The 2011 Champion Racing Association Awards Banquet was held Friday and Saturday night at the Fishers Banquet Center in Fishers, Indiana. The top 10 in 2011 CRA Super Series points, JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by GM Performance Parts points, Sullivan RV CRA Late Model Sportsman points, EDCO Welding CRA Street Stocks points, and the Vore’s Welding & Steel CRA FWD Compacts points were all honored at those banquets along with several special awards.
The Welch & Wilson Motorsports Team with driver Derrick Griffin and car owners Curt Wilson and Jeff Welch were officially crowned 2011 Champions of the CRA Super Series. Griffin was the first driver since three time series Champion Scott Hantz during the 2000 season to win the series Championship and Rookie of the Year in the same season.
“It was truly a spectacular accomplishment,” remarked Griffin. “I have to thank Curt and Jeff for giving me this great opportunity. I have to thank my crew chief Scott Neal and everyone on our team that helped win this Championship. This is something I have always dreamed about, I would never have had this opportunity without the great support of my parents!”
Nick Gullatta was the 2011 A.T. Performance/Acro-Tech Sportsman of the Year Award winner for the CRA Super Series. Series 1997 Champion Kenny Tweedy was honored as the winner of the 2011 Darrell Teal Outstanding Dedication Award for his racing with the series for the past 15 seasons. Scott Hantz was awarded the Harris Products Group Lap Leader Awards for the 100/125 lap events. Jay Niewiek was awarded the Cometic Gasket Hard Charger Award while Gullatta was awarded the Cometic Gasket Hard Luck Award.
Bubba Pollard was honored as the 2011 CRA Super Series Southern Tour Drivers Champion. WearCrete Racing was honored as the 2011 CRA Southern Tour owners Champion with drivers Jeff Fultz and Daniel Hemric. Chase Elliott was honored as the inaugural CRA National Super Late Model Champion.
15 year old Erik Jones was honored as the inaugural JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by GM Performance Parts Champion with his father Dave Jones, the team owner. Jones took the crown over Mid-west veteran racer Eddie Hoffman.
“It is an honor to be this great series first ever Champion,” remarked Jones. “I have to thank my parents who have graciously supported my racing for several years, my great crew and everyone with CRA who did an outstanding job with the new series in 2011. It was a lot of fun racing against a great group of drivers at each event.”
15 year old Cody Coughlin was honored as the first ever Howie Lettow Rookie of the Year Presented by Howe Racing Award winner. Chad Finley was the Race Cover-all’s Sportsman of the Year Award winner. Josh Nelms received the series Dedication Award.
Driver Keith Sterkowitz and owner John Marshall were honored as the 2011 Sullivan RV CRA Late Model Sportsman Champions ending Charlie Hanna’s two year reign as series Champion. Sterkowitz won the series Championship in the series first season driving for himself. This was the first series Championship for Marshall.
“We had a truly great season,” remarked Sterkowitz. “I have to thank my car owner John for putting me in great equipment. I also have to thank Bobby Blount for great set-ups that won us a lot of races and this Championship this year. It was a blast battling and racing with Jason Atkinson for the Championship!”
Chris Parker was the 2011 Rookie of the Year award winner in the Late Model Sportsman Division. Charlie Hanna was the Harris Products Group Sportsman of the Year Award winner. Rick Sullivan was awarded the 2011 Dedication Award for the series.
Veteran CRA racer Jeff Lane was crowned the 2011 EDCO Welding CRA Street Stocks Champion with car owner Danny Acrey. It was the second CRA Championship for Lane, who is a former Drivers Champion with the CRA Super Series. Lane led the series in wins, fast times and laps led in 2011.
“I had more fun this season then the last five put together,” remarked Lane. “These Street Stocks are a blast to drive and the drivers in this division are the best around. I want to thank Danny for putting up with me and letting me drive his car. I know I about worked him to death this year, but it was a good one! He is retiring as a car owner, it was a good way to go out!”
J.J. Schafer was awarded the 2011 Rookie of the Year Award for the CRA Street Stocks. Schafer was also awarded the Harris Products Group Sportsman of the Year Award. Veteran CRA racer Rich Segvich received the series 2011 Dedication Award, Segvich managed a fifth place finish in series points while also racing all the CRA Late Model Sportsman series events in 2011 and getting an eighth place finish in points in that series.
Jeff Shelmadine was crowned the 2011 Vore’s Welding & Steel CRA FWD Compacts Champion Saturday night, ending Tim Dilg’s two year reign on that series Championship. Schelmadine will move up and compete in Street Stocks for the upcoming 2012 season.
“I want to thank CRA, and all the series officials, and thank Steve Vore from Vore's Welding and Steel for sponsoring our series,” remarked Schelmadine. “It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed racing with all the great racers in this series.”
Kyle Crump was awarded the divisions Rookie of the Year Award. Stephanie Bigelow, granddaughter of USAC Hall of Fame driver Tom Bigelow, was awarded the Sportsman of the Year Award. Cary Abrell received the 2011 Dedication Award for the Vore’s Welding & Steel CRA FWD Compacts, he had two teams compete the entire season and gave up his car to his teammate Justin Brown on several occasions to help Justin chase the series Championship.
Anderson Speedway owner and promoter Rick Dawson was given special recognition for hosting CRA events for the past 15 years. Anderson Speedway has hosted more CRA events than any other track, including the first ever CRA event on Saturday, April 26, 1997.
Several special guest were in attendance including Mark Gundrum from ARCA who addressed the group on Saturday night talking about the partnership between ARCA and CRA with the ARCA/CRA Super Series for the upcoming 2012 season.
Drawings for prizes were held for all divisions. The big winners were the Welch & Wilson Motorsports team who won a complete body from Five Star Racecar Bodies and a set of heads from Schoenfeld Headers. Josh Nelms and Chris Parker also won bodies from Five Star Racecar Bodies. Charlie Hanna and Jeff Lane won certificates from Schoendfeld Headers. Kenny Tweedy, Brandon Watson and Mark Parker all won seats from ButlerBuilt Racing Seat Systems. Brett Robinson won a $1000 Product Certificate from McGunegill Engine Performance while Jason Drummond won a $500 Product Certificate from McGunegill Engine Performance. Josh Poore, Rick Sullivan, Lorz Motorsports and Jason Dietsch all won a set of wheels from Aero Racing Wheels. Kenny Tweedy and Brandon Watson each won a set of wheels from Bassett Racing Wheels.
There were also several women’s prizes given away both nights that were sponsored by Phil Harper Motorsports. Also JEGS provided a huge amount of special giveaway’s for all in attendance both nights.
More information on all the CRA Series is available at www.craracing.net.