As we approach the holidays next week, I'd like to send Merry Christmas and Happy New Year wishes to all of my readers, and I wish everyone a safe and prosperous new year as well. It's been a tough year, and hopefully we will have some light at the end of the tunnel in 2009. This will be my final column until after the New Year.
Donny Schatz was named the North American 410 Sprint Car Poll Driver of the Year, earning all 24 first-place votes from the voting panel.
Schatz, the World of Outlaws champion was an easy choice for the second straight season.
Jason Meyers, Steve Kinser, Craig Dollansky, Joey Saldana, Jac Haudenschild, Fred Rahmer, Dale Blaney, Daryn Pittman and Danny Lasoski were the top-10 drivers. Others of interest include Lance Dewease (11th), Todd Shaffer (16th) and Doug Esh (24th). Cody Darrah, Greg Hodnett and Lucas Wolfe also received votes.
Schatz's car owner Tony Stewart won Team of the Year, Pennsylvania Posse member Pat Cannon won Rookie of the Year, Pennsylvania's Cody Darrah and Haudenschild tied for the Wild Card Award and Williams Grove Speedway promoter Justin Loh and Knoxville's Ralph Capitani tied as Promoter of the Year. Jack Elam of J & J Chassis won Builder/Manufacturer of the Year, and Tom Schmeh won the Outstanding Contribution to the Sport award.
In the 360 Sprint division, Jason Johnson was the Driver of the Year on the heels of his ASCoT title with Gary Wright, Wayne Johnson, Tim Crawley and URC champion Curt Michael the top five. Drivers of interest included Pat Cannon in 14th, Dave Ely 15th, and JJ Grasso in 24th.
Special awards in the 360 Sprints went to URC driver David Gravel as Rookie of the Year, Elam as Builder/Manufacturer, Glenn Styres as Promoter of the Year, and Jack Dover and Wayne Johnson as Wild Card awards.
The World of Outlaws Late Models and Sprints released their 2009 schedules and on the Late Model tour will be Hagerstown Speedway with several shows, along with Big Diamond and Bedford Speedway. Williams Grove Speedway is once again a six-race host of the sprint car tour.
That's it for 2008. E-mail always reaches me at Bvores@aol.com.