Wednesday, February 13, 2013
USAC's 2012 Western Champions and special award winners were honored Saturday night at the Estrella Warbirds Museum and Woodland Auto Display in Paso Robles, Calif. Competitors in the Ignite Midgets, Western Midgets, Western Classic Sprints, West Coast Sprints, USAC/CRA Sprints, and more were celebrated as a large crowd was in attendance.
Perris Auto Speedway Announcer Chris Holt served as master of ceremonies and before the festivities began, Anne Wilkerson honored Dick Woodland with the "Billy Wilkerson Award." Western Region Director Chris Kearns addressed the crowd and celebrated Clay Daly and Steve Drake for winning their Dirt Late Model Championships at Santa Maria Speedway. Kearns also announced that the Woodland Auto Display will sponsor both the West Coast and AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars during the 2013 campaign.
USAC/CRA Sprint Champion Mike Spencer was honored by USAC Vice President Dick Jordan for making history with his fifth consecutive title. Bud Kaeding (West Coast Sprint), Tony Hunt (Western Classic Sprint), and Ryan Bernal (Santa Maria Sprint) were also celebrated for their championships. Shannon McQueen was noted for becoming the fifth female champion driver in USAC history by claiming the Western Midget crown. David Prickett (Western Dirt Midget), Chad Nichols (Western Pavement Midget), along with Ignite Midget champions Garrett Peterson (Northern Pavement), Cory Elliott (Western Dirt), and Bryant Dawson (Las Vegas Pavement) were also recognized.
Ron Chaffin (USAC/CRA Sprint) and Junior Bowman (West Coast Sprint) were celebrated for winning their respective Car Owner Championships.
Rookie of the Year honors were awarded to Jake Swanson (USAC/CRA Sprint), Austin Liggett (West Coast Sprint), and Nick Chivello (Western Midget). Brody Roa earned the title of USAC/CRA's Most Improved Driver and Mechanic of the Year Awards went to Bruce Bromme Jr. (USAC/CRA Sprint), and Brian Matherly (West Coast Sprint). Jimmy May earned the Western All Out Mechanic Award for the JFM team's success with the USAC/CRA Sprints, West Coast Sprints, and Western Midget Series.
Veteran driver Wally Pankratz presented the Joe Lynch Mechanical Achievement Award to Kirk Swanson.
A good time was had by all in attendance and visitors had free access to the exhibits at the Estrellla Warbird Museum and Woodland Auto Display.