SWANSON, WINDOM, BAYSTON SHARE SPOTLIGHT AT FRIDAY’S 62nd “NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS” CELEBRATION
Story By: Richie Murray/USAC Racing
Photo By: Jeremy Rhoades/USAC Racing
USAC National driving champions Kody Swanson, Chris Windom and Spencer Bayston shared the spotlight along with other 2017 USAC champions and special award recipients at Friday night’s 62nd USAC “Night of Champions” celebration at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis, Ind.
Swanson, of Kingsburg, CA, Windom, of Canton, IL and Bayston, of Lebanon, IN, earned National championships. Swanson was a third-time Silver Crown titlist, Windom a first-time AMSOIL Sprint Car king and Bayston a first-time National Midget champ.
Justin Grant of Ione, CA secured the $5,000 Mike Curb “Super License” in memory of Bryan Clauson and the $2,500 ProSource “Fast Time” Award. The former was for scoring the most National points combined in the three series, while the latter was for posting the most National fast qualifying efforts during the campaign.
Car owner National champions for 2017 included DePalma Motorsports of Lima, OH (Silver Crown), the Baldwin Brothers of West Lafayette, IN (Sprint) and Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports of Columbus, IN (Midget).
Emcees Pat Sullivan, Dillon Welch and Butch Lamb orchestrated the presentations, which included driver and car entrant champions, Rookies of the Year, Most Improved Drivers and special award recipients.
Among items presented to the 2017 champions were championship rings from Josten’s, trophies, plaques, Hoosier jackets, medallions, distinctive art canvases and remote-control TRAXXAS trucks.
Sprint Car driving champions in addition to the aforementioned include Damion Gardner of Concord, CA (AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprints); Jake Swanson of Anaheim, CA (West Coast Sprints) and R.J. Johnson of Phoenix, AZ (Southwest Sprints).
Other 2017 champions included Ronnie Gardner of Riverside, Calif. (Light up the World Beverages Western States Midget); Ryan Greth of Newport, PA USAC/ARDC Midget) Dean Christensen of Granby, CT (DMA Speed2 Midget); Aaron Leffel of Springfield, OH (Midwest Thunder Speed2 Midget); Dillon Morley of Moline, IL (IMRA Speed2 Midget), Jesse Love IV of Menlo Park, Calif.. (Western US Overall, Pavement and Midget Speed2 Midget); Kyle Jones of Kennedale, TX (Gulf Coast Speed2 Midget) and Jessica Bean of Farmland, Ind. (Eastern Speed2 Midget). Maxwell Industries Micro Sprint Champions honored were Trevor Years of Livonia, NY, Josh Ames of Rochester, NY, Daison Pursley of Locust Grove, OK and Jade Avedisian of Fresno, Calif.
Rod Henning of Middletown, OH earned the USAC National Lightning Sprint title.
Also honored for their 2017 championships at Kutztown, Pa.’s ActionTrack USA were Tim Buckwalter. of Douglassville, NJ (SpeedSTRs and Hyper Racing Wingless 600 Sprints); Dylan Hoch of Mertztown, PA. (NAPA All Star Slingshots) and Reese Nowotarsky of Leesport, PA (NAPA Junior Slingshots).
Honored as USAC .25 Midget National Champions as a result of their accomplishments were drivers Connor Gross (Heavy 160 Dirt and Heavy Honda, Heavy 160 and Heavy World Formula Pavement), Landon Baldwin (Junior Honda Dirt), Preston Lattomus (Senior Honda Dirt), Kenny Beinhower (Heavy Honda Dirt), Ethan Bill (Light 160 and Light World Formula Dirt), Gunnar Pio (Junior Animal Dirt), Hunter Wise (Senior Animal Dirt), J.J. Horstman (Unrestricted Animal Dirt), Adrianna Delliponti (Heavy World Formula) Dirt), Steven Snyder Jr. (Light Formula Mod Dirt), Tori O’Neal (Heavy Formula Mod Dirt), Jackson White (Junior Honda and Light 160 Pavement), Colby Sokol (Senior Honda Pavement), Collin Mitchell (Junior Animal Pavement), Christian Bruno (Senior Animal Pavement), Bobby Elliott Unrestricted Animal Pavement), Nick Loden (Light World Formula and Light Formula Mod Pavement), Chase Spicola (Light Mod Pavement) and Owen Carlson (Heavy Formula Mod Pavement).
USAC President Kevin Miller presented USAC Special Appreciation Awards to President and CEO Greg Gill, representing the Pirelli World Challenge (corporate) long-time USAC Western publicity director Lance Jennings (individual) and long-time USAC supporters and car owners Roger and Barb Tapy. for their contributions and dedicated service to the racing community.
Kody Swanson received the Jason Leffler Award, in recognition of his intense appreciation of the sport’s history reflected in his professionalism and outstanding representation as an ambassador of the United States Auto Club, exhibiting the same standard of ideals upheld by the late Jason Leffler during his USAC racing career.
USAC’s 2016 National “Race Organizer of the Year” award was presented to Dave and Kim Rudisell of Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway.
Joss Mofatt of Columbus, IN earned the 2017 USAC Silver Crown “Rookie of the Year” honor. Stevie Sussex of Tempe, AZ was honored as the AMSOIL National Sprint Car “Rookie of the Year” and the Bob Stroud Memorial National Midget “Rookie of the Year” Award for the National Midget Series went to Tanner Carrick of Lincoln, CA.
Tyler Courtney of Indianapolis, IN was named USAC’s “Most Improved” National Driver of 2017.
USAC’s 2017 “Chief Mechanic of the Year” award went to Derek Claxton, who orchestrated Windom’s drive to the AMSOIL National Sprint Car title.
Second and third-place drivers and car entrants in USAC’s National racing series also received their year-end recognition and awards.
All USAC driving champions were also presented one-year memberships by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa.
Floral decorations were provided by Jockish Flowers of Indianapolis.