Eldora hands out 2015 championship awards, looks toward 2016 season


ROSSBURG – More than 500 drivers, crew members and fans from the Midwest and Canada gathered inside the Eldora Ballroom Saturday evening to bring an official close to the 2015 season with the annual Eldora Speedway Awards Ceremony.

Honored as the divisional champions for the legendary half-mile clay oval were Matt Westfall (Late Model), Travis Stemler (Modifieds) and Rob Trent (Stocks).

The Sunoco American Late Model Series (ALMS) joined the ceremony with the presentation of their championship awards and point fund as well. Rusty Schlenk was the ALMS champion.

Westfall, from Pleasant Hill scored eight top-10 finishes in 11 Late Model races to take the crown by 26 points over Josh Rice. Westfall won the 2014 Eldora Modified championship.

Stemler scored two wins and seven top-10 finishes in nine Modified races to take the crown from Eldora fan favorite Jerry Bowersock. Stemler hails from Ionia, Michigan.

Trent and Frank Paladino, both from Lima, each won two races and had six top-10s, but Trent faired just a bit better, winning the Eldora stock championship by three points. It was Trent’s third Eldora title.

Prior to the presentation of the champions, the remainder of the top 15 in the final point chase were brought to the stage to receive trophies and point fund money.

Intermixed were multiple specialty awards. Rookie of the Year awards went to Josh Rice (Late Model), Shawn Valenti (Modified) and T.J. Smith (Stock Car) while the Most Improved Driver honors went to Nick Latham (Late Model), Mike Hohlbein (Modified) and Brandon Archey (Stock Car). Determined to have the Best Appearing Cars in 2015 were Ted Nobbe (Late Model), Jason Kinney (Modified) and Wayne Williams (Stock Car). Recognized for their run of Hard Luck were Andrew Reaume (Late Model), Josh Morton (Modified) and Andy King (Stock Car).

Considered to be one of the most prestigious awards of the year, the Chick Hale Sportsman of the Year trophy was presented to the Conover Family while Liz Denlinger, from Premier Health, was named Woman of the Year. Denny Copeland was tabbed as the Joe Mercer Memorial Fan of the Year with Jerry Walker capturing the Mechanic of the Year hardware. For their outstanding stable of race machinery, Kuzman Motorsports was announced as the Owner of the Year.

Eldora now turns its eyes on another busy season ahead. Tickets for the 22nd annual Dirt Late Model Dream by Ferris Mowers, the 33rd annual Kings Royal Weekend, the fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on dirt and the 46th annual World 100 are available now at www.EldoraSpeedway.com and can be requested by phone at 937-338-3815.

Tickets and camping for the rest of the Eldora’s schedule will be available on Feb. 15.

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