KNOXVILLE, IOWA (December 11, 2008) - Jerry Coons, Jr., of Tucson, Arizona, today was voted the 2008 “Driver of the Year” by the North American Non-Winged Sprint Car Poll voting panel of media members, promoters, sanctioning officials and manufacturers for the first time ever. The United States Auto Club (USAC) national champion earned twelve (12) of the eighteen (18) first place ballots cast in the year-end poll. His Dynamics, Inc., car owners, Richard and Rob Hoffman, will receive the 2008 “Team of the Year” award for their first time. Richard is the son and Rob is the grandson of deceased National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee August “Gus” Hoffman.
Those drivers ranked second through fifth, respectively, are Dave Darland of Indiana, 2005 “Driver of the Year” Levi Jones of Illinois, Cole Whitt of California, and Tony Jones of California. Rounding out the ‘top ten’ are USAC-California Racing Association (CRA) champion Mike Spencer, 2006-2007 “Driver of the Year” and 2008 King of Indiana Sprint Series (KISS) champion Jon Stanbrough, Tracy Hines, Jesse Hockett, and Blake Miller, respectively. Dave Darland and the retiring Tony Jones captured four (4) and two (2) first place votes, respectively. Jesse Hockett of Missouri and Tony Jones of California will share the honors for the “Wild Card Award” for exciting sprint car performances in ’08.
According to poll founder Tom Schmeh, “The words ‘classy’ and ‘champion’ are both great adjectives to describe Jerry Coons, Jr., and the entire Hoffman family. It is fitting that we are able to honor them together for their remarkable achievements in traditional sprint car racing in 2008.”
Dean Mills, veteran sprint car racing videographer and founder of Mills Video Productions (MVP), will receive the North American Non-Winged Sprint Car Poll’s “Media Member of the Year” award for the first time. Tom Helfrich, promoter of the Midwest Sprint Car Series (MSCS) and the Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana, captured the “Promoter of the Year” honors for the second consecutive year.
Jesse Cramer of Indiana and Cody Williams of California, the son of champion racer Rip Williams, will share the “Rookie of the Year” title for 2008 from the North American Non-Winged Sprint Car Poll panel following a tie in the voting process. Joe Devin of DRC Chassis will receive the “Builder/Manufacturer of the Year” honors for his third time in the last three years.
The North American Non-Winged Sprint Car Poll is an annual awards program of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum Foundation, Inc., of Knoxville, Iowa. All awards will be distributed in the spring of 2009 at tracks throughout North America. The awards were announced late on the first day of the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show in Orlando, Florida.
Final 2008 North American Non-Winged Sprint Car Poll
rank, driver (first place votes), hometown, state, points
1., Jerry Coons, Jr. (12), Tucson, AZ, 1385
2., Dave Darland (4), Walton, IN, 631
3., Levi Jones, Olney, IL, 624
4., Cole Whitt, Alpine, CA, 427
5., Tony Jones (2), Garden Grove, CA, 392
6., Mike Spencer, Temecula, CA, 217
7., Jon Stanbrough, Jamestown, IN, 206
8., Tracy Hines, New Castle, IN, 200
9., Jesse Hockett, Warsaw, MO, 158
10., Blake Miller, Yorba Linda, CA, 98
11., Damion Gardner, Concord, CA, 97
12., Shane Cottle, Kokomo, IN, 94
13., Hunter Schuerenberg, Sikeston, MO, 91
14., Danny Sheridan, Santa Maria, CA, 68
15., Brad Sweet, Grass Valley, CA, 66
16., Darren Hagen, Riverside, CA, 62
17., Robert Ballou, Rocklin, CA, 48
18., Billy Puterbaugh, Jr., Brownsburg, IN, 38
tie, Jeremy Sherman, Phoenix, AZ, 38
20., Kevin Swindell, Germantown, TN, 37
21., Dickie Gaines, Mitchell, IN, 36
22., Jeff Bland, Jr., Bloomington, IN, 30
23., Cory Kruseman, Ventura, CA, 29
24., Kyle Cummins, Princeton, IN, 18
25., Scotty Weir, Marion, IN, 14
Also receiving multiple votes: Brady Bacon, Tyler Brown, David Cardey, Garrett Hansen, Kevin Kierce, Brady Short, Casey Shuman, Tanner Swanson.