January 24, 2012

By Dave Noelke

(West Salem, WI) The 2011 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway officially concluded Friday night at the 25th annual Champions’ Banquet.

A crowd of over 300 guests, including many of the 2011 race teams, sponsors and family members, joined in the festivities. Over 100 awards were handed out at the event, held at Onalaska’s Stoney Creek Inn Conference Center on a frigid and snowy January night.

Featured at the banquet was the crowning of the 2011 track champions: J. Herbst in the Kwik Trip NASCAR Late Models, Dan Gilster in the North Country Contractors Sportsmen, United Auto Supply Thunderstox Champion Andy Moore, Window World Hornet Champion Jay Raines, and Volden Construction Outlawz champion John Olson. This was Herbst’s second Late Model title (2009), Gilster’s fourth (2000, 2003, 2005, 2007), Moore’s second (2006) and Olson’s second (2010). Raines was a first time class champion this season.

The evening kicked off by recognizing the tenth through fourth place drivers in the Thunderstox, Sportsmen and Late Model divisions in addition to 5th and 4th in the Hornet and Outlawz divisions. A brief 2011 season review video produced by KQEG TV-23 was shown to the guests, while Jacklyn Daniels had a “Thrills and Spills recap” of the entire season that was shown during dinner, served by C&C Catering of Sparta, to everyone’s delight.

Late Model Drivers participating in 50% or more features last season in attendance were eligible to win a $500 certificate towards a body package purchase at Five Star Race Car Bodies. In a random draw, drivers were eliminated from the award as their spouse or girlfriend lined up and picked a beverage can at random, with a driver’s car number at the bottom. Last man standing was 2011 Late Model runner-up Todd Korish, and he was awarded the certificate.

The awards ceremony began immediately after dinner, and honored the top three in each division, many of the annual voted-on awards, and several other awards as well.

The Rookies of the Year in 2011 were Jack Litsheim in Thunderstox, Shelby Oliver in Sportsmen and Nick Clements in Late Models Brad Warthan took home the tallest trophy of the night, rewarding him for the Novelty Division championship. Barry McDonald, crew chief and car owner for Shawn Pfaff was recipient of the NASCAR Craftsman Mechanic of the Year. A special recognition award was given to KQEG TV for its 7-Rivers Racing TV Show. Most popular drivers voted by the fans were Jerry Aylsworth, John Eron, Jack Litsheim, Rob Mason and Shawn Pfaff.

The event drew to a close with the annual Sportsman of the Year Award. This prestigious award was given to Rich Volden, a supporter of many racers over the years who last summer organized a hugely successful fundraiser event for a former Late Model Driver’s ill wife.

The 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Season is scheduled to begin on Saturday, April 28th, featuring the Kwik Trip NASCAR Late Models, North Country Contractors Sportsmen, and United Auto Supply Thunderstox. The season will conclude with the 43rd Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend, October 4th-7th.
For more information about the LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway, please call the speedway office at 608-786-1525, email lacrossespeedway@yahoo.com, or visitwww.lacrossespeedway.com.

And, be sure to “like” LaCrosse Speedway on Facebook!

2011 LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway Award Recipients:
Kwik Trip NASCAR Late Model Champion: J. Herbst, North Country Contractors Sportsmen Champion: Dan Gilster, United Auto Supply Thunderstox Champion: Andy Moore, Window World Hornet Champion: Jay Raines, Volden Construction Outlawz Champion: John Olson, Budweiser Dash Champions: Shawn Pfaff (Late Model), Matt Inglett (Sportsmen), Jason Bolster (Thunderstox); Novelty Event Champion: Brad Warthan

Rookie of the Year: Thunderstox – Jack Litsheim, Sportsmen – Shelby Oliver, Late Model – Nick Clements;

Best Appearing Car Award (Fan Balloting): Outlawz – John Olson, Hornet – Lonnie Wood Jr., Thunderstox – Jack Litsheim, Sportsmen – Branden Berg, Late Model – Matthew Henderson;

Best Appearing Car Award (Race Team Balloting): Outlawz – Jerry Aylsworth, Hornet – Nate Towner, Thunderstox -Tom Luethe, Sportsmen – Jake Arneson, Late Model – Jerimy Wagner;

Tough Man Award: Thunderstox-Andy Moore, Sportsmen-Matt Inglett, Late Model – Todd Korish;

Best Victory Lane Celebration: Thunderstox -Brad Warthan, Sportsmen-Matt Inglett, Late Model-Nick Clements;

NASCAR Craftsman Mechanic of the Year – Barry McDonald;

Outstanding Performance Award: Thunderstox – Nathan White, Sportsmen – Jake Arneson, Late Model – Jes Tenner;

Extra Lap Award: Thunderstox – Jack Litsheim, Sportsmen – Jonathan Eckelberg, Late Model – Matthew Henderson;

Showmanship Award: Thunderstox -Brad Warthan, Sportsmen – Jamie Dummer, Late Model-
J. Herbst;

Biggest Surprise of the Season – Thunderstox – Jordan Myers, Sportsmen – Brian Hesselberg, Late Model – Nick Clements

Outback Steakhouse Halfway Champion – Brent Kirchner;

Fan Club Award – Outlawz – John Olson, Hornets – Lonnie Wood, Thunderstox – Andy Moore, Sportsmen – Gilster Racing, Late Model – Todd Korish

Competition Achievement awards: David Cavin, Jerrod Loging, Greg Scheck, Jim Summerfield, Curt Eckelberg;

Most Improved Driver: Thunderstox – Dustin Bagstad, Sportsmen – Brian Hesselberg, Late Model – Cole Howland;

Best Appearing Race Team: Thunderstox – Andy Moore, Sportsmen – Jake Arneson, Late Model – Albert Locy;

Special Recognition Award: KQEG TV – 7 Rivers Racing Show – Al Locy & Dan Deicher;

Hard Charger Award: Thunderstox – Jason Bolster, Sportsmen – Randy Humfeld, Late Model – Shawn Pfaff;

Good Luck Award: Outlawz – Jerry Aylsworth, Hornets – John Piotrowski, Thunderstox – Kris Heinz, Sportsmen – Joe Rinartz, Late Model – Steve Owen;

Most Popular Driver Award (Fan Balloting): Outlawz – Jerry Aylsworth, Hornet – John Eron, Thunderstox – Jack Litsheim, Sportsmen – Rob Mason, Late Model – Shawn Pfaff;

Sharing Award: Thunderstox – Brad Warthan, Sportsmen – Justin Berg, Late Model -Todd Korish;

2011 Sportsman of the Year: Rich Volden

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