GILBERTSVILLE, PA Most racers consider their career successful when they win one championship, imagine Jeff Strunk celebrated his ninth NASCAR Whelen All American Series 358 Modified championship and Chuck Schutz was honored for his fifth NASCAR Late Model championship at the 49th annual Grandview Speedway Awards Banquet on Saturday night.
A large crowd filled the Gilbertsville, PA Fire Co. Social Hall to enjoy a great home style dinner, the awards and music for dancing and socializing.
With two feature wins during the regular Saturday night season at Grandview Speedway and a long list of consistent finishes Strunk and his car owner Norm Hansell were able to grab the 2011 NASCAR title, the ninth for Strunk and the very first for the veteran car owner.
Strunk and Hansell tallied 4083 points to take the title by a comfortable 308 point margin over runnerup Duane Howard and his car owner Chad Sinon who had won the title in 2010 and were able to walk off with five wins during the just recently completed season.
The title was worth $10,000 in point fund money from the Rogers family, operators of the one third mile, banked clay speedway. In addition there will be point money coming from NASCAR along with other cash awards for winning the Pennsylvania state title and other honors. Strunk will receive his NASCAR honors when he attends the huge NASCAR Whelen All American Series Awards Banquet at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC in Charlotte, NC.
Strunk and a guest will also get the opportunity to be part of the 50th anniversary season Caribbean cruise taking place for nine days at the end of 2012. The 2012 title winner will also be part of the trip. Information on the trip can be had by contacting Marilyn Saxton at 215.752.2392. The trip runs for nine days starting on November 24th.
Third spot in the final standings went to Craig VonDohren followed by Doug Manmiller and Mike Gular.
The Late Model title battle was close with Chuck Schutz topping the standings for the fifth time in his outstanding racing career. The Pottstown racer shared the championship awards, including point fund money from the Rogers family and NASCAR with his car owner Ty Zeigler. The team won five feature races and earned 4785 points on the way to the title.
Second spot went to Danny Snyder as he picked up two feature wins tallying 4593 points.
Third through fifth place awards went to Ron Kline, Mike Kellner and Randy Stoudt.
Special NASCAR plaques were presented to the top three finishers in each division of regular Saturday night racing action. And the Craftsman Mechanic of the Year award went to Donald Norris.
In the NASCAR 358 Modified division special awards went to :
Rookie of the Year - Nate Christman
Most Improved Driver - Kyle Weiss
Hard Luck - Don Norris Jr.
Sportsmanship - Duane Howard
Best Newcomer - Jimmy Horton IV
Best Appearing Car - Craig VonDohren
Best Appearing Crew - Mike Gular/Terry Fasnacht #53 team
In the Late Model division special awards went to:
Rookie of the Year - David Ogin
Most Improved Driver - Wayne Pfeil Jr.
Best Newcomer - Steve Butler
Sportsmanship - Buddy Mertz
Hard Luck - Greg Hoffmaster
Best Appearing Car - Kory Fleming
Best Appearing Crew - Chuck Schutz/ Ty Zeigler No. One
Members of the media (print journalists, photographers and internet representatives) received special appreciation awards from the track management along with a number of track employees and officials.
The Grandview Groove track magazine Most Popular Driver Awards, voted on by fans, were presented to Danny Snyder in the Late Models and Bobby Gunther Walsh in the NASCAR 358 Modifieds.
The prestigious Jerry Glase Memorial, presented by Marilyn and Ernie Saxton in memory of their close friend and long time track employee, went to Pete Knappenberger in recognition of support of racing at Grandview and the sport in general. Knappenberger has been the host of “Racer’s Roundtable” radio show for a number of years and is the victory lane announcer.
Special appreciation awards were presented to Chad Sinon/BPG Racing for his sponsorship of the BPG Racing Freedom 76, Bob Greene/Pioneer Pole Buildings for their sponsorship of the Forrest Rogers Memorial presented by Pioneer Pole Buildings and Ernie Saxton track announcer and public relations director for more than 40 years.
The 2012 season, tentatively set to start with the annual practice session on March 31st, will be the 50th anniversary season with the $50,000 to win BPG Racing Freedom 76 set to close out the year of racing action.
Information on sponsorship, program book and billboard advertising opportunities is available from Ernie Saxton Communications, Inc. at 215.752.7797 or via email to Esaxton144@aol.com