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posted October 04, 2001 09:33 PM
Four first-time champions among top
drivers in I.M.C.A. Modified regions
VINTON, Iowa (Oct. 4) - There's a good mix of new names with the familiar ones in the roll call of I.M.C.A. Sunoco Modified Regional Champions.
George Catanzano of Ghent, N.Y., Craig Nelson of Farmington, N.M., Ricky Stephan of South Sioux City, Neb., and Ben Stephens of Pulaski, Miss., each earned their first regional titles in the point season that concluded Sept. 30.
They join national champion David Murray Jr. of Oberlin, Kan., and 2000 national champion Henry Witt Jr. of Waco, Texas, both of whom earned their fourth career titles, and Jason Pike of Pahrump, Nev., now a two-time regional titleist.
Catanzano more than doubled his career total going into the season, counting 19 wins, plus another 15 top-five fin-ishes in 45 starts in the Dirt Works Northeastern Region. He was also track champ at the Accord, NY., Speedway.
Nelson enjoyed the best season of his I.M.C.A. career, adding track titles at the Aztec, N.M., Speedway and at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Cortez, Colo., to his Dirt Works Mountain Region crown. He won nine of 43 starts and ran in the top five on another 21 occasions.
The long haul Stephan made Sept. 29 to Arlington, Minn., Raceway paid off with his 13th feature win of the season. He'd gone into the final weekend of the season tied with Brad Pinkerton of New Sharon, Iowa., in the Dirt Works North Central Region points race. While Pinkerton ran fifth at Arlington, Stephan's charge from way back in the field gave him the regional prize.
Stephan raced 67 nights this year, with 34 top five runs, and won the track title at Buena Vista Raceway in Alta, Iowa.
Also track champion at Hattiesburg, Miss., Speedway., Stephens put his best season together since joining the I.M.C.A. ranks in 1998. He had 41 starts in the Clausen Racing Gulf Coast Region, with seven feature wins and 23 more top five finishes.
Murray's growing collection of awards already included regional trophies from 1994, 1995 and 2000. He had 33 wins, plus 15 more top five's, in 61 Dirt Works Central Region starts, also winning the track title at Rooks County Speedway in Stockton, Kan.
Witt's fourth straight Dirt Works South Central Region championship came on the heels of 21 wins and 22 additional top five runs in 71 races. Witt also repeated as champion of the Day Motorsports Texas Super Sunday Series.
Pike added the 2001 D&M Performance Western Region title to his own growing list of accomplishments.
The regional champ two years ago, Pike won 20 of his 37 starts, finishing outside the top five just three times this sea-son. He also led the point standings at his home-town Pahrump Valley Speedway and at Mohave Valley Raceway in Bullhead City, Ariz.