USRA celebrates 2015 champions at awards banquet

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Jan. 30) — A record 228 people attended Saturday night’s annual USRA Awards Banquet in the Star Pavilion located at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City as the United States Racing Association closed the curtain on the 2015 season.

Jake Gallardo of Las Cruces, N.M. (USRA Modifieds); Mitch Hovden of Decorah, Iowa (USRA Stock Cars); Andy Bryant of Fort Scott, Kan. (USRA B-Mods); and Dustin Gulbrandson of Sioux Falls, S.D. (USRA Hobby Stocks) were honored as 2015 USRA Weekly Racing Series national champions.

Meanwhile, Tom Schmitt of Independence, Iowa (USRA Stock Cars), and Dakota Foster of Gardner, Kan. (USRA B-Mods), collected hardware for their 2915 USRA Holley Iron Man Series titles.

Gallardo’s crown was his first as he followed in the footsteps of his father, Fito Gallardo, who captured last year’s title and finished third behind Terry Schultz in this year’s final rankings.

Racing primarily at the El Paso Speedway Park on Fridays and his home track Southern New Mexico Speedway on Saturdays, Jake Gallardo needed just 29 starts to capture the USRA Modified title.

The 22-year-old recorded 23 top-five finishes and found victory lane a dozen times over the course of the season, normally competing against stout and full fields.

He pocketed $10,000 for his efforts and went home with contingency awards from COMP Cams, Day Motor Sports, Fast Shafts, Kevko Oil Pans & Components, MSD, RacerWebsite.com, AFCO Racing Products, ASi Racewear, Beyea Custom Headers, BSB Manufacturing, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, Fuel Safe, Genesis Racing Shocks, Hooker Custom Harness, QA1 Precision Products, Quarter Master, Real Racing Wheels, Sybesma Graphics and Wehrs Machine & Race Products.

Final 2015 USRA Modified Points:
1. J17 Jacob Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M. … 4451
2. 90 Terry Schultz, Sedalia, Mo. … 4404
3. G17 Fito Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M. … 4380
4. 5 Robbie Reed, Mexico, Mo. … 4336
5. 50III Brandon Davis, Medford, Minn. … 4335
6. 24 Brad Waits, Rochester, Minn. … 4314
7. 68 Kerry Davis, Parkville, Mo. … 4305
8. 88D Matt Dotson, Hallsville, Mo. … 4273
9. 52 Mitch Keeter, Webb City, Mo. … 4272
10. 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan. … 4265

In the USRA Stock Car division, Mitch Hovden made history by claiming his third national championship in five seasons. With USRA Stock Car trophies on his mantle from the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the driver from Decorah, Iowa, also has two Holley Iron Man titles (2013 and 2014) plus a USRA Hobby Stock national championship which he earned in 2007.

Hovden racked up 15 wins during 39 starts the season. He finished in the top five a remarkable 31 times, and earn a $1,500 paycheck plus contingency awards from COMP Cams, Day Motor Sports, Fast Shafts, Kevko Oil Pans & Components, MSD, RacerWebsite.com, AFCO Racing Products, ASi Racewear, BSB Manufacturing, Edelbrock, Fuel Safe, Harris Auto Racing, Hooker Custom Harness, Mitchell Machine, QA1 Precision Products, Quarter Master, Real Racing Wheels and Sybesma Graphics.

Final 2015 USRA Stock Car Points:
1. 15 Mitch Hovden, Decorah, Iowa … 4368
2. 05 Brett Heeter, Kansas City, Kan. … 4295
3. 44JT Jaime Torres, Las Cruces, N.M. … 4293
4. 0 Lloyd Turner, Las Cruces, N.M. … 4259
5. 77 Dean Wray, Jamesport, Mo. … 4224
6. 3H Noah Hollingshead, Las Cruces, N.M. … 4224
7. 67 Kyle Falck, Decorah, Iowa … 4176
8. 417 Kevin Anderson, Kansas City, Mo. … 4134
9. 18 Tom Schmitt, Independence, Iowa … 4083
10. 44X George LaRose, Las Cruces, N.M. … 4077

USRA B-Mod driver Andy Bryant of Fort Scott, Kan., celebrated his 16th birthday in October, and is the latest teenage phenomenon to circle the dirt tracks in America’s heartland. While he competed in a division-leading 65 events this season, he turned 17 of those into trips to victory lane and was a top-ten finisher an incredible 46 times.

