Four of the hardest-working people in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series have earned a little recognition for their efforts. NASCAR’s 20th annual Craftsman Mechanic of the Year contest has concluded, with the top four honorees sharing $18,000 in prizes – and more.
The contest, conducted via a ballot among NASCAR members in NASCAR Insider, NASCAR’s official membership publication that is published inside Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated magazine, concluded July 31. The top vote-getting mechanic from each track will collect a $100 prize plus a $350 credit towards the purchase of Craftsman Tools. The local award winners, from each of the participating tracks in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, will be recognized by NASCAR at their local track awards banquets when the season concludes.
Four of these mechanics have won additional prizes and recognition. The top vote-getters in each of the four Divisions of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series has won a $2,000 bonus and a 36-inch Craftsman Professional tool chest valued at $2,500 – a combined prize value of $18,000 among the four winners.
The four divisional winners have also earned a trip to Nashville, for the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards banquet on Nov. 5. One of the four Divisional winners will be named the national Craftsman Mechanic of the Year – an honor that will be decided for the first time by NASCAR’s Craftsman Mechanic of the Year committee. The national award includes a $6,000 bonus, in addition to any local and divisional prizes the winner has already received.
One of the four Divisional winners will also be selected, at random, to win an expense-paid trip to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 18, where they’ll serve as an honorary pit crew member on Brendan Gaughan’s No. 77 Jasper Engines Dodge team. The national award winner and the Homestead-Miami prize package winner will be announced at the banquet in Nashville.
Gaughan, a native of Las Vegas who is himself a graduate of NASCAR’s developmental system (he competed in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series and won back-to-back championships in 2000-01 before advancing to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.), says he’s looking forward to hosting the award-winning mechanic at Homestead.
“That’s the neat thing about having such an involved sponsor as Craftsman in our sport,” said Gaughan. “They like to get people involved. What the winner might not know yet is that when you come to work for the Orleans Race team, you’ll either be catching a tire or working the pit road sign or something that’ll provide a challenge. We’ll make sure that the winner goes home with memories,” said Gaughan.
The four top divisional winners, who will be headed to Nashville, are:
Division I: Rick Trumbo, Landingville, Pa., representing Big Diamond Raceway in Minersville, Pa.
Division II: David Spieker, Massena, Iowa, representing Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa.
Division III: Harold Burton, Riverhead, N.Y., representing Riverhead Raceway
Division IV: Howard Deitz, Westminster, Vt., representing Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H.
Burton is a former national Craftsman Mechanic of the Year award winner and works with driver Rob Tribuzio in the Charger class at Riverhead Raceway. Trumbo works as a crew member of the No. 83B Modified driven by Josh Biever at Big Diamond Raceway. Dietz is a crew member on Russ Hersey’s Outlaw Pro Stock team at Monadnock Speedway and Spieker is a crew member on his brother Chris’ Dirt Late Model team at Adams County Speedway. Spieker’s team currently leads the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Division II point standings and is contending for the national title as well.