The guests in attendance enjoyed a night full of excitement and laughter starting with socializing during cocktail hour all the way through dancing with friends to close out the night.
The awards portion of the evening began with opening remarks from Andy Anderson, the master of ceremonies, who stated 317 racers joined the 2018 Money Trail program and that the top 81 racers would leave the evening with over $50,000 in cash, trophies and awards.
Anderson went on to announce the sponsors who signed on as the 2019 Sunoco Race Fuels ET Series and Top Challenge Series. Sunoco Race Fuels will return once again as the overall sponsor of the Money Trail ET Bracket Series followed by Scott's Transmissions, ATI Performance Products, PCRichard.com, Reading Standard Motorsports, Quantum Acquisitions and Summit Racing Equipment. The 2018 EFI Source Northeast Index Racers Series sponsors who will transition into joining the ET Series for 2019 are SRS Fitness, Custom Chassis & Performance and EFI Source. In the Top Challenge Series, Reigel Racing Engines agreed to help continue the growth of the Series through the 2019 season.
Weekly Maple Grove Raceway Announcer, Roger Leister, started the awards presentation of the night by awarding the top five finishers in the Top Challenge Series. Ron Reigel of Fairless Hills, Pa. took home his second consecutive Top Sportsman track championship by finishing ten points ahead of Ed Foley. Next up was Top Dragster, where Joe DiPasquale of Palmyra, NJ racked up 112 points during only three of the four Top Challenge Series races this season.
Leister moved on to announce the champions of the EFI Source Northeast Index Series. Birdsboro, Pa resident, Scott Smith and Phil Feger of Reading, Pa shared the title of Champion in the S&W Performance Pro Dial class by finishing the year with 119 points each. Phil Feger came back up on stage just minutes later to accept his award for winning the Custom Chassis & Performance 12.50 Index class championship with 143 points.
The father and son duo of Bill Colburn of Dowington, Pa and Shane Colburn in the Mid-Town Tire & Auto 11.50 Index class were unable to attend the banquet. Father Bill finished the season just eight points ahead of son Shane to claim the championship. The SRS Fitness Inc. 10.0 Index winner was also unable to attend the awards presentation. Ephrata resident and two time class track champion, Keith Zimmerman finished the 2018 season with an impressive 43 point lead over second place finisher Mike Tomaszewski. Luis Martinez of Philadelphia, Pa was all smiles as he humbly accepted his second consecutive class track championship in the Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels 8.50 Class.
The night continued as Leister began to introduce the Sunoco Race Fuels ET Series awards, starting with the Junior programs. Each of the top five juniors in all three dragster classes plus the junior street class received a racing jacket courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment. First time track champion, Luke Karol from Mohnton, Pa dominated the season with a 70 point lead over second place finisher Layla Gockley in the Summit Racing Equipment Junior Street class. Karol, kept his composure the entire season in his Jeep Grand Cherokee as he fought off six other junior street racers all looking to become champion.
Continuing with the Junior program, Leister took a moment to recognize the Juniors for their accomplishments during the 2018 season. The 2018 Team Maple Grove Juniors had a successful trip to the Junior Drag Racing League Divisional. Braylon Kuhn of Douglasville, Pa won the 13-14 year old age group, CJ Ketter of Sellersville, Pa won the 15-17 year old age group and 13 year old Dillon Taylor won the Race of Champions. These three Junior Dragster racers were also recognized for their accomplishments during the NHRA Northeast Division banquet in January at the Hershey Lodge.
Nine year old, Logan Anderson of York, Pa won his first track championship with 318 points in the Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster Novice class. He won a handful of races in his breakout year and beat out Anna Willing who ended her year in second place with 195 points. Moving up to the next age bracket in the Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster Intermediate class it was Mohnton resident Dillon Taylor who claimed the championship with 302 points. The track championship capped off a stellar season for Taylor as he came off his Race of Champions victory at the Divisional race. In the Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster Advanced class, Matthew Witkowski of Elverson, Pa claimed his championship eight points ahead of second place finisher Alan Miles.
As the night continued Leister announced the top five finishers in Top Bike. Austin Youndt of Stevens, Pa, finished the season with 315 points, being named champion over second place finisher and Top Bike All Access Challenge Winner Danny Boyer and third place finisher and Savage61 Ram Top Bike Incentive Winner Kevin Twardowski.
Honey Brook native, David Sciarretta drove to a championship in the PCRichard.com Street eliminator with 364 points. Just 16 points above second place finisher and All Access Challenge Street Winner Adam Werner. Sciarretta, also finished 7th in the ATI Performance Products eliminator and won the Super64 at the Pennsylvania Dutch Classic in September.
In the ATI Performance Products Pro eliminator, Paul Werner of Sinking Spring, earned another championship to his belt with 359 points. Second place finisher, Rich Pennington along with third place finisher Dan Walleigh continued to fight until the last race to determine the top three finishers in Pro.
The last set of racer awards to be presented was the Scott's Transmission Super Pro eliminator. Dennis Helman of Norristown, persevered through a challenging season to claim the championship. Helman held off second place finisher, All Access Challenge Super Pro Winner and 2018 Money Trail ET Shootout Champion Brock Moshier and third place finisher and 2018 Summit Racing ET Bracket Finals Super Pro Winner Shayne Beck.
The Maple Grove Raceway Management team took the stage to switch up the night with a fun intermission to the awards program. Director of Sales & Marketing, Ken Hall, put on his auctioneer hat and conducted a live auction to benefit Team Maple Grove. Two Power Wheels vehicles were the focal point of the stage the entire night. Hundreds of dollars were raised as a result of this auction, which all that money will go to help Team Maple Grove during the 2019 season.
Tricia Gockley, Maple Grove Track Manager, presented Andy Anderson, Scott Smith, David Sciarretta, Austin Youndt and Shayne Beck with Appreciation Awards for all their support and success at the Summit Racing ET Bracket Finals the past few years.
Andy Anderson, then announced the Safeco Insurance Best Appearing Car for 2018. The three nominees were Ted Meyle, Vincent Branca and Danny Spotts. As voted it was Vincent Branca who claims the rights of being the Overall Best Appearing Car for 2018.
Andy Anderson concluded the evening with balloted awards voted by the 2018 Money Trail members. Drivers were selected from each class of the Sunoco Race Fuels ET Series and recognized as Tree Sniper, Finish Line Magician and Ticket Printer for the 2018 season. The results were, Super Pro Tree Sniper - John McClure, Finish Line Magician - Marques McClure, Ticket Printer - Shayne Beck, Pro Tree Sniper - Rich Pennington, Finish Line Magician - Dan Walleigh, Ticket Printer - Dan Smith, Street Tree Sniper - Dave Raser, Finish Line Magician - Paul Werner, Ticket Printer - Scott Smith, Bike Tree Sniper - Austin Youndt, Finish Line Magician - Bruce Gockley, Ticket Printer - Kevin Twardowski, Junior Dragster Tree Sniper -CJ Ketterer, Finish Line Magician - Matthew Witkowski, Ticket Printer - Anna Willing. Junior Street Tree Sniper -Layla Gockley, Finish Line Magician - Drew Templin, Ticket Printer - Luke Karol. Other awards were, Wrench of the Year - Paul Thimm Sr., Breakout Season - Logan Anderson, Leading Lady - Donna Robinson, Kingpin - Paul Werner.
The 2019 Money Trail Racer's Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, February 24th at the Classic Auto Mall. The meeting for drivers participating in Junior Dragster and Junior Street meet at 12 Noon. Racers in Super, Pro, Street, Top Bike, Pro Dial and Top Challenge is set for 1 PM.