Along the road to capturing the $2,000 champion’s share of the USRA B-Mod national points fund, Bryant picked up four wins in the Holley Iron Man Series while becoming the youngest to ever hold the title of USRA National Champion.

Bryant also collected contingency awards from COMP Cams, Day Motor Sports, Fast Shafts, Kevko Oil Pans & Components, MSD, RacerWebsite.com, AFCO Racing Products, ASi Racewear, BSB Manufacturing, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, Fuel Safe, Hooker Custom Harness, Mitchell Machine, QA1 Precision Products, Quarter Master, Real Racing Wheels and Sybesma Graphics.

Final 2015 USRA B-Mod Points:
1. 28 Andy Bryant, Fort Scott, Kan. … 4543
2. 99 Brad Smith, Belton, Mo. … 4446
3. 16D Dan Hovden, Decorah, Iowa … 4411
4. 7M Jeremiah Christensen, Sioux Falls, S.D. … 4397
5. 36M Logan Martin, West Plains, Mo. … 4393
6. 66 Ryan Gillmore, Springfield, Mo. … 4323
7. 23K Erik Kanz, Winona, Minn. … 4312
8. 21C Chad Clancy, Liberty, Mo. … 4312
9. 18 J.C. Morton, Springfield, Mo. … 4306
10. 9 Jimmy Ray, Las Cruces, N.M. … 4299

In the first eight years of sanctioning the USRA Hobby Stock class, no driver had ever won the national championship more than once, but Dustin Gulbrandson changed that.

The driver from Sioux Falls, S.D., dominated the division this season, and finished with a nearly 200-point cushion over second-place Steve Holthaus of Cresco, Iowa, to secure his second straight USRA Hobby Stock national championship and the $1,500 that goes with it.

Doing most of his dirty work against a big field of cars at the I-90 Speedway in Hartford, S.D., on Saturday nights, Gulbrandson went to the winner’s circle seven times in his 34 starts. His contingency awards were compliments of COMP Cams, Day Motor Sports, Fast Shafts, Kevko Oil Pans & Components, MSD, RacerWebsite.com, AFCO Racing Products, ASi Racewear, BSB Manufacturing, Edelbrock, Fuel Safe, Hooker Custom Harness, QA1 Precision Products, Quarter Master, Real Racing Wheels and Sybesma Graphics.

Final 2015 USRA Hobby Stock Points:
1. 6 Dustin Gulbrandson, Sioux Falls, S.D. … 4318
2. 70 Steve Holthaus, Cresco, Iowa … 4123
3. 29 Brady Link, Waukon, Iowa … 4045
4. 22 Steve Larson, Decorah, Iowa … 4038
5. 07 Chris Hovden, Cresco, Iowa … 4029
6. 81 Josh Ludeking, Decorah, Iowa … 3879
7. 13 Brian Hoing, Sioux Falls, S.D. … 3747
8. 19 Paul Seabrooke, Elgin, Iowa … 3662
9. 40 Cole Gulbrandson, Hartford, S.D. … 3478
10. 2 Tim Gebel, Lawler, Iowa … 3333

For Tom Schmitt, his USRA Stock Car title in the USRA Holley Iron Man Series reinforced his status as one of the most successful drivers in the 14-year history of the USRA. It was his second Iron Man title in four years as he dusts off another spot in his trophy case next to his two USRA Stock Car national championships.

In addition to his three wins in 2015, Schmitt recorded 14 top-five and 17 top-10 efforts in his 20 starts. The title netted him $1,500 plus contingency awards from COMP Cams, RacerWebsite.com, AFCO Racing Products, Harris Auto Racing, Holley Performance, Quarter Master and Sybesma Graphics.

