by Brian Spaid
January 8, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FRANKLIN, PA …. Nearly $40,000 in point funds and contingencies were distributed on Saturday January 7th as Tri-City Speedway officials feted the 2005 track champions at the Rocky Grove Fire Hall before a crowd of about 400 people. Receiving their championship plaques were Rod George (NorthPointe Automotive Super Sprints), Del Rougeux Jr. (Schwab’s Ford DIRT Modifieds), Matt Lux (RPM Auto Sales/Shawgo Real Estate E Mods), Gerry Bruce (E.F. Rogers Plumbing & Heating Pro Stocks) and Chad Myers (4 Your Car Connection Thundercars). For the third time in four season, Rod George of Kittanning, Pa., collected the Super Sprint track title at Tri-City in his Delp Powder Coating/Dr. Marty’s Foot Care Maxim No. 4. George tied his 2003 season record of nine feature wins and held off a tremendous comeback effort by former two-time champion Bob Felmlee, who returned to action after five years on the sidelines. Andy McKisson, Todd Bauer and Dr. Bob Altmeyer rounded out the top five in points. “We had a great year,” said George “I’ve got to thank the track crew. Everybody knows Tri-City’s my favorite track and they did a great job. I’ve also got to thank Gary Rankin for helping me out, and, of course, my crew.” In addition to his championship awards, George also was honored with the 2005 Special Achievement Award and Walt Wimer’s Calvalcade of Champions Super Sprint title, which was a career first for the veteran. Overall, George earned 17 feature wins and two track titles in 2005. The other title was at Mercer Raceway Park. As a side note, Altmeyer announced his retirement from racing as he accepted his award, which ends a 15-year career. His fifth place points finish was the best of his career. In the DIRT Modifieds, Del Rougeux Jr. of Frenchville, Pa., earned his second track title in three seasons. Driving his Vinyl Graphics Unlimited Bicknell No. 20D, Rougeux scored four feature wins topping 2005 BRP Modified Tour champion Rex King. For the second year in a row, King finished second in points. Jeremiah Shingledecker, Chris Schiffer and Russell King rounded out the top five. “This year was good, and last year we want to forget,” said Rougeux, who missed a three-peat as the DIRT Modified champion with a runner-up in points to Andy Priest in 2004. “I was a lot more comfortable in the car and we made a few trips to New York, which helped out a lot. I’d like to thank Dean Pearson and his crew for all their help whenever we wrecked over the weekend. My crew did a tremendous job this year. I’ve also got to thank all my sponsors as well.” Tri-City announcer Walt Wimer presented Rex King of Bristolville, Ohio, with his first career Cavalcade Big Block Modified title. King topped all drivers in the division throughout the region to earn the prestigious award. Returning to his hometrack in 2005, Matt Lux of Franklin, Pa., scored his first career E Mod track title aboard Scott Bidwell’s Fame RV Center/Maloney Tool & Mold Pierce No. 21. Lux won eight features in a stellar season for the 1999 CSOnline Applefest 100 winner. Shawn Shingledecker wound up second to Lux followed by 2004 track champion Mike Potosky, Josh Skarzenski and Jim Frontz. Lux and Bidwell also received additional hardware for their championship in Tri-City’s three-race E Series. “There are so many people to thank for this deal,” said an emotional Lux. “I got put into a great situation, and I just thank Scott tremendously for putting me back here at Tri-City. I’m glad I could win him a championship. He deserves it so much. The kids that help out on the car are real young and they’re gaining a lot of experience. You take a lot of heat racing E Mods after running Late Models, but this put the fun back in racing for me.” Gerry Bruce of Franklin, Pa., received honors for first career Pro Stock title. Piloting Ken Humanic’s Eagle Hoist & Winch/Senesco Marine Chevrolet No. Z17, Bruce earned five victories and defeated Jason Johns, Doug Iorio II, Bobby Whitling and Dave Ferringer for the championship. While Bruce thanked many people for his title effort, advances in his racing career dominated his award presentation. “I’d like to thank Ken and Chris Humanic because they trust and believe in me, and keep putting me on the track week in and week out,” said Bruce, who recently tested an ARCA Stock Car at Daytona International Speedway. “We’re going to attempt a different level of racing. We’re going to focus most of our effort on the USAR Hooters Cup in 2006. We’ll run a five-race schedule and do a lot of testing to be able to return as a rookie the following season.” It is expected that the Humanic team will still maintain a Pro Stock to race at Tri-City in 2006. Bruce is scheduled to run four of those events. Terry Wheeler of Stoneboro, Pa., received the other Pro Stock championship trophy as he captured the four-race William R. Karns Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning Detroit Iron Pro Stock Series. Second generation racer Chad Myers of Oil City, Pa., collected laurels for his first career Thundercar title. Myers won a division record nine features in his Sehman Tire Service/Perk Place Café Buick No. 01 after a stellar rookie effort in 2004. Joe Blake finished second to Myers followed by Regina Deloe, Robby Switzer and Curt Bish Sr. “I’d really like to thank my entire crew and all of my family for all their support this season,” said Myers. “We bought a Pro Stock for 2006 and we’re going to give that a go.” Each division champion received a championship trophy and jackets, and the top point fund money. Larson, Priest, Potosky and Smith