LEHIGHTON, PA — Mahoning Valley Speedway Modified track champion Kris Graver of Lehighton has been nominated by the Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) as a recipient for the John Blewett III Young Gun Award.
The John Blewett III Young Gun Award, which is sponsored by New England Race Fuels, is given annually to an aspiring young racing talent who best exemplifies that of a promising star, much in the same way the award is named for in the late John Blewett III.
At 21 years old, Graver became the youngest driver to win a Modified championship at Mahoning Valley Speedway. It was just the second season in which Graver has been driving in a Modified yet he showed that he was well capable of handling himself against a select group of seasoned Modified stars.
In winning the title he bettered the likes of such notables as Earl Paules, Nevin George and Eric Beers whom all had a run at the title against him.
Graver had a season high 13 top five feature finishes that included three wins. He also won the 2014 Opening Night 50-lap Dirt Modified feature and pulled off a stunning upset when he strapped into a USAC SpeedSTR in June and despite never having driving such a car, went on to defeat a star-studded grid of drivers including Billy Pauch Jr., Kenny Brightbill, Otto Sitterly and Jeff Strunk.
In just seven years he has risen to become one of the all-time leaders at Mahoning Valley. Along with this year’s Modified crown he has also notched a Pro 4 title and back-to-back Dirt Mod championships. He has 36 career feature wins between four different classes. 33 of those wins came by age 20. He has won at least one feature each year since 2007.
In 2013 he was named the “Stock Car Rookie of the Year” by the Checkered Flag Fan Club. He has won Rookie of the Year honors in each class that he has competed in. Graver is a member of one of the most prolific families in racing at Mahoning Valley. His grandfather and crew chief is Kevin Graver Sr., and his uncle, Kevin Graver Jr., is a multi-time champion.
The EMPA membership will vote between Graver, dirt Modified racers Tyler Dippel and Anthony Perrego, ARDC’s Alex Bright and New England pavement Modified ace Tommy Barrett.
Past winners honorees include Lucas Wolfe, Bobby Santos III, Cody Darrah, Ryan Truex, Austin Hubbard, Justin Bosingnore, Kyle Larson and Mike Mahaney.
The winner will be announced in December and honored during EMPA’s annual convention to be held January 2-4 at the Crowne Plaza, King of Prussia.
-Mahoning Valley Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com