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2011 AED Performance Racer’s Banquet Wrap Up!
Published by Johnny Davis on February 7, 2012
The 2011 Racer’s Awards Gala kicked off in front of a huge crowd on Saturday, February 4th. Awards, hardware and earnings of over $18,000 were handed out to the top drivers and teams that participated in Richmond Dragway’s 2011 AED Performance ET Points Series. The night also included an opportunity to celebrate the 2011 Inaugural Mid Atlantic Championship Team Finals victory that was won in October!
The top ten in Superior Tire Top ET were recognized for their accomplishments including; Ron Blankenship (8th), Bruce Hairston (8th), Bruce Sisk (8th), Allen & Allen Racing (6th), Kenneth Wingfield (6th), Bobby Jordan (5th), Brian Mollison (4th), Ray Weinstein (2nd), Wayne Talley (2nd) and track champion Kenny Young. His first ever career Richmond Dragway Track Championship after winning championships in both the Raider Challenge Series and VMP during his storied career. Other award winners from the Top ET field were; Most Improved Driver Ron Blankenship, Wrench of the Year Buck Hairston, Rookie of the Year Kenneth Wingfield and 2011 Driver of the Year IHRA Top Dragster World Champion JB Donati.
In Superior Auto Modified ET, the top ten were honored; Sean Sparkman (10th), Sparkman Racing (9th), Jeff Verdi (8th), Jones Racing (7th), Chris Moren (6th), Ronnie Jeter (5th), JT Taylor (4th), Steve Burke (3rd), BAD Motorsports (Mike and Brandi Alexander) (2nd) and the Back to Back track champion, Rocky Pintavalle. Rocky clinched his championship in one of the closest battles in Championship history, just a 1 point margin of victory. Other Modified ET awards winners included; Rookie of the Year Roger Bridges and the 2011 Man of the Year Award winner high flying Mark Robertson.
Junior Dragster celebrated a great class of top ten drivers; Lukhard Racing (10th), Rachael Weis (9th), Wilson & Hairfield Racing (8th), DiAndre “Dink” Holmes (6th), Roger Thornton (6th), Jessica Goodman (5th), Kennedy Weis (4th), Keith Dunkum Jr. (3rd), Michael George Jr. (2nd) and Champion Rachael Whitney. Rachael Whitney took no prisoners as she made an all out assault on the 2011 JD Championship with tenacity and drive. Along the way, she collected the Lukhard’s Paint and Body Works and Michael’s Signs Extreme Junior Dragster Makeover for her win!
Richmond Dragway’s Race Official crew was caught in the act of receiving awards as well when longtime Race Crew member and one of the official starters, Kenny Crockett picked up the Race Official of the Year award. Finally, Kenny Young was honored with the most prestigious award of the night, the Louis “GueGue” Edmonds Sportsman of the Year for upholding the spirit of racing, sportsmanship and service in the name of Richmond Dragway.
Additionally, drivers competed during the night for the 2011 Beal Racing Engines Dyno Challenge and the Collision One Paint and Autobody Helmet Makeover and when the dust settled, Ron Blankenship was awarded $1500 worth of “dyno time” at the Beal Shop in Thomasville, NC while Keith Dunkum Jr. earned the Helmet Makeover from Collision One Paint and Autobody in Mechanicsville and Tappahannock, VA.
Celebrations were concluded with over $4000 worth of door prizes distributed to the crowd courtesy of the Contingency Connection, Ray’s Pool and Supply Store and Richmond Dragway. The most hilarious moments of the night came during the ”Ultimate Doorprize Giveaway” that returned a 32” HDTV to Keith Cox as he ousted Gina Dunkum (who won a Kindle Fire) in one of the “Minute to Win It” Games (Junk in the Trunk) on stage. Drivers, sponsors and crews were well entertained through the night with Tony Mangrum’s “Friends of Soul” band and eagerly anticipate the start of the 2012 Racing Season.
Track Owner, Johnny Davis brought the night to a close with a “state of the track” address that included the announcement of an all 1/8 mile 14 race AED Performance ET Points Series, the return of the AutoFab Raider Challenge Series, a date change for the Summit Pro Am Tour as well as hosting the 2012 IHRA Summit Team Finals in September and the all new “Door Warz” for big money doorslammer racing in April. Other popular races including the Collision One $10 Grand Slams, Sunoco Halloween Clash and New Year’s Nationals that also take their place in the mix. Finally, the 2012 season also includes the continuation of the MAC Championships at VMP in October and the King of the Track race at RD in November.
Davis and Ray Weinstein also announced the creation of the Ray’s Swimming Pool and Supply Store “Bubbly Bonus” where a beautiful Spa/Hot Tub will be raffled off ($1 per ticket, tickets sold at RD and Ray’s shop) and all of the proceeds will be returned to the first and second place finishers in each class (Top, Mod and JD) in the 2012 AED ET Points Championships. The raffle will take place on Sunday of the IHRA Team Finals in September.
Richmond Dragway is a ¼ mile IHRA sanctioned facility in Sandston, Virginia and is “dedicated to motorsports excellence through integrity, service and innovation” For more information, visit www.richmonddragway.com.
Richmond Dragway, Unleash the Excitement.
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