WSORR: Champions Honored at WSORR Awards Banquet
Keith Steele, John Mason and Dan Vanden Heuvel dominated the Lucas Oil World Series of Off-Road Racing (WSORR) “Night of Champions” Awards Banquet much as they dominated racing during the regular season by walking away with a combined nine awards during the annual event held at the Potawatomi Bingo and Casino in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, last weekend.
Mason and Vanden Heuvel shared the prestigious WSORR PRO Driver of the Year Award, and Steele was named as the top SRT (Sportsman) driver in 2008. All three racers also were WSORR season class champions and Steele added a World Championship ring for his Super Truck title earned during the BorgWarner World Championship weekend at Crandon International Off-Road
Raceway. Steele made the most trips to the podium (five) of any driver by also winning end of the season awards from KC Hilites and MSD Ignitions.
“This was really a dream season and it all starts with the support of my family and friends at the shop and at the track,” said Steele, of Madison, Wisconsin, as he then paid tribute to his primary sponsors Monster Energy Drink, Goodyear and USG Sheetrock along with a host of others. Steele won eight races and finished on the podium in 11 of the 12 rounds of racing.
Mason, of Plymouth, Wisconsin, had nine podium finishes and four wins on his way to the PRO Super Buggy title in his Mendeola Goodyear Honda in 2008.
“I’m proud of the year we had, all the hard work that went into it, all the sponsors. Especially Mendeola coming on board this year was just a great boost to our program,” he commented.
As he accepted his PRO Driver of the Year award, Vanden Heuvel discussed his last-minute decision to run the 2008 season on his own dollar.
“Fortunately, the World Series has a great payback so was able to run off their dollar all year,” he said.
The off-road veteran from Appleton, Wisconsin, celebrated his 30th year of racing with nine podiums and three wins in his Maxxis Chevy.
The PRO Rookie of the Year award went to Dave Waldvogel of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, who had two podium finishes and finished fifth in the PRO 2WD points race in his Bendix Toyo Chevrolet. Mitch Dorr, of Rockford, Illinois, had three podiums and a win in his BFG Ford Stock Truck to share Rookie of the Year honors with Ron Schreiner, of Hudson, Wisconsin, who finished on the podium four times on his way to fifth place in the final Super Truck standings in his 9-Inch Floater Uweld truck.
Other major awards announced during the ceremony included Ford Trucks as the PRO Truck Manufacturer of the year, with Cliff Irey of Ford Truck Motorsports accepting on behalf of Ford, and Goodyear as the PRO Tire Manufacturer of the year with Jack Cummins, off-road racing program Manager for Goodyear, accepting on behalf of that company.
The awards banquet featured special presentations and comments from major WSORR sponsors including Lucas Oil, the Forest County Potawatomi, Traxxas® and BorgWarner. Tom Fredrickson represented Lucas Oil on stage, FCP Tribal Chairman Phil Shopodock and FCP Race Team Manager Tom Boelter spoke on behalf of the Potawatomi, Damron Atkins of Traxxas presented
special RC trucks to Series champions and Skip Cline was on hand representing BorgWarner.
Doug Davis, president and general manager of WSORR, announced the 2009 World Series schedule which once again includes 12 rounds of racing beginning with the season opener at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri, May 30-31. The 2009 WSORR tour again visits Crandon International Raceway, Wisconsin, June 20-21, Bark River International Raceway, Michigan, July 10-12, Oshkosh Speedzone, Wisconsin, July 24-25, another visit to Bark River August 8-9 and the season finale at Crandon for the historic 40th Annual BorgWarner World Championships Labor Day weekend, September 4-6.
Davis also announced that WSORR will be supporting a national charity in 2009,
the American Diabetes Association. The series will donate a portion of each venue's profits to the ADA's local chapter, located in that area.
Davis also announced that the 2009 season again includes a $100,000 purse at each event and will include three major Cup races, including the most prestigious short course off-road race event in the country – the BorgWarner Shootout. He noted that the World Series of Off-Road Racing has now paid out in excess of $1.6 million to drivers in the last two seasons, in addition to contingency
“We have a vibrant, healthy and competitive off-road race Series,” he said at the banquet. “How competitive? The Series had 52 different racers reach the podium this past season.”
The 2008 World Series season witnessed new champions crowned in nine of the 11 WSORR classes. Dave DeMaegd, Mishawaka, Indiana, was able to successfully defend his Formula 4x4 crown in his Goodyear Jeep and Rob Weiland, of Hortonville, Wisconsin, repeated as Classix champion in the
Grassroots Classix division in his Goodyear Chevrolet. Highlighting the class championships was the sixth overall PRO Light Pickup title of Jeff Kincaid, Argonne, Wisconsin. Kincaid, driving his Traxxas Potawatomi BFG Toyota, won seven races on the WSORR circuit and the Potawatomi “Decision at Sundown” Challenge Cup race. Kent Brascho, Pell City, Alabama, was the PRO 4x4 Series
champ in his Lucas Oil Goodyear Chevrolet and also won the prestigious 15th Annual Potawatomi Chairman’s Cup race.
Off-road racing’s most prestigious award, the $125,000 BorgWarner Cup,
was presented to 2008 winner Scott Taylor, of Belvidere, Illinois, for his Labor Day weekend victory at hallowed Crandon Raceway in his Skyjacker/BFG Ford.
SRT class champions for 2008 included Mike Vanden Heuvel, of Appleton, Wisconsin, who won seven of the 1600 Light Buggy races during the season in his Toyo machine. Eric Ruppel, of Chetek, Wisconsin, won the Stock Truck crown in his Phil’s Inc./BFG Ford and Mark Steinhardt, of Rhinelander,
Wisconsin, was the 1600 Buggy champ in his Phil’s Inc/BFG machine. The 2008 WSORR Grassroots class champions are Weiland in Classix and
Jim Van Rixel in Enduro Truck.
World Championship rings were handed out to the winners in all 11 WSORR classes. Winners included:
Ross Hoek, Holland, Mich., PRO 2WD, Skyjacker/Goodyear Ford
Chad Hord, Felch, Mich., PRO Light Pickup truck, Boss Snowplow/Amsoil/Kumho Mazda
Johnny Greaves, Abrams, Wisconsin, PRO 4x4, Monster/Potawatomi/BFG Toyota
Tim Lemons, Harrison Township, Mich., PRO Super Buggy, Goodyear/Toyota
Keith Steele, Super Truck, Monster Goodyear
Eric Ruppel, Stock Truck, Phil's BFG Ford; Mark Steinhardt, 1600 Buggy, Phil's BFG;
Mike Vanden Heuvel, 1600 Light Buggy, Toyo Tires;
Tim Moeller, Hastings, Minn., Formula 4x4, Goodyear Ford.
Matt Dale, Skandia, Mich., Enduro class, Ford
Rob Weiland, Classix, Chevrolet
Nationwide coverage of World Series events airs on SPEED TV with
coverage of the 2008 WSORR season beginning in November, with dates and times to be announced. For more information visit WSORR.com.