IRA Interstate Racing Association
2023 Season Banquet Recap - Crouch, Rossman & More Honored
The Interstate Racing Association (IRA) honored two of their divisions, The Bumper To Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series, and AutoMeter Wisconsin wingLESS Sprint Series powered by Gandrud, at their 58th annual Awards Banquet Saturday night at the Brat Stop’s Parkway Chateau. Well over $100,000 in cash and contingencies were dished out to teams based on participation requirements, with sixteen 410 teams, and twenty-one wingless teams being honored.
With Madeline Schultz and Loren Kelly as emcees, the event went green with an awesome video recap of the season by Emily Schwanke. The video captured great on-track action, many behind the scenes moments with both teams and staff, and honored champions Brenham Crouch and Clayton Rossmann in spectacular fashion. Job well done Emily!
IRA President Steve Sinclair was brought up to present a few awards, including the prestigious Rick Schmidt IRA Member of the Year Award, which this year was presented to the father & son duo of Al & Danny Schlafer. The Schlafer name has been a fixture with IRA for over 40 years, with both demonstrating the dedication and professionalism required to receive the honor.
Other special awards presented Included Dedication Awards presented to IRA Safety Team member Andy Shufflebotham, wingLESS owner/driver Ralph Johnson, and the Burba Family which dad Jerry and son’s Jared, Jeff, and Mike all serve in key roles within the IRA staff. IRA’s true Iron Man, Scotty Neitzel, earned IRA’s first annual Iron Man Award as Scotty has been a 2-time series champ, and a perennial top series competitor with numerous wins while competing competitively in nearly every series event over the past 30 years. Second year driver and last year’s wingLESS Rookie of the Year and 2-time 2023 feature winner, Eric Wilke, was named the series Most Improved Driver. Tristan Furseth was named wingLESS series Rookie of the Year. The Tim Cox #40 was presented the KulasJr8 Racing Images Best Appearing Car, while the #26r of Preston Ruh earned the 410 Best Appearing honors courtesy of Dave Olson’s Studio 360. While unfortunately not present, Nick Simons, was to receive a special Dedication Award for his tireless and dedicated efforts to the series as track prep guru at several venues, as well as promoting the wingLESS “Wildman” event.
Sinclair also stressed to the large gathering how much sincerely appreciated the support of the IRA teams and staff, and how great it was to see the mix of veterans and influx of energetic youngsters who are going to keep IRA strong for years to come. It should be noted, both champions, Crouch and Rossmann are teenagers!
The Bumper To Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series awarded points at 29 events with events scheduled at 13 tracks in a 6 state region, which provided an incredible 17 different winners. Texas teenager Brenham Crouch became the first driver in IRA’s long history to win both the series championship, and the Sage Fruit / HRP Big Apple Rookie of the Year honors in the same year. Crouch picked up 1 feature win, and had an amazing 16 top 5’s demonstrating incredible consistency, and doing so at tracks he had never seen before. Crouch piloted the CMS Hi Plains / Carbon Technology Safety #1 Maxim. Brenham was unable to attend the banquet, however was on Zoom from New Zealand where he is currently competing. Jordan Goldesberry, Sage Fruit / HRP Apple Cup Rookie of the Year winner Travis Arenz, Russ Borland, and Scotty Neitzel completed the series top 5 in points. Danny Schlafer, Kyle Schuett, Austin Hartmann, Jack Vanderboom, Josh Schneiderman, Jake Neuman, Kris Spitz, Dave Uttech, Preston Ruh, Scott Conger, and William Huck came home 6-16 of eligible teams. Bill Balog led the series with 6 feature wins.
The AutoMeter Wisconsin wingLESS Sprints powered by Gandrud completed 20 events in 2 states, with young Clayton Rossmann picking up his 2nd series title, earning 4 feature wins on the way. Again consistency was key within a highly competitive series. Runner-up Ryan Zielski was the winningest series driver with 6. Jimmy Sivia, Allen Hafford, and Ryan Marshall completed the top 5 in points, while Chris Klemko, Tim Cox, Rusty Egan, Eric Wilke, Johnny Fahl, Greg Alt, Seth Johnson, Ralph Johnson, Bryce Andrews, Tristan Furseth, Trinity Uttech, Austin Hansen, Josh Davidson, Tom Eller< Dennis Spitz, and George Gaertner III going 6-21 of eligible teams.
The contingency product portion of the banquet is something IRA is very proud of. As an example of some of the items won, Neitzel and Ruh both won new Maxim chassis… Crouch, Schlafer, and Conger all won HRP wings… Schneiderman and Cox won Wilwood brake kits… IRA would also like to thank Behling, R&H, Bell, KC Custom Painting, Schoenfeld, All Pro, Competition Specialists, Allstar, Super Shox, DMI, Vahlco, Afco, CSI, KSE, Simpson, Carbon Technology Safety, FK, Impact, J&J, Slade, and Triple X who all contributed.
Special thanks to all our series sponsors, Bumper To Bumper, Hoosier, FLO Racing, TW Metals, Sage Fruit, Onan, Hopf Farms, A-main Apparel, Oostburg Concrete, Vandervart Concrete, Shufflebotham Tree Service, Feldmann Sales & Service, Kristine Hartmann with Pleasant View Realty, EPYK Media, Custer’s Cones, CSR & Son’s Trucking, Fine Line Fabrication, and Verona Safety Supply.
Special thanks to the Tennyson and Burba families, Emily Schwanke, Dave Olson, Madeline Schultz, Loren Kelly, Gracie Cleveland, Kevin Spease, McHenry Specialties, MRP, and everyone who helped with putting the banquet together. And the Parkway Chateau for providing a great meal and venue. And it was cool to see recent SE Wisconsin Hall of Fame inductees, Mike Babicz and Dave Olson in attendance.
Both these series, plus the IRA Lightning Sprints will all be releasing their 2024 schedules prior to Christmas.
Article Credit: Steve Sinclair
Submitted By: Dakoda Tennyson