ERIE, Mich. (November 10, 2016) – The Engine Pro Sprints On Dirt presented by ARP 2016 Awards Banquet took place at the Battle Creek (MI) Holiday Inn on Saturday, November 5. A night packed with light-hearted fun and heavy-weight awards capped off a great 2016 season with the crowning of Brian Smith as champion.
The drivers honored at the banquet will forever be remembered as those who made the new, unlimited Sprints On Dirt one of the most memorable changes in sprint car racing history.
SOD president John Naida served as event host and emcee and opened the festivities by recognizing SOD promoter partners Butler Speedway, Crystal Motor Speedway, Hartford Speedway, I-96 Speedway, Merritt Speedway, Thunderbird Raceway, and Winston Speedway. Lexi Adgate, a competitor in a handful of 2016 SOD events herself, then began the presentation of trophies and awards.
Dan McCarron – Sprints On Dirt marketing services
Motor City Racing Promotions – Professional event officials and management services
Steve Smith – Enhanced payout contributions
Robert Flannigan – Enhanced payout contributions
Mark Aldrich – XYZ Machining Sportsman of the Year
Justin Ward – RockAuto.com Sprint Car Rookie of the Year
Brian Smith – RockAuto.com SOD Series Rookie of the Year
Nathan Whitney – XYZ Machining Crew Chief of the Year
Roger & Pat Holzinger – Dedication to SOD
Engine Pro – Long-time professional partnership & support
Hoosier Racing Tire – Long-time professional partnership & support
Each year, Engine Pro recognizes the Engine Builder of the Year award for its high level of craftsmanship and dedication to the Sprints On Dirt racing community. The 2016 recipient is Gressman Powersports from Fremont, Ohio. Gressman is the engine builder for SOD Champion Brian Smith.
Rod End Supply and Keizer Aluminum Wheels recognized Brian Smith, Steve Irwin, Mark Aldrich, John Gall, Justin Ward, and Eric Smith for participation in every 2016 SOD event.
The Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt presented by ARP MAHLE/Clevite Beyond Limits Challenge, formerly the MAHLE/Clevite Short Track Challenge, had a very different look for 2016.
The five-race 2016 MAHLE/Clevite Beyond Limits Challenge mini-series gave SOD competitors an opportunity to compete for a separate point fund within the full SOD season series. The final standings for the BLC Championship are:
2016 MAHLE/Clevite Beyond Limits Challenge Point Standings
1. Brian Smith – 677, $1,000.00
2. Steve Irwin – 663, $600.00
3. Mark Aldrich – 601, $400.00
4. John Gall – 539, $300.00
5. Jay Steinebach – 509, $200.00
6. Eric Smith – 496, $150.00
7. Justin Ward – 494, $100.00
The top twelve SOD competitor members in points were introduced and presented with trophies and awards by Lexi Adgate.
2016 SOD Trophy Presentations (With Trophy Sponsor)
1. 2+ – Brian Smith, Merritt Speedway
2. 0 – Steve Irwin, Pat & Roger Holzinger
3. 1A – Mark Aldrich, Rock-N Promotions
4. 81 – John Gall, Crystal Motor Speedway
5. 8 – Justin Ward, Noizee 1 Motorsports
6. 1 – Eric Smith, Strpko Engineering
7. 19 – Brett Mann, Butler Speedway
8. 4T – Josh Turner, Lane Automotive
9. 10S – Jay Steinebach, Hartford Speedway
10. 46 – Don Wisniewski for Robert Huisken, Sprints On Dirt
11. 71H/27 – Robert Flannigan for Brad Lamberson, Jim Coffey & Son Plumbing & Heating
12. 6 – Tyler Bearden, John & Kathie Naida
Brian Smith – MAHLE/Clevite, Hoosier Racing Tire, RockAuto.com, J&J Auto Racing, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Rod End Supply
Steve Irwin – MAHLE/Clevite, Hepner Racing Products, XYZ Machining, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Rod End Supply, Allstar Performance/SOD
Mark Aldrich – MAHLE/Clevite, XYZ Machining, Schoenfeld Headers, Maxim Racing, Hoosier Racing Tire, Keizer Aluminum Wheels
Rod End Supply
John Gall – MAHLE/Clevite, XYZ Machining, Simpson Racing Products, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Rod End Supply, Allstar Performance/SOD
Justin Ward – MAHLE/Clevite, RockAuto.com, Hoosier Racing Tire, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Rod End Supply
Eric Smith – MAHLE/Clevite, Simpson Racing Products, Maxim Racing, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Rod End Supply, Allstar Performance/SOD, Brett Mann, Maxim Racing, Racing Optics, Kistler Racing Products, Allstar Performance/SOD
Josh Turner – Racing Optics, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Rod End Supply, Allstar Performance/SOD,
Jay Steinebach – MAHLE/Clevite, Racing Optics, Allstar Performance/SOD,
Robert Huisken – Maxim Racing, Rod End Supply, Allstar Performance/SOD
Tyler Bearden – Maxim Racing, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Allstar Performance/SOD
Hoosier Racing Tire awarded jackets to Champion Brian Smith, RockAuto.com Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Justin Ward, XYZ Machining Sportsman of the Year Mark Aldrich, and XYZ Machining Crew Chief of the Year Nathan Whitney.
Maxim Racing provided Mark Aldrich, Brett Mann, Eric Smith, Robert Huisken, and Tyler Bearden with contingency awards. In addition, birthday boy Josh Turner was presented with a birthday cake during his introduction.
SOD recognized RacingAwareness.com for its efforts RacingAwareness.com and Racing Awareness Inc. are two separate entities that were created with the sole intent of providing children and their families from Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, of West Michigan, who are experiencing or have experienced an illness or injury of a child, a diversion from the healthcare process utilizing the sport of auto racing. Banquet trophies and awards presenter Lexi Adgate was one of the original kids that Racing Awareness “adopted.”
Attendees were presented with a few facts about the 2016 season. There were five rain outs and threatening weather on five other dates, but the first season under the new unlimited format was still a great success. Car counts were equal to 2015 in spite of several no-shows due to weather. The on-track product was exceptional with only one spin out for every 986 laps run. Seven drivers, Brian Smith (3), Ryan Ruhl (2), Chad Blonde, Stuart Brubaker, Steve Irwin, Max Stambaugh, and Doug Zimmerman, won features.
In spite of only ten events completed, competitors were well rewarded. Brian Smith was awarded $6,440 in cash and awards. $1,295 in cash and awards was the least amount awarded to the member drivers present. Engine Pro Sprints On Dirt presented by ARP awarded competitors $41,110 above and beyond purse payouts in 2016.
Engine Pro Sprints On Dirt presented by ARP would like to thank everyone whose extra effort made the banquet a perfect close to the 2016 season. Thank you to Motor City Racing Promotions Scott Menlen and Laura Tucker for set-up and tear-down. Thank you to Pat Holzinger and Kathie Naida for handling registration. Thank you to Wendy Rominger and the staff of the Battle Creek Holiday Inn for their superb facilty and services. Thank you to Thomas Michael for photographing the banquet. A very special thank you also goes out to Lexi Adgate for her hard work in distributing the cash and contingency awards.