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 Columns & Editorials

January 18, 2002

Charlotte County Awards Banquet

By Robin Smith Miller

Stock car drivers and racing officials, as well as their families and pit crews, got out of their usual blue jeans and t-shirts and donned formal wear to attend the 2002 Charlotte County Speedway Awards Banquet on January 12 at Victoria Estates Country Club in Port Charlotte.

Randy "Hondo" Fox's table included almost 40 people as they came to celebrate his championships in both the CAT Country 107 limited late model division and the Collier Electric of Naples Limited Late Model Six Pack Series. Fox is the first limited late model driver in the speedway's history to accomplish this feat. To cap off the evening, he was also presented the annual Big Heart Award for his leadership and community service, which included he and wife, Scarlett's, involvement in spearheading the First Annual Noise for Toys Car Show held on November 30 of last year in Lehigh Acres.

Port Charlotte's Chuck Sweet took Rookie of the Year honors in the regular limited late model division with a fourth place finish and the East Coast's, Al Fradette, was named Rookie of the Year in the six pack series.

Joining Fox in the championship ranks was Buckingham's Chris Dean, who won the K&S Transport Open Wheel Modified division points battle for the second year in a row. Dean, who has raced at the speedway since it opened over a decade ago, also took second place in the Budweiser Open Wheel Modified Six Pack Series.

Open Wheel Modified Six Pack Series Rookie of the Year, "King" James Dubose of Arcadia, won the championship in a year that saw him racing in four divisions. He also took eighth place in the limited late model six-pack series and tenth in the regular limited late model division. Last year's KIX Country Sportsman division champion, finished second in that division, to its Rookie of the Year, Danny Yates of Cape Coral, who was also a dual championship winner this year.

Yates, no stranger to racing at the 3/8th's mile banked track, also took championship honors in the inaugural Little Vic's Concession Modified Mini's division, which also meant he took the series Rook of the Year title, as well.

Arcadia resident, Elbert Butts, who took home championship laurels this year in the Lee's Auto Detail Pure Stock division. Charlotte County's John Plakiotis took Rookie of the Year honors.

East Lee County, Keith Risinger won the Big Wheels Mini Stock division championship for the first time in his racing career. He finished second in last year's battle. Shortly before the racing season began, Risinger lost his father and he dedicated the entire year to his memory. Alva resident, Michael Johns was the division's rookie of the year.

Conrad Molter of Naples took home both Rookie of the Year honors and the championship trophy in the Shirley's Bookkeeping Rebel Road Warrior division. This was the first and only year for this class.

Fellow Naples driver, Del Beckner, was this year's Lee's Auto Repair Road Warrior division champion while Trey Almand was awarded the Rookie of the Year title.

Punta Gorda resident, Don Vanacker was awarded the Hendry's Mango Maniacs Cowboy Cadillacs championship title, while Gene Pack was the rookie of the year.

The speedway is closed until February 23 but will host the First Annual Kids' Motor Speedwy Gathering that will include a sell and trade show during the weekend of February 2 and 3. For more information on this event, call Kenny Vaughn at 941/594-1570. For information on upcoming events at the speedway, call 941/575-2422.

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