54th annual banquet honors Maple Grove’s best
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.