Story By: JORDAN DELUCIA / DIRTCAR – SPRINGFIELD, IL – DIRTcar Racing celebrated its 40th season of weekly competition Saturday night at the annual awards banquet in Springfield, IL, recognizing each of the national and regional points champions along with the many special award winners.
Headlining the special award winners was longtime Midwest motorsports stalwart Tommy Scott, who was honored with one of DIRTcar’s most prestigious accolades – the Bob Memmer Award. Stock Car driver Don Hilleary was presented with the Lee J. Hall Memorial Sportsmanship Award, Kankakee County Speedway took home Track of the Year honors and COMP Cams Super Dirt Series promoter Chris Sullivan was recognized as Promoter of the Year.
Bob Memmer Award – Tommy Scott
Scott, a career Sprint Car racer from Springfield, was given the Bob Memmer Award for his unwavering dedication to and support of the many divisions that make up DIRTcar’s weekly racing scene. He is often seen in Victory Lane at several DIRTcar-sanctioned series events throughout the year in support of drivers that race with his product – Multi-Fire X Spark Plug Wires.
“It means a lot to me, and the people mean a lot to me – they’re basically my family,” Scott said after receiving the award. “I mean that from the bottom of my heart.”
Scott founded Multi-Fire during the 2017-18 seasons and has been a sponsor of DIRTcar and its events over the past several years. The brand has amassed a wide customer base throughout the Midwest on the back of the product’s performance and reliability, which Scott can be found at the track advertising with his Multi-Fire apparel, banners and signature white pit bike.
“My wire’s a little more expensive than anybody else’s, but I put more time in it,” Scott said. “It’s hard to make what I make.”
Despite his Sprint Car-centric background, Scott has focused his efforts to helping the local Late Model, Modified, Stock Car and other budget divisions. With his products, spontaneous cash bonuses to drivers and constant presence at the track, Scott’s efforts to help “the little guy” and keep weekly racing afloat reflect the professional values of UMP/DIRTcar founder Bob Memmer on which he established the organization over 40 years ago.
Lee J. Hall Memorial Sportsmanship Award – Don Hilleary
Veteran Illinois Stock Car racer Don Hilleary was presented with the Lee J. Hall Memorial Sportsmanship Award. The award, first presented to Hall’s son, was spawned at last year’s banquet in memory of the late Stock Car driver who was killed by a drunk driver in October 2022.
The Hall Award is presented to a Stock Car driver who best exemplifies the same respectfulness and gentlemanly conduct that Hall showed on and off the racetrack throughout his career. Hilleary – a personal friend, longtime competitor and former teammate of Hall – finished ninth in the national points standings with three Feature wins in 2023.
Track of the Year Award – Kankakee County Speedway
Each year, the Track of the Year Award is presented to a weekly DIRTcar-sanctioned track that demonstrates outstanding abilities to provide top-quality racing entertainment, elevates competitor participation and hosts special events that bring out the best in fan attendance. The 2023 honor went to one of DIRTcar’s most historic and longest-running weekly facilities in Illinois – Kankakee County Speedway.
Since taking over management of the Kankakee County Fairgrounds racetrack in 2022, promoter Bill Knippenberg has taken his experience as a racer and applied it directly to the weekly program. The 1/4-mile track hosted multiple special events in 2023, including races with the DIRTcar Summer Nationals and the MARS Late Model and Modified Championships, and was the Friday night home to national DIRTcar points champions Deece Schwartz, Jerrad Krick and Jimmy Dutlinger.
Promoter of the Year – Chris Sullivan
Similar to Track of the Year, the Promoter of the Year Award is annually presented to a DIRTcar-sanctioned track or series promoter that demonstrates exceptional commitment to the growth and improvement of the sport. COMP Cams Super Dirt Series promoter Chris Sullivan was honored as the recipient for 2023 – the series’ first year with DIRTcar sanctioning.
Chris, brother to champion Late Model racer Jack Sullivan, aligned the Deep South-centric Super Late Model tour with DIRTcar for the 2023 season, enabling the wide variety of Texarkana-area racers to compete for DIRTcar regional points and other DIRTcar-sanctioned events throughout the year. Billy Moyer Jr. was crowned champion of the Series and DIRTcar’s newly established COMP Cams Super Dirt Series regional title.
The COMP Cams Series will grow closer to DIRTcar in 2024, co-sanctioning a full week on the Summer Nationals Late Models schedule with multiple races in the Deep South region.
National Points Champions
Late Model – Jason Feger
UMP Modified – Tyler Nicely
Pro Late Model – Jose Parga
Pro Modified – Deece Schwartz
UMP Sportsman – Josh Litton
Stock Car – Jerrad Krick
Factory Stock – Trevor Isaak
Sport Compact – Jimmy Dutlinger
Mod Lite – Jimmy Smith
Other Special Awards
Late Model Engine Champion – Clements Racing Engines (45 Feature wins)
Modified Engine Champion – Mullins Race Engines (214 Feature wins)
Late Model Chassis Champion – Rocket Chassis (107 Feature wins)
Modified Chassis Champion – Elite Chassis (148 Feature wins)