The American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) will crown it champion, Steven Drevicki and car owner, Greg Fitzpatrick this coming Saturday night at Lobitz Catering in Hazle Township, PA. Doors open at 6 with awards presentations beginning at 7 pm.
Drevicki and Fitzpatrick are first time champions with ARDC, picking up the title after three wins and a very consistent record throughout the 2014 season. Drevicki finished all of the fifteen events on the ARDC schedule in the top ten. Brenden Bright, 2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz, Alex Bright and Brett Arndt trailed Drevicki in the season long point chase to capture top five positions.
Tickets for the Award Dinners were purchased in advance and will not be available at the door.
Dino Oberto, the voice of the Mahoning Speedway and a long time friend of ARDC, will serve as Master of Ceremonies as Ms. Motorsports 2014, Cassie Pinder will present the awards to the top drivers and owners and the recipients of all special awards.
Everyone who is attending this event is asked to bring a gift for the Chinese Auction.
Bright Is Nominee for John Blewett III Young Gun Award
As Collegeville, PA driver, Alex Bright prepared to head to the ‘land down under’ he received word that he is one of five nominees for the John Blewett III Young Gun Award presented annually by the Eastern Motorsports Press Association (EMPA).
Bright, who races a midget with the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) has received recognition on both a national and international level during the past year.
Bright came to ARDC in 2010 as the driver of his grandfather’s, Joe Hemler, Lightcap Electric #77. The new team picked up their first win the following season and have been a threat ever since.
Last January, Bright and Hemler drew national attention when Alex wheeled the #77 to a podium finish on his qualifying night for the 2014 Chili Bowl. His third place finish placed Bright in the redraw for what is often referred to as the Super Bowl of Midget racing on Saturday night. After dropping back in the early going, Bright fought his way back to battle with Christopher Bell and Kevin Swindell in the closing laps of the Chili Bowl. While Bryan Clauson raced to the checkered, Bright raced to a fourth place finish. After five days of competition and nearly three hundred competitors, Bright raced the same car that he uses in ARDC competition to achieve one of the highest finishes ever by an ARDC driver in the main event in Tulsa.
Just one year ago, Bright garnered international headlines when he captured the Magic Man 34 while racing on the Speed Car circuit in Australia. The Magic Man 34 is one of the most coveted races in Australia as it pays tribute to former Speed Car competitor, Mike Figliomeni. Bright and four time Magic Man 34 winner, Davey Ray, exchanged the lead back and forth and had the fans in the Perth Motorplex on their feet until Ray was finally sidelined seven laps from the checkered. Bright went on to take the win – certainly one of the biggest of his career.
Bright returned to Australia just a week ago to prepare to race a brand new entry for car owner, Graham Jones.
“I was really surprised to be selected as a nominee for this award,” Bright related. “I had a lot of bad luck this year (motor issues) but at the same time, I made all the races I did finish count!” Bright finished fourth in the ARDC points chase for the 2014 season, collecting 5 wins, including three consecutive wins during July and August. Bright collected ten podium finishes in fifteen scheduled events.
The winner of the John Blewett III Young Gun award will be decided by members of EMPA and will be honored at the annual EMPA Convention weekend in Valley Forge on January 2-4, 2015.
NEW ARDC CHAMPION CLOSES SEASON WITH A WIN
It was the final race of the season for the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) as the wingless midgets competed as just one of the five divisions in the final Thunder on the Hill event of 2014 at the Grandview Speedway.
Steven Drevicki had already clinched the 2014 ARDC Championship prior to the final event. With the title in hand, Drevicki was now free to race on the final night and not be concerned about points. Drevicki took full advantage of the opportunity and it paid dividends for the first time champion.
“I’m really looking forward to racing at Grandview this weekend,” Drevicki related in the days prior to the final race. “By clinching the title after Path Valley, I can go into Grandview to race for the win and not have to worry about the points.” With the Grandview Speedway just a short distance from his Reading, PA home, Drevicki was anxious to pick up his first win at his home track.
Timed warm-ups determined the top twelve fastest for the final race with those twelve drivers then drawing for their starting positions. Brenden Bright has the fastest time. Drevicki timed fifth quick and then drew the pole for the start of the twenty-five lap main event.
In spite of his pole position start, Drevicki still had his work cut out for him. Alex Bright, with five ARDC feature wins to his credit, started outside pole in the Mike Heffner owned #27.
Drevicki took the lead at the wave of the green with Alex Bright right on his tail. Billy Pauch Jr., driving a team car to Drevicki, powered past PJ Gargiulo to take over third following a lap four restart. Pauch Jr. made a three car race for the lead as Gargiulo, Ryan Watt, 2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz and Brenden Bright followed.
Brett Arndt lost power as the field headed down the homestretch to complete lap eleven and then needed a caution when he and Ryan Greth tangled between turns one and two.
Following the single file restart, Drevicki held a car length or two lead over Alex Bright who was now fending off the challenges of Pauch Jr. for second. Gargiulo and Kobylarz rounded out the top five with plenty of action to follow among the likes of Brenden Bright, Danny Stratton, Watt, Tim Buckwalter and Jim Radney.
Stratton had just broken into the top five when driveline issues sent him pit side. Brenden Bright was also sidelined with a flat tire with just nine laps remaining.
With plenty of pressure coming from Pauch for second, Drevicki was able to pull away from his rivals in the final laps. Pauch used a slide job to pass Alex Bright for second as they raced in turn three but Bright returned the favor in the next corner and regained the position.
Drevicki led the way to the checkered, adding a third win to his championship season and his first ever at the Grandview Speedway. Alex Bright finished second with Pauch, Jr. taking third. Kobylarz finished fourth with Gargiulo rounding out the top five.
The win also gave Drevicki the win in the Hilbert on the Hill Challenge sponsored by Bob Hilbert Sportswear. Drevicki will be awarded 100 Express White shirts for his team at the upcoming ARDC banquet in November.
FEATURE (25 LAPS) 1. #19 Steven Drevicki, 2. #27 Alex Bright, 3. #28 Billy Pauch, 4. #1 Trevor Kobylarz, 5. #5 PJ Gargiulo, 6. #52 Tim Buckwalter, 7. #95 Jim Radney, 8. #20 Ryan Watt, 9. #83 Bruce Buckwalter, Jr., 10. #8 Kyle Lick, 11. #54 Austin Burke, 12. #97 Tyler Brehm, 13. #78 Nick Wean, 14. #33 Danny Straton, 15. #92 Brenden Bright, 16. #46 Brett Arndt, 17. #4 Ryan Greth, 18. #44 Brett Wanner, 19. #7 Shawn Jackson, 20. #21 Thomas Kunsman, 21. #75 Billy Courtwight
The 75th Anniversary Season of the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) will come to a close at the Thunder on the Hill Halloween Party at the Grandview Speedway this Saturday night when ARDC is just one of the divisions to be featured in this fun filled annual event.
Steven Drevicki of Reading, PA has already sealed the 2014 Championship for his DeGre Engineering team and car owner, Greg Fitzpatrick. In addition to his two feature wins, Drevicki has been able to complete every race on the 2014 ARDC schedule and has amassed a long string of top five finishes. In spite of his outstanding record, Drevicki would like nothing better than to add a Grandview Speedway win to his list of accomplishments for the 2014 season. Many of the ARDC teams consider Grandview to be their home track and of course, want to perform well in front of family, friends and sponsors!
Even thought Drevicki has clinched the title, there is still plenty of action left to determine who the top ten will be at season’s end. Currently, Brenden Bright is second in the points chase – a position that he has held for most of the season. 2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz, sits in third, followed by Alex Bright and Brett Arndt. Alex Bright leads all competitors with five wins. Bright has one win at Grandview this season that still has many talking. Bright came from 21st to win the twenty-five lap feature during the first Thunder on the Hill program back in May.
Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. Nick Wean, Ryan Greth, rookie, Austin Burke and PJ Gargiulo round out the top ten in points going into the final event but Tony DiMattia, Kyle Lick and Brett Wanner are well within striking distance. This is a very important race for many ARDC teams.
With the 2014 winding down, plans are well underway for 2015. Many tracks do not begin to work on their new schedules until after their last race of the season however, ARDC has already scheduled several dates for 2015. The 2015 schedule will include a return of ARDC to the tracks of Dixieland and Countyline in North Carolina as well as Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway and the Bedford Fairgrounds. Stay tuned for more upcoming news in the months to come!