2004 was another rain filled season and even higher gas prices than 2003. Between the rain I managed to see some pretty good racing though. I managed seventy-nine races along with around thirty-five rain outs. Hopefully in 2005 I can make it back up to at least a hundred races. Anyway heres a look back at what I remember from 2004.
410 Sprint Driver of 2004 - FRED RAHMER - What a year! Fred set a new personal high with thirty-four wins along with championships at Williams Grove, Lincoln, Susquehanna, and Selinsgrove. Rahmer has hinted 2005 will be his final season behind the wheel, hopefully he changeds his mind.
360 Sprint Driver of 2003 - MIKE LUTZ - After years of ride hopping one of Western Pa's best drivers found a good 360 ride for 2003, driving for the Van Dusen team and made the best of it scoring his first ever championship with ESS.
Rookie of the Year - CAMERON DODSON - Without a doubt Dodson was the rookie to beat in 04. With ten wins on both dirt and asphalt no other rookie's numbers compared. Dodson was also crowned the first MASS champion. It looks like Dodson has a bright future in motorsports.
Breakthrough Driver of 2003 - BLANE HEIMBACH - Heimbach turned it up a notch in 2003 where he dominated the 410 action at Clinton County Speedway with eleven wins. Heimbach also picked up 358 wins at Selinsgrove and Williams Grove Speedway giving him a total of fifteen wins on the season.
Best show of 2003 - Had to be the MOPAR MILLION at Eldora Speedway. The racing, the atmosphere, all the cars and drivers, the fans, the hype, the purse, This two day show had it all!
Biggest upsets of 2003 - 2003 was the year of upsets so its hard to pick just one. I'd say the biggest had to be MIKE SHEARER winning his first ever Sprint feature at Lernerville then winning again at Mercer Raceway the next night. I never thought he would win one feature let alone two in a row. BRIAN PAULUS also shocked the world getting his first World of Outlaw win.
Hard Luck Driver of 2003 - STEVIE SMITH, what a dismal season he had, a lone win at Selinsgrove and a second at the Mopar Million were the only things that salvaged his year.
Most Dissapointing Season - MARK KEEGAN had a rough time of it in 03', A driver who used to be one of the top winners in Ohio won just one race all season long. On the World of Outlaw tour MARK KINSER had a horrible season, the former Champion only managed a thirteenth place finish in the points along with only one win.
Comeback Driver of 2003 - DARREN EASH, He made a great comeback in the 410 ranks with a pair of wins at Lincoln Speedway and a runner up finish at Williams Grove. Darren will be back in 2004 with the Kline team and new mechanic Moon Byers, look for big things from this team.
Drivers to watch in 2004 - 360 Sprint drivers CHAD LAYTON, ERIN CROCKER, and JIMMY SEGER will be going 410 racing in 04' and all should win their share of races.
Quickest Run shows of 2004 - TRI-CITY SPEEDWAY on Sunday nights is still getting everyone home the earliest.
Balls to the Wall Award - JASON JOHNSON drove the Harrison Trucking #22 Sprinter harder than its ever been driven in 2003.
Best Looking Cars of 2003 - STEVE KINSER's Hulk Car was probably the coolest car of the year. DARYL STIMELING's new Golden Flavor Sesame paint sceme was sharp too.
Mr. Consistancy for 2003 - Had to be All-Star champion CHAD KEMENAH, seemed like he finished in the top ten almost every night out.
Most Versital Driver of 2003 - KASEY KAHNE drove, and won in Sprint Cars and picked up a Nacar Busch win.
Stand In Driver of 2003 - JASON MYERS did a super job filling in for the injured Craig Dollansky in the VMAC #7 with the World of Outlaws.
Best Side by Side Racing - LAWRENCEBURG SPEEDWAY This quarter mile track is the place to be if you like three and four wide racing, all night.
Best Looking Trophy Girl of 2004 - Ms. Motorsports CARA FOSS gets my vote for the second year in a row.
My Biggest Dissapointment of 2004 - Driving the whole way to Selinsgrove Speedway for a 410 show that was cancelled at the last moment along with a trip to Lake Erie Speedway for the USAC show that was cancelled due to cloudy weather.
Rainout Champion of 2003 - WILLIAMS GROVE SPEEDWAY scored eighteen rain outs on the season.
Biggest Mess of 2003 - Had to be the return of 410 Sprint Cars at SUSQUEHANNA SPEEDWAY, and it didn't last long.
Biggest Suprise of 2003 - How about FRED RAHMER not winning one race all season at Lincoln Speedway? I still can't believe it.
Musical Chair of 2003 - The FORBROOK #5 had a few drivers this past season including, Daryn Pittman, Billy Pauch, Blake Feese, and Curt Michael. Cool Race format of 2003 - The JACK HEWIT CHALLENGE at Attica Raceway Park, Five thousand to win for the Wingless and Winged Sprints and a five thousand bonus to win both features equals two great shows in one night.
Best Track food of 2003 - CLINTON COUNTY SPEEDWAY Good food and low prices, can't beat that.
Best New Website of 2003 - Kevin Ekert is back with his new site OPENWHEELTIMES.COM Great updates and lots of info from the Sprint Car encylopedia himself.
Late Arrival Award of 2003 - Had to be Western Pa's ANDY MCKISSON who missed hot laps quite a few times in 2003.
I'd like to thank all of these tracks for their hospitality in 2003, Attica Raceway Park, Clinton County Speedway, Eldora Speedway, Fremont Speedway, Hagerstown Speedway, Lawrenceburg Speedway, Lernerville Speedway, Lincoln Speedway, Mercer Raceway Park, Raceway 7, Path Valley Speedway, Sharon Speedway, Port Royal Speedway, Tri-City Speedway, and Wayne County Speedway. I'd also like to thank these people for thier help in making 2003 a great seaosn, Dave Kitty, DJ Johnson, Alan Holland, Jason McCahan, Jim Fisher, Dana Blair, Deon Beane, Mike Leone, Team 98, Scott Groves, Coach Bob, Racesuit.com, Tommy Hein, Also a big thanks to Bruce Robenalt, Daryl Stimeling, Scott Priester, Jack Sodeman Jr, Bret Romano, Andy McKisson, Tracy Potter, Jeff Weaver, and Brian Woodhall for running Racestud.com stickers during 2003.