Top Drivers of 2011 Honored at Awards Banquet

November 19, 2011 at 10:28 AM

The 52nd season at the Holland Motorsports Complex came to a formal close on Friday evening, November 18th with the annual awards banquet, honoring the champions and top competitors from the 2011 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.

Rochester based comedian Steve Burr entertained the crowd of about 300 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.

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Amy Catalano of Ontario NY earned her first career Holland track title, taking top honors in the NASCAR National Overhead Door Pro Modifieds. Amy did not start on opening day, but placed in the top three in every remaining event of the season, including two wins and five runner-up finishes. She was also crowned the New York State NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion and ranked 24th nationally in the Series standings. Catalano earned $3,000 in points funds plus additional contingency awards for her efforts.

Joining Catalano on the Pro modified podium were Andy Jankowiak and mike Fiebelkorn, Jr. Jankowiak rolled to five feature victories throughout the season, and fell just two points shy of claiming the divisional crown. Andy was voted by the fans as the Pro Modified Bank of Holland Most Popular Driver. Two-time past champ Fiebelkorn had one victory and a pair of runner-up finishes on his 2011 resume, and has now recorded top three Pro Modified points finishes for five straight seasons. Mike's #10 was also judged as the divisional winner of the McCool Paint Workz Best Appearing Car Award.

On the strength of seven victories, Eldon King III of Freedom NY earned the 2011 Late Model championship - the title was his second in three seasons. King had but one finish outside of the top three all season long. Mike Ticco had a career best Holland points finish with a runner-up placement. Ticco scored one feature victory and four additional top three finishes during the season. For the second straight season, Nick Crassi placed third in the points chase - though shut out of victory lane, Crassi notched one second and four third place runs over the summer.

In the tightest points race of the season, one which had five drivers in contention for the title going into the final event, Jim Loffredo of Orchard Park NY earned his second career Bank of Holland Charger title. The 2007 Charger champ had one feature win and six additional top six finishes to claim the 2011 honors by a single point. Kris Hamann joined the weekly Charger ranks for the first time in 2011, and nearly walked away with the division title. Hamann earned the victory in the June Bank of Holland 50 lap special and had three runner-up finishes to place a very close second in the points chase. Hamann was the recipient of the division’s Clark Rice Memorial Rookie of the Year award. Past Charger champ Jerry Kosmowski placed third in the final run-down. Kosmowski rolled to one feature win and four additional top five finishes.

Eric Brown of Holland picked up his second 4-cylinder Hornet track title in three seasons. Brown never finished worse than sixth in any event, and visited victory lane on eight different occasions, including the July 50 lap special and the September 50 lap finale. Tony Carbone did not pay victory lane any visits in 2011, but had seven top five finishes, including the final six events of the season, to earn second in the points chase. In addition, the "Dago Fast" Racing Team of Tony, his brother Josh, and his racing cousins Lou Carbone, Dylan Carbone, Chris Powers, and Tim Boyce was awarded the Hornet division’s Coca-Cola Best Appearing Pit Crew award. Ben Russo earned a first career Hornet feature win and had five additional top five finishes to grab third in the final points standings.

After falling just short of the title in 2010, Jason Adams of East Aurora NY wasn’t to be denied in 2011, tallying seven victories en route to his first M&M U-Pull-It Figure 8 Car title. Jason was also named as the division’s VSP Marketing and Graphics Most Improved Driver and was voted by the fans as the Figure 8 Car Bank of Holland Most Popular Driver. Bob Marzec took one feature win and had seven additional top three finishes to place second in the final standings. Marzec’s #47 was awarded the division’s McCool Paint Workz Best Appearing Car designation. Past champ Bill Lutz took the final night victory in addition to two earlier top three runs to place third in the points chase.

The Casey’s TQ Midget Series based their road show at Holland in 2011, taking part in each Saturday night racing program. Camden Barber of Bliss NY was honored as the Series’ Holland champ. The third generation driver raced to six victories and three second place finishes en route to the track crown.

