Eriez Honors Champions!
By Jay Pees
November 23, 2013, Erie, PA: Eriez Speedway fans and teams gathered at the Courtyard by Marriott in Erie for the annual Awards Banquet with the top ten in each division being honored and several special awards presented.
Master of Ceremonies Tom Woolslayer opened the evening with awards to the top ten in each division with Championship trophies and jackets going to Rob Blair in the Jay’s Auto Wrecking Super Late Models, Chad Wright in the Bonnell Collision Center FASTRAK Late Models, Rich Michael in the Plyler Overhead Door E-Mods, Ryan Scott in Conway & O’Malley Limited Late Models, John Phelps in the Eric Walter Tree & Stump Removal Street Stocks, and Kasey Hammond in the Kandy’s Gentlemen’s Club Challengers. For Blair, Wright, Michael, and Phelps, it was their first-ever Eriez Championships (Phelps was his first-ever in any racing). Scott repeated his 2011 Championship and for Hammond it was her second in succession.
Andy Boozel (Super Late Models), Bobby Rohrer (Crate Late Models), Steve Simon (E-Mods), Dan Maxim (Limited Late Models), Mark Thompson (Street Stocks), and Joe Beach (Challengers), were each recognized as being the most improved drivers in their respective classes.
Rookies of the Year were Mike Oakes (Super Late Models), Al Brewer (Crate Late Models), Wade Watson (Limited Late Models), Eric Ester (Street Stocks), and Drew Panko (Challengers).
Four Memorial races were run during the season with Casey Burch winning the Dan McGarvie Memorial for the Challengers, Rich Michael winning the JoAnne Clinger Memorial E-Mod trophy, Dan Maxim winning the Limited Late Model Bob Vogt Memorial, and Mike Knight prevailing in the Dick Litz Memorial for the Super Late Models.
Tom Dill, at 83 years of age, the winner of the first-ever feature race at Eriez Speedway on July 21, 1961, was recognized as the Fan of the Year, a fixture in the top row and always available to swap stories with all fans at the track. Tom is one of the most colorful and loved figures in Erie history.
The evening was capped off with Rob Blair being recognized as the Driver of the Year due to his stellar record of eight wins, twelve top fives and fourteen top tens in sixteen appearances. Starting July 7 Blair strung together five wins in a row, a stretch unequaled in recent Eriez Super late Model racing.
Track owner and promotor Bobby Rohrer announced that the track will follow a similar schedule again next summer with the grand Opening tentatively scheduled for May 4, 2014 and continuing through the 2nd Annual “September Sweep”, again sponsored by Yaple’s Vacuum. Memorial races and other specials, including the annual Autograph Night and the Auto Racers for Kids night will also be on the schedule with dates to be announced soon.