Jamie Lomax in DIRTcar UMP modifieds, David Short in Super Streets, John Rhoads in Thunder Stocks, Nick Yoder in 600 open minisprints, Loren Swanson in Cyber Stox were honored for the respective championships in a January 23 event in Plymouth, Indiana.
The Swan Lake Resort and its beautiful conference and banquet room hosted the 2015 Plymouth Speedway Champions Banquet. A full room of friends gathered for an evening together, months removed from the stress of the previous season.
After another wonderful dinner, chairs and attentions were shifted to the stage. After greetings and salutations, those assembled were brought up to speed on facility renovation including upgrades to the bleachers and grandstands. The World of Outlaws date on Friday, May 13, was a highlight of the season schedule, along with the June 1 ASCS National Sprint Car Series event which will have national television coverage, and the July 12 UMP Summernationals event. One bit of news that brought a very favorable response from those in attendance was the news that the June 21 event in conjunction with “National Speed Sport News” will be the “Tony Elliott Tribute” for nonwing 410 sprint cars. Elliott, of nearby Warsaw, was a hero, friend and business partner to many in the room. The Tuesday night event looks to be another star on the Plymouth calendar in 2016.
With the announcements and news out of the way, it was time to honor those drivers and teams who worked their way to top of the season long standings for 2015. Drivers finishing in tenth through sixth positions received an achievement plaque, contingencies and an earnings check. Fifth place to second place received trophies of ascending height, contingencies and an earnings check. As could be expected, each class champion received the tall trophy, contingencies and an earnings check, but also received a Hoosier Racing Tire jacket, a champions ring, and a Carnival Cruise for two. Contingencies and door prizes were graciously provided by 3 Wide Clothing, Joe Gibbs’ DRIVEN Oil, The CAR Company, MechanixWear, Indiana Beverage, Raceiver CSI Shocks, EMSR and Hoosier Racing Tire.
Jamie Lomax had settled into the same chair at the same table at the front of the room he had last year. The Lake Village, Indiana, racer backed up his 2014 effort in Championship style, winning 5 main events and a season high 8 heat races wins on his way to the Swan Lake Resort DIRTcar UMP Modified title. Lomax told the standing room only crowd that he first raced at Plymouth two and a half years ago and that the place feels like home to him and his family. The veteran also took time to point out the division’s rookie of the year Bradley Jameson who ended up sixth in the final points standings. Midway through the season with Jameson leading the event, Lomax made just enough contact in turn 2 to spin the rookie into the infield. Per track rules both drivers were sent to the back, despite Lomax’s adamant protest that it was Jameson who deserved to retain the point position. Lomax quipped that the two got things talked out a few days later, but that the young man should have a second win to go with a win he picked up a few weeks later.
David Short of Winamac, Indiana, his family and friends also found there seats on Champion’s row. Along with his wife Kelly and son Andrew, the 2015 WTCA 1050AM Super Streets titleist rolled to nine wins in the points season, as well as three more top fives. Short, whose 2015 goal of a track championship was a departure from previous seasons, actually finished the season with two champonships as the family garnered Kokomo hardware as well. The driver thanked everyone for attending the banquet and while he savored the success of 2015, he also shared that 2016 could be his final year of racing as son Andrew will be coming into the competitive ranks. Runner up in points Roger Duszynski threw down the gauntlet moments before Shorts words, stating that if Short could repeat as WTCA Super Street Champ in 2016, Roger would essentially frame up a chassis for the shorter Short. The offer was quickly accepted by Kelly who as luck would have it, went on the claim the 50/50 a few minutes later.
John Rhoads of Mentone, Indiana, is the 2015 Walmart of Plymouth Thunder Stock Champion. Rhoads’ championship run mirrored that of David Short as he also rallied nine wins among twelve top fives. However Rhoads contended with a snarling pack in the points standings as every driver in the top ten competed in all thirteen points events except two in 2015. With so many cars challenging every week, it was quite an accomplishment to come out on top. Rhoads spoke briefly about his year, thanking his family, friends and sponsors for their support.
Nick Yoder of Napanee, Indiana, claimed the Dickies restaurant 600 open minisprint class title. Yoder used the power of persistence in his campaign, using the strength of ten top fives with on main event win to lock up the title. Yoder’s teammate Breiden Mooney was rookie of the year in the class and wound up tied for eighth in the standings. Yoder thanked Breiden and the entire Mooney family for their hard work and dedication to helping him achieve this success. He also went on to thank everyone who has been a part of his season.
Loren Swanson of Bluffton, Indiana, was the champion of the Bane-Welker Cyber Stox front wheel drive class for 2015. Loren’s season started off in anything but championship form as the car in which he intended to compete was hopelessly damaged early on. His wife impressed upon him her desire that he race her car, keeping him in the hunt for the eventual point title. The Swanson family competed at five different tracks in 2015, but Loren made a point to say that he and his family were happy to drive the distance to Plymouth to be part of the program. In addition to the quality of the facility, he was quick to note the personal and professional safety the track provided made the decision easy to run at Plymouth Speedway an easy choice in 2015. While noticeably disappointed the class will not compete at Plymouth in the coming year, he hinted strongly that the family may end up at the Butler Speedway in Michigan.
Racing roars back into action April 23. Preseason practice dates and times will be released at a later date.