Kirk Totten was presented with the winner’s trophy in recognition of his victory in the Pro Modified highlight event of the season, the George Decker Memorial 100. For the second consecutive year, the NASCAR Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Award was presented to Dave Catalano, crew chief for the Pro Modified racing efforts of his wife Amy and for his son Tommy’s Charger. In addition, Dave, himself a racer, was named as the Pro Modified Clark Rice Memorial Rookie of the Year and was named the division’s Wardynski and Sons Hard Luck driver.

The Unsung Hero Award was presented to track mechanical and electrical technician Rob Herget, for his diligent behind-the-scenes efforts. The Woman in Racing Award was presented to track Program Director and Audio/Video Manager Jessica Wander. Media Appreciation awards were presented to long time area race announcer and WXRL-AM racing radio show host Ken Hangauer, Jr. and to Area Auto Racing News columnist Dave Roberts.

Sponsorship Appreciation awards were presented to Bank of Holland, Coca-Cola, Decker Promotions, National Overhead Door, Try-It Distributing, VSP Marketing Graphics Group, and Wardzynski and Sons.

Other award winners included:

NASCAR National Overhead Door Pro Modifieds -

  • Feature race winners: Patrick Emerling, Kirk Totten.
  • Points Awards 4-10: Kirk Totten, Don King, Jeff Ruddy, Neal Dietz, Jr., Dave Catalano, Joe Carbone, Dave Johnson.
  • Coca-Cola Best Appearing Pit Crew: Johnson-Rutherford Racing Team.
  • VSP Marketing and Graphics Most Improved Driver: Jeff Ruddy.

Late Models -

  • Feature race winners: Alan Fisher (2), T.J. Johnson.
  • Points Awards 4-10: John McClurg, Alan Fisher, Sean Dolan, Brandon Glover, T.J. Johnson, Josh Hathaway, J.D. Roberts.
  • Bank of Holland Most Popular Driver: J.D. Roberts.
  • Coca-Cola Best Appearing Pit Crew: Brandon Glover Racing Team.
  • McCool Paint Workz Best Appearing Car: Sean Dolan #57.
  • VSP Marketing and Graphics Most Improved Driver: John McClurg.
  • Wardynski and Sons Hard Luck Award: J.D. Roberts.

Bank of Holland Chargers -

  • Feature race winners: Ted Welshans (2), Matt Welshans, Nik Welshans, Donnie Aquino, Rich Carnes, Tommy Catalano, Dave Wilson, Jr.
  • Points Awards 4-10: Ted Welshans, Rich Carnes, Matt Welshans, Nik Welshans, Mike Flaig, Tim Northem, Mark Harsch.
  • Bank of Holland Most Popular Driver: Tommy Catalano.
  • Coca-Cola Best Appearing Pit Crew: Welshans/West Falls Racing Team.
  • McCool Paint Works Best Appearing Car: Rich Carnes #17.
  • VSP Marketing and Graphics Most Improved Driver: Tim Northem.
  • Wardynski and Sons Hard Luck Award: Tim Welshans.

4-cylinder Hornets -

  • Feature race winners: Samantha Lutz, Chris Powers.
  • Points Awards 4-10: Ashley Kirchberger, Samantha Lutz, Chris Powers, Jeff Szafraniec, Sylvia Miszczak, Dylan Carbone, Bob Marzec.
  • Clark Rice Memorial Rookie of the Year: Lou Carbone.
  • Bank of Holland Most Popular Driver: Jeff Szafraniec.
  • McCool Paint Workz Best Appearing Car: Chris Powers #17.
  • VSP Marketing and Graphics Most Improved Driver: Samantha Lutz..
  • Wardynski and Sons Hard Luck Award: Sylvia Miszczak.

M&M U-Pull-It Figure 8 Cars -

  • Feature race winners: Scott Pastorius, Eric Brown.
  • Points Awards 4-8: Jason Eck, Joe Mastrocicco III, Eric Brown, Scott Pastorius, Jerry Toms.

The Holland Motorsports Complex will open for its 53rd consecutive season of racing with a Sunday afternoon event on May 20, 2012 before shifting to the regular Saturday evening schedule on Saturday, May 26.