More Winners of the 51 Awards Are Announced
Bets Race, Worst Crew Chief and Top Crew Chief Are Revealed
You voted and over a two-week period, Speed51.com will reveal the winners in the 2008 51 Awards. These awards contain 36 categories related to short track racing during the 2007 season. Fans voted over a one-month period and their ballots were verified and tabulated. Watch Speed51.com daily to see more winners with the biggest honor, Short Track Racer of the Year, being announced on March 17th live on Race Talk Radio.
How could you not have liked the All-American 400 of last fall? It had a popular young winner, a battle for the victory that went down to the final laps and a pit full of cars…and that was just the headlining Super Late Model race of the weekend!
19-year-old CRA rookie Johnny Van Doorn pitted late for tires and jetted by former AA400 winner Jason Hogan near the end to win at Nashville. On the day before, Eddie Hoffman won the ASA Late Model feature.
Coming in second after the ballots were counted was an incredible finish to a close PASS Outlaw 100 lapper held on PASS 400 weekend in September at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME). The race started off slow, with quite a few wrecks and cautions early on, but it picked up the pace as the laps clicked down. Tony Ricci and J.R. Baril traded the lead, but very little paint, in a close and clean race to the checkers. At the line, Baril beat Ricci by only a few inches.
Fans picked another unbelievable finish, with a lot more contact, as their number three voter getter. That was The Rattler at South Alabama Speedway where Augie Grill and Hunter Robbins actually crashed at the finish line. Grill’s sideways and wrecked racecar crossed it first though and he went down as the race winner.
The Icebreaker at Thompson was fourth in the voting. That was when James Civali barely held off a charging Chuck Hossfeld at the finish line. Just behind those two, Ronnie Silk barely kept Jimmy Blewett at bay for third.
The fifth spot in the voting went to a battle between young gun Joey Logano and Cup star Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR Busch East Series race at Iowa Speedway. The two traded paint and raced close until Logano checked out and drove off to a big victory.
The ASA Late Model feature in the fall at Hickory Motor Speedway seemed to never want to end. A record 18 cautions flew throughout the event due to wrecks and fluids being put down on the track. Under yellow with three laps remaining, two of the top runners ran out of fuel. Then the second-place driver spun in turn four coming to the green flag due to the track still being a mess with speedy dry and fluids, causing a melee. Officials reset the lineup as it was prior to the restart flap, and then ran the last three laps out under yellow condition, giving the win to Beau Slocumb.
That was enough for fans to give a commanding “victory” to the event in the worst race category of the 51 awards.
The Mason-Dixon Meltdown, just down the road from Hickory at Concord Motorsport Park, took the number two slot on the worst race rundown. That was another race with a fair deal of carnage, but the thing most remembered by fans was the final lap when Corey Williams slowed for a spinning car in turn four and second-place runner Ben Rowe hit the gas instead of the brakes, taking advantage of series rules about racing back to the caution on the last lap only and winning a big trophy and check for his efforts.
Third on the voters’ minds was another SLM show. This one was the open All Star Nationals at All Star Speedway (NH). There were so many cautions in that event that the race was called complete early when a police officer actually climbed into the flagstand to enforce a curfew on the track while a restart was about to take place. The race was halted early as a result and Scott Chubbuck, who got airborne in an earlier wreck and was still wheeling about ¾ of a racecar very quickly, got the victory.
The wreck-filled twosome of the ARCA 200 at Daytona and the July NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at New Hampshire rounded out the “top” five.
Crew Chief of the Year
Forget crew chief of the year, Howie Lettow ought to just get a lifetime achievement award in this category and let the younger wrenches of the sport have a chance. In 2007, Lettow was part of what was basically a startup team in TD Racing Development and took a new driver (Travis Dassow) to his first ASA LM victory…and then his second one…and so on. Dassow ended the season as the champion of the ASA LM Challenge Series and Lettow got to be the title-winning crew chief for the third straight year, with three different drivers.
Before Lettow joined up with Dassow, he also coached a few fairly good racers like Jimmie Johnson, David Stremme, Kelly Bires and Stephen Leicht.
Fairly close behind Lettow in the balloting was team owner and crew chief Andy Santerre, who placed Sean Caisse and rookie Jeffrey Earnhardt in the top five of the NASCAR Busch East Series standings.
“Troyer” Bob Mueller was the third highest vote-getter for his role in Donny Lia’s title-winning effort on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Frankie Grill placed fourth for helping his son Augie win the Snowball Derby and The Rattler and Billy Clark ranked fifth for his role in helping son Cassius run up front in PASS North and South.
It’s also notable that a Canadian, Eric Laperle, finished next in the sixth spot for helping his twin brother Patrick win some very prestigious ACT Late Model races, and the Serie Quebec title.
Stay tuned to Speed51.com from now until March 17th to find
out the other winners of the 51 Awards
Corey Williams (L) wasn't smiling after the conclusion of the Mason Dixon Meltdown last year. Several fans weren't either.
Johnny Van Doorn kept fans entertained when he won his All American 400 guitar.