The Midwest TQ Racing League presented by Jenmarco.com held their annual Banquet & Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening October 27th at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Greensburg, Ind.
The potent duo of Tate Martz, driving Roger Ramsey’s #1 Old Canal Smokehouse Beast Honda three-quarter midget, were honored as MTQRL champions, their fourth title in as many years. 2012 may have been their most challenging championship season as a new chassis, coupled with strong performances by Brett Hankins and Nick Speidel among others, left the pair over 100 points behind with only five races remaining in the season.
Martz then went on a record setting tear winning those last five features to take over the point lead and secure the title at the final race. En route to the championship Martz never qualified slower than third, set quick time at four events and scored four Perfect North Slopes heat wins.
In addition to their championship trophies Martz & Ramsey were also recognized as the Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel Champions. Martz was also honored as the Indy Race Parts Hard Charger while Ramsey received a $50 gift certificate from Jackson Oil & Solvents and a free chassis powder coating compliments of Pace Performance Coatings.
Brett Hankins, driving his father Sam’s #14 Zatkoff Seals & Packing/SpeedPartz.com Kleine TQ, contested his best season to date by placing second in the championship. Hankins was fast qualifier on five occasions, won two Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuels, four Perfect North Slopes heat races and two features. The highlight of their season came on June 28th when they won the “Russ Hankins Memorial” at the Rush County Fair.
Sam was also awarded the prestigious MTQRL Spirit Award for his sportsmanship, perseverance and positive mental attitude, and received a $50 gift certificate from Jackson Oil & Solvents for finishing second in the Duel for Fuel standings.
Although he was unable to attend the banquet Rick Robinson was honored as the third place owner and driver. Robinson, driving his own Honda powered #12, finished the year with two Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel wins, four Perfect North Slopes heat wins, a semi feature win, and seven top five feature finishes. Robinson suffered one of the hardest crashes of the season on June 16th at Rushville and received the Duane & Sonja Alexander Hard Luck Award and received a cash prize of $500.
Nick Speidel, driving his father Joe’s Honda powered #21, claimed fourth in the season standings after a successful year that saw him compile four feature wins. Speidel also won a Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel and six Perfect North Slopes heats, the most of any driver. Nick also received the Tony Stewart Foundation Leader of the Pack Award after leading 77 of the 340 feature laps contested.
Fifth place went to Bobby Walton driving the Steed Motorsports #8 E & S Transmissions/Dusty Flannery State Farm Insurance/Morristown Auto Care McClure Honda. Walton finished the season with seven top five feature finishes and three Perfect North Slopes heat wins.
Drivers honored for their sixth through fifteenth place finish in the season standings were Chris Mann, Cody Kiewitt, Ronnie Combs, Caleb Faulkner, Jamie Ross, Jon Steed, Devin Fairchild, Dustin Wheeldon, Logan Arnold and Brandon Ladyman. Sixth through fifteenth place owners were Mann, J Parks, Tony Stewart, Ray Faulkner, Ross, Steed Motorsports, Gary Graham, Kevin & Angie Arnold, Wheeldon, and Daniel & Penny Ladyman.
Additional $50 gift certificates from Jackson Oil & Solvents were presented to Chris Mann (for his third place finish in the Duel for Fuel standings), Steed Motorsports and Logan Arnold.
Devin Fairchild was honored as the Tony Stewart Racing Rookie of the Year receiving a plaque and a check for $250. Second and third place rookie drivers Dustin Wheeldon and Matt Hedrick were also recognized and presented checks of $150 and $100 respectively.
Wheeldon also became the first recipient of the SSG Jeremy W. Doyle Memorial Most Improved Driver Award. This award was presented by John Doyle in honor of his late son and sponsored by Roberts’ Family Motorsports.
Wheeldon then presented his own Mentor Award to Chris Mann for his selfless efforts developing a rookie driver, teaching respect, safety and performance on a dirt track with integrity. His willingness to work tirelessly to see another achieve success has been extraordinary. Racing and mentoring with the heart of a champion.
The MTQRL thanked the owners and drivers that were able to attend and support every event in the 2012 season by presenting plaques to Brett Hankins, Sam Hankins, Chris Mann, Rick Robinson, Steed Motorsports, Bobby Walton and Dustin Wheeldon. Photographer Chris Pedersen received an Appreciation Award for his tireless dedication and support of the Midwest TQ Racing League.
The Midwest TQ Racing League would like to thank its competitors, officials and sponsors for a successful season and a promising future of three-quarter midget racing in Indiana.