Champions, Top Competitors Honored

November 21, 2009 at 1:14 PM

The 50th anniversary season of the Holland NASCAR Motorsports Complex came to a close on Friday evening, November 20th with the annual awards banquet, honoring the champions and top competitors from the 2009 racing season at the Western New York race plant. The event was held in the Fillmore Ballroom of the Millennium Airport Hotel in Cheektowaga, NY.

Buffalo based comedian Dan Pordum entertained the crowd of about 250 in between awards presentations.

In addition to the championship hardware and point fund monies, each divisional champion received a full size photo posterboard placard of car and driver courtesy of the VSP Marketing Graphic Group of West Seneca, NY.

Justin Shepker of Lawtons NY earned his first career track title, taking top honors in the NASCAR Raginwolf.com SST Pro Modifieds. Shepker scored but a single feature race victory, but consistent finishes in the top five in Holland’s designated NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division kept him in the championship hunt and a second place finish on the final points night clinched the crown. Shepker walked away with $3,000 plus additional contingency monies for his efforts. In addition to the championship awards, the team received the division’s Martin Brothers Chevrolet Best Appearing Car Award for the Designer Pools Troyer #60, and Justin’s father and Crew Chief, John Shepker, was voted as the Holland NASCAR Craftsman Mechanic of the Year.

Joining Shepker on the Pro Modified podium were Mike Fiebelkorn, Jr. and Joe Evans. Fiebelkorn recorded two wins for the season, but engine woes on the season’s final points night effectively eliminated him for a chance at a second career title. For that disappointment, Fiebelkorn was selected as the recipient of the division’s Sunoco Hard Luck Award. Evans likewise had two victories for the summer, and was voted by the fans as the division’s Try-It Distributing Most Popular Driver.

On the strength of five victories, Eldon King III of Freedom, NY earned the 2009 Late Model of Tomorrow championship. 2008 champ T.J. Johnson scored two victories to earn second in the LAMOT points chase, and was also the fans’ choice as the Try-It Distributing Most Popular Driver. Dave Whittaker grabbed two victories en route to finishing third in points, and was also awarded both the Clark Rice Memorial Rookie-of-the-Year and the VSP Marketing Graphic Group Most Improved Driver honors.

Dave Krawczyk of Kenmore, NY bookended the season with victories on opening and closing nights, and scored two additional wins, in capturing his first Charger division crown and second career Holland title. The crew of Dave’s #11 was also honored with the Bobcat of Buffalo Best Appearing Pit Crew award. 2008 champ Mark Hoch took four checkered flags, including the July 25th 50 lap special, to earn runner-up points honors. 2007 titleist Jim Loffredo continued his string of top three points finishes with two feature wins sparking his seasonal third place showing.

The Pro Four points chase came down to four drivers dicing for the crown on the final night, but Nik Welshans was on a late season roll, with five wins over the last six outings (plus an opening night win) to seal his first career Holland title. Chad Pusloski earned the first two feature victories in his ten years of racing en route to a second place points finish and the division’s VSP Marketing Graphic Group Most Improved Driver award. J.D. Roberts rolled to a victory and third place in the points standings - in addition, J.D. was the fans’ choice as the Try-It Distributing Most Popular Driver, and the crew of his #70 was chosen as the division’s Bobcat of Buffalo Best Appearing Pit Crew award winners.

Holland’s winningest driver in 2009 was Eric Brown, as the Holland, NY racer earned seven victories, including six straight to close the season, to earn his first career Holland title in the Thiel Motorsports 4-cylinder Hornet class. Jeff Szafraniec went winless on the season, but never finished outside of the top six to take second in the points chase, and was the fans’ choice as the division’s Try-It Distributing Most Popular Driver. George Quintana raced to two victories en route to a third place finish in the points chase.

Samantha Lutz motored to two wins and a first career championship in the Thiel Motorsports Queen Bee division. Samantha’s "Dice Racing" team was also honored as the division’s Bobcat of Buffalo Best Appearing Pit Crew award winners. First year driver Sylvia Miszczak was on a run at season’s end, capturing two victories, taking second in points, and earning the division’s Clark Rice Memorial Rookie-of-the-Year award. Past champ Mae Urban also visited victory lane twice in the process of racing to third place seasonal honors.

The only 2008 champion to defend his title in 2009 was M&M U-Pull-It Figure 8 Car crown holder Mike Eckam. "Mad Mike" rolled to two feature wins, and was also the fans’ choice as the division’s Try-It Distributing Most Popular Driver. Jason Eck took two wins and seasonal second place honors, while Jesse Baker was also victorious on two occasions en route to a third place points finish - Jesse was also named as the division’s Clark Rice Memorial Rookie-of-the-Year.

