KNOXVILLE, IOWA (February 28,
World of Outlaws (WoO) founder and president Ted Johnson continues to be
rated the most influential leader in sprint car racing, according to the 2003
special edition of the National Sprint Car Poll.
Johnson, who has been in that position since the start of the annual
leadership poll in 1991, received 27 of the 52 first-place ballots cast by the
industry voting panel of manufacturers, media members, sanctioning officials and
promoters. Those ranked second
through fourth, respectively, among “Sprint Car Racing’s 30 Most Influential
Leaders” remain the same as last year: Knoxville
Raceway promoter Ralph Capitani (six first-place votes), Eldora Speedway and
"Mopar Million" promoter Earl Baltes (nine votes), and American Sprint
Car Series (ASCS) president Emmett Hahn (five votes).
The biggest change in the poll
from last season is the fact that former All Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC)
president Bert Emick, never ranked below the ‘top five’ since it’s
inception, dropped completely out of the ‘top thirty’ following retirement.
Ron Shuman, former driver turned president of the Sprint Car Racing
Association (SCRA), moved from being ranked sixth in 2002 to fifth this year.
The 2003 National Sprint Car Hall of Famer also garnered one first-place
vote. Moving to sixth in the
‘power poll’ is defending WoO titlist and
Knoxville Nationals champion Steve Kinser, who picked up two first-place
ballots. Rounding out the ‘top
ten’ are United States Auto Club (USAC) president Rollie Helmling, veteran
sprint car owner/mechanic Karl Kinser, Sprint Car & Midget founder
and editor Doug Auld, and new ASCoC president Guy Webb, respectively.
Others receiving one first-place nod each are Devil’s Bowl Speedway
promoter Lanny Edwards, who was named RPM Auto Racing Promoter of the Year this
month in Daytona Beach, Florida, and award-winning media member Dave Argabright.
Besides the sudden appearance
of Guy Webb in the ‘top ten’ of the rankings, the only other new-comers to
the poll are Bob Newton of Hoosier Racing Tire in 27th and Fred
Brownfield of the Northern Sprint Tour (NST) and Gray’s Harbor Raceway Park in
28th, respectively. And
besides Bert Emick’s departure, only former Williams Grove Speedway
co-promoter Bob Jones (28th) and United Sprint Car Series (USCS)
president Pete Walton (30th) slipped out of the ratings in the past
year. It appears that the
leadership within the overall sport of sprint car racing is pretty stable
heading into the 2003 racing season.
The National Sprint Car Poll is
an official awards program of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum
Foundation of Knoxville, Iowa. The special edition poll results have been
certified by the non-profit museum foundation's immediate past president, Larry
Ball, Jr., of Altoona, Iowa.
Edition 2003 National Sprint Car Poll:
Racing’s 30 Most Influential Leaders”
2003 Rank, 2002
Rank, Leader (1st Place Votes), Affiliation, Occupation, Points
1., 1., Ted
Johnson (27), World of Outlaws, 410 sanction, 3,567.
2., 2., Ralph
Capitani (6), Knoxville Raceway, 360/410 promoter, 2,319.
3., 3., Earl
Baltes (9), Eldora Speedway, non-w/360/410 promoter, 2,284.
4., 4., Emmett
Hahn (5), American Sprint Car Series, 360 sanction, 1,365.
5., 6., Ron
Shuman (1), Sprint Car Racing Association, non-w
6., 8., Steve
Kinser (2), Quaker State #11, 410 driver/owner, 821.
7., 14., Rollie
Helmling, United States Auto Club, non-w sanction, 435.
8., 7., Karl
Kinser, #5m, 410 owner, 332.
9., 11., Doug
Auld, Sprint Car & Midget, non-w/360/410 media, 314.
10., not ranked, Guy
Webb, All Star Circuit of Champions, 410 sanction/owner, 305.
11., 10., Chuck
Merrill, Maxim Chassis, non-w/360/410 builder, 258.
12., 25., Tony
Stewart, J.D. Byrider #20, non-w/410 owner, 237.
13., 13., Tom
Schmeh, National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum, non-w/360/410
14., 18., Lanny
Edwards (1), Devil’s Bowl Speedway, 360/410 promoter, 207.
15., 27., Alan
Kreitzer, Williams Grove/Lincoln Speedway, 360/410 promoter, 187.
16., 9., Dave
Argabright (1), Sprint Car & Midget, non-w/360/410
17., 29., Steve
Sinclair, Interstate Racing Association, 410 sanction, 179.
18., 17., Allan
Holland, www.hoseheads.com, non-w/360/410
19., 15., Danny
Lasoski, J.D. Byrider #20, 410 driver, 177.
20., 22., Earl
Gaerte, Gaerte Engines, non-w/360/410 builder, 169.
21., 16., John
Padjen, Silver Dollar/Golden State/Civil War Series, 360/410
22., 23., Jack
Elam, J&J Chassis, non-w/360/410 builder, 118.
23., 19., Jerry
Russell, Eagle Chassis, non-w/360/410 builder, 112.
24., 20., Jason
Smith, United States Auto Club, non-w sanction, 102.
25., 21., Chris
Economaki, National Speed Sport News/Elbows Up!, non-w/360/410
26., 24., Bob
East, Beast Chassis, non-w builder, 66.
27., not ranked, Bob
Newton, Hoosier Racing Tire, non-w/360/410 builder, 65.
28., not ranked, Fred
Brownfield, Northern Sprint Tour/Gray’s Harbor, 360/410
29., 12., Brad
Doty, Sprint Car Network, non-w/360/410 media, 63.
30., 26., J.V.
Brotherton, Brodix Cylinder Heads, non-w/360/410 builder, 50.
Also receiving multiple
votes: Steve Beitler,
Larry Brown, Johnny Capels, Dick Carbery, Craig Cormack, Dave Darland, Joe
Darmofal, Mike Devin, Jay Drake, Kevin Eckert, Bert Emick, Joe Gaerte, Bobby
Gerould, Richard Griffin, Keith Hall, C. Ray Hall, Al Hamilton, Jack Hewitt,
Tracy Hines, Janet Holbrook, Tommy Hunt, Bobby Jackson, Bob Jones, Brent
Kaeding, Don Kazarian, Mike Kerchner, Paul Kistler, Cory Kruseman, Keith Kunz,
Bob Lawton, Jim Liberatore, Terry McCarl, Bill McCroskey, Mike Martin, Bob
Miller, Kevin Miller, Stu Murray, Jim Naylor, Bruce Neimeth, Don Ott, Jerry
Reigle, Carlton Reimers, Larry Rice, Glen Sander, Ralph Sheheen, Roger Slack,
Jerry Slade, Bruton Smith, Gary Stanton, Greg Stephens, Sammy Swindell, Pete
Walton, Bob Westphal, Humpy Wheeler, Patti Wheeler, Morrie Williams, J.J. Yeley,
John Zimmerman, Justin Zoch.
non-w = non-winged sprint car; 360 = 360-cubic-inch sprint car; 410 =
410-cubic-inch sprint car.