Final 2015 Holley Iron Man Series USRA Stock Car points:
1. 18 Tom Schmitt, Independence, Iowa … 1423
2. 67 Kyle Falck, Decorah, Iowa … 1325
3. 2j Steve Jackson, Polk City, Iowa … 1308
4. 15 Mitch Hovden, Decorah, Iowa … 1303
5. 14 Todd Staley, Webster City, Iowa … 1155
6. 222 Jake Newman, Smithville, Mo. … 1088
7. 5b Stefan Sybesma, Sanborn, Iowa … 911
8. 33 Kevin Donlan, Decorah, Iowa … 893
9. 44 Dillon Anderson, Decorah, Iowa … 824
10. 97 Lynn Panos, Calmar, Iowa … 788
10. 69 Jake Ludeking, Decorah, Iowa … 788

On the other side of the ledger in Holley Iron Man Series competition, teen titan Dakota Foster may have only celebrated in victory lane one night, but the young gun secured 13 top-five and 17 top-ten finishes in his 23 starts to solidly secure his first title in the USRA B-Mods.

His points fund check brought his total season earnings to more than $10,000 plus contingency awards from COMP Cams, RacerWebsite.com, AFCO Racing Products, Holley Performance, Quarter Master and Sybesma Graphics.

Final 2015 Holley Iron Man Series USRA B-Mod points:
1. 5 Dakota Foster, Gardner, Kan. … 1696
2. 7+ Jared Timmerman, Norwalk, Iowa … 1237
3. 16 Dan Hovden, Decorah, Iowa … 969
4. 6 Dustin Kruse, Brandon, S.D. … 914
5. 782 Miah Christensen, Sioux Falls, S.D. … 805
6. 28 Andy Bryant, Fort Scott, Kan. … 794
7. 10t Trevor Fecht, Allison, Iowa … 738
8. 36k Jayden Larson, Mankato, Minn. … 694
9. 17 Mike Striegel, Wheatland, Mo. … 681
10. 02 Cole Denner, New Hampton, Iowa … 668

Points included the best 16 finishes for USRA Stock Cars and best 20 for USRA B-Mods. To be eligible for points funds, drivers must have had a USRA license, utilize the American Racer KK704 racing tire on all four wheels and compete in at least half of the Holley Iron Man Series events for their division. Drivers in both classes also earned national points in the USRA Weekly Racing Series.

In addition to accolades for the top national points earners, the following USRA track and special series champions were crowned during the 2015 season:

USRA Modifieds – Jason Russell (Callaway Raceway), Terry Schultz (Central Missouri Speedway), Darwin Karau (Chateau Raceway), Shannon Weese (Crawford County Speedway), Josh Angst (Deer Creek Speedway), Chaz Exum (Devil’s Bowl Speedway), Kyle Whitworth (East Texas Speedway), Fito Gallardo (El Paso Speedway Park), John Allen (Humboldt Speedway), Dennis Elliott (I-35 Speedway), Jackie Dalton (I-49 Speedway), Kerry Davis (Lakeside Speedway), Jason Hillard (Lawton Speedway), Jeff Cutshaw (Lucas Oil Speedway), Brad Waits (Mississippi Thunder Speedway), Rex Merritt (Monett Speedway), Robbie Reed (Randolph County Raceway), Logan Robertson (Red River Speedway), Charlie Smith (RPM Speedway), Jake Gallardo (Southern New Mexico Speedway), Cam Case (Southern Oklahoma Speedway), Scott Crigler (Springfield Raceway), Triston Dycus (Texas Outlaw Modified Series),

USRA Stock Cars – Todd Froats (El Paso Speedway Park), Brian Mahlstedt (Fayette County Speedway), Tom Schmitt (Holley Iron Man Series), Dean Wray (I-35 Speedway), Brett Heeter (Lakeside Speedway), Rich Gregoire (Rapid Speedway), Noah Hollingshead (Southern New Mexico Speedway), Mitch Hovden (Upper Iowa Speedway).

