Verona, NY – With the elegant atmosphere of the Turning Stone’s Shenandoah Room as the backdrop, the ISMA-Wirtgen group gathered to honor the 2006 season achievers on November 11. And, it was Vic Miller, Chris Perley and crew who where the center of attention after their record-breaking season.
The Miller-Perley crew with second driver Bentley Warren picked up eleven wins during the ISMA-Wirtgen super season, an unprecedented record that even Team Dunigan didn’t approach in its heyday. Perley and Miller were honored as ISMA Driver and Car Owner of the Year. The crew was voted Race Threads Crew of the Year. Chris Perley was honored with the ISMA Achievement award. Perley was also named the Gater Racing News Fans Choice Most Popular Driver for the sixth straight year. For the whole group it was definitely a year to remember.
The ceremonies began with the presentation of the top twenty car owners who received plaques and checks totaling over $50,000. Those owners, from first to twentieth, included Vic Miller, Dan Sole, Lou Cicconi, Howie Lane, Brad Lichty, Justin Belfiore, Jeff Holbrook, Mark Sammut, Joe Petro, Bruce Budnick, Ray Graham Jr., Bob Haynes Sr., George Groves, Clyde Booth and Gary Lehnert.
A newly instituted ISMA Driver’s Point Fund, founded by Kathy Harrington and sponsored by Helping Hands of America, Sweet Manufacturing Inc., Luther’s Way Out Grafix, SUPRS, and Inkspot. Drivers receiving checks from the new fund went to Chris Perley, Nokie Fornoro, Lou Cicconi, Bob Santos, Mike Lichty, Justin Belfiore, Dave McKnight, Dave Trytek, Bob Magner, Rob Summers, Mark Sammut, Joe Petro, Scott Martel, Jeff Holbrook, Ray Graham, Bob Haynes Jr., John Torrese, Brandon Bellinger, Mike Ordway and Gary Lehnert.
John Colloca of Team Holbrook, received the Slice n Go Deli Mechanic of the Year honors for maintaining three supers. Third generation driver Brandon Bellinger was the Randy Witkum Rookie of the Year (sponsored by Shea Concrete). ISMA Support Award went to the ladies of the ISMA Auxiliary for their work throughout the season. The Most Improved Driver Award went to Lou Cicconi. Kathy Harrington also recognized Rachel Fink with an effort award.
Three of ISMA’s most coveted awards came last with Brad Lichty winning the Jim Shampine award, Jeff Holbrook the Jim Soule Dedication award and Nokie Fornoro winning the A.J. Michaels award.
Randy Ritskes, who was injured at Waterford early in the season, stepped up to say thank you to the Spaulding Foundation and to ISMA for helping him through the hard times financially. “I’d just like to let the drivers know that if something happens there is help. The Spaulding foundation – they didn’t know me from anybody – sent me a check that got me through and then ISMA came across to make sure I was taken care of. Thanks to all who helped. If you see the Spaulding Foundation out there raising money, give them some help. I just wanted to let everyone know that I appreciated it very much.”
A tentative 17-race schedule was unveiled for 2007, which will take the ISMA organization from Maine to Canada to Michigan and back.
Master of Ceremonies Bob Gangwer, a long-time race fan from Indiana, closed out the ceremonies with a note that he was honored to be allowed to begin ISMA announcing duties in 2006.