Lake Odessa, Michigan (Monday, February 21st, 2011): Steele Street Hall in Ionia, Michigan was the site for the 2010 Awards Banquet for I-96 Speedway as the previous season was officially wrapped up and all sights are now set on April 2011 and the start of the 2011 racing season.
Mike and Sarah Mouch closed the book on the 2010 campaign with a gala Awards Banquet as new Director of Media / Public Relations – Public Address (P.A.) Announcer, Matt Prieur, served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening, and was formally introduced to the crowd by the Mouch’s as Steele Street Hall (Formerly the Knights of Columbus Hall) was jam packed with patrons celebrating their accomplishments of 2010 while looking ahead to 2011.
The 2010 Rookies of the Year were honored first and in a new twist to the freshman title for the United Midwest Promoters (UMP) Sport Compacts (Formerly Four Cylinders / Road Beaters) division, there will now be Two (2) Rookie of the Year titles awarded. One for drivers age 17 and under and one for drivers age 18 and over.
16-year-old Calvin Stemler took home the 17 and under freshman title while Rick Peck walked away with the 18 and over rookie award. The rest of the freshman honored were Ron Harper in the UMP Street Stocks while Eric Knight took home the Rookie title for the UMP Modifieds and 18-year-old Teddy Omlor collected the rookie hardware for the UMP Late Models.
The UMP Sport Compacts division was up first as Ada, Michigan veteran, Dan Reimersma made his first season at I-96 Speedway count with the 2010 UMP Sport Compacts Track Championship. The 39-year-old won the Four-Cylinders Track Title on the pavement at near-by Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan in 2009 before moving over to the dirt for 2010 and his efforts were rewarded.
During his Championship run, Reimersma scored Seven (7) Feature Wins to go with 10 Top Five finishes and an impressive 11 Top 10 showings. He also scored Eight (8) Heat Race Wins during his title run. Regionally, he finished second in the Michigan / Ohio / Indiana UMP points while picking up an impressive fourth place finish in the National UMP points standings for UMP Sport Compacts.
Paul Namey (4 Feature Wins) was the 2010 runner-up while 18 and over 2010 Rookie of the Year, Rick Peck (1) was the last man on the podium as he finished third. Scott Rumsey was fourth over Jason Feutz who completed the Top Five.
17 and under 2010 Rookie of the Year Calvin Stemler finished sixth overall over Greg Pinard, Steve Wawiernia, Adam Meis, and Terry Henderson who finished off the Top 10. Honorable mentions in the UMP Sport Compacts division in 2010 includes Colee Ruesink, Terry Henderson Jr., and Bill Morgan.
In the UMP Street Stocks division, Gary Vandermark had perhaps the most successful 2010 racing season as the 41-year-old veteran driver from near-by Lowell, Michigan collected the 2010 Track Championship in convincing fashion with a dominating season en route to his first I-96 Speedway Championship.
Vandermark recorded a season high nine (9) Feature Wins in addition to 10 Top Five’s and 11 Top 10 finishes. He also grabbed Eight (8) Heat Race Wins and in addition to his I-96 Title, he also finished third in the Regional Michigan UMP points while grabbing an 11th place finish in the National UMP points standings for UMP Street Stocks.
2009 Track Champion, Aaron Wolf (1 Feature Win) passed the torch to Vandermark while finishing the 2010 season in the runner-up spot while former UMP Sport Compacts Track Champion, Hillary Smith finished in third. Richard Hyvarinen was fourth ahead of 2010 Rookie of the Year Ron Harper who completed the Top Five.
Ron Wiers grabbed sixth ahead of Bill Brandt Jr. (1), Justin Gilland, Steve Piercefield, and Mike Hotchkiss who wrapped up the Top 10. Honorable mentions who finished outside of the final Top 10 includes Ed Falbe II, Joel Hummel, Harvey Wyskowski, and Muskegon, Michigan veteran, Derek Poland (1 Feature Win).
The highly competitive UMP Modifieds were up next and the night belonged to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan veteran, Rich Robinson Jr., who had a banner 2010 racing season. In addition to winning his first I-96 Speedway Track Championship, he also scored the title at near-by Mt. Pleasant Speedway while also winning the 2010 UMP Modifieds Michigan State Championship! He also finished 30th in the National points standings for UMP Modifieds.
His Championship winning season at I-96 included Three (3) Feature Wins as well as an impressive 10 Top Five finishes and a whopping 12 Top 10 showings. He also collected a season high Nine (9) Heat Race Wins on his way to the I-96 title.
Zack Olger (4 Feature Wins), who pulled double duty all season long in both UMP Modifieds and UMP Late Models, finished second in both divisions not only at I-96, but at Mt. Pleasant Speedway as well. Travis Stemler (1) also finished on the podium in third with 2007 Track Champion Shannon Fisk, and Two-Time (2008 and 2009) Track Champion Todd Feutz finishing off the final Top Five.
Veteran Tim Stemler (1) finished sixth in the final points run down ahead of Jared Guinn, Mark Anderson (3), Justin Fleming, and Todd Cowan who were the final Top 10. Honorable Mentions include James Kimmel, as well as 2010 Rookie of the Year Eric Knight, Ken Beutler, and Larry Vanderwoude.
Finally, the premiere weekly division on Saturday nights, the UMP Late Models wrapped up the Awards Banquet and all eyes were on Lake City, Michigan veteran, Eric Spangler who would bring home his second career I-96 Speedway Track Championship to go with his 2006 title.
The 45-year-old recorded an impressive Seven (7) Top Five finishes as well as Nine (9) Top 10 showings to go with Three (3) Heat Race triumphs. Despite not winning a Feature during his championship run, Spangler proved that consistency will always be rewarded. He also scored a Third place finish in the Regional Michigan / Wisconsin UMP points as well as a 15th place showing in the National points standings for UMP Late Models.
Zack Olger (1 Feature Win) finished in the runner-up spot for the second time of the night while former Track Champion Bill Bray (2) also finished on the podium in third while 2008 Track Champion Mike Nugent and Scott Ehlert wrapped up the final Top Five.
2010 Mt. Pleasant Speedway Track Champion Sam Epling (3) finished sixth despite missing four nights while former Two-Time UMP Sport Compacts Track Champion Trevor Sloan was seventh. Dan Hubbell finished eighth while former UMP Street Stocks Track Champion Bry Sloan and 2010 Rookie of the Year 18-year-old Teddy Omlor completed the final Top 10. Honorable Mentions include; Luke Hubbell, Ben Hidy, Michigan Motorsports Hall of Famer, Roger Wing (1), Brandon Thirlby (1), Jeep VanWormer (2), and Three-Time American Late Model Series Champion Brian Ruhlman (1).
All roads now lead to the start of the 2011 racing season and it officially starts with Two Pre-Season Test and Tunes with the first one set for Saturday April 9th from 11:00a.m. until “Dark” and is open to all classes that will be visiting in 2011 as everyone will get ample opportunity at getting dialed in for the upcoming season on the fast 3/8s (0.375) mile semi-banked dirt oval.
The second and final Test and Tune is on Saturday, April 16th from 11:00a.m.-5:00p.m., as cars will practice on the 3/8s mile while the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) District 14 Flat Track Motorcycles will start their 2011 racing season with practice on the outer ½ (0.500) mile semi-banked dirt oval. Then it’s Opening Night 2011 for the two-wheeled machines starting at 6:00p.m.
After taking the Easter holiday weekend off, Opening Night 2011, the 6th annual Ice Breaker is set for Saturday April 30th headlined by the high-powered UMP Late Models in the first race of the season counting towards the chase for the 2011 Track Championship.
In addition, the UMP Modifieds will open their 2011 season in a Big Way! Not only is it their Season Opener, it’s also the Inaugural Event for the brand new Michigan Dirt Cup Allstar Performance Modified Tour powered by Lane Automotive, Aeroquip, and ARP Fasteners as the open wheeled machines will be going for a hefty $1,500 to Win as the night will also count towards UMP Track, State, and National Points as well as the chase for the inaugural Michigan Dirt Cup Modifieds Series Title!
The UMP Street Stocks are also on the card while the UMP Sport Compacts (formerly Four-Cylinders / Road Beaters) will wrap up the festive evening! All Four Weekly Divisions will be taking on the fast 3/8s during Weekly competition and in turn, beginning each respective chase for their 2011 Track Championships.
On Saturday nights during the 2011 racing season, (unless otherwise noted for traveling series who will Qualify) the Pit Gates open at 3:00p.m. Grandstand Gates open at 5:00p.m., with Practice (Hot Laps) starting at 6:00p.m. Then after the Pre-Race Ceremonies / Invocation / National Anthem(s), Racing begins promptly at 7:00p.m.
For more information regarding the 2011 racing season at I-96 Speedway, please call: 1 (616) 642-0555 or visit the new and improved website at: www.i96speedway.com