MOORESVILLE, N.C. – J.P. Morgan was honored as the 2012 Rev-Oil Pro Cup Series champion during the series awards banquet Saturday night at the Charles Mack Citizen Center.
Morgan was recognized for claiming his first series championship in 2012. During his championship season he won seven of 14 races, finishing no worse than fourth throughout the course of the year.
“We are a very close team and very dedicated. That means a lot, that is very important,” Morgan said upon taking the stage to accept his championship trophy. “I’ve got to really thank (Series President) Jack McNelly. Everybody really knows, but without him taking an interest in the series and taking it on, from that day he has not wavered one bit.
“I appreciate everything you’ve done Jack as far as the series is concerned. Obviously if it wasn’t for you wanting to make this happen, it wouldn’t happen. I want to give you personal thanks for that,” Morgan said.
In addition to his championship laurels, Morgan received a pair of special gifts. Tire supplier Goodyear honored Morgan by presenting him with a Goodyear championship jacket, while McNelly surprised Morgan and his wife Jackie with an all-expenses paid trip to New York City.
McNelly took time during the banquet to talk about the 2012 season, as well as the future of the series.
“It was kind of a typical season, maybe a little bit more so for us. It was certainly a season of highs and lows,” McNelly said. “Even though our champion J.P. had somewhat of a strangle hold on wins, we were able to have seven different winners in 14 events, therefore proving the competitiveness and even playing field in the cars and competitors in our series.”
McNelly then discussed 2013, which is expected to be a make-or-break season for the traveling stock car series. The series recently announced that the winner of each event in 2013 will pocket $10,000, a huge sum that is expected to draw interested race teams from all over the Southeast.
“I don’t think there is any other series in the country that has $10,000 to win and $1,000 for 10th place,” McNelly said. “We have had a lot of interest from other teams that are considering running in our series, either on a part-time or full-time basis. I want you to know, the folks in this room, that I will never loose track or forget your contribution to this series to keep it alive. I don’t care if we have 100 cars in the garage area, you’ll still have a very special place in my heart.”
McNelly stated that every contingency sponsor from the 2012 season would return in 2013. He also indicated that the series had signed a few additional contingency sponsors that would be announced at a later date.
Allen Purkhiser and Tyler Young were recognized as co-runner ups in the Rev-Oil Pro Cup Series championship standings. The pair finished the season tied for second in the championship standings. It was particularly emotional for Purkhiser, whose car owner Steve Husketh died less than 10 days ago.
Dalton Hopkins was honored as the Rev-Oil Pro Cup Series Rookie of the Year. In his first full year with the series, Hopkins also finished the season fourth in the championship standings. Fellow rookie Nathan Russell, who was unable to attend the banquet, was honored for his fifth-place championship finish.