlaws, who are retiring. The couple received a standing ovation upon receiving the award.

"I want to thank Ted Johnson for saying come on with the World of Outlaws," said Carol. "We have such a wonderful run. We have made so many friends. Thank you to everyone that has ever done anything for us."

Art and Carol, who have been married 47 years, have been in racing for 30 consecutive seasons, including 21 straight with the World of Outlaws. They used Work'N Woody for the first time at West Capital Raceway located in West Sacramento, California, during the tracks final tribute race in 1979. Woody will remain on the road, under the command of Art and Carol's son Eric, who has been helping them for the last few seasons.

"We've had so much fun," added Art. "I never would have thought this would happen to us."

Johnny Gibson, the renowned announcer for the World of Outlaws, was presented the Service of Excellence Award, after eclipsing the 1100-plus consecutive race mark this season at Huset's Speedway on June 13. The streak began on October 14, 1995 at The U.S. Dirt Nationals at Terre Haute Action Track in Indiana. Known from coast-to-coast as the "Voice of the Outlaws," he began announcing for the series in 1997 and thus has been present at every single event he has announced over the course of that time.

The Ted Johnson Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution was presented to Rick Ferkel, who was one of the original 'Outlaws' in the series inaugural 1978 season. Ferkel, who still owns a car in his home state of Ohio, spent the end of the season on the road with sophomore driver Sam Hafertepe Jr., helping turn the wrenches and mentor the up-and-coming driver.

Shaver Specialties picked up the Crane Cams Engine Builder Challenge Award, while Maxim Race Cars won the Chassis Builder Challenge.

Jake's Carts presented a custom golf cart to Chad Kemenah, who won a random drawing as all the drivers that ran a Jake's Carts decal on their car throughout the season were eligible and had their names thrown into a hat with each being eliminated until Kemenah was the last driver remaining.

The KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award for the season went to Kerry Madsen, who racked up nine Hard Charger Awards throughout the season.

Mike Paris, the Motorsports Manager from Advance Auto Parts addressed those in attendance and shared his thoughts on the company's first season as the series title sponsor and looked ahead to an exciting 2009 season.

The night concluded with Donny Schatz receiving $200,000 for his third consecutive World of Outlaws championship and first since joining Tony Stewart Racing, along with the nearly 50-pound champion's trophy. He also received the signature champion's ring. The North Dakota native made history in 2008, becoming just the third driver in the 30-year existence of the series to win at least three titles and became the only driver other than Steve Kinser to win three consecutive championships.

"I want to thank everyone at Tony Stewart Racing for giving me this opportunity," said Schatz. "You have given me a place to race for my future. Without everyone's support, there is no way that we would be here. To my crew, thank you guys for your hard work. I couldn't have done this without your dedication. Thanks to all the competitors. If we didn't have the drive that we did, we couldn't have 'The Greatest Show on Dirt' that Ted Johnson created and the great races that we have. Thanks everyone."

The 2009 Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series kicks off in just 96 days on February 6-8 at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida with the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals Presented by UNOH.

-credit: woo

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Craig Dollansky , Kerry Madsen , Lucas Wolfe , Brian Carter , Chad Kemenah , Sam Hafertepe Jr.