DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It is a rare thing in motorsports that a driver wins every feature event they competed in during a season.
Shelby Stroebel did that this year in the ASA Modified division at Meridian (Idaho) Speedway. His impressive season easily makes him the 2012 ASA Member Track National Champion.
“I had an idea, but until you get the phone call that you are the next National Champion, you never count your chickens before they hatch,” Stroebel said after receiving the phone call from ASA President Dennis Huth. “I am super proud to be where we are at, we had a great year. I have to thank all of the people that helped us. I can’t really even think right now.”
It is also the first National Championship for Meridian Speedway, a quarter-mile asphalt oval located in downtown Meridian, Idaho.
“Everyone at Meridian Speedway is excited to have Shelby as the 2012 National Champion,” Adam Nelson, Meridian Speedway Promoter said. “He worked really hard on trying to make this happen. He came out and put on a great show every night. Meridian Speedway was one of the original ASA Member Tracks going back to 2003 and we are excited that we can now put up the banner that we are the home of a National Champion.”
“Congratulations to Shelby Stroebel on being the fifth ASA Member Track National Champion and to Adam Nelson and his staff at Meridian Speedway for being the home of this year’s champion,” Dennis Huth, ASA President said. “Shelby accomplished something that rarely is seen in auto racing, an undefeated season. The National Championship is the icing on the cake to a perfect season.”
Stroebel actually has a win streak going back to the end of the 2011 season where he has won 17 straight feature events at Meridian Speedway. A win streak that started prior to Shelby losing his father Allen near the end of last season.
Allen had leukemia and Shelby started racing a few years ago to help his dad through it by giving him something to do while going through his treatments. His leukemia went into remission until last year when he lost his battle.
“This is for my dad,” Stroebel said. “He had worked on another driver’s race car and he got pure enjoyment out of doing that. When he got diagnosed, he was really bummed out. My whole thing with sickness is that you need to stay positive, strive forward and have something to live for every day. About six years ago, we went and bought a racecar and at that time didn’t realize the position we would be in today. That is why we started racing, we did it for him.”
Throughout the season Stroebel was in a close battle for the National Championship with Lance Gatlin, who won the Late Model Championship at Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, Va. In fact, the two had a great duel going as they both won their first nine feature events of the 2012 season. Gatlin would end up with 10 feature wins, but was not close to Stroebel’s 14 wins.
Gatlin is the 2012 East Region Champion sponsored by SpeedNetDirect.com.
Stroebel’s average of 5.6121 is the largest ever in the five-year history of the ASA Member Track National Championship. His margin of victory is also the largest with a gap of 0.6747 from Gatlin’s average of 4.9374.
Gatlin’s ten wins highlight an impressive season at the three-eighths-mile asphalt oval. His worst finish was when he finished sixth twice, along with a second place finish and a fourth place finish.
Michael Hale finished third overall in the National Standings with an average of 4.5876. He defended his Maverik Modified title at Rocky Mountain Raceways in West Valley City, Utah, this season. Hale had two wins with nine top-five’s and 13 top-ten finishes this season at the .375-mile asphalt oval located just outside of Salt Lake City.
Dustin Rumley became a two-time Late Model champion at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, NC where he dethroned 2011 ASA Member Track National Champion Barry Beggarly. He had five wins, 12 top-five’s and 15 top-ten finishes this season at the four-tenths-mile asphalt oval.
Mike Slone battled with rookie Matt Wallace all season at Lebanon I-44 Speedway in Lebanon, Mo. He started the 2012 season with a win and held on to the points lead all season long to win the ASA Late Model title at the 3/8-mile asphalt oval. Overall this season he had four wins, 11 top-five’s and 14 top-ten finishes.
Dennis Queen won the Late Model Sportsman championship at Newport Motor Speedway in Newport, Tenn. He had four wins and 16 top-five finishes at the four-tenths-mile asphalt oval.
Mark Eswein was in a close battle all season long with defending track champion Mark Mackesy at State Park Speedway in Wausau, WI. He had three wins with nine top-five and eleven top-ten finishes this season at the quarter-mile asphalt oval.
Kyle Borden is still leading the ASA Modified standings at Shasta Speedway in Anderson, Calif. Their championship will be decided during their Speedfest 2012 on Oct. 26-28.