Lake Odessa, MI (Wednesday, December 11, 2019) - Over $50,000 in cash prizes and awards was handed out on Saturday, December 7th during the American Ethanol Championship Awards Banquet Presented by One Ethanol. Family, friends, crews, and drivers were on hand for the ceremony held at the Walldorff Brewpub in downtown Hastings, Michigan.
Four drivers were recognized with the American Ethanol Modified Tour Presented by Allstar Performance (AEmods). The veteran driver, John McClure was recognized for his efforts to bring home a fourth place finish in the championship standings. Livonia, Michigan's Garrett Rons received the Allstar Performance Hard Charger Award along with his third place championship finish. Luke Hubbell was the runner-up on the 2019 points standings and was honored as the American Ethanol Performer of the Year. Hubbell gave high praise to the One Ethanol group, encouraging others to run the fuel in their racecars. Hubbell also praised Motor City Racing Promotions’ (MCRP) safety crew on their professionalism and dedication to the sport.
Mt. Carmel, Illinois', Will Krup received his first ever AEmods Championship Award and the $5,000 grand prize. Krup thanked his JHA Motorsports crew for a job well done, and reiterated that they had a record year, and looked forward to the things to come.
For the American Ethanol Late Model Tour, young Colin Shipley was the first driver recognized, picking up over $1,500 in bonus money this season by behing the highest finishing driver running an ethanol blended fuel of fifteen percent or greater. He was crowned the 2019 American Ethanol Performer of the Year.
Among the recognized Championship Award recipients for 2019 included a pair of first time regulars on the Tour, Grand Rapids' Dave Baker, and Metamora, Ohio's Brett Miller. Baker, who collected the award for ninth in the 2019 standings, spoke about his 'bad luck', and looked forward to a better year in 2020. For Miller, who finished 6th in points, he expressed how much fun he had while following the Tour in 2019, and looked forward to another season.
Eric Spangler came home fifth in the 2019 points standings - he was unable to accept his award on Saturday night. Sheffield, Illinois’, Rich Bell was in attendance to receive his 4th place award, he also looked forward to the excitement of the 2020 season. He says he and his team are taking the off season to prepare for a run at the title next year.
Logan Arntz was the first podium driver to receive his award, finishing in 3rd, and receiving the Allstar Performance Hard Charger Award. Arntz cracked a joke, saying that he use to watch many of these drivers when he was growing up, and now that they are 'old' he gets to race against them. He went on to express respect for his fellow competitors within AELMT and thank his fans, family, and sponsors for a successful 2019 Season.
Travis Stemler was the next podium driver to receive his award. The Ionia, Michigan native congratulated Brandon Thirlby on a successful season, but did recognize that he wished the final three nights of the year were not taken by mother nature. Stemler also commended the MCRP safety personnel for their efforts, reminiscing on his May 10th flip at Attica Raceway Park Stemler now looks forward to the 2020 season behind the wheel for a new team. Meanwhile, Scott & Pam Phillips Motorsports have yet to announce a driver for the 2020 Tour.
In the final presentation of the night, Brandon Thirlby received $10,000 and his award as an American Ethanol Late Model Tour Champion, for the second time. Thirlby began his speech with a familiar phrase, by thanking the 80 plus employees from Thirlby Automotive that allow him to race throughout the summer. He continued by thanking his crew, friends, and family for supporting him throughout the year - remembering especially to thank his girlfriend, Leah.
Prominent American Ethanol Tours marketing partners were in attendance, including representatives from Allstar Performance, American Ethanol, Carbon Green BioEnergy, Lane Automotive, NUVU Fuels, One Ethanol and YellowHose.com. Locally crafted crystal awards were provided by family owned and operated A-Frame Awards in Flint, Michigan - The exclusive awards provider of Motor City Racing Promotions since 2012.
More details about the 2020 American Ethanol Late Model Tour schedule will be released in the coming weeks. See the latest by logging on to aelmt.com, and follow the Tour on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Story - Zach Hiser, Motor City Racing Promotions
Photos - B&Z Media Company