SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The 2019 DIRTcar Racing season came to a close on Saturday night with an evening of reflection, good food and great times at the Springfield Crowne Plaza.
The big checks, tall trophies and engraved plaques handed out shone bright on the big stage, as did the drivers, crews, families and friends that come together at the track each and every year to take part in the sport they all love.
The festivities began with the honoring of the youngest drivers under the DIRTcar Racing banner and their national champion, Jerremy Sebens of the Kidz Modz division. After a delightful dinner, emcee Rick Eshelman began the awards presentations to the attending drivers in each participating division, up to second place in final points.
Leading off in the special award presentations, DIRTcar Racing COO Tom Deery took the stage to present the 15th annual Bob Memmer Award to a well-known veteran of the Midwestern late model ranks, Kevin Weaver.
Weaver now joins the likes of C.J. Rayburn, Terry Young, William Scogin, Roger Friedman, Randy Mooneyham, Bob Pierce, Tom Helfrich, Morey Denney, Jimmy Dearing, Todd Turner, Bob Sargeant and Jeff Leka as award winners.
The DIRTcar Promoter of the Year Award was given to Matt Curl of Fairbury Speedway, which was accepted by track announcer Mike Norris.
Former Bob Memmer Award winner Morey Denney also took the stage to accept the 2019 DIRTcar Track of the Year Award, given to Spoon River Speedway.
The Engine Builder of the Year Awards were given to Mullins Race Engines in the Modified division and to Durham Racing Engines for Late Models. Rocket Chassis was awarded with the Chassis of the Year Award with 110 total victories across the 2019 season.
Randall Gregory was then honored as the 2019 Late Model Mechanic of the Year; Darrell Hoffman received the 2019 Modified Mechanic of the Year.
After another incredible season behind the wheel of the Bob Cullen Racing #3s Rocket Chassis XR1 that saw an impressive 13 wins on the national scale and seven on the DIRTcar Summer Nationals tour, Brian Shirley collected the 2019 DIRTcar Late Model National Championship, and the Summer Nationals crown for the second year in-a-row.
Shirley was racing in Arizona, but left a video message for all of those in the banquet hall.
“I’d like to thank Tom Deery, Brian Carter, Sam Driggers and everybody at DIRTcar for what they do. Also a huge thank-you to Bob and Lisa Cullen, Thomas Express, Kids Castle, J&J Adventures, Rocket Chassis, Andy Durham and everybody that helps me on this car,” Shirley said.
Nick Hoffman also took to the stage to accept both of his championship awards, worth $25,000 total for his efforts in the DIRTcar UMP Modified national ranks and on the Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals tour.
In his speech, Hoffman rattled-off a few stats he compiled that best defined his success over the season – 24 wins in eight different states at 20 different race tracks for a total of 50 races.
Regional champions of each division were also honored:
East – Kevin Ashby
North – Matt Mackey
South – Brady Reed
West – Eldon Hemken
South – Terry Reed Jr.
North – Jason Maier
Northern Indiana – Derek Losh
Southern Indiana/Kentucky – Jordan Wever
Northern Illinois – Allen Weisser
Deep South – Christian Thomas
Michigan – David Vanquilder
South – Ty Shearon
Ohio – Jess Hartman
East – Coleman Evans
Illinois – Tommy Sheppard Jr.
Missouri/Illinois – Mike Harrison
East – Josh Boller
West – Tommy Duncan
Pro Late Model
West – Dakota Ewing
East – Logan Moody
South – David Seibers
Southwest – Jim Moon
East – Rusty Schlenk
West – Daryn Klein
Rookie – David Mielke
To conclude the evening, the national champions were called to the stage to accept their awards and make their speeches.
Pro Late Model – Aaron Heck
Pro Modified – Tim Hancock
UMP Modified – Nick Hoffman
Sportsman – Josh Boller
Stock Car – Jason Maier
Factory Stock – Preston Oberle
Sports Compact – Matt Mackey