Thank You goes out to Stan Yee Jr. and Carter Crompton for bringing their “Racing Rides” for display at the banquet. It was great to see the familiar #33 Late Model and a special privilege to have Carter’s 1946 Kurtis Kraft Midget on display, Thank You to both of you for bringing these cars to the banquet for all of us to enjoy.
Photos from the entire evening can be viewed here.
I’d like to thank those who helped with set-up and tear down of this year’s banquet as without their help it would be impossible to get this thing done as efficiently as we do every year: Bob Capps, Dennis Schalm, Chuck Horan, Jeff Horan, Bill Walters, Al Peltier, Jeff Moroni, Laura Tucker, Sue Ginter, Scott Menlen, Steve & Cory Russell, Wild Bill, and Larry Iacoboni. I think set-up was done in record time this year. Gary “Mr. 300” Lindahl did a great job as our Emcee this year, Thank You Gary for a job well done and congratulations on your perfect game. I’d really like to thank our entire Board of Directors for being there all the time and helping out in any way possible, I appreciate it and I know the members do as well. It was also great to have some of our founders at the banquet as Willis and Marian Flokstra attended along with Vito Lopicollo.
Just before the banquet got started, John Turnbull Sr. and John Turnbull Jr. of the Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Michigan Legends Series presented an American Flag that had been flown over the United States Capital in recognition and appreciation of the Michigan Automobile racing Fan Club and its continued support of auto racing in the State of Michigan.
I am sorry to say that Mel Kenyon was unable to be with us to accept his Eddie Sachs Jr. Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award but in conversation with Mel He stated that he is thrilled to be chosen for this honor and regrets that he could not be there in person. Eddie Sachs III will be taking the award to Indianapolis this spring and will present it to Mel at the National Fan Club Breakfast.
Harold Fair Sr. and Harold Fair Jr. represented the three generations of the racing Fair family as Hugh, Harold Sr. and Harold Jr. received the MARFC President’s Award. Gary Ritzenthaler from Water Winter Wonderland received the MARFC Electronic Media Award while George Pohly received the MARFC Motor Sports Writer of the Year.
Jimmy Novack and Kyle Feeney were both surprised to receive a MARFC Special Achievement Award for winning Rookie of the Year titles in their respective divisions at an unprecedented three race tracks each in the same year. Our MARFC promoter of the Year was given to the Michigan International Speedway with Speedway President Roger Curtis on hand as well as Media/Public Relations Director Dennis Worden. Alan Lardie, the voice of the Merritt Speedway helped me surprise Shane Oliver with the MARFC Mechanic of the Year Award, while our Fans of the Year are Tim and Patti Bihn.
MARFC Appreciation Awards were given out to Rob & Lisa Michon as Rob is our webmaster and Lisa secures the facility for our annual Kid’s Christmas Party. Frank & Peggy Loving were recognized for their many years of contributions to our Kid’s Christmas Party and the annual MARFC Family Picnic. Sue Iacoboni was surprised to receive an Appreciation award for the help she gives her husband Larry in helping to send out all of the letters requesting donations for each year’s banquet. Joe Nagraba, who has been our DJ for the last 8 banquets, was speechless when his Appreciation award was given to him. Joe has been much more than a DJ and his help at each banquet has been immeasurable. Pettipren distributors were recognized for their many years of continued sponsorship of the banquet with the many Budweiser items given for the door prize giveaway. We also recognized the great service we have been receiving from Gary DeCarlo, Mary Ellen Sprague, and the rest of the staff at the DeCarlo’s Banquet Center. Congratulations to all of our Appreciation Award winners.
Ron Drager presented the Michigan Speedway Promoters Association (MSPA) Promoter of the Year Award to a very surprised and thankful Jim Leasure and the Spartan Speedway. Jim was very quick to say that it isn’t just He who makes Spartan Speedway a great place to be, it is the staff that works so hard with the drivers and fans to make it a great place to be on Friday night.
Terry Fitzwater is back in town and was present to give out the newly revived Driver of the Year award to a very surprised Late Model shoe Mike Root. Terry also presented the Tom Carnegie Announcer of the Year award to the voice of the Michigan International Speedway, Larry Henry. Larry shared what it was like at M.I.S. on a typical weekend as well as a few funny stories related to how he performs his craft.