2018 Season Banquet Highlights
On February 2nd, the All Star Racing Association celebrated the conclusion of their 37th season with over 80 guests gathering at the Portsmouth Harborside Hotel in Portsmouth, NH. The season’s top performers were recognized amongst racers, family, and friends from across New England as well as Canada.
The evening kicked off with the cocktail hour where guests got to socialize with one another. Once guests were seated, the Association held a moment of silence for Dave LeBrun who had just passed away a few weeks earlier. Dave was an icon to the sport and was involved helping form the ASRA in its early years. He has claimed the most championships in ASRA history and held the respect of many racers across the country. Once guests were able to enjoy dinner, the awards presentation began with the first acknowledgments going to the great sponsors that support the ASRA. In 2018, the list of sponsors continued to grow establishing a new record for support. The contributions from the sponsors continue to allow ASRA to offer one of the best racing deals out there for stock and super stock participants. Each track was also thanked for their continued support of ASRA throughout the year.
The first hardware passed out was for the specialty awards that are voted upon by the racers during the yearly rules meeting earlier in the day. In very fitting fashion, the best appearing car award went to John Gray with his stunning 1969 Big Block Camaro. The ASRA support person of the year award went to Vic Santos who could be found all year long in the pit area providing the tune for Brad Rose. The esteemed Peter O Moran Sportsman of the Year award went to Jim Whitehead who is always a pleasure to see at the track.
This year’s banquet then included the induction of two members into the ASRA Hall of Fame which is viewed as the highest level of recognition within the association. The first inductee was Dave Casey who has been a member of ASRA every season since its inception, served on the board of directors for 24 years, claimed the 2003 season championship, and is 3rd all-time in ASRA top 10 finishes. Dave has countless amounts of success in class racing at both the National and Divisional level and with numerous class wins and national records. The second inductee was Tom Boucher who is one of the most decorated racers in ASRA history having the most race wins and top 5 finishes while being the season champion in 1988 and 1999. He sat on the board of directors for 17 years and has also been a member of ASRA every season since it was established back in 1982. Tom is a multi-time divisional winner, class winner, and national record holder and was crowned the 1992 US Nationals winner. Both Dave’s and Tom’s success and contributions to class racing on and off the track make them very fitting additions to the ASRA Hall of Fame. They join the late Dave LeBrun who was inducted in 2012 and Bob Broadbent who was inducted in 2016.
Next up was Wayne Delmonte from Lebanon Valley Dragway who recognized Paul Sutherland for being the top points earner at the Valley. Unfortunately, Joe Lombardo was unable to attend from New England Dragway but Tim Stickles as acknowledged as the track champion. Both track champions received a plaque as well as free entries into each of the 2019 races at those respective tracks.
Recognition continued by providing the individual race winners with their hardware. Race 1 honors went to Woody Pagano as he opened the 2018 season with a win at Lebanon Valley Dragway. Race number 2 and 3 were both rained out and it took all the way to October before enough sunshine stuck around in Lebanon Valley to get them in. Dan Lynch and Paul Sutherland both respectively made their way to the ASRA winner’s circle for the first time in their careers. Race #4 was at New England Dragway where Bob Moran took his big block Camaro to victory lane. John Gray took another big block Camaro to the winner’s circle for race 5. Tim Stickles closed race #6 as the last man standing in his Malibu at Epping. With all the rain endured over the 2018 season, it took some rain dates to establish the 16-car field, but Paul Sutherland ultimately emerged as the shoot-out champion.
The awards ceremony continued with the presentation of each of the top 10 finishers in the Banks Championship Points with a plaque, once again provided by John Gray and his family. 2018 came right down to the wire with the champion undeclared until a few rounds into the final race of the season. Tim Stickles came out on top by a mere 2 points which positioned him to take the podium on this evening as the ASRA Champion. Tim acknowledged taking something out of Jim Whitehead’s (the 2017 Champion) playbook by having his daughter and lucky charm with him at as many races as possible. Tim thanked his dad Pete for the dedicated support along with the rest of his family for all their help over the 2018 season. He acknowledged the support of some of his racing peers and complimented the association on the level of competition and the need to maintain a high level of focus to be successful.
The final items of the evening were the raffles in which Tim Stickles added to his already successful night by winning the 50/50 raffle. Eric Merryfield was the lucky winner of the 2019 season membership drawing. The entire Board of Directors would like to thank all the sponsors, participants, their families, and their friends for a very successful 2018 racing season.