The Unsung Hero Award was presented to Barry Decker, in recognition of his efforts behind the organization and promotion of the highly successful NASCAR SST Pro Modified George Decker Memorial 100. Barry, along with his mother Phyllis, was also on hand to present the George Decker Memorial trophy to race winner Jeff Price. The Woman in Racing Award was presented to Lori Crassi, crew chief for the Late Model of Tomorrow #07 of husband Nick Crassi. Media Appreciation awards were presented to Ken Hangauer, Jr. (WXRL-AM), and Dave Roberts (Area Auto Racing News and LCTV). Sponsorship Appreciation awards were presented to VSP Marketing Graphics Group and Martin Brothers Chevrolet. Gordon Trank and Jerry Szalanski of the Late Models of Tomorrow Series presented appreciation awards to Mighty Taco, Auto Wrench Connection, Piscitello Design, Dr. Leon Kantor, Steve Kantor, and Andy Ticco, and also presented a thank you award to Ron and Tim Bennett of the Holland NASCAR Motorsports Complex.

Other award winners included

NASCAR Ragingwolf.com SST Pro Modifieds

  • Feature race winners: Amy Catalano (3), John Barber, Patrick Emerling.
  • Points Awards 4-10: Neil Hopkins, Tim Welshans, Don King, Kevin Miller, Jeff Ruddy, Kevin Lewis, Patrick Emerling.
  • Clark Rice Memorial Rookie of the Year: Kevin Miller.
  • Bobcat of Buffalo Best Appearing Pit Crew: Ed Weber #4w crew.
  • VSP Marketing Graphic Group Most Improved Driver: Tim Welshans.

Late Models of Tomorrow

  • Feature race winners: Joe Carbone.
  • Points Awards 4-10: Joe Carbone, Mike Ticco, Nick Crassi, Jason Kline, Scott Jarrell, Alan Fisher, Jason Gwin.
  • Bobcat of Buffalo Best Appearing Pit Crew: Joe Carbone #31 crew.
  • Martin Brothers Chevrolet Best Appearing Car: Scott Jarrell #75.
  • Sunoco Hard Luck Award: Alan Fisher.

Chargers

  • Feature race winners: Matt Welshans.
  • Points Awards 4-10: Jerry Kosmowski, Ted Welshans, Shawn Lafferty, Jim Mallaber, Joe Eck, Rich Carnes, Zach Myers.
  • Try-It Distributing Most Popular Driver: Jerry Kosmowski.
  • Martin Brothers Chevrolet Best Appearing Car: Al Grimmer #34.
  • VSP Marketing Graphic Group Most Improved Driver: Ted Welshans.
  • Sunoco Hard Luck Award: Matt Welshans.

Pro Fours

  • Feature race winners: Jason Eck, Josh Hathaway.
  • Points Awards 4-8: Josh Hathaway, Joe Mastrocicco III, Mike Eckam, Jason Eck, Bob Marzec.
  • Clark Rice Memorial Rookie-of-the-Year: Joe Mastrocicco III.
  • Martin Bros. Chevrolet Best Appearing Car: Mike Eckam #04.

Thiel Motorsports 4-cylinder Hornets

  • Feature race winners: Eric Marzec.
  • Points Awards 4-10: Bill Lutz, Jammer Mueckl, Eric Marzec, Mae Urban, Samantha Lutz, Kim Marzec Skoney, Dennis Felton.
  • Clark Rice Memorial Rookie-of-the-Year: Dennis Felton.
  • Martin Brothers Chevrolet Best Appearing Car: Jammer Mueckl #69.
  • VSP Most Improved Driver: Butcher Palmer.
  • Sunoco Hard Luck Award: Eric Marzec.

Thiel Motorsports Queen Bees

  • Feature race winners: Kim Marzec Skoney (3).
  • Points Awards 4-6: Kim Marzec Skoney, Elaine Pimpo, Robin Frey.
  • Try-It Distributing Most Popular Driver: Elaine Pimpo.
  • Martin Brothers Chevrolet Best Appearing Car: Elaine Pimpo #29.
  • VSP Marketing Graphic Group Most Improved Driver: Robin Frey.
  • Sunoco Hard Luck Award: Kim Marzec Skoney.

M&M U-Pull-It Figure 8 Cars

  • Feature race winners: Jason Adams (3), Marty Hughes, Waylon Price.
  • Points Awards 4-8: Jason Adams, Butcher Palmer, Marty Hughes, Eric Brown, Waylon Price.

The Holland NASCAR Motorsports Complex will open for its 51st consecutive season of racing on Saturday, May 29, 2010.