WKA: Speedway Dirt banquet
By Bruce C. Walls - Motorsport.com HICKORY, NC-Chris Howard, Bradley Gerrells and Victor Peters were crowned double national champions in the 2000 WKA/Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series during an Awards Dinner held Friday January 26th ...
By Bruce C. Walls - Motorsport.com
HICKORY, NC-Chris Howard, Bradley Gerrells and Victor Peters were crowned double national champions in the 2000 WKA/Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series during an Awards Dinner held Friday January 26th at the Hickory, NC Holiday Inn Select Ballroom. Over $150,000 in trophies and prizes were awarded to dirt racers that night. Chris Gabehart earned CKI Briggs Limited Lite's national championship which when added to his two national championships in the WKA/Bandit Racing Chassis Speedway Pavement Series makes him a Triple Crown winner. "It took dedication from a lot of people, but most of all my dad and Grandpa who traveled over 10,000-miles to make all of these nationals and that's dedication," said Gabehart a Perdue University engineering student. "I want to thank Dan and Charlie Sox for the super Shadow Racing Chassis and the gang at Robinson Speed Shop, especially Chris Mason for the motors," added the Louisville, KY native.
Howard, a 15-year-old Wilmington, NC based Tod Miller Racing Engines powered Olimpic Kart pilot earned national points championships in Tommy's Karts-n-Parts Briggs Junior Champ and E-Z Bore Briggs Restricted Junior. "It was a lot of hard work and keeping my mind into my racing," credited the Olimpic Karts/Tod Miller Racing Engines/My-Chron/Lighting Light Body Works/Burris Racing/Longacre Racing Products/Gold Speed USA/Dyno Cams/Douglas Wheels sponsored double champion. Howard also earned three Divisional championships in the North and South Carolina Divisional Series' in Junior Stock, Junior Restricted and Junior Champ. "I want to add a special thanks to my mom and dad for all their support. I couldn't have done it without them," added the double national champion who collected 14-wins last season.
After winning six straight Stock 2-Cyle Dirt World Championships at Daytona Municipal Stadium, Spring Hill, FL racer Victor Peters decided to tackle the entire National Dirt Tour last season and that effort gained the Shadow kart pilot national championships in Stock 2-Cycle and Yamaha 2-Cycle.
Reflecting on his Yamaha season where TS Racing engines powered his Shadow kart Peters said, "Margargettsville is the race I'll remember most in that class. It was my first time there and that was one of the most awesome race tracks I've ever run at."
In Stock 2-Cycle Peters depended on Buller Built motors to put him in victory lane. "It took a lot of hard work from a lot of good people. I want to dedicated both championships to my grandfather-in-law who passed away last Sunday and I want to thank my sponsors Shadow Karts, Lighting Light Body Works, VP Motorsports, Total Performance and most of all I want to thank my wife Laura for all of her support."
Spartanburg, SC competitor Jason Seay captured Bully Clutches Unlimited 2-Cycle's championship. According to the David Seay Motors powered Ultramax kart pilot he'll remember the Aynor, SC national. "Aynor was where I got my first Unlimited win."
Dahlonega, GA based Shadow kart pilot Bradley Gerrells grabbed national points titles in Team Simpson Racing Briggs Controlled Medium and Power Products/Super Seat Limited Heavy. "It was a good go-kart and a lot of luck," credited the Southern Express Kart Shop powered double champion. "I want to thank my wife Stacy, Dan and Charlie Sox and Southern Express Kart Shop for all their support."
Ryan Paul was recognized as Shadow Racing Chassis Briggs Junior national points champion. "I first of all want to thank my parents for all their support and I want to thank Alan and Rex at Dixie Karting, John Johnson at Dyno Cams, Mr. Moore at E-Z Bore and Mr. Wilson at Briggs & Stratton, Mr. Butler at Holley Performance Products, Mr. Wiggins at Phantom Karts and the WKA and their staff for giving me a place to race," said the Mobile, AL based national champion.
Reflecting on his past season Paul recalled, "Margargettsville was the best race of last year. Me and Andy Pugh and Blake O'Neal had a good race there."
Salisbury, NC racer Tod Miller topped Bandit Racing Chassis Briggs Medium's national points chase. "Winning at Daytona last year was great," Miller recalled. "It took a lot of great help, my family's support, my brother Jody, the guys at the shop, David Haines, Williams Wheels, Bully Clutches and Dyno Cams," Miller credited.
Miller was also the banquet's guest speaker. Miller recalled his past 19-years of racing from having to borrow a helmet so he could race to winning the Briggs & Stratton 300. "Winning that race (the Briggs & Stratton 300) was a great accomplishment," Miller said. "I had to run against the best there and I couldn't have done it without the support of my friends and family."
"But it takes determination," Miller reminded the audience, "For all of my wins I will always have lost more races that I'll ever win."
Anthony Comparetto is just learning what it takes to be a national champion. The 9-year-old Moon Powered Phantom kart pilot was crowned RLV Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Lite champion. "I want to thank Moon Power for great motors and Phantom Racing Chassis for a great kart," said Comparetto.
Fellow Florida racer A. J. Fugenzi, of Jacksonville, captured Ultramax Racing Chassis Briggs Junior Sportsman-1 Heavy's title. "It takes a good go-kart and good motor," credited the 11-year-old national champion. "It also takes patience and a good setup," he said adding that, "Daytona was one of my best races last year it was the most exciting."
Brandon Dean, of Waxshaw, NC, dominated Williams Motorsports Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 Lite's national points chase. "It took a lot of hard work," Dean described. "I want to thank Chuck Dill and Ultramax Racing Chassis for a great kart, Mark Ghant for great engines and Roger and Lisa Padgett for all their support."
