54th an­nual ban­quet hon­ors Maple Grove’s best

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - SPORTS - Cour­tesy Maple Grove Race­way

MOHNTON >> Over 300 of Maple Grove Race­way’s rac­ers, fam­i­lies, spon­sors and staff con­gre­gated to­gether on Feb. 4 at the ball­room of the Dou­ble­Tree by Hil­ton in Read­ing for the race­way’s 54th an­nual awards ban­quet.

Guests in at­ten­dance ex­pe­ri­enced a night full of en­ter­tain­ment from so­cial­iz­ing dur­ing cock­tail hour through danc­ing with friends to close out the night.

In his open­ing re­marks, mas­ter of cer­e­monies Andy An­der­son stated there has been a to­tal of over $600,000 in cash and awards pre­sented to Money Trail rac­ers since 2000, mak­ing Maple Grove Race­way’s racer in­cen­tive pro­grams one of the high­est pay­ing of its type in all of drag rac­ing.

An­der­son also an­nounced the spon­sors for the 2017 Sunoco Race Fu­els Money Trail ET Bracket Se­ries and EFI Source North­east In­dex Rac­ers Se­ries at the Grove. Sunoco will re­turn as the over­all spon­sor for the Money Trail ET Bracket Se­ries along with Scott’s Trans­mis­sion, ATI Per­for­mance Prod­ucts, P.C. Richard & Son and Read­ing Stan­dard Mo­tor­sports as class spon­sors. EFI Source will re­turn as the title spon­sor for the In­dex Se­ries along with class spon­sor Boc­cella’s Per­for­mance & Auto and S & W Race Cars. Four new spon­sors signed on to join the In­dex Se­ries fam­ily of spon­sors for 2017: Black Horse Auto Body Shop, BRK Rac­ing, H & J Mo­tor­sports Ware­house and SRS Fit­ness.

Weekly Maple Grove Race­way an­nouncer, Roger Leis­ter, pre­sented the awards to the top five fin­ish­ers in Top Bike. Kyle Gock­ley, of Mohnton, fin­ished the sea­son with 406 points, be­ing named cham­pion over se­cond-place fin­isher Jef­frey Santin and third-place fin­isher Derek Ce­sari.

Lau­rel­dale na­tive Brandon Wentzel drove to a champi-

on­ship in the P.C. Richard & Son Street class with 499 points. Just 42 points above se­cond-place fin­isher Paul Werner. Werner was the Street Cham­pion in 2015 when he claimed his 11th ca­reer Money Trail Cham­pi­onship.

In the ATI Per­for­mance Prod­ucts Pro class, Paul Thimm Jr., of Mohnton, earned the cham­pi­onship with 474 points. Thimm Jr. was also the win­ner of the ET Golf Cart Shootout when he raced his way to win­ning a brand new golf cart cour­tesy of D&G Golf Carts, Potty Queen, P.C. Richard & Son and Awe­some Vinyl. Se­cond place fin­isher and ET Bracket Fi­nals win­ner in Street, David Scia­r­retta, along with third place fin­isher Dan Smith con­tin­ued to fight un­til the last race.

Scott’s Trans­mis­sion Owner, Scott Richen­bach pre­sented the awards to the top 10 driv­ers in Su­per. Bill Car­roll, of Pottstown, per­se­vered through a rocky sea­son to claim the cham­pi­onship. Car­roll held off se­cond-place fin­isher Wil­lard Pusey Jr. and third-place fin­isher Shayne Beck.

The top 10 fin­ish­ers in the Ju­nior Drag­ster class were rec­og­nized for an out­stand­ing per­for­mance through­out the sea­son. Spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tion was given to Chris Smolen­ski for his 1415 year old age group Ju­nior Drag Rac­ing League (JDRL) Di­vi­sion Cham­pi­onship at Ma­son Dixon Drag­way in Au­gust. Roger Leis­ter also made men­tion to con­grat­u­late the ju­niors for their JDRL Team Cham­pi­onship dur­ing the di­vi­sional race. CJ Ket­terer, from Sellersville, held off his older brother Jeremy Ket­terer for the cham­pi­onship. CJ started the sea­son strong with four con­sec­u­tive race wins. The ju­niors de­cided to steal the show when they re­ceived their awards. Each of the rac­ers stood on stage to say a few lines and how they wish they could be like CJ. Af­ter their speeches, for­mer ju­nior drag­ster racer at Maple Grove Race­way, Pri­vate Gabby Wal­liegh, came on the video screen to con­grat­u­late CJ on his cham­pi­onship and an­nounce she will re­turn in 2017.

New for the 2016 sea­son was the Ju­nior Street class. The top five fin­ish­ers in Ju­nior Street were awarded for an im­pres­sive and ground break­ing sea­son. Th­ese rac­ers held their own this year and were rec­og­nized for their hard work. Hunter Za­jac of Man­heim won nu­mer­ous races this year to claim the cham­pi­onship with 431 points. He held off se­cond place fin­isher Luke Karol and third place fin­isher Ian Bech­tel. In­dex Se­ries found­ing fa­ther, Bill Co­hen took the stage to an­nounce the EFI Source North­east In­dex Rac­ers Se­ries at the Grove top three fin­ish­ers in each of the five classes. Mike To­maszewski of EFI Source pre­sented the rac­ers with their awards.

Croy­don na­tive, Harry Gerb raced to a cham­pi­onship in the Boc­cella’s Auto and Per­for­mance 8.50 In­dex class with 126 points. Se­cond place fin­isher Luis Martinez and third place fin­isher Ron Riegel also had an ex­cit­ing sea­son this year.

In the 10.0 In­dex class, CJ Un­garo, of Langhorne, earned the cham­pi­onship with 169 points. Sec­ond­place fin­isher Mau­rice (Mo) Bolduc and third-place fin­isher Wayne Roatche con­tin­ued to fight for that cham­pi­onship un­til the last race.

Scott Smith, of Birds­boro, fin­ished the sea­son with 227 points, be­ing named 11.50 In­dex Cham­pion over se­cond-place fin­isher Jake Knarr and third-place fin­isher Kelli Witkowski. In the 12.50 In­dex class it was Read­ing na­tive Phil Feger who held off LeeAnn Orms­bee and Ted Meyle for the cham­pi­onship.

Jeff Neatock, of Mohnton, took home the cham­pi­onship in the S&W Per­fo­mance Pro Dial class over se­cond-place fin­isher John Nu­gent and third-place fin­isher Bryan Kershner.

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