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Tracks: Bloomington Speedway Awards Honor Local Racers

10 September 1998

BLOOMINGTON, IN - Bloomington Speedway will honor racers who have excelled in competition this season with special awards ceremonies this month. Track champions in Bloomington's three divisions, Derek Scheffel in the Pennzoil Cup sprint cars, Perry Bruce for the WalMart Tire & Lube Express street stocks, and Matt Tiller, the open wheel modified titleist, were announced after the Sheldon Kinser Memorial in August.

The Rookies of the Year are Scheffel in the sprint car division, Deron Freeman in the open wheel modifieds, and Greg Miller for the street stock division. The Most Improved Driver awards will be presented to co-recipients in the sprint cars, Robbie Rice and Eric Burns. The open wheel modified Most Improved Driver is Albert Webb, and Perry Bruce has been awarded the honor in the WalMart Tire & Lube Express street stock division.

In the season long Pennzoil Cup competition, Columbus' Derek Scheffel will receive the Jeff Gordon Rookie of the Year trophy. Scheffel competed in the UMRA TQ midgets in 1997, before graduating to sprint car competition this year. It is the first time a rookie has captured Bloomington's tough sprint car championship.

1998 is also the first year Bloomington Speedway will award co-winners of the Steve Kinser Most Improved Driver Trophy. Burns, who finished second in points, lead the Pennzoil Cup standings until Scheffel took over on August 21. The Brazil, Indiana, racer improved from 13th place in the 1997 Pennzoil Cup point standings. After finishing 41st in points last year, Brownsburg's Robby Rice earned his first feature race victory at Bloomington and finished fourth in this year's final ranking. Rice is the son of USAC Hall of Fame racer and ESPN television commentator Larry Rice.

Bloomington's Matt Tiller has been knocking on the door of the open wheel modified title for the past three seasons. After A.J. Bowlen edged him in the final race for last year's title by two points, fans knew he'd be back this season looking to move up one spot. He scored a feature race win on June 26, moving up to second in the points, and took the lead at the July 4th event. But problems at the next event knocked him out of the top spot. Going into the last race of the year, he was tied with John DeMoss for first place in the points, and clinched the championship with an eighth place finish.

Albert Webb, another Bloomington racer, was a regular campaigner in Bloomington's street stock division before jumping into the open wheel modifieds. He climbed from 40th in 1996's standings, to 17th last season. Winning the open wheel modified main event on June 19, Webb was an early leader in the division points. He earned this year's Steve Kinser Most Improved Driver Trophy for the modifieds when he finished third, four points behind DeMoss, in the final ranking. Bargersville's Troy Jarvis receives an honorable mention, finishing seventh in the points with a high finish of fourth.

Spencer's Deron Freeman also competed in Bloomington's street stock division before making the move to the modified division this year. He ranked fourteenth in the point standings, with a best finish of ninth at the Fireworks race on July 3rd, to earn the Jeff Gordon Rookie of the Year Trophy.

Bloomington's Perry Bruce competed at Bloomington in a bomber several years ago, before putting together his street stock ride. Last season he registered fifteenth in the points. This year, on opening night, he won the WalMart Tire & Lube Express feature race, and took the point lead. Although Bruce hovered near the top of the standings, it was Cory Brown who jumped into the lead with a pair of second place finishes in the first two events. Brown racked up six top ten finishes, including second three times, to lead going into the last race. But it was Bruce's second win of the season that locked up the point title, and also earned the Steve Kinser Trophy for the Most Improved Driver in the WalMart Tire & Lube Express sponsored street stock division. Bloomington's Gerald Todd was awarded a special mention for his two feature race victories and fifth place point result.

Bedford's Greg Miller comes from a racing family, but didn't begin competitive driving until this season. He made three main event fields, tallied 204 points, and finished seventeenth in the final standings to earn this year's Jeff Gordon Rookie of the Year Trophy for the WalMart Tire & Lube Express street stocks.

The Pennzoil Cup and sprint car division trophies will be presented during Racin' Fest '98 on September 18. Bloomington Speedway moved Racin' Fest from Sunday afternoon to Friday night as part of the NAMARS midgets Triple Crown. It will again pair sprint cars with the NAMARS racers in complete racing programs.

The WalMart Tire & Lube Express street stock division and open wheel modified division awards will be presented during the Third Annual Street Stock and Open Wheel Modified Nationals in Memory of Pat Birch on Friday, September 25th. The open wheel modifieds and streets stocks will be competing for shares of a $15,000 purse, with $1,200 to win and $100 to start each feature.


Pennzoil Cup Sprint Cars

1. Derek Scheffel 348, 2. Eric Burns 322, 3. Brad Fox 275, 4. Robbie Rice 274, 5. Kevin Thomas 260, 6. Kevin Miller 259, 7. Justin Marvel 256, 8. Butch Winings and Dickie Gaines 255 (tie), 10. Brian Hayden 239

Open Wheel Modifieds

1. Matt Tiller 453, 2. John DeMoss 449, 3. Albert Webb 445, 4. Ray Humphrey 438, 5. Brian Campbell 433, 6. Richie Lex 390, 7. Troy Jarvis 363, 8. Kerry Norris 353, 9. Bret Barr 347, 10. Rodney Harris Jr. 345

WalMart Tire & Lube Express Street Stocks

1.. Perry Bruce 362, 2. Cory Brown 356, 3. J.D. Francis 347, 4. Joe Lucas 334, 5. Gerald Todd 305, 6. Don Bush 304, 7. Greg O'Neill 298, 8. Steve Hawkins 294, 9. Don Short 286, 10. Michael Purtlebaugh 275