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posted October 02, 2001 03:27 PM
Fifth straight championship for Anderson,
first titles to Murray, Morgan and Walker
VINTON, Iowa (Oct. 2) - Jeff Anderson has won his record fifth straight national I.M.C.A. championship, while David Murray Jr., Elmer Morgan and Kris Walker each have won their first.
Final points races of the 2001 season were held Sunday for four I.M.C.A. divisions. The champions announced today join Late Model pilot Rob Toland of Hillsdale, Ill., as the top drivers in their respective classes.
From Atlantic, Iowa, Anderson's latest I.M.C.A. Sunoco Stock Car crown makes him the first driver in the sanction-ing body's modern era - which dates from 1979 - to win five consecutive national titles.
Murray captured what had been an elusive I.M.C.A. Sunoco Modified championship. The Oberlin, Kan., veteran also won the 200th feature race of his I.M.C.A. career this summer.
Morgan, from Farmers Branch, Texas, lead the Sprint Car points chase all but one week of the season. He was the Texas I.M.C.A. Nationals champion as well.
Walker earned rookie of the year honors enroute to the national Hobby Stock championship. He is from Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Toland had 16 feature wins and led the Late Model points race from start to finish. That season ended in late August.
Tracks have the next month to make any corrections in the results sent to I.M.C.A. before Modified, Sprint Car. Stock Car and Hobby Stock point totals and standings become official. Top 20 standings and state champions will be an-nounced on Nov. 2.
Anderson had shared the previous record of four straight titles with Johnny Saathoff of Beatrice, Neb., national Modi-fied king from 1996-1999.
Title number five came on the strength of 33 feature wins, 29 of them in fields of 10 or more cars. Anderson leads all drivers in the history of the division with 173 career victories.
Two other Stock Car drivers finished with the maximum possible 800 points, national runner-up and rookie of the year David Trauernicht of Beatrice, Neb., and Duain Pritchett of Combine, Texas.
Trauernicht notched 32 wins, 26 of them in feature fields of at least 10 cars. Twenty-two of Pritchett's 23 feature vic-tories came in fields of 10 or more.
Murray's 33 feature wins in the Dirt Works Central Region landed him the national championship in the closest points race in the division since 1996. 2001 marked the fifth time Murray ended the season with the maximum possible 1,200 points, but the tie-breaking system didn't go his way until this year.
Ronnie Wallace of North Platte, Neb., won 30 features in the Central Region and four more in the D&M Performance Western Region. The wins in the Western Region don't count toward the national title, however, so Wallace ended the year in second. Defending champion Henry Witt Jr. of Waco, Texas, was third.
Murray leads all Modified drivers with 220 career wins. Brad Pinkerton of New Sharon, Iowa, is the national Modi-fied rookie of the year.
No stranger to the national I.M.C.A. rankings, Morgan had been ninth in 2000 and fifth in the 1999 standings.
He was more than consistent throughout the 2001 campaign, winning a career-best 10 times. Tony Hargrave of Maplewood, Minn., was second and rookie of the year Blake Mallory of Joshua, Texas, was third.
Walker won 22 times enroute to duplicating the national championship/rookie of the year double by Mara-thon's Stacey Mills in 1995.
1999 champ Bill Bonnett of Knoxville, Iowa, was second in the Hobby Stock standings and defending champion Damon Murty of Chelsea, Iowa, was third.
Late Model driver Ernie Derr of Keokuk, Iowa, holds the all-time I.M.C.A. records of 12 career and seven consecutive (1965-1971) national championships.
Sig Haugdahl of Daytona Beach, Fla., won six straight national Sprint Car titles from 1927-1932. Gus Schrader of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, topped the national Sprint Car standings from 1933-1937.
I.M.C.A. will honor all its champions and top rookies at the national awards banquet, to be held Saturday, Nov. 24 at Harvey's Hotel and Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa.