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URSS Awards Banquet Caps Off An Amazing Season


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The 2007 United Rebel Sprint Series Season officially came to a close Saturday December 1st,  as Racers, Sponsors, Fans and Families gathered to celebrate all their accomplishments and relive the Season past. Once again a packed house filled the VFW in Wakeeney as the boisterous crowd gathered to cheer on their favorite Drivers as they collected their share of the $15,575 of Cash and Contingencies handed out at this years Banquet. 

The evening started out with the ever-popular “Hot Laps” and true to form there were numerous recollections of the seasons past racing that seem to grow ever larger with time. Once again, the attendees were treated to another great meal served up by Scott Carlton, the "URSS Official Chef Dujure and Court Jester!" 

The evenings Festivities began with URSS Promoter Rick Salem acknowledging several people who without their help and efforts the Series would not be as huge of a success that it has become in just two short years. First up was a special thanks to Roger Thompson, Promoter of Whiskey Lake Raceway in Junction City, Kansas. Roger couldn't be at the Banquet Saturday, but has stepped up to help open the Eastern Division of the URSS in 2008. “Roger is a real advocate of this Series and is helping to promote the Series and making it work at his racetrack and others in the region” stated Salem and we are looking forward to working with Roger in the 2008 Season.

“Craig Myers owner of Myers Engine Service has been instrumental in the growth of the Series in 2007, with his engine successful Lease Program” Salem noted. “Craig builds an excellent motor and is a tremendous asset to the URSS and through his efforts has helped Racers with reliability, quality and affordability with the engines he and his staff build.”

This year “Dan the Man” Thyfault of Taz Fireworks has helped with the URSS shows this season with Fireworks Displays for the Fans and Racers alike, although he has caused at least one Driver to question the condition of his car with his displays. Todd Johnson struggled in the beginning of the year with ignition woes and finally got his car to qualify for his first A Main at Hays. As he was going down the backstretch during the parade laps, he heard all kinds of pops and bangs and thought it was his car again. He almost pulled of the track then all of a sudden it cleared up. After the race was over he went to his crewman and told him this, the crewman laughed as he told him it was the prerace fireworks he had heard.

Greg Thyfault of Thyfault Trucking was recognized for his help in delivering the first shipment of cylinder heads, Greg also fields two Sprint Cars in the series that have seen several Drivers in the seats this past season. The URSS id proud to have Greg an board working with us in the future.

The URSS would like to thank Kent, Kevin and Deb Brown for all of their support this Season. Kent and Kevin were the Fuel Providers for the URSS this past season and travelled all over with the Series. Deb Brown has been helping Brenda with the tracks all season long and “without these guys running fuel and following the Series we would have had a tough time” added Salem, “We have been in situations where we didn’t have fuel and I appreciate everything you have done for the Series in 2007.”

“We had quite a year not knowing many of you when we started, we sold a lot of fuel and you the drivers supported us well” said Kent Brown. At Oberlin they experienced problems with their new electric fuel pump, consequently they have to pump all the fuel by hand. A young man stepped up and pumped an entire drum of fuel by himself, Jacob Koerperich earned the nickname of “Muscle Man” that day and continued to help run fuel jugs through the pits throughout the year and for his efforts this season was given a plaque in gratitude for his efforts, Jacob always has a smile on his face, he is always eager to help.

Next up was a Plaque given to Terry Pfeifer for his efforts with the URSS Series. “This guy puts in endless hours to this Series both with the Website, Press Releases and everything else” Salem commented “I don’t know what I’d do without him. I would like to thank you for everything you do for the Series, you are absolutely a credit our Series.”

“The next award goes out to a guy who has been around since dirt,” joked Salem. Technical Director for the URSS Series Bob Ream has been a Supporter of this Series, been a round since I was a kid. “He built my first race car, helped me all year long and helped me win a championship with it.” Salem added, “He knows his stuff, sometimes he can be a pain in the butt, but we all love him.”

Next award went to Brenda Ploussard for her dedication and service to the Series. Brenda couldn’t be at the Banquet but was there is spirit and was given a Plaque with all the Series Members names for all she does to keep us all in line at the track. She takes care of all the line-ups, scoring and is the most important person at the track come Pay time!

Next a brief Video presentation of the 2007 was viewed with cheers, jeers and chuckles were shared as the photos passed by including a rather unusual picture the “Kansas Tornado’s” car setting in the Milo field off of turn two at the Jetmore Motorplex at the Drivers Seminar.