Monroe, NC based Shirley Richardson ruled ARC Racing Briggs Junior Sportsman-2 Heavy's points chase. "It took a lot of hard work and a loving family to stand behind you," credited the 13-year-old Performance Karting Engines powered Predator Kart pilot. Looking back on her championship season she recalled the Jasper, FL dirt national as her most memorable. "Jasper is the national I'll remember most because that's where I won my first national," she said adding thanks to her parents for all of their support.
Cory Roberts, of Chesterfield, VA, claimed Jammer Clutches Briggs Junior Champ's title. "It was a lot of hard work," said the 10-year-old Jimmy Ogles Racing Engines powered R&B Racing Chassis kart pilot. Roberts also said that the national at Jasper, FL is the one he'll remember most because he earned his first national win there.
Olimpic Kart pilot Jody Miller topped Ratech Corp. Briggs Senior Champ's points chase. "It took a lot of hard work, a lot of great help and a lot of luck to do this," said the Jammer Clutches/Burris Racing/HP Graphics/AIM Motorsports sponsored winner who added that the Low Country Kartway national in Aynor, SC will always standout in his mind. "I got into a wreck on the first start at Aynor. Bent the spindle and axle and still won!"
Graham, NC competitor Donald Bradsher bagged Phantom Racing Chassis Briggs Senior's title. "This is great, winning this championship is the most awesome feeling I've ever had. I want to thank my wife Gena and my kids and thank Marc Mode for all of his technical support. I'll never forget the race at Jasper, FL that's where I got my first national win and at the second national I went from 10th to the front and I won't forget that either," said the Mishue Motorsports powered Olimpic kart pilot.
Chad Haithcock, of Hilton Head, SC, handled Trick/Olimpic Karts Briggs Lite's point's championship. "It took a lot of hard work by a lot of people especially my dad who I want to thank," credited the M&M Racing Motors powered Ultramax kart pilot who added, "I got my first national win at Kershaw and I'll never forget that one."
Barney, GA based Blake Williams earned Bordeaux Dyno Cams Briggs Controlled Heavy's national championship. "It took a lot of hard work, a wonderful team and faith in God," Williams said. "I got my first win at Margarettsville and then I won at Kershaw and that paved the way for this championship. I also want to thank Harrill Wiggins and his people at Phantom Karts."
Dan 'the Shadow Man' Sox was crowned Prototype Engine Sales 4-Cycle Modified's national points champion. "I want to thank everybody who help me this year. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work," said the West Columbia, SC native. "I want to thank Brad Gerrells and Chris Gabehart for good competition and George Owneby for great motors."
Shining brightest in Seigler Motorsports, Inc. Star Champ was Evans, GA racer Michael Rivers. "It took a lot of time, effort and hard work by a lot of good people to get here," said the Jimmy Rivers Performance Works powered Shadow kart pilot. "Winning at the Margarettsville Grand Nationals kind of set the pace for the rest of the season. I want to thank JRPW for great engines, Shadow Racing Chassis for great karts and my other sponsors Cramac and Precision Cams."
Phantom Racing Chassis factory driver Jimmy Griffin, Jr., of China Grove, NC, captured Robinson Speed Shop Briggs Super Heavy's national points championship. "It took a lot of hard work, team work, a lot of blessings from the Good Lord and a lot of help and support from my dad," said the Tyler Racing Engines powered pilot. "I also want to thank Beef Performance for their support of the North Carolina Divisionals," he added.
"Dedication and hard work," are what Mechanicsville, VA racer Scott Bajer said earned him the national point's title in Twister Karts/Davis Manufacturing Briggs Heavy. "I'll always remember last year's Grand Nationals at Margarettsville because we swapped the lead numerous times between six drivers," added the Avis Electric/Higgys House of Power sponsored champion. "I want to thank Harrill Wiggins and his crew at Phantom Racing Chassis for a great kart and Higgy's House of Power for great motors and I want to thank John and Penny and Brandon and Donnie Megee for all their help and support."
Robinson Speed Shop powered Ultramax factory pilot Brad Bracken, of Easley, SC, bagged Dixie Karting Briggs Super Stock's national title. "It takes a lot of luck, hard work, dedicated sponsors and the Good Lord smiling on you," Bracken credited. "I want to thank my dad, James Fowler, Chuck Dill and Joe Wright of Ultramax Racing Chassis and Buller Clutches."
Some special awards were also presented that evening. Dan Wilson of Briggs & Stratton was inducted into the World Karting Hall of Fame and Ben Tyler was voted Mechanic of the Year. The Red, White and Blue Trophy for the chassis with the most wins was split between Phantom Racing Chassis and Shadow Racing Chassis. Each chassis manufacturer had 30-wins recorded on their product. The Phantom Racing Team was named Best Appearing Team and Chris Harrell was voted Most Improved Driver.
Olin Baldwin was presented with the George Kugler Sportsmanship Award and the Carr Family was voted Karting Family of the Year.
The 2001 WKA/Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series nationals began with World Championships December 27-30 at Daytona Beach, FL's Municipal Stadium. Oak Grove Motorsports Park in Baker, FL, will host spring Nationals April 6-8 and Low Country Kartway in Aynor, SC will host Summer Nationals June 15-17. Margarettsville Speedway in Margarettsville, NC will host the Grand Nationals July 20-22 and Fall Nationals will be raced September 7-9 at Southern Pitt Raceway in Greenville, NC.