WINDOM, BACON, THORSON SHARE SPOTLIGHT AT FRIDAY’S 61st “NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS” CELEBRATION
USAC National driving champions Chris Windom, Brady Bacon and Tanner Thorson shared the spotlight along with other 2016 USAC champions and special award recipients at Friday night’s 61st USAC “Night of Champions” celebration at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis, Ind.
Windom, of Canton, Ill., Bacon, of Broken Arrow, Okla. and Thorson, of Minden, Nev., earned National championships. Windom was a first-time Silver Crown titlist, Bacon a second-time AMSOIL Sprint Car king and Thorson the National Midget champ.
Bacon also secured the $5,000 Mike Curb “Super License” and the $2,500 ProSource “Fast Time” Award. The former was for scoring the most National points combined in the three series, while the latter was for posting the most National fast qualifying efforts during the campaign.
Car owner National champions for 2016 included DE Palma Motorsports of Lima, Ohio (Silver Crown), Dynamics, Inc. (Hoffman Auto Racing) of Milford, Ohio (Sprint) and Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports of Columbus, Ind. (Midget).
Emcees Dillon Welch and Butch Lamb orchestrated the presentations, which included driver and car entrant champions, Rookies of the Year, Most Improved Drivers and special award recipients.
Among items presented to the 2016 champions were trophies, plaques, Hoosier jackets, medallions, distinctive art canvases and remote-control TRAXXAS trucks.
Sprint Car driving champions in addition to the aforementioned include Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif. (AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprints); Brody Roa of Garden Grove, Calif. (West Coast Sprints) and R.J. Johnson of Phoenix, Ariz. (Southwest Sprints).
Other 2016 champions included Ronnie Gardner of Norco, Calif. (Western States Midget); Adam Pierson of Bradford, Vt. (DMA Midget); Gage Etgen of Celina, Ohio (Midwest Thunder Midget); Carson Macedo of Lemoore, Calif. (Indiana Midget), Jeff Mallonee of Davenport, Iowa (IMRA Midget), Toni Breidinger of Hillsborough, Calif.. (HPD Western Pavement Midget); Jesse Love IV of Menlo Park, Calif. (HPD Western Overall and Dirt Midget), Blake Brannon of San Jose, Calif. (Western HPD Restricted Midget) and Chris Lamb of Colfax, N.C. (Eastern Midget). Maxwell Industries Micro Sprint Champions honored were Jake Hagopian of Fresno, Calif., Josh Ames of Rochester, N.Y., Joey Ancona of Concord, Calif., Shawn Freeland of Scottsville, N.Y., Jordan Jermyn of Irondequoit, N.Y. and Caeden Steele of Fresno, Calif.
Also honored for their 2016 championships at Kutztown, Pa.’s ActionTrack USA were Billy Pauch Sr. of Frenchtown, N.J. (SpeedSTRs); Eddie Strada of Lake Ariel, Pa. (Hyper Racing Wingless Sprints); Dylan Hoch of Mertztown, Pa. (NAPA All Star Slingshots) and Jared Silfee of Saylorsburg, Pa. (NAPA Junior Slingshots).
Honored as USAC .25 Midget National Champions as a result of their accomplishments were drivers Christian Bruno of Deptford, N.J. (Senior Animal and Light World Formula Pavement), Anthony Chrobak of Saylorsburg, PA (Heavy 160 and Heavy World Formula Pavement), Adrianna Delliponti of Norristown, PA (Heavy Honda Pavement), Johnathon Gallagher of Oxford, PA (Unrestricted Animal and Formula Mod Pavement), Dylan Kontra of King of Prussia, PA (Junior Honda Pavement), Preston Lattomus of Landenberg, PA (Senior Honda Pavement), Tanner VanDoren of Walnutport, PA (Junior Animal Pavement), Hunter Wise of Allentown, PA (Light 160 Pavement), Emerson Axsom of Franklin, IN (Light 160 and Formula Mod Dirt), Gavan Boschele of Mooresville, N.C. (Junior Animal Dirt), Chase Burda of Lapeer, MI (Light Mod Dirt), Canon Cochran of Ringgold, CA (Heavy Honda and Heavy World Formula Dirt), Connor Gross of Middleton, MA (Light AA and Light World Formula Dirt), Nick Loden of Stanley, N.C. (Senior Animal Dirt), Scotty Milan of Fort Collins, Colo. (Unrestricted Animal Dirt), Elvis Rankin of Evergreen, Colo. (Junior Animal Dirt), Levi Riffle of Winston Salem, N.C. (Heavy 160 Dirt), and Dylan Zampa of Napa, Calif. (Senior Honda Dirt).
USAC President Kevin Miller presented USAC Special Appreciation Awards to Hoosier Racing Tire (corporate) and long-time USAC car owner Gene Nolen (individual) for their contributions and dedicated service to the racing community.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles was presented USAC’s prestigious Roger McCluskey Award of Excellence, recognizing his commitment to the overall sport of auto racing and his numerous contributions to USAC.
Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Ind. posthumously received the Jason Leffler Award, in recognition of his intense appreciation of the sport’s history reflected in his professionalism and outstanding representation as an ambassador of the United States Auto Club, exhibiting the same standard of ideals upheld by the late Jason Leffler during his USAC racing career.
USAC’s 2016 National “Race Organizer of the Year” award was presented to Track Enterprises and accepted by race organizer Bob Sargent.
Casey Shuman of Tempe, Ariz. earned the 2016 USAC Silver Crown “Rookie of the Year” honor. Isaac Chapple of Willow Branch, Ind. was honored as the AMSOIL National Sprint Car “Rookie of the Year” and the Bob Stroud Memorial National Midget “Rookie of the Year” Award for the National Midget Series went to Carson Macedo of Lemoore, Calif.
Chad Boespflug of Hanford, Calif. was named USAC’s “Most Improved” National Driver of 2016.
USAC’s 2016 “Chief Mechanic of the Year” awards went to Rob Hoffman and Dan Launderville, who guided Bacon’s drive to the AMSOIL National Sprint Car title.
Second and third-place drivers and car entrants in USAC’s National racing series also received their year-end recognition and awards.
All USAC driving champions were also presented one-year memberships by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa.
Floral decorations were provided by Jockish Flowers of Indianapolis.