The remarkable accomplishments of the 2016 Summit Motorsports Park champions were celebrated at the 43rd Annual Accel Banquet of Champions at Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio, on January 14, 2017.
The ceremony opened with music, special lighting and side-by-side entrances by Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster presented by Wiseco Novice champion Zachary Doell and his father, Dan Doell; Intermediate champion Michael Crowell and his father, Steve Crowell; Advanced champion Courtney Grisez and her brother, Connor Grisez; Wiseco/Cycle Tech Superbike champion Rick McWaters and his girlfriend, Korbi Durfee; Accel Sportsman Delivered on Time by TFC Transportation champion Jim Ring and his wife, Kimberley Ring; Lakewood Pro champion Mike O’Rourke, Sr. and his son, Mike O’Rourke, Jr. and Quick Time Super Pro champion Allen Moore and his dad, Mike Moore.
Summit Motorsports Park marketing specialist Evan Bader, who hosted the event alongside co-owner Bill Bader, Sr.
and sponsor sales and services specialist Bobbie Bader, delivered a comical musical monologue, and the Norwalk High School Quartet performed “The Star-Spangled Banner.” All were accompanied on stage by Mark Wells of Holley Performance Products.
Acknowledged were special guests, staff of Sawmill Creek Resort and banquet sponsors, including the Accel Performance Group, B’laster, Car Parts Warehouse, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires and Wheels, Dornan Sales and Service, Racing RVs, McIlvain Race Cars, the Norwalk Lions Club, Classic Trophy and Ink, Inc.
Drivers who finished sixth through tenth in points were recognized, including Derek Simon, Todd Norman, Pat Brumbaugh, Owen Hoover and Nate Holzhauer of Accel Sportsman Delivered on Time by TFC Transportation; AJ Buchanan, Katrina Moss, Taylor Young, Joe Oswald and Shawn Coon of Lakewood Pro and Dennis Hall, Carl Keil, II, Matt Dadas, Eric Manuel and Kimmi Barnhill of Quick Time Super Pro.
They were followed by those who finished fifth in points, including Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster presented by Wiseco Novice driver Nicholas Peters; Intermediate driver Antonio Iocoangeli and Advanced driver Carter Sherman; Accel Sportsman Delivered on Time by TFC Transportation driver Jeff Pishner; Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike rider Michael Maday; Lakewood Pro driver Bryan Workman and Quick Time Super Pro driver Steven Schmidt.
Fourth place awards went to Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster presented by Wiseco Novice driver Peyton Novak; Intermediate driver Lizzie Martel and Advanced driver Brandon Lange; Quick Time Super Pro driver Fred Krakora; Lakewood Pro driver Jaeden Durst; Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike rider Roy Safreed, II and Accel Sportsman Delivered on Time by TFC Transportation driver Thomas Summers.
Third place honors were delivered to Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster presented by Wiseco Novice driver Ava Tiburzi; Intermediate driver Morgan Curtis and Advanced driver Mackenzie Kerns; Quick Time Super Pro driver Christopher Schneider; Lakewood Pro driver Jeff Pishner; Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike rider Mike Chongris and Accel Sportsman Delivered on Time by TFC Transportation driver Larry Strohscher.
Second place saw Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster presented by Wiseco Novice driver Gabe Wojnowki; Intermediate driver Callie Martel and Advanced driver Chyanne Fry; Quick Time Super Pro driver Randy Scheuer, Jr.; Lakewood Pro driver Wes Buckley; Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike rider Nick Shaw and Accel Sportsman Delivered on Time by TFC Transportation driver TJ Jordan.
Applauded for representing Summit Motorsports Park at the NHRA Junior Drag Racing League Eastern Conference Finals at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee were Red Team members Ava Tiburzi, Brinasia Pollard, Alexa Hurst, Lizzie Martel, Madi Shaw, Allie Harrison, Adam Retford, Seth Jimenez, Mia Jacob and Taylor Zietlow; White Team members Ashley Etzel, Grant Welte, Braden Peters, Ava Lawson, Zach Etzel, Bryce Buehrer, Trinity Marshall, Carter Sherman, Arlene Carver and Shawn Carver and Blue Team members Nick Peters, Roman Iocoangeli; Hannah Shaw; Morgan Curtis, Callie Martel, Antonio Iocoangeli, Chyanne Fry, Noah Rambow, Courtney Grisez and Brandon Lange. Additional team members were Allyson Downs, Peyten Jimenez, LaQuint Walker, Kaitlin Zietlow, Davin Pollard, Daniel Findley, Cruz Schafer, Zachary Smith, Kaitlyn Curtis, Aubrey Collins and Amanda Shaw.
Summit Motorsports Park drivers who qualified for the North Central Division NHRA Summit Racing Series Team Finals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis also were feted. Representing Quick Time Super Pro were Allen Moore, Steven Schmidt, Chris Schneider, Matt Dadas, Dennis Hall, Jon Berkel, Ryan Pickens, Alex Miller and Fred Krakora. The Lakewood Pro team consisted of Wes Buckley, Mike O’Rourke, Sr., Bryan Workman, Jaeden Durst, Joe Oswald, Taylor Young, Mike O’Rourke, Jr. Michael Willi and Lee Newmeyer, while the Accel Sportsman Delivered on Time by TFC Transportation team included James Ring, TJ Jordan, Jeff Pishner, Pat Brumbaugh, Larry Strohscher, Nate Holzhauer, Len Searl, Gordon Stevens and Todd Norman. Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike featured Nick Shaw, Rick McWaters, Roy Safreed, II, Kyle Dolamore and Ted Harvey.
With Evan Bader as their team captain, they achieved a second place finish, and along the way, Super Pro driver Allen Moore earned a runner-up in the Sunoco Race of Champions, Pro driver Wes Buckley earned a win in the Sunoco Race of Champions and Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike rider Kyle Dolamore won in the Bike category and as a result, went to the NHRA Summit Racing Series National Championship at Auto Club Raceway all the way in Pomona, California in November.
Best Appearing awards went to Quick Time Super Pro driver Tim Schmidt; Lakewood Pro driver Taylor Young; Accel Sportsman Delivered on Time by TFC Transportation driver Larry Strohscher; Wiseco/Cycle Tech Super Bike rider Nick Shaw; Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster by Wiseco Novice driver Roman Iocoangeli; Intermediate driver Cruz Schafer and Advanced driver Mackenzie Kerns.
Among the highlights of the evening was Bader, Sr. reading the name of each Bill Bader Sportsman of the Year back to 1975 before asking those in attendance to join him on stage. There, they all welcomed as the 2016 Bill Bader Sportsman of the Year Dennis Hall, a Quick driver who accepted his trophy from 2015 Bill Bader Sportsman of the Year Steve Obertanec.
“Racing is only part of Dennis’ life,” said Bader, Sr. “The rest of his life is made up of family, community and faith, and he places real value on each of those.”
Additional award recipients included Don Hohler for Lifetime Achievement; TJ Jordan for Most Improved; Taylor Young for Rookie of the Year; Mike Davis of Moto Lenz for Appreciation Award; Hugh and Jill Goodale for Guy and Gal of the Year; Dornan Sales and Service for Sponsor of the Year and SealMaster for Manufacturer of the Year. Vic Ellinger was recognized as the 2016 IHRA Mod world championship.
The event also highlighted sportsman racing programs, including the Accel Super Series, which afforded top performers the opportunity to race for more than $53,000 in cash and the McIlvain Race Cars Super 64, which allowed qualifiers the opportunity to win from a total purse of $20,300. The R&R Auto Body Paint-My-Ride Program, Delivered on Time by TFC Transportation Bonus, Bear Motorsports Junior Dragster presented by Wiseco program and Summit Racing Equipment Shootout also were in the spotlight.
Anticipation is already mounting for the 2017 season, which opens with the 36th Annual Spring Warm-Up on April 15.
Story by Mary Lendzion
Photographs by Moto Lenz Photos