ATLANTA, GA. (October 24 2003) -Charlie Bradberry, Chelsea, Ala. and his Bradberry Racing team were honored Friday evening at the Atlanta Airport Hilton as 2003 NASCAR Elite Division Kodak Southeast Series Champions. Several other drivers received ...
ATLANTA, GA. (October 24 2003) -Charlie Bradberry, Chelsea, Ala. and his Bradberry Racing team were honored Friday evening at the Atlanta Airport Hilton as 2003 NASCAR Elite Division Kodak Southeast Series Champions. Several other drivers received accolades for their achievements during the 2003 season.
Bob Mayhue, Kodak Manager of Sponsorships, kicked off the evening festivities, congratulating the championship team and all competitors for their support of Kodak as title sponsor of the series. Also in attendance from Kodak was Tom Page, Manager for Kodak's NASCAR Marketing. Bradberry, the most consistant driver during the 10-race schedule with 99.4% laps completed, edged out 2002 series champion Jeff Fultz by 17 points to earn his first NASCAR Champion's Diamond Ring. Bradberry assumed the top points position after the fourth race of the year and was undaunted in his quest for series supremacy.
Despite Fultz winning six races during the season it was not enough to surpass Bradberry who led all drivers with eight top ten finishes. Bradberry won his first career Bud Pole Award and his first race at Nashville Superspeedway earlier in the year.
Bradberry was pretty much the star of the night as he was voted Most Popular Driver on the series and took home the Annual Bud Pole Award. Nine different drivers won Bud Pole Awards during the year with the starting field being determined for one event due to inclement weather. The winner was determined using the NASCAR rulebook.
"This award really surprises me," said Bradberry talking about the "Most Popular Driver" award which is determined by a vote of ones peers. "This award is very special because it is voted on by those we race against every week and to be recognized by those who are racing just as hard as you and who want to win as much despite all the fender rubbing says a lot."
While this was Bradberry's night to be feted, Fultz won the Annual POWERade Award of $4,000 for winning the award twice during the year. David Preston, Senior Brand Manager for POWERade presented the award. Bradberry heaped much praise on his father and mother and the entire team for his success. "We are all one big family," said Bradberry and to me Michael Shelton, my crew chief, is the best there is for short track racing. My dad gave me the opportunity to race behind my brother, Gary, and I can't say enough about everyone who has made this dream come true. I definitely am looking forward to The Toyota All-Star Showdown in two weeks and then to New York for the last NASCAR Winston Cup Series Banquet. We are going to California to win all the marbles.
"Ever since I was a little boy and started helping with my brother's race team I wanted to do the same as him. I have watched a lot of races put on by the late Bob Harmon and so tonight I dedicate this championship to him. He was the greatest promoter ever in this sport and what he did for short track racing is really beyond words," commented Bradberry. The Champion thanked his family for their support and his team for the hard work and dedication they gave to this effort. He especially made note of Hamner engines and how reliable they were all year in powering this team to the championship.
In addition to his Championship Trophy, Bradberry received his NASCAR Championship Diamond Ring from Chris Boals, Director of NASCAR regional touring.
Other sponsors recognizing the Champion were Jeff Freeman, Vice-President of Hoosier South with a Hoosier Champion's Jacket.
Gary Nelson, NASCAR Managing Director of Competition, presented Michael Shelton his Championship Crew Chief Trophy and commented on the importance of the crew chief to a race team.
Jeff Fultz, 2002 series champion finished second in points and walked away with some honors of his own. Fultz, driver of the C & C Boiler/Cleaver Brooks/Kippley Engines Chevrolet, led the series with six stops in victory lane for 2003 and earned the POWERade Award. Additional contingency awards along with his NASCAR and Kodak point fund awards were paid previously.
"What can I say, commented Fultz, we gave it our best shot but just came up a little short. We had two bad races at the superspeedways where we were suppose to be strong and that hurt us. Fultz congratulated the championship team for their consistency throughout the year. "Last year I said I was always chasing David Reutimann and this year I was chasing Charlie (Bradberry) for the last half of the year."
Jason Hogan who finished third with his Universal Chevrolet Chevrolet was recognized for his outstanding season with his third place trophy and various contingency awards.
Other drivers recognized during the evening were Terry Mason Jr., John Wilkinson III, Cecil Chunn, Johnny Brazier, Justin Wakefield, A. J. Frank, Dusty Williams, Kevin Prince, Wayne Bowen and Allen Karnes. Special awards for the year recognized Bowen as the Most Improved Driver for 2003, Prince was honored with the Sportmanship Award.
John "Boy" Wilkinson III was honored as the Kodak Southeast Series Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Year with a $5,000 check. The presentation was made by Craig Raudman representing Victory Circle Chassis. Other rookie contenders were Mason, Chunn and Wakefield. Bradberry will join other NASCAR Champions at the NASCAR Winston Cup Banquet in New York in December.
One final racing event remains for some drivers on the Kodak Southeast Series when Bradberry leads a contingent of ten drivers to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif) Speedway on November 6 - 8. Other drivers making the trip west will be Jeff Fultz, Jason Hogan, Cecil Chunn, Johnny Brazier, Jason Wakefield, A. J. Frank, Dusty Williams, Steven Howard and Kevin Prince.
Paul Bartholomew, MRN Radio, was Master of Ceremonies.
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