An intense points chase at Eldora Speedway that culminated with first-time champions Matt Westfall (DIRTcar Modified) and Frank Paladino (Eldora Stock Car); along with Matt Miller’s defense of his DIRTcar Late Model title, will be honored Saturday evening January 24, 2015 with the annual Awards Celebration.
To be held in the adjacent Eldora Ballroom, the doors will swing open at 5 p.m., with opening remarks at 6:30 followed by the distribution of awards and $30,000 in point fund monies. Each of the three divisions competes for a $10,000 point fund annually at the legendary half-mile oval.
As has become tradition in recent years, the Sunoco-sponsored American Late Model Series (ALMS) will join the ceremony with the presentation of their championship awards and point fund as well. Brandon Thirlby will return to the stage as the ALMS champion.
Even with an impressive run of eleven A-Feature finishes among the top five, including five victories, Westfall needed a stellar run during the division’s final event of the season, the DIRTcar UMP Fall Nationals by Allstar Performance, to keep Jerry Bowersock from winning back-to-back championships.
Westfall rose to the occasion with wins on each of the preliminary nights of the three-night program, but a consistent finishing Bowersock remained within reach going into the lucrative 25-lap battle on the half-mile oval that featured a collection of the nation’s top running Modified chauffeurs. Both drivers had issues throughout the chase, but Westfall’s 15th place finish over Bowersock’s 29th ‘sealed the deal’ and secured Ludlow Falls, OH driver Westfall his first Eldora title.
Paladino’s ride to a championship was even more nail-biting. Going into the final Stock Car point event of the season, the Lima, Ohio charger found himself sitting in third position behind Jeff Koz and Paul Pardo. When mechanical issues relegated Koz and Pardo to 21st and 20th place finishing positions respectively, Paladino rallied to a third place finish which earned him enough tallies to claim the title by a mere two points.
Miller repeated the strength he exhibited to previous year to garner back-to-back championships. The Whitehouse, Ohio driver captured the Johnny Appleseed Classic by Miller Lite in May along with a convincing victory in the Friday night portion of the World 100 weekend. A consistent season in the Rick DeLong-owned machine resulted in eight finishes among the top-five for Miller.
In addition to the hardware and point fund distribution, numerous specialty awards will be distributed , including: Rookie of the Year; Most Improved Driver; Hard Luck Award; Best Appearing Car and the coveted Chick Hale Sportsman of the Year trophy.
Pricing for the lively affair remain at the 2005 price of $23 per person and will go on sale December 15, 2014 by contacting the Eldora office at (937) 338-3815 during normal business hours online at www.EldoraSpeedway.com. The deadline for ordering tickets is January 16, 2015.
Additional information regarding Eldora Speedway and its 62nd season, including ticket and campsite purchases is also available on the track’s website.
-Eldora Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Stacy Holland