ASA Midwest Tour Celebrates Maiden Season in Style
Haseleu is the Center of Tour's First Banquet
A large gathering was on hand at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI this past Saturday night, January 26th, to celebrate the inaugural season of the ASA Kwik Trip Midwest Tour presented by Echo Outdoor Power Equipment. The evening was highlighted with presenting Nathan Haseleu with his championship trophy along with many other awards and prizes.
Drivers, crew members, guest and their families arrived early on Saturday to have the opportunity to enjoy “America’s Largest Indoor Waterpark” that the Kalahari Resort is well known for. Later that evening, after a reception and great meal, ASAMT VP Steve Einhaus introduced Jim Tretow as the emcee for the Awards Ceremony.
Tretow talked about how thrilled he was to be invited to emcee the inaugural event and shared his thoughts about the success he saw and heard from others in the media in regards to the success of the ASAMT.
Dennis Huth, President of Racing Speed Associates/American Speed Association, took to the stage to congratulate everyone involved with the success of the inaugural season. He also stated that he has never seen a series take off as fast as the ASAMT. Huth also reminded the fans the important of a “dash,” the little line between the start of something and the end of something. The starting point has been made and the opportunity is there to extend the “dash” for a long time to come.
Carl Schultz, co-owner of Five Star Race Car Bodies and ASAMT advisor, then took to the podium to congratulate Haseleu on his championship and Jonathan Eilen on his Rookie of the Year accomplishment. Schultz also congratulated everyone on the first season success.
Tretow then read a letter from John McKarns, another ASAMT advisor, sharing his congratulations and wishes for continued success.
ASAMT President, Tim Olson, decked out in a nice tuxedo with tails, then spoke about how elated he and Steve Einhaus were over the success of the first season. It was more than what he dreamed and feels that there is room for more success and always room to learn and grow.
Olson and Einhaus then welcomed Gary Gonzcy, Director of Marketing and Advertising for Kwik Trip Stores Inc.; Jerry Kobza, Marketing Manager for Echo Outdoor Power Equipment; and John Crowson, President of SCAG Power Equipment to the stage and presented each with plaques in appreciation for their support of the ASAMT’s 2007 season. Tretow then read a letter from Bertrand Gachot, Owner and CEO of Hype Energy Drink.
Nathan Haseleu, 2007 ASAMT Champion
(ASA MW / Doug Hornickel Photos)
It was announced that all four sponsors will be returning in 2008.
Gonzcy then returned to the stage for a special presentation to Special Olympics Wisconsin. Gonzcy returned with two Special Olympic athletes to receive a check for $11,166.00 from the ASAMT in recognition of the fundraising efforts made in 2007. Kwik Trip Stores Inc. is a major supporter of Special Olympics Wisconsin.
Olson and Einhaus were joined by Corey Schultz, Marketing Director for Five Star Race Car Bodies to present Russ Blakely with the Hard Luck Award. Blakely received a $500 gift certificate from Five Star along with a plaque.
Haseleu Racing was then honored for having the Best Dressed Team. Joe Hunter from The Swiss Colony and raceteamgear.com came to the stage to receive the plaque.
Dave Feiler then came to the stage to receive his plaque and a certificate for a new Lefthander Chassis from Dan Lensing, representing Lefthander, for the Hard Charger Award. Feiler passed 63 cars in the 11 events this past season to earn the honors.
Feiler’s car owner, Matt Maynard, was also honored as the Car Owner of the Year. Maynard was humbled by the honor as Einhaus thanked him for his offer of allowing the ASAMT to use his second car for 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion, Ron Hornaday Jr., to compete in at several ASAMT events in 2007.
Olson and Einhaus then recognized the ASAMT employees for their hard work and dedication this past season. They then called Carrie Gutknecht to the stage and presented her with the Employee of the Year honors. Many fans may not see Carrie doing her work on race day as
she has kept a close eye on the tires at every event. She will be the Tire Marshall during the 2008 season.
Pastor Scott was then called to the stage for a special Dedication Award from Olson and Einhaus. Pastor Scott, not only served as the Tour’s Chaplain, but also assisted with registration and any other area where help was needed.
Einhaus then took his turn to personally thank everyone for their participation this past season.
One of the more honored awards of the evening was handed out next. The Larry Detjens Sportsmanship Award was given to Donny Reuvers. Reuvers and his crew had no idea they were going to receive this award until the end of a special video presentation. Reuvers received a special award made and designed by Wehr’s Machine. What makes this award special is that it was voted by his peers.
Jonathan Eilen was honored as the 2007 Rookie of the Year. Along with a special trophy, he was awarded with many contingency gifts including a new Roltek Transmission valued at over $5,000.
Travis Sauter (left) and Bruce Mueller (right) stand next to the engine that Travis won this past Saturday night. Mueller's, B & B Racing Engines
built the new ACE motor as part of the ASAMT's motor giveaway.
Up next was the one thing that many of the race teams were waiting for, the drawing for three engines to be given away. Gary and Mike Tesar of Tesar Engineering, John Schlieper of Pro Power Engines, and Bruce Mueller of B & B Racing Engines came to the stage to witness the drawing of the motors.
The 18 names were read and then placed in a bowl. Each engine builder than drew a name. In the end, it was Brandon Hill taking home a Pro Power 9:1 Engine; Travis Sauter claiming the B & B ACE engine, and Kris Kelly winning the Tesar ACE engine.
After the engines were given away, it was time to recognize the top 19 drivers who were eligible for point fund checks. Drivers finishing 11-19th received they point fund checks while positions 6th through 10th were given a plaque along with their check. The top five drivers received a trophy along with their checks and the top three were introduced via a video presentation prepared by Bill Holland.
The evening concluded with Haseleu picking up his championship trophy and a check for $6,650 as well as many contingency gifts. Haseleu then presented his car owner, Gary Schultz, and Joe Hunter from The Swiss Colony with their own championship trophy.
The evening concluded with the reminder that the season opener is less three months away on Saturday, April 19th at Elko Speedway in Elko, MN.
Special thanks go to Jim Tretow for emceeing the banquet, Kalahari Resort for being a gracious host, and to the drivers, crew, car owners, sponsors and fans for helping make the first season of the ASA Kwik Trip Midwest Tour presented by Echo Outdoor Power Equipment a great success.
Jonathan Eilen, 2007 ASAMT Rookie of the Year