West Springfield, MA — SpeedwayEXPO provided the perfect opportunity to celebrate New England racing by honoring its best with the first SPEEDY Awards, presented to competitors and organizations in 11 categories. “The SPEEDY Awards are destined to be among the most prestigious in Northeastern racing,” said Speedway Illustrated Executive Editor Dick Berggren. “Those who won a SPEEDY this year have become a part of our history.”
Nominations were accepted and polling was conducted on the show’s website, www.speedwayexpo.com. After tremendous online activity, the final selection was left to a panel of judges.
On Sunday, March 4, The SPEEDY Awards were presented at SpeedwayEXPO. Each winner received a unique award in recognition of his or her outstanding achievement in the 2006 racing season—an authentic alloy steering wheel, provided by Longacre Racing Products, inscribed with the winner’s name and achievement.
Eleven outstanding recipients earned SPEEDY Awards: Matt Hirschman was named “Break-Out Racer Of The Year” and Bentley Warren won the “Long Haul” Award. SPEEDYs were also presented to Woody Pitkat for “Best Weekly Racer,” while Chris Perley got “Best Northeast Touring Racer.” Larry Barnett’s performance on a warm summer night at Thompson International Speedway earned him the SPEEDY for the “Best Individual Performance In An Event.” (Perley also received a new helmet courtesy of RH2Way Communications and SpeedwayEXPO. Barnett earned a six-point harness from Motorsports Safety System.)
Organizations are eligible for SPEEDY honors also. Beech Ridge Speedway was the winner of the “Best Weekly Show” SPEEDY and Oxford Plains Speedway got “Best Individual Promotion” for its annual TD BankNorth 250. Nicholas Teto received a SPEEDY for his yankeeracer.com website, the medium honored for providing the “Best Series Or Track Coverage.”
After years of tireless dedication to regional auto racing, Bill Channell was honored with the “Outstanding Contribution” SPEEDY—an award that will rightfully give Channell his place in the history that he himself has helped preserve: Channell’s racing videos are in the Smithsonian Institute. An equally tireless Tom ‘Sid’ DiMaggio was named “Race Fan of the Year.” DiMaggio will get to trade his grandstand seat for a one behind the wheel when he redeems his “Drive Program” gift certificate from The Racing School.
The SPEEDY ceremony culminated with an emotional acceptance speech from Skip Matczak, who accepted the “Solid Lifter” SPEEDY Award on behalf of his wife Lois Matczak. Skip was presented with an original portrait of his wife by artist Kristin Nason. Lois’s unwavering support of her husband’s long and storied racing career, as well as the successful racing business they have built together, makes her the unanimous choice for the ’06 award.
“The Best part of the show for me was the SPEEDY Awards,” Berggren said afterward. “They were extremely well done, tasteful and much appreciated by those who won.” A comprehensive look at the SPEEDY Awards and the winners is online at www.speedwayexpo.com, along with a photo gallery of the SPEEDY Award presentation.