|Date: 2/3/2008 2:46:46 PM|
Atlantic City, NJ (Feb 1). On Friday night modified track champion Matt Sheppard culminated a terrific 2007 New Egypt Speedway season under the bright lights of Atlantic City, NJ. NES also honored their eight track champions as well as 50 other drivers in owner Bill Miscoski and Fred Vahlsing’s initial season. The awards ceremonies were held on the boardwalk of the Jersey Shore at the Trump Plaza where over $55,000 in point fund awards was distributed.
The 25 year-old Waterloo, NY native proved just why they call him ‘Superman’ this past season at New Egypt. Sheppard may not have grabbed his first checkered of the season until the sixth race of the year but there on after he was simply the man to beat every week winning 7 of the next 14 events. His 8 wins in 2007 were the most by any driver since 2001. Matt drove to 17 top fives while placing in the top 10 in all but two races the entire season.
As Sheppard accepted his $10,000 check he was all smiles while also remaining very humble. “I’m really glad that we decided to make a change in our racing program as we had a great season at New Egypt. Bill and Fred had the best deal going and they paid the best of all the tracks so I have to thank them for that. All the drivers and fans have been great to us which made it a lot more enjoyable to race here every week.”
Matt went on to thank his car owner and crew. “I have to thank Randy (Ross) for being a great owner and my entire crew for making the long tow with me every week. It was a total team effort that got us this championship and I’m just thankful to be standing here right now,” Sheppard stated.
For the second straight year Ryan Godown finished second in the final point standings. In an emotional speech Godown professed that NES will remain close to his heart as he will making the Saturday night switch to the Grandview Speedway.
Former track champions Frank Cozze, Keith Hoffman, and Jimmy Horton rounded out a stellar top five in this year’s point standings.
Willie Osmun of Bloomsbury, NJ put his name in the record books at NES by capturing this year’s Sportsman championship. Osmun’s 19 top tens and five wins are what secured his position atop the standings. Willie presented his entire crew with plaques of appreciation to show his gratitude for their support and help. For the fifth time in eight years Rich Scagliotta finished runner-up in the Sportsman ranks. Mike Krachun, Rocco Infante, and John McClelland completed the top five.
Brick, NJ driver George Quinlan finally sat atop the Super Stock point standings by year’s end after many years of coming so close. Quinlan amassed an amazing 23 top 10 finishes in a total of 25 races which included four visits to victory lane. Mick Search and Billy Bauer chased the champion all the way to the final checkered as they placed second and third respectively. ‘Big’ Al Cheney and Kory Fleming rounded out the top five.
Art Liedl of Flemington, NJ was the only one of the eight champions that had won a title at the Plumsted facility prior to 2007. ‘King Arthur’ captured his fourth straight Lucas Ford SS Sprint. Art did confirm that he will be back to defend his title which he deemed the “Drive for Five”. Rich Janney and Ken Carberry who finished second and third place in points were new to the NES sprint scene in ’07. Rounding out the top 5 was Tom Wyckoff and Robert Liedl.
Originally scheduled to run on Friday nights the Super Late Model division wound up getting added to the Saturday programs and eventually cancelled for the remainder of the season. NES still recognized Millsoboro, DE chauffer David Pettyjohn as the 2007 track champion. Pettyjohn captured one feature during the year and bested his brother Kenny Pettyjohn by a mere four points in the final standings. Mark Malcolm, Rob Ormsbee, and Al Cheney completed the top five.
The Advantage Financial-Cradle Rock Developers Rookie Series had never witnessed domination like they did this past year. Rookie sensation Danny Bouc of Plumsteadville, PA won eight of nine features on his way to the championship which included seven victories in a row. Dan Weisempacher, Joe Systo, Eddie Prentice, and Bobby Butler rounded out the top five rookies.
In 2007 a new class was invited to NES. The Crate-1 Sportsman division gave drivers a better economical option as opposed to the modifieds and the sportsman ranks. Former regular sportsman competitor E.J. Harrington of Pittstown, NJ was crowned New Egypt’s first ever Crate-1 Sportsman track champion. This second generation driver posted 4 wins on the year while placing in the top five on 10 occasions. Scott Cranstoun, Dave Gorbatuk, Richie Cass Sr (4 wins), and Pat Hires completed the top five.
Another division in it’s inaugural season was the Outlaw Stocks. Gary Klimeczak of Chatsworth, NJ looked dominate at times, winning 8 of 13 races en route to the championship. Rounding out the top five in points were Rob Longo, Brian Ludwig (4 wins), Doug Debray, and Chris Felber.
Loyalty awards were handed out to those drivers who competed in every race held in 2007. 4 SS Sprint, 6 Super Stock, 9 Sportsman, and 3 Modified drivers all were members of the perfect attendance club.
Mechanic of the Year honors went to Gary Bouc. Not only did Gary’s son dominate the Rookie division, Sportsman champion Willie Osmun used a Bouc power plant to propel him to his first NES championship.
Most Improved - SS Sprint: Robert Liedl - Super Stock: Bill Liedtka - Sportsman: Mike Howardson - Modified: Jim Robertson
Star of Tomorrow - SS Sprint: Rich Janney - Super Stock: Todd Cray - Sportsman: Tommy Carberry Jr - Modified: Rich Rutski
Determination Award - SS Sprint: Ian Borden - Super Stock: Matt Kall - Sportsman: Rocco Infante - Modified: Bob Drayton
Best Appearing Car - SS Sprint: Tom Wyckoff - Super Stock: Kory Fleming - Sportsman: John McClelland - Modified: Tad Cox
Corporate sponsors receiving special recognition for their support and involvement in the speedway's continued success were Lucas Ford, Mid State Communications, Advantage Financial Mortgage Bankers, Cradle Rock Developers, Cooper Honda, Perlmutter Family ShopRite Superstores, Vespia Tire & Auto Care, and A-1 Racing Products.
Emceeing the event were Nick Leach and Jim Brown (who filled in for track announcer Pete Wortman). There were many modified drivers at the banquet talking about this year’s Garden State Dual-Track Series with the Bridgeport Speedway. It seems as if some drivers have already committed to racing the series while plenty more are at least considering running in the eight races.
New Egypt will have it’s opening day on Saturday, April 19 with an open pre-season practice the weekend prior.
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