USRA B-Mods – Jerry Reeves (Caney Valley Speedway), Kylie Kath (Chateau Raceway), Sam Petty (Dallas County Speedway), Cole Queensland (Deer Creek Speedway), Paddy Rush (El Paso Speedway Park and Southern New Mexico Speedway), Dan Hovden (Fayette County Speedway and Upper Iowa Speedway), Dakota Foster (Holley Iron Man Series), Jimmie Davis (Humboldt Speedway), Colter Deutsch (Huset’s Speedway), Tim Eaton (I-35 Speedway), Rusty Skaggs (I-49 Speedway), Dennis Martin (I-90 Speedway), Ed Noll (Lakeside Speedway), Carl Murphy (Legit Speedway Park), Mike Striegel (Lucas Oil Speedway), Parker Hale (Mississippi Thunder Speedway), J.C. Morton (Monett Speedway), Galen Hassler (Randolph County Raceway), Jeremiah Christensen (Rapid Speedway), Ryan Gillmore (Springfield Raceway), Brad Smith (Valley Speedway).

USRA Hobby Stocks – Steve Holthaus (Fayette County Speedway), Dustin Gulbrandson (I-90 Speedway and Rapid Speedway), Steve Larson (Upper Iowa Speedway).

USRA Limited Late Models – Lance Hofer (Mississippi Thunder Speedway). Note: National points were not awarded in this class for the 2015 season.

Saturday’s ceremony was a joint effort for both the USRA and United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS).

USRA Weekly Racing Series national points will be awarded in 2016 from March 4 through Oct. 30. The Holley iron Man Series kicks off the 2016 campaign on Friday, March 18, at the Caney Valley Speedway in Caney, Kan.

To learn more about the USRA, visit www.usraracing.com or call 515-832-6000. You can also like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usraracing, follow us at www.twitter.com/usraracing on Twitter and check out our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/usratv.

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OFFICIAL SPONSORS: American Racer Racing Tires, Argo Spring Manufacturing, COMP Cams, CP-Carrillo, Day Motor Sports, Fast Shafts, Intercomp, Kevko Oil Pans & Components, KSE Racing Products, MSD, RacerWebsite.com, The Joie of Seating.

PARTICIPATING SPONSORS: Boubin Tire & Automotive, Brodix Cylinder Heads, ElbowsUp.com, PBM Performance Products, RACEceiver, RacinDirt.com, Radical Race Gear, YouDirt.com.

CONTINGENCY SPONSORS: Aero Race Wheels, AFCO Racing Products, ASi Racewear, Beyea Custom Headers, BSB Manufacturing, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, Erson Cams, FAST, Forty9 Designs, Fuel Safe, Genesis Racing Shocks, Harris Auto Racing, Holley Performance, Hooker Custom Harness, Integra Shocks & Springs, Keyser Manufacturing, Marsh Racing Wheels, Mitchell Machine, QA1 Precision Products, Quarter Master, Real Racing Wheels, Sybesma Graphics, Wehrs Machine & Race Products, World Products, Zero One Shocks & Service.

USRA MEMBER TRACKS: Aztec Speedway, Callaway Raceway, Caney Valley Speedway, Central Missouri Speedway, Chateau Raceway, Crawford County Speedway, Cresco Speedway, Dallas County Speedway, Deer Creek Speedway, Devil’s Bowl Speedway, Dodge County Speedway, East Texas Speedway, Fayette County Speedway, Frontier Sports Park, Humboldt Speedway, Huset’s Speedway, I-35 Speedway, I-49 Speedway, I-90 Speedway, Lakeside Speedway, Lawton Speedway, Legit Speedway Park, Lucas Oil Speedway, Mason City Motor Speedway, Midway Speedway, Mississippi Thunder Speedway, Monett Speedway, North Central Arkansas Speedway, Randolph County Raceway, Rapid Speedway, Red River Speedway, RPM Speedway, Route 45 Raceway, Southern New Mexico Speedway, Southern Oklahoma Speedway, Springfield Raceway, Thunder Raceway, Tri-State Speedway, Upper Iowa Speedway, Valley Speedway, Western Tech Speedway Park.

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