each also received an engraved championship watch from J&K Jewelry of Titusville, Pa. Each division champion also gave his respective division sponsor a special award from the track. Pro Stock hero Dave Ferringer of Cochanton, Pa., was honored with 2005 Hard Charger Award. Ferringer is the first repeat winner of the award. He also won it in 1998. Bill Baker of R.N. Goss Gas drew Rex King’s name as the winner of the 2005 Lincoln Welder Ironman Award. King, Del Rougeux Jr. and Bob Felmlee each completed 100% of the laps in heat and feature race competition in their respective divisions, and all three were eligible for the top prize, which was determined by Baker’s blind draw. Four drivers received rookie honors from track officials. Mike Turner of Butler, Pa., (DIRT Modifieds), David Atkinson of Titusville, Pa., (E Mods), Jeff Lockhart of Seneca, Pa., (Pro Stocks), and Ed Deloe of Oil City, Pa., (Thundercars) were named Rookies of the Year. There was no driver eligible for a rookie award in the Super Sprints. The 2005 Most Improved Driver Award was presented to DIRT Modified driver Jeremiah Shingledecker of Polk, Pa. Shingledecker stunned his competitors with an improved race team and three feature wins that led to a third place points finish. Brent Covell of Titusville, Pa., was named the winner of the 2005 Hard Luck Award. At midseason, Covell and the Funtime Motorsports teams acquired a potent engine that nearly carried Covell to his first career Super Sprint victory. However, two flips in two weeks on June 26th and July 3rd resulted in a trashed race car and a ruined powerplant. The 2005 Tri-City Speedway Lifetime Dedication Award was presented to DIRT Modified veteran Carl Murdick of Butler, Pa. Murdick, who commenced his racing career in 1960, continues to compete to this day. His son, Dave Murdick, is a championship driver, and his daughter and son-in-law, Gary and Sheila Rankin, are popular Super Sprint racers. Pennewell Sandblasting & Painting of Oil City, Pa., awarded free chassis reconditionings to Andy McKisson (Super Sprints), Jeremiah Shingledecker (DIRT Modifieds), Bruce Powell (E Mods), Jason Reagle (Pro Stocks), and Robby Switzer (Thundercars). Those drivers were chosen by random draw prior to the banquet. Other contingency sponsors included Vinyl Graphics Unlimited, Pennzoil, Hoosier Tire, Precise Racing Products, Lake Erie Speed Specialties, Big Daddy’s Speed Center, Bassett Wheels, American Racer/Lias Tire and the Oakland Township Volunteer Fire Department. Tri-City’s Public Relations Director Brian Spaid closed the banquet with news that the track will open for the 2006 season on Sunday April 30th with a five-division program of the 4 Your Car Connection Super Sprints, Schwab’s Ford DIRT Modifieds, RPM Auto Sales/Shawgo Real Estate E Mods, E.F. Rogers Plumbing & Heating Pro Stocks and Stubler Beverage Thundercars. Two division sponsors have changed as 4 Your Car Connection assumes the sponsorship of the Super Sprints and Stubler Beverage claims the Thundercars. Track improvements will also be noticeable with a wider and more banked first and second turns. At this time, Tri-City will not be sanctioned by DIRT MotorSports in 2006. Until rules issues are resolved with DIRT Northeast, the Big Block Modifieds will run unsanctioned for the first time since 1996. Discussions will continue between Tri-City and DIRT Northeast officials to resolve these differences in an effort to preserve the relationship before the start of the season. On the track, the BRP Modified Tour will be featured in the Rankin & Son Excavating Dick Rankin Memorial on Sunday May 28th. The date for the Kodiak Memorial is not set at this time. In addition to its division sponsorship, Schwab’s Ford will commence a new track series for the Big Block Modifieds in the Schwab’s Ford Modified Challenge. Similar to the E Series for the E Mods and Detroit Iron Pro Stock Series, the Schwab’s Ford Modified Challenge will feature a special series of four events and a separate point fund. In the E Mod ranks, the three-year old E Series will have its first sponsor with Fame RV Center. This will allow Tri-City officials to award a point fund to the top five drivers of the E Series. With the rise in competition in the E Mod class, the series may also be expanded to include four races. The E Mods will also be the new division of choice for the Victim’s Resource Center, Inc., Ladies Mod Tour event to be held on June 18th. Willam R. Karns Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning will return as title sponsor of the Detroit Iron Pro Stock Series. The four-race schedule will include the Oil Region Labor Day Classic and the 10th Annual CSOnline Applefest 100, which will close out the season on Sunday September 17th. Although the recent World of Outlaws Stacker 2 Late Model Series listed a two-day show at Tri-City on September 2nd and 3rd, at this time, that show is tentative until sponsorship is secured. More information will be announced in the future regarding this event. In other news, Maloney Tool & Mold will sponsor the Hard Charger Award, which will once again offer a point fund to the top five drivers that score the most passing points in the feature races of all divisions combined. R.N. Goss Gas and Lincoln Electric will combine forces for the second season in a row for the Lincoln Welders Ironman Award. At the end of the season, a new Lincoln Welder will be presented to the race team that completes the greatest percentage of laps in heat and feature race competition in all divisions combined. More news about the upcoming season will be released in coming weeks, including the 2006 schedule.