BAKERSFIELD, California — This Saturday afternoon the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Championship Awards Banquet will take place at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, where the series top performers of 2012 will be honored. The top twenty drivers of the 2012 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series will all be honored on stage, as well as the top ten car owners from the final championship standings. The top ten SRL Legends Tour drivers will also be honored on stage, including the presentation of the 2012 SRL Legends Championship Trophy to Darren Amidon.
The final award of the night will be presented to the 2012 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series champion and team, as Derek Thorn will take the stage to accept the 2012 SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Championship Cup. He will be joined on stage by his Campbell Motorsports team, lead by crew chief Mike Keen. 2012 was Thorn’s third full season competing in the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, but was the first full season for Campbell Motorsports.
Prior to Thorn stepping onto the Crystal Palace stage, other well-deserved accolades will be handed out, including the trophy and new chassis presented to the Victory Circle Rookie-of-the-Year, Jeff Oleen.
Three special annual awards will also be presented on Saturday; the “Bob Elliff Award”, the “Jeff Anthony – Spirit of 76 Award” and the annual “Perseverance Award”.
The “Bob Elliff Award” carries the name of the series first MRO Chaplain, Bob Elliff, who lost his battle to cancer on November 20th, 2009. The award is presented annually to a recipient who “makes the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series a better place”, like Bob always did. Bob Elliff was the first recipient of this award, prior to the award memorializing him. Other past recipients include; Jim Pettit, Robert Perryman of Hoosier Tire West and last year’s recipient Ken Benhamou.
The “Jeff Anthony – Spirit of 76 Award” honors the memory of the 2002 SRL champion Jeff Anthony, driver of car #76, who was a standout person and driver in the series, with 9 wins in 53 starts, prior to his untimely passing in the fall of 2005. The “Jeff Anthony – Spirit of 76 Award” is presented to an individual who exhibits a spirit of dedication and support of the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series. Past recipients include, Bob Strandwold, Greg Voigt, Quentin Bammer, and John Gomez in 2011.
The final special award is annual the “Perseverance Award”, which is awarded to the team or driver who exemplified a “never give up attitude”, no matter the size or scope of adversity during the race season. Past precipitants include: Craig Raudman, Dave Byrd, M.K. Kanke’s RPM Motorsports and Strmiska Racing in 2011.
Prizes by way of a reverse drawing will be presented to each SPEARS Southwest Tour Series race team in attendance, including Five Star Body packages, Hoosier Tires and more.
The SPEARS Southwest Tour Series Championship Awards Banquet will be held at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, this Saturday afternoon. Doors open at 11:30am, lunch will be served at noon, followed by awards presentations. The party will move up stairs at the Crystal Palace, where live music and Derek Thorn will entertain everyone late into the evening.