CONCORD, N.C. – Jan. 17, 2016 – The 33rd Annual DIRTcar Racing Tribute to Excellence Awards Banquet in Springfield, Ill. honored champions across 10 divisions for their outstanding performances during the 2016 racing season.
While the weather outside was brutal, the Springfield Crowne Plaza Hotel ballroom inside was warm as guests reminisced on a great 2016 season. Nearly 1,000 competitors, family and friends attended Saturday evening’s event. There, DIRTcar Racing distributed close to $330,000 to competitors in recognition of their successes during the 2016 season.
“Smooth Operator” Bobby Pierce continued his dominance in the DIRTcar Late Model division. The Danville, Ill. native collected his third straight DIRTcar Late Model National Championship.
Pierce visited Victory Lane 19 times during the 2016 season. In addition to his National Championship, Pierce also won the Summer Nationals title and finished ninth in the Midwest region. Rusty Schlenk and McKay Wenger finished second and third respectfully in the National Championship points standings.
Mike Harrison took home the National Championship honors in the DIRTcar UMP Modified division.
Harrison, a native of Highland Creek, Ill., comes off another stellar season, aside from finishing first in the national points standings, Harrison went on to finish fifth in the Illinois region, fourth in the Southern Illinois/Missouri region, and second in the Summit Modified Nationals. Harrison recorded 21 wins during the 2016 season. This is Harrison’s fifth Modified Nationals Championship.
Harrison’s championship paid $20,000.
A.J. May of Creve Coeur, IL, took top honors in the DIRTcar Pro Late Model National Championship, worth $10,000 dollars. May visited Victory Lane at DIRTcar-sanctioned events 15 times during the season.
Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 was named the 2016 DIRTcar Track of the Year. I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo. is a high-banked 1/3-mile high-banked oval that features Saturday night racing. Additionally, the Raceway plays hosts to the Ironman for the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series. Owners Ray and Sue Marler were on-hand to accept the award.
Jason Plummer was honored as the 2016 DIRTcar Promoter of the Year. Plummer is the promoter for Peoria Speedway.
Jeremy Reed, of Decatur, Ill., was the DIRTcar Sports Compact National Champion. Reed went on to finish fifth in the West region and sixth in the North region. Reed totaled 22 victories during the 2016 season.
In the DIRTcar Factory Stock national points standings, Jesse Simmons of Danville, Ill. came out on top. Simmons claimed had 18 wins during the 2016 season. He received $1,000 for his championship.
With 13 wins on the year, Steve Peeden from Paragon, In, was the DIRTcar Sportsman national champion. In addition to his National Champion, Peeden also won the East region.
Tim Hancock was honored for his DIRTcar Pro Modified Series national title. Hancock had 19 wins throughout the season and received $1,000 from the points fund.
Andrew Funk from Dwight, Ill., had 26 wins during the 2016 season. Funk was the Stock Car National Champion. Funk also finished second in the North and fifth in the South region.
Kevin Atkins won the Pro Sprint division and Jon Robbins wrapped up the I-Mod championship.
The Summit Modified National Championship went to Nick Hoffman. David Mielke won the Michigan DIRTcar Mod Championship, Tony Jackson Jr. was the MARS Champion. The American Mod Series Championship went to Trent Young. The American Ethanol Late Model Tour Championship went to Dona Marcoullier and the ALMS Championship was claimed by Rusty Schlenk.
The 2016 Kid Modz championship went to Ryan Hamilton of Fairview Heights, Ill. Hamilton had six wins on the season.
State and regional champions recognized during the banquet included:
* Late Models ($2,000 each): Denny Woodworth (Midwest), Caleb Ashby (Deep South), Mike Spatola (Central), Justin Wells (South), Michael Kloos (Southwest), Eric Spangler (Michigan), Richard Papenhausen (West) and Devin Shiels (East).
* UMP Modifieds ($2,000 each): Trent Young (Deep South), Clayton Miller and Trent Young (South), Shawn Valenti (East), Derek Groomer (Indiana/Kentucky), David Mielke (Michigan), Jeff Koz (Ohio), Gabe Menser (Illinois), Jamie Lomax (Northern Indiana) and Michael Long (Missouri/Illinois).
* Pro Late Models ($500 each): A.J. May (North) and Michael Zimmerman (South).
* Sportsman ($200 each): Troy Medley (West) and Steve Peeden (East).
* Stock Car ($200 each): Jerrard Krick (North) and Josh Griffith (South).
* Sport Compact ($200 each): Jerry Gibson III (East), Rickey Carriker (West), Richard Ashby Jr. (South) and Matt Mackey (North)
Other special awards were handed out during the banquet:
With 122 wins throughout the season, Impressive Race Cars was honored as the Modified Chassis Builder of the Year. Rocket Race Cars, with 86 wins during the 2016 season, was honored as the Late Model Chassis Builder of the Year.
Bandit Race Cars was named the 2016 American Modified Series Chassis of the Year while Mullins Racing Engines claimed the 2016 American Modified Series Engine of the Year.
Spec Race Engines was the winner of the Modified Champion Engine Builder Award. Pro Power claimed the Late Model Champion Engine Builder award.
Ciara Pierce was awarded the Late Model Mechanic of the Year award and Brett Harrison received the Modified Mechanic of the Year award.
Bo Brockway, of Glasford Ill., finished 41st in the DIRTcar Late Model national points en route to the 2016 Rookie of the Year title.
DirtOnDirt.com’s Todd Turner was honored with the prestige Bob Memmer Achievement Award.
The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds start their 2017 season at North Florida Raceway in Lake City, Florida on Feb. 3. The Modifieds will then head to East Bay Raceway Park on Feb. 7 through the 11th. The UMP Modifieds head back to North Florida Raceway on the 12th before wrapping up their Florida tour at DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park Feb. 14 to 21.
The 2017 DIRTcar Late Models kick off their season on Feb. 12 at North Florida Speedway. The Late Models will join DIRTcar Nationals for three nights of action packed racing on Feb. 20-22.
For more information on DIRTcar Racing and to see the complete final points standings for all DIRTcar-sanctioned divisions, visit www.dirtcarump.com.
The Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast is brought to fans by many important sponsors and partners, including: Hoosier Racing Tire (Official Tire), VP Racing Fuels (Official Racing Fuel), Chevy Performance Parts and NAPA Auto Parts; in addition to contingency sponsors, including: ASI Race Wear, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, Fox Shocks, Henry’s Exhaust Systems, Intercomp, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, KSE Racing Products, Mike’s Racing Heads, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD, Pole Position Raceway, Superflow Dynos and Wrisco Aluminum; along with manufacturer sponsors, including: Beyea Headers, Racing Electronics and TNT Rescue.