257 of Maple Grove Raceway’s racers, families, sponsors, and staff gathered together Saturday night to celebrate a season of success. The gorgeous ballroom at the Double Tree by Hilton Reading hosted the 53rd Annual Money Trail Awards Ceremony.
Guests in attendance experienced a night full of entertainment from socializing prior to dinner, through dancing with friends to close out the night.
In his opening remarks MC, Andy Anderson, stated there has been a total of $550,000.00 in cash and awards presented to Money Trail racers since the year 2000 through this year’s awards banquet, making Maple Grove Raceway’s racer incentive programs one of the highest paying of its type in all of drag racing!
Anderson also announced the sponsors for the 2016 Sunoco Race Fuels Money Trail program. Sunoco will return as the overall sponsor of the series with Scott’s Transmissions, ATI Performance Products, PC Richard & Son, Reading Standard Motorsports and Universal Technical Institute as eliminator sponsors.
Mike Miller, Owner of Reading Standard Motorsports, presented the awards to the top five finishers in Top Bike. Cory Stuebner of Orwigsburg finished the season with 547 points, being named champion over second place Kyle Gockley and third place finisher Austin Youndt.
Sinking Springs native, Paul Werner drove his Chevy Malibu station wagon to a championship in the PC Richard & Son Street class with 498 points. Just two points above second place finisher Adam Werner. Werner’s 2015 championship marks his 12th Money Trail Championship of his career, a record for all Money Trail competitors!
In the Ciccarone Racing Products Pro class, Robert Smith of West Chester earned the championship with 598 points. Smith has been a loyal member of Maple Grove Raceway for over 30 years. Second place finisher Paul Werner and third place Rich Pennington continued to fight until the last race.
Gold Rush Custom Trailers President, Phil Lankford presented the awards to the top ten drivers in Super. Rick Terkowski of Gilbertsville, persevered through a rocky season to claim the championship. Terkowski expressed his determination to press on when the season seemed tough by saying, “that is racing. That’s what I love to do, race.” Terkowski held off second place finisher Derrick Fox, in addition to ‘King of the Track’ winner and third place finisher Shane Beck.
The top ten finishers in the UTI Junior Dragster class were recognized for outstanding performance throughout the season. Special consideration was given to Kelsey Brinckman for winning the 10 to 11 year old class and Nathan Harding who won the 14 to 15 year old class at the NHRA Division I Junior Championships. Matthew Witkowski from Elverson won the championship with 423 points by holding off Jessie Rothenberger and Jeremy Ketterer. Witkowski started the final day of points in fifth place and he combined great driving skills and a little luck to end the day in the Sunoco Race Fuels Victory Lane, not only with the class victory for day, but the overall Championship as well!
Over $28,000 in cash, trophies and awards were presented to 43 of the 180 total racers who participated in the 2015 Money Trail season. In addition to a check, trophy and jacket, class champions from Super, Pro, Street, Top Bike and Junior Dragster were awarded a tool box. Each tool box is valued at $500, courtesy of NAPA Auto Parts and Carlyle Tools.
Insinger Performance distributor of Sunoco Race Fuels presented $100.00 gift certificates to Roy Hall, Andy Anderson, Mark Ketterer, Andrew Konefal and Denny Parisan for purchasing 50 gallons of Sunoco Race Fuel during the course of the season. Sunoco also announced a the program would continue in 2017 with one major change. All racers purchasing 50 gallons or more will be placed into a special drawing with the winner earning a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas for two, courtesy of Sunoco. All racers purchasing 30 gallons or more will be eligible to have their names drawn for a $100.00 gift certificate towards fuel purchases. A total of 15 $100 gift certificates will be eligible.
The Money Trail, junior dragster and Walk of Fame trophies and the beautiful Sponsor Appreciation awards were skillfully fabricated by S & W Race Cars. S&W has been a supporting sponsor of Maple Grove Raceway since 1970 making the company the longest running sponsor in the history of the facility.
Lex Dudas presented Jeff Riling, Craig Poole and Wanda Goodridge with this season’s Appreciation Awards.
Jeff Riling, from NAPA Auto Parts with Carlyle Tools, has been a long time supporter of Maple Grove Raceway as well as a main sponsor for numerous events during the racing season, including Saturday’s awards banquet. Dudas also announced that NAPA and Carlyle have extended the agreement with Maple Grove Raceway for the years 2016 and 2017. Dudas stated, “Jeff has helped Maple Grove Raceway through his efforts at NAPA and Carlyle Tools and we appreciate all his done for us.”
Craig Poole received the Appreciation Award because of his undeniable commitment to promoting Maple Grove. According to Dudas, “Poole is an Ambassador for the track.” Mr. Poole is the General Manager of the Doubletree Hotel and through his efforts has made the new hotel the official host hotel of Maple Grove Raceway’s awards banquet. The entire team at the hotel went out of their way to welcome all attendees at the banquet serving our every needs during the affair.
Wanda Goodridge was pleasantly surprised when learning she was one of the three award recipients. Goodridge was presented the award as a result of her continual dedication to seeing Maple Grove succeed. Her enthusiasm for not only the organization but for everyone she meets at the track is unquestionable. Dudas added, “Wanda has grown into a great friend of Maple Grove, our racers, staff and fans as she continually promotes and supports our racers in various fund raising efforts for Team Maple Grove.”
Mike Lewis took time to recognize each of the four 2015 Walk of Fame inductees. Tony Schumacher, Don Schumacher, Dodger Glenn and Hank Endres bring the total to 82 individuals to join the Walk of Fame since its inception in 2004. All four of these men have made or continue to make significant contributions to Maple Grove Raceway.
Andy Anderson, master of ceremonies, announced the Safeco Insurance Best Appealing Car for 2015. The three nominees were Brian Marko, Jeff Hatfield and Phil Feger. As voted, it was Jeff Hatfield who claims the rights of being the Overall Best Appearing Car for 2015. Anderson also announced Safeco Insurance will again return as the sponsor of the best appearing awards for 2016.
The new addition of a Chinese Auction and a 50-50 raffle was a huge success raising over $1,300.00 for Team Maple Grove. Supporters making donations to the auction included, Denny Parisan, Don Carrick of 413 Studio Photography, Randy Kaylor of Pro Fab, Balance Spa, Red Star Craft House, Rob’s Rod Shop, Penske, Suzie Feger, Summit Racing, Anne Beegle, Maple Grove Raceway, Wanda Goodridge, Frank Southcott, Kathy Musser-Phillips, Bob and LeeAnn Ormsbee, Mary’s Cheers Bar and Lucas Oil for graciously donating prizes to the Chinese auction.
A special thank you also went to Reading Standard Motorsports, Insinger Performance, In-Motion Solutions and Denver Truck Painting for providing the giveaways during evening’s ceremonies.
The 2016 Money Tail Racer’s Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, March 6th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The meeting for drivers participating in Super, Pro, Street and Top Bike is set for 10 AM. Racers in Junior Dragster and Junior Street will meet at noon. All other racers competing in index (8.5, 10.0 and 11.5) classes meet upon completion of juniors meeting.
Entering its 54th consecutive season in 2016, Maple Grove Raceway once again will host a full season of championship racing events. The NHRA Keystone Nationals, part of the NHRA Mello Yello Series Countdown to the Championship will return for September 29th through October 2nd.