Thanks also went out to Mike “The Voice of the URSS” Wilson for his help announcing at several of the URSS Events this Season. Mike always keeps the fans in the stands informed as the night goes on and will be working as many shows as his schedule will allow in 2008. His talents are an invaluable part of any URSS Show and we look forward to his presence in 2008.

The first of the Awards were the Weld Racing Wheels “Hard Charger of the Race” certificates. These were given to the Driver who passed the most cars in the A Main at each URSS Sanctioned race. Winners of the $75.00 Gift Certificates were Brooke Boyd, Paul Flynn, Tyler Knight, Kris Miller, Bill Hays, Cody Salem (4), Jon Johnson (9), Justin Schwien, Randy Bantam, and Smokey Fairbank (2)

The “Hard Luck Award” is the hardest one to earn stated Salem, “it’s the only token I can show my appreciation for all the hard work he did and didn’t get anything to show for it.” Every time there was a wreck  this guy found it usually was through no fault of his own. Travis Decker was presented a Front Axle from XXX Race Company for his efforts.

Next up was the “Rookie of the Year Award.”  He made the commitment at the beginning of the year to make every show and every A-Main, he made every show but fell short of making every A-Main. He scored a season’s best finish of 4th place at the Lamar Colorado race. Elwood Nebraska’s Bill Hays persevered and took home the 2007 URSS Rookie of the Year Award along with $200.00 From Kevin Brown Racing Fuels for his efforts.

The Hard Core Full Bore Award this Season is presented to the Driver who does it the way they used to, you do what you got to do to get it to the racetrack no matter what. They pulled more miles than anyone else, they never came to a two day show where the got crashed the first night. They always made it to the next race even if it meant being up all night, they always made it to the next race. They had to drive 6 to 8 hours to get back home after the races every week. The 2007 “Hard Core Full Bore Award’ went to Cody Salem and the Flying Angels Racing Team along with $200.00 from Kevin Brown Racing Fuels. Team Owner John Tyrrell thanked everyone for everything they had done during the year to help get their season turned around. Tyrrell added “The Team wanted to thank all the Racers in the URSS Series for letting them become part of the racing family when they knew basically none of the racers and letting them become a part of the Series.”

The Fifteenth place finisher hails from Jetmore Kansas. Ray Seemann didn’t make all the URSS shows but he made as many as he could. Salem added, “He could have raced 15 miles from his home but he came out to race with us.” Ray told the crowd on hand “he felt like the Black Sheep, because he thought what Rick started with the URSS might ruin what they had going on with the 305’s down south.  At the first race this year in Oberlin after meeting all the drivers, after that night he felt right at home and will pull to as many races as he can fit into his schedule.” Along with his Trophy, Ray picked up a check for $300.00.

Fourteenth place went to Hill City Kansas’ Larry Radcliffe. Larry has been an avid supporter of the Series from the beginning fielding several cars over the past two seasons. He has always been there when someone was in need, even helping several drivers finish the 2007 season with parts and pieces. Radcliffe joked, “From day one I knew I’d be standing up here talking to you tonight, but I thought I’d be a little later in the Program, didn’t happen!”  Along with his Trophy, Larry picked up a check for $300.00.

Thirteenth place went to Brian Herbert of Dodge City Kansas.  “Brian couldn’t be with us tonight, but I’ve never seen a guy who has more fun racing” Salem added “He never gives me a bad time, always has a smile on his face when he shows up.” Along with his Trophy, Brian picked up a check for $300.00.

The Twelfth Place Finisher Corey Lutters originally hails from Ransom Kansas and is a member of the infamous Ransom Ratpack. “He came to the Driving School last year, every time I saw him he was smiling” Salem told the crowd on hand, “Every time he shows up at the racetrack I ask him what’s up Corey, he just simply says I’m just Living the Dream Buddy!”  Corey Lutters “AKA Dr. Phil” said “Being this was my rookie year the first couple of nights out were a little rough, I decided we got through the year without anyone screaming at me or punching me in the face, I called it a success.”  “I’m looking forward to next year, we bought a new car, Its not a rookie year anymore I’m running out of excuses” Corey added “pretty soon we’re going to admit we suck and that isn’t going to be much fun!”  Along with his Trophy, Corey picked up a check for $300.00.

Our Eleventh place finisher hails from Lenora Kansas came into the series through Larry Radcliffe. Cody Keiswetter has done a wonderful job, got on his lid on night at Jetmore and didn’t like it and he let the guy know about it. He and his father have been doing it together as a family. Cody told the crowd about his most memorable experience at Dodge City. He came around the 3rd turn there was a red flag, he looked over and it was Jon Johnson on his head. He though to himself that Jon would be mad as hell. They flipped Jon over and the green flag came out, Cody was running in 10th about 5 laps later. “All of sudden he looked to his left and saw Johnson passing him with a wing that looked like a parachute” Cody added “It was pretty unsettling, I thought I was doing pretty good and here he comes with that wing.”  Along with his Trophy, Cody picked up a check for $300.00.

Our Tenth place finisher makes the drive from Parker Colorado to race with the URSS. Tim Perkins takes that trip with his Father and they picked up his first A-Main win at Minneapolis Raceway June 30th.  Tim equaled his 10th place finish in 2006 through hard work and persistence.  Tim said “He would like thank everyone for making him feel welcome being the lone driver from Colorado it makes it really enjoyable to come racing here.”  Along with his Trophy, Tim picked up a check for $450.00 along with $25.00 certificate from XXX.

Ninth place finisher Reed Bernbeck is another member of the Ransom Ratpack. This was Reed’s first year in the URSS and it came with its lumps. “Reed never had much for equipment,” Salem added “the first time I seen his car I said Jesus the least you could do is paint it … It took him about a third of the season but he got it done.”  He tried to take down the wall at Mayetta, missed a couple of races but he always has a smile on his face and he’ll always be there to help anyone. Along with his trophy Reed took home a check for $525.00 and a $42.00 certificate from XXX.

Eighth place this year goes out to a young gun Jeff Radcliffe was another Rookie this year Salem noted “He raced close to people, he raced them hard and he is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future, I guarantee it.” Jeff thanked his parents for financing his racing effort and everyone who helped this year.  He added, “ Wow this checks made out to me, I’m going to Disney World!”  Along with his trophy Jeff took home a check for $625.00 and a $75.00 certificate from XXX.

Seventh place goes to Elwood, Nebraska’s Bill Hays. Bill made it to every show this season and he was on his head a couple of times but he always made it back to the track with a smile on his face. “ I really didn’t know much about how this worked, it was way different than the Mini-Sprint was” Hays added “But everyone helped out and towards the end of the season it started to come around.” Along with his trophy Bill took home a check for $700.00, a $106.00 certificate from XXX, a $75.00 certificate from his Weld Racing Hard Charger Award and $200.00 Rookie of the Year Award from Kevin Brown Racing fuel for a total of $1,081.00.

Our Sixth Place finisher is another guy who has been around since the creation of dirt, the leader of Ransom Ratpack, Ken Lutters.  Along with car owners Marty and Tina Mills, they have truly gotten the most out of the equipment they had.  Ken received a lot of grief this season because of his “Big Old Tail Tank” on his mount. Ken thanked his car owners for all their efforts along with his family and added, “You know I quit this deal a long time ago, I got back into to it and I had a ball and that says it all right there!”  Along with his trophy, Ken took home a check for $775.00 along with a certificate for $130.00 from XXX.

The Fifth Place finishing Team traveled the most miles of anyone making 20 out of the 23 races this Season. Cody Salem and the Flying Angels Racing Team earned their place by hard work and sheer determination. Team owner John Tyrrell accepted the trophy on Cody’s behalf said, “The real thanks goes to Cody, for his talents on the track and the countless hours spent working on the race car back in Missouri.” Johns also thanked the most important member of the team Shawna, who keeps the spending within limits and maintains the team website and merchandising. Along with his trophy, the team took home a check for $850.00 along with $200.00 from Kevin Brown Racing fuels, Certificates totaling $149.00 and $300.00 from Weld Racing for a total of $1,500.00.

 Fourth place went to a racer’s racer, the “Kansas Tornado” Jon Johnson of Utica, Kansas. Jon didn’t make all the shows this Season but he made a difference in his undying efforts to make sure everyone hit the track. “I’ve been racing for a long time and races with a lot of different people” Johnson told the crowd on hand, “but I’ve never had as much fun as I’m having right now, this is just a ball.”  “I have to thank my wife Verna for putting up with this for 40 years and she lets me come into the house periodically!”  Along with his trophy, Jon picked up a check for $975.00, $149.00 in certificates from XXX and $675.00 in Certificates from Weld Racing for a total of $1799.00

 “Our third place finisher Justin Schwien is the hungriest kid I know” Salem stated, “He got of to a rough start the first of the Season because of a hose, he got spanked but he came back with a vengeance. He always got a smile on his face even through motor problems that plagued him this Season, Salem joked, “We wonder about his motor, but we can’t find anything wrong with it!” Justin thanked his Dad for all his support, Jeff McQuade for his help pulling the team to the track and for all the hard work he does maintaining the racecar, and to his girlfriend Betsy, who is charge of “draining the cooler and merchandising.” Along with his trophy, Justin picked up a check for $1,000.00,  $210.00 in certificates from XXX, and a $75.00 certificate from Weld Racing for a total of $1,285.00.

The Second Place finisher Randy Bantam and his father Jerry have been in the 305 Series since day one. “They are the reason I am standing here today” Salem quipped, “Randy gave Cody a chance to drive one of his cars and after a couple of races he asked Jerry how much money he had in his engine.” “The answer was $3,000.00 and Salem thought to himself this makes too much sense” and that was the seed that started the URSS. Randy made all the shows despite a series of crashes that threatened to end his chase for the points. But Randy and his Dad where there the next night ready to go race again. Randy told the crowd “He like to thank his Dad for everything he has done to help keep him racing and his Mom for putting up with both of them doing it.”  Randy picked up a check for $1.150.00, certificates totaling $310.00 from XXX and a certificate for $75.00 from Weld Racing.

The 2007 URSS Champion Smokey Fairbank “worked for everything he got this Season, I’ve heard from a lot of people Money wins – Not in this case!” “I seen Smokey as high as anybody this season, but he came back to race again. If there is a race somewhere, Smokey will be there regardless of how far it is” Salem added. Smokey thanked his family for all their support, especially Debbie for putting up with him. He joked “ when I told my Mom I was going to start racing Sprint Cars she quipped I’ll never go to a race, now I can’t get her to not come to the track!”  “To win Rookie of the Year last year and to have Jon and C.J. Johnson’s helping me over the last two Seasons, them to guys ought to be on a Pedestal for everyone of us” Fairbank told the crowd, “they got us started in this and Jon has helped us the most.”  Thanks go out to Mom and Dad, Uncle Rod, my little Brother and last but not least, Debbie and the kids. Smokey also thanked John Hertel of Hertel Tank Service, Apache Sprayers, Fairbank Auction, Simpson Farm Enterprises, Craig Myers, Jon Johnson, and C. J. Johnson for their support this past season. Along with his trophy, Smokey picked up a check for $1,500.00, certificates for $1,665.00 from XXX, $150.00 in certificates from Weld Racing to bring his total to $3,315.00 in Points money and Contingencies for the 2007 URSS Championship.

One final Award was handed out as the evening came to a close. “The Sportsmanship Award is one that is earned by someone who gives 110% each and every race regardless of how they finish” Salem said, “ and without a doubt this guy has more fun on and off the race track than anyone out here.” Corey Lutters without a doubt is the reigning “Court Jester of the Series and the URSS version of Dr. Phil on the Forum” but he is also there to help out anybody at anytime. He lives and breathes racing on and off the track, and for his efforts this Season Corey received a set of Rocket “Stainless Steel” Headers courtesy of John Tyrrell, Dealer for Rocket Headers. Corey thanked his wife Jen for letting him do this, even though a few of her “Honey Do Projects” at the house got pushed to the back burner during the racing season. Corey did let her climb into his car at the recent Second Annual URSS Driving Seminar, and she had just as big a smile when she climbed out of the car as Corey did the year before. 

The United Rebel Sprint Series would like to thank XXX Race Company, Hoosier Racing Tires, Weld Racing Wheels, Myers Engine Service, Kevin Brown Racing Fuels, John Tyrrell and Rocket Headers, Jon Blurton and Bonzai Products, Radcliffe Trucks Sales, Taz Fireworks, Stellar Sales, Custom Trophy & Engraving  and Graphix by Salem for all of their support this past Racing Season and look forward to working with them in 2008.


United Rebel Sprint Series

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