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NMRA-TQ Midget 2014 Championship Awards Ceremonies

NMRA-TQ Midget 2014 Championship Awards Ceremonies
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Burbank, CA., Jan. 31 – NMRA-TQ Midget Series members held their 2014 championship awards dinner Saturday at Gary and Karen Schroeder's “secret” garage/racing museum in Burbank. Thirty-five attendees enjoyed a buffet diner at5:00 pm that preceded the 6:00-7:50 awards ceremonies. Former TQ driver/owner Ron Ahrendt again served as master of ceremonies and presented awards to recipients.

Championship honorees for 2014 were driver Anthony Lopiccolo, 28, from Brea and his father Paul Lopiccolo in the car owner championship. It was the first driving championship for the NMRA'2008 rookie of the year. It was the second car owner title for Paul Lopiccolo. His 2014 car was the No. 21 Stealth/Kawasaki, while his 2007 NMRA owner title came with his No. 21 'Rick Stewart chassis with Honda 750cc power. Anthony became the seventh different NMRA driver champion since 2002.

The Lopiccolo father/son championship team took over the point lead from season-long leader Bruce Hiroshima in race nine of ten. Anthony had a slim one-point lead (536-535) over Hiroshima when the final race at Santa Maria Speedway was canceled after the promoter ended his season early. West Evans, the NMRA leader since 2002, and Ventura Raceway promoter Jim Naylor met and added one race on October 15 so the championship could be decided appropriately on the race track.

That season finale was the tenth point race of the season. The 12 car race found Lopiccolo finish third and Hiroshima fifth. Lopiccolo earned his initial championship by six points (595-589) over Hiroshima. Eleven year TQ owner/driver Hiroshima, the 2004 NMRA rookie of the year, tied his career best championship finish was second in 2006. Since 2004 his driver point rankings have been: P. 6, 4, 2, 5, 4, 9, 4, 12, 12, 12, and now 2 again.

The 2014 NMRA champion car owner thanked his son “for a great season.” Anthony accepted his plaque and revealed he and his dad will race their TQ midget on a part-time basis in 2015. They also will team with veteran sprint car owner John Springstead, of Mission Viejo, to race his No. 36 Buckley-built sprint car. Anthony will drive part-time in the USAC-CRA 410 cu. in. division and part-time in the USAC West Coast 360 cu. in. series.

They Lopiccolo family came to the NMRA awards dinner directly from practicing at Perris Auto Speedway in Springstead's 410 sprint car. Anthony said it was the most power and largest track he has driven, but he liked it and worked up to mid-17 second laps on the lightly prepared track. “We will race our TQ whenever the sprint car schedule allows,” Anthony said. The 2014 newlywed and his wife revealed they are expecting their first child on July 31.

NMRA ran ten 2014 races at three speedways—Bakersfield Speedway (seven times), Santa Maria Speedway (twice) and Ventura Raceway (once). There were six different feature winners in ten features. Hiroshima won four times. Other 2014 main event winners were: Chuck West (twice), Scott Niven, Kenny Wiley, West Evans and A. Lopiccolo.

ROOKIE OF YEAR (presented by by Racing Optics): Doyle Mosley, brother of the late CRA and USAC sprint car and Indy Car driver Mike Mosley, earned the 23014 NMRA rookie of the yea rplaque. He purchased the No. 87 Ellis/Honda from Ron Ahrendt after the long-time USAC-TQ and NMRA veteran retired. Mosley finished tenth in driver points and ninth in owner points.

RANDY FAUST HARD CHARGER AWARD (presented by Schroeder Torsion Bars) went to owner/driver Kenny Wiley. An NMRA appreciation award presented by Qwiktime Products went to Jim Naylor and Ventura Raceway for adding the series finale. Tim Kennedy received the media plaque for covering NMRA races since 2002.

JOHN ESTOPELLAN TENACITY AWARD from the Estopellan family in honor of the late racing photographer was presented to driver Chris Thomas, 36, from Brea. He persevered and finished eighth in driver points despite numerous mechanical problems and on-track incidents.

RON OTTO MEMORIAL SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD from Gay and Tony Otto went to surprised Bruce Hiroshima for helping fellow competitors with parts and advice. Hiroshima also picked up the most improved driver award. NMRA TQ Series sponsors are: Schroeder Torsion Bars, Ringers Gloves and VP Fuels.

NMRA 2015 Board of Directors members are: West Evans, Don Kiefer, and Kenny Wiley. Steve Parke is NMRA Director of Competition. Ron Ahrendt and Kenny Bailey also work as TQ officials. Evans announced that six NMRA Tqs will participate on Saturday, February 7 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim during intermission in the major monster truck event that attracts about 40,000 fans.

Evans also announced that the 2015 NMRA-TQ season has increased from ten to 15 events at the same three speedways it raced last season. Bakersfield Speedway has seven dates, Santa Maria has five, and Ventura has three. Race dates are: MARCH 21-Ventura and 28-Bakersfield; APRIL 11-Ventura and 18 Bakersfield; MAY – 2 Santa Maria and 16 Bakersfield; JUNE 6 (Ron Otto Memorial), 20 Bakersfield; JULY – 11 Ventura and 25 Bakersfield; AUGUST – 8 Santa Maria, 22 Bakersfield, and 29 Santa Maria; SEPTEMBER – 12 Bakersfield, and OCTOBER – 17 Santa Maria.

FINAL 2014 NMRA-TQ MIDGET POINTS:

          Drivers                                   Car Owners

1 Anthony Lopiccolo  595     1 Paul Lopiccolo No. 21       625

2 Bruce Hiroshima    589      2 Bruce Hiroshima No.5       616

3 West Evans           576      3 West Evans No. 36          614

4 Kenny Wiley          555      4 West Evans No. 38          605

5 Chuck West          531      5 Kenny Wiley No. 96         585

6 Don Kiefer             431      6 Don Kiefer No. 9              458

7 Britt Grissom         351      7 Britt Grissom No. 43       375

8 Chris Thomas        242      8 Dave Lambert No. 55       258

9 Dave Lambert        240       9 Doyle Mosley No. 87      247

10 Doyle Mosley ®   229     10 Ed Thomas No. 40         215

Fifteen drivers and 15 car owners earned 2014 NMRA championship points.