GREENSBURG, Ind. – The Midwest TQ Racing League presented by Jenmarco.com celebrated its fifth season on Saturday evening November 2nd at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Greensburg, Ind. where seventy-five guests were on hand to honor 2013 MTQRL Champions Nick and Joe Speidel.
Along with champions cups, plaques and other awards an additional $6,675 in cash and gift certificates were presented bringing the season total to over $43,500.
Nick Speidel, driving his father Joe’s #21 Honda powered three-quarter midget, completed his dream season earning his first championship. Speidel went on a tear obliterating the competition and rewriting the MTQRL record books. Speidel