By Troy Hennig
CORNING, CA – November 19, 2011…The 2011 Wells Fargo / Hoosier Tire Silver Dollar Speedway awards banquet was held this past Saturday night at Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, CA. Roughly 140 drivers, crew members, officials and fans attended the awards banquet. There was a wide array of buffet options and a huge desert table. While the food and atmosphere was wonderful the real highlight of the night was the awards presentation itself. Five racing divisions were honored including the 410 winged sprints, dirt modifieds, street stocks, wingless sprints and limited late models. Every driver and or car owner in the top 10 of points received a trophy and a check.
The night started off with opening ceremonies that included our appreciation to the people in attendance, sponsors and the fans that supported the Silver Dollar Speedway in 2011. During dinner a two-hour video season recap presented by Mike Doyle. Contact Mike Doyle to pick up your very own copy. Promoter Dennis Gage addressed the crowd with a nine minute video presentation where he alluded to the off season track work and what is in store for 2012. Plaques were made for Wells Fargo, Hoosier Tire, Riebes Auto Parts, Coors Light and Fair Manager Scott Stoller.
Veteran sprint car mechanic Brian Sperry earned the 2011 sprint car owner championship. Sperry deserved this honor with all his hard work and dedication. Throughout the season he fielded a car for Sean Becker and Daniel Becker. Tyler Wolf accepted the 2011 sprint car 410 driving championship trophy. The 19 year old became the youngest 410 champion in the history of the speedway. Finishing fifth in the points and earning Rookie of the Year honors was Chico’s David Tarter. The Tarter family has dedicated their lives to racing and it felt good to see David win the award. Others attending the banquet included second place Andy Forsberg, fourth place finishing Robert Stice and seventh place Brad Bumgarner. Forsberg was invited back up front to accept his Pepsi Night trophy.
Chico’s Mark Abouzeid celebrated his second dirt modified championship with his lovely wife Amy. Also at their table was fellow teammate and Street Stock champion driver Kevin Lesch. Both race under the Chico Volkswagen banner. Both cars are owned by Amy Abouzeid. Kevin Pendergrass earned the Rookie of the Year honors but was not present to accept the award. Abouzeid also won on Pepsi night. With that win, Abouzeid has won the race three years in a row. Because of this, Abouzeid was able to keep the perpetual trophy and never turn it back in. Dennis Gage brought to the banquet the next Pepsi night dirt modified trophy for 2012 and beyond.
During the street stock awards, Kevin Berns was awarded the Rookie of the Year plaque. Berns finished in the eighth spot. Kevin Ward of Paradise was in attendance and received the second place trophy. Chico’s Mike Slightom, Gary Newman and Bill Patterson were also on hand to enjoy the night’s festivities.
Terry Schank Jr. picked up his second wingless track championship in a row. He thanked Roger Gleason for the past few years of racing the wingless sprints. Schank was also here to accept the Pepsi trophy. He has won the race two years in a row and remarked that he wants to be like Abouzeid and keep the thing after next years win.
Angelique Bell received the rising star award but was not in attendance. Braedon Enos received the Most Improved award. Enos finished second in points. Ron LaPlant earned the Rookie of the Year award. He finished fourth in the points.
David Larabee was thrilled to receive his championship trophy for the limited late model series. Larabee thanked his fellow competitors and his family. Second place finishing Ken Micheli was there as was Matt Magenheimer, Alan Pace and Jerry Bartlett.
It was announced at the awards show that weather permitting Silver Dollar Speedway will host a Play Day on March 3rd. The Silver Cup will take place March 9 and 10. The Mini Gold Cup will take place March 23rd and 24th. Currently all four nights of the Gold Cup Race of Champions tickets are on-sale. Keep glued to our website at www.silverdollarspeedway.com for upcoming news and the 2012 racing schedule.