Blonde Leads Top Performers Honored During MSR Banquet

Jason Blonde Kelly Poole Photo

Must See Racing
BIRCH RUN, Mich. (March 23, 2024) – Must See Racing recognized its top drivers and teams from the 2023 season during the sanctioning body’s rescheduled Night of Champions celebration Saturday at Birch Run Speedway and Event Center.

The banquet, originally planned for January, was rescheduled to March due to a winter storm that swept across the state of Michigan during the initial event weekend. Despite that, there was still snow on the ground Saturday evening during the festivities.

Chief among the banquet’s honored guests were first-time Must See Racing National Sprint Car Series champion Jason Blonde and back-to-back Must See Racing Midwest Lights titlist Cody Gallogly.

Blonde never trailed during the season-long points battle, winning last year’s opener at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway and holding court atop the standings throughout the 12-race calendar.

“If I have to come up and talk, so does my car owner,” joked Blonde, referencing longtime car owner Tony Nosal. “We’ve been together for a lot of years, and he keeps wanting me back, for some reason.

“This year was rewarding, challenging at times, but special because of the group that I get to race with. We’ve wanted a Must See title for a long time; it just seemed like things never quite worked for us to be able to chase it, but this past year everything finally fell into place,” Blonde added.

“The drivers here are some of the best in the country, and it’s an honor to be part of that history.”

Gallogly dominated the Midwest Lights season for a second consecutive year, leading the crate sprint car tour in nearly every statistical category over the course of the year.

“Yes, my wife did help me with my speech again,” tipped Gallogly to laughter from the crowd.

“In all seriousness, I can’t thank you my family enough for supporting me and allowing me to run up the electric bill in the race shop every month,” he added. “I also can’t say enough about my three kids for their love and support, though I’m not sure I’ll ever quite be able to replace (title rival) J.J. Henes as their favorite driver. This year was challenging, not having my dad around, but my mom has always believed in me and helped to keep this race team going.

“We earned another championship as a team, and now the goal is to go for the three-peat this year.”

Among the other Must See Racing national honorees Saturday was Gene Fogle, crew chief for Bobby Komisarski, who received Crew Chief of the Year honors. Blonde was named Driver of the Year for the first time, while Nosal secured Car Owner of the Year laurels for Blonde’s championship run.

Additional Midwest Lights award recipients included Matt Double (Rookie of the Year) and Terry Bogusz (Crew Chief of the Year), while an emotional moment for all involved saw the late Steve Sexton recognized posthumously as the Midwest Lights’ Car Owner of the Year.

“I was really nervous about coming here, but I was really happy once I did,” said Sexton’s widow, Dana, in accepting the award. “This was Steve’s element, and I can’t say enough how much he cared and loved everyone in this series. He was the ultimate car guy and a great person, husband, and friend.

“I’m glad that Josh (Steve’s son) is going to continue driving in his dad’s honor, and we know Steve will be looking down with pride on everything that Must See Racing continues to do going forward.”

The night’s highest honor, the Jerry Caryer Ironman Award for commitment to Must See Racing, was presented to Ryan Litt as the driver who both exemplified loyalty to pavement sprint car racing as a whole and for his comeback from a vicious supermodified crash last summer to continue racing.

Litt joined Tom Jewell (2021) and Charlie Schultz (2022) as the third recipient of the perpetual honor, which is housed at Must See Racing’s series headquarters in Holly, Mich.

With the 2023 season officially in the books, Must See Racing will kick off its 2024 points campaigns for both the Maxima Racing Oil Midwest Lights and the Must See Racing Perfit Sprint Car Series at Sandusky (Ohio) Speedway on Saturday, April 27.

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Must See Racing National Awards

Perseverance Award: Tommy Nichols
Sportsmanship Award: Dave Koyan/Joe Speakman
Rising Star Award: Rick Holley
Most Improved Driver: Bobby Komisarski
Best Appearing Car: Davey Hamilton Jr.
Fast Qualifier of the Year: Charlie Schultz
Hard Charger of the Year: Bobby Komisarski (+33)
Crew Chief of the Year: Gene Fogle
Car Owner of the Year: Tony Nosal
Driver of the Year: Jason Blonde
Jerry Caryer Ironman: Ryan Litt

Must See Racing Midwest Lights Awards

Perseverance Award: Steve Sexton/S&S Racing
Rising Star Award: Sawyer Stout
Sportsmanship Award: Steve Sexton/S&S Racing
Most Improved Driver: Charlie Baur
Best Appearing Car: Joshua Sexton/S&S Racing
Fast Qualifier of the Year: Cody Gallogly
Hard Charger of the Year: Cody Gallogly
Rookie of the Year: Matt Double
Crew Chief of the Year: Terry Bogusz
Car Owner of the Year: Steve Sexton/S&S Racing
Driver of the Year: J.J. Henes