From Lance Jennings
LAS VEGAS (January 29, 2017) — The United States Auto Club’s 2016 Western champions and special award winners were honored last Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hosted by Chris Kearns at the Orleans Hotel and Casino, the annual Western Awards Banquet celebrated the accomplishments of racers from fourteen divisions.
The event was headlined by returning champions. “The Demon” Damion Gardner of Concord, California scored his fourth consecutive Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car title for Alexander Racing. Laveen, Arizona’s R.J. Johnson claimed his fourth straight Southwest Sprint Car crown and Ronnie Gardner of Corona, California earned his fourth consecutive Western States Midget Series championship for Six8 Motorsports. Garden Grove, California’s Brody Roa earned his first USAC West Coast Sprint Car championship.
In the Western HPD Midget divisions, Jesse Love IV of Menlo Park, California scored top honors with the Western Overall and Western Dirt series. Hillsborough, California’s Toni Breidinger earned the Western Pavement crown and Blake Brannon of San Jose, California won the Western Restricted title.
The National Micro Sprints had a successful inaugural season and Fresno, California’s Jake Hagopian won the Super 600 championship. Josh Ames of Rochester, New York claimed the Nonwing 600 crown and Concord, California’s Joey Ancona earned the Restricted 600 title. Shawn Freeland of Scottsville, New York scored the 270 championship and Irondequiot, New York’s Jordan Jermyn claimed the 125 title. Caeden Steele of Fresno, California earned the Junior Sprint crown and all of the champions were also honored at last month’s “USAC Night of Champions” in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Rookie of the Year honors went to Max Adams of Loomis, California (CRA Sprint), Pleasant Hill, California’s Ryan Timmons (West Coast Sprint), Landon Cling of Tempe, Arizona (Southwest Sprint), Corona, California’s Courtney Crone (Western Midget), and Antonia Boscacci of Mountain View, California (Western HPD Midget).
Western USAC special awards were presented to Tommy Horne (Bruce Bromme Jr. Mechanic of the Year), Max Adams (CRA Most Improved Driver), Lance Jennings (Billy Wilkerson Memorial Award), and Dick and Claudia Woodland (Evelyn Pratt Award).
The USAC Western staff thanks Mike and Tim Truex of Loudpedal Productions for supplying their great videos and Mike Grosswendt for photographing the event.
The Western campaign opens on February 11th at Canyon Speedway Park (Peoria, Arizona) with the “Steve Stroud Memorial” for the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Cars.
On March 4th, the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Cars will battle at Perris Auto Speedway’s (Perris, California) annual “Sokola Shootout.”
The USAC West Coast and SouthWest Sprint Cars will clash at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Las Vegas, Nevada) on March 9th and 10th for the “Outlaw Showdown.”
On March 11th, the Bakersfield Speedway (Bakersfield, California) will host the season opener for the Light Up The World Beverages USAC Western States Midgets.
For more information on any of the USAC racing divisions, visit the United States Auto Club (USAC) website at www.usacracing.com. You can also find exclusive content for several of the groups on their respective Facebook and Twitter pages.