Story By: STEVEN OVENS / CRSA – VERNON, NY – After taking a year off as CRSA Series champion in a COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, Jeff Trombley and car owner Warren Alexson came back with purpose during the 15-race 2021 series.
CRSA was fortunate to only lose one of their sixteen scheduled shows this past year, a feat that their sister series with the Patriot Sprint Tour were quite envious of. Champions and honored drivers, team members and family all gathered Saturday night at Vernon Downs to share in good company, a fine meal and their shares of the 2021 point fund and contingency prize monies.
High atop the CRSA mountain was CRSA record-leading four-time champion Jeff Trombley who was consistent as anyone has ever been enroute to the title in 2021. Out of fifteen shows completed, Trombley finished in the Top 5 and Top 10 fourteen times, including three victories on tour during that stretch.
Trombley is the only driver with four series championships but also set a new record for consecutive Top 5 finishes with twelve. While Trombley took the lion’s share of the point fund it was his car owner and crew chief, Warren Alexson, who took home Crew Chief of the Year honors. Alexson brought a well-prepared mount each week with mechanical breakdowns very few and far between- with the exception of a few four wheeler breakdowns which was shared in a rather lighthearted moment at the banquet.
Drivers finishing in the Top 12 in points shared in $11,000 in point and contingency dollars. The drivers finishing in the Top 3 addressed the crowd, speaking of their successes this past season.
Rookie of the Year honors went to Kyle Pierce from Spencer, NY who competed in four series races in 2020, allowing him to keep Rookie eligibility for 2021. Two wins from Pierce this year- his first career CRSA win at the lid-lifter at Penn Can followed by a thrilling win at Utica-Rome saw Pierce right in the thick of the title fight.
Outstanding Newcomer of the Year went to Hannibal, NY pilot Jordan Hutton. Hutton was a super rookie himself, winning his first CRSA race at Fonda Speedway in what was the race of the season to hold off Jeff Trombley and Dalton Herrick.
Trevor Years out of Honeoye, NY was voted by the staff as not only the Sportsmanship Award winner but also the Dedication to CRSA Award. Years had perfect attendance in 2021, including trips throughout the states of New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
Josh Flint (Tough Luck Award) and Dana Wagner (Perseverance Award) received awards that no driver wants to receive. But these awards recognized the struggles that both drivers faced in 2021 and always kept coming back to support the series. Flint will ride off into the sunset after a milestone victory at his family’s home track Fonda Speedway, though we may see Flint periodically in one-off rides. Wagner is already preparing for 2022 and his planned assault on Lady Luck.
Chase Moran was honored for sporting a sharp looking No. 41 mount at half of the scheduled CRSA races with the Best Appearing Car award. Moran will be a young shoe to keep an eye on in the near future as he continues to develop after exiting the go-kart arena.
Mike Van Pelt, who could not attend this weekend, was honored for finishing one spot out of the point fund in 2021 with CRSA’s “Just Missed The Points” Award. Van Pelt had a career best podium finish at Thunder Mountain in September with his family at the track helping turn wrenches.
Jimmy Sebast has tackled very tough personal and health challenges this past season, but did not let them stop him from supporting CRSA Series races this year. He is an original staff member from the early days of CRSA before coming under the Mike Emhof Motorsports umbrella and was honored with the CRSA “Service Award” for a true MVP member of the team.
A rather touching moment was shared when Emhof presented a shadow box to CRSA Media Director and Announcer, Steven Ovens to a standing ovation. The shadow box was made in memory of former CRSA Staff member and Ovens’ brother Brad who sadly and suddenly passed away from COVID-19 on November 19. Ovens’ official shirt, a checkered flag of life, his CRSA Membership Card and several pictures of Brad’s fond memories while on tour as an official were included.
Emhof concluded the CRSA portion of the banquet by informing the drivers and teams that a similar schedule of 15-18 races is in the works for 2022. Weekly sanctioned competition will continue at Land of Legends Raceway on Saturday nights, with more information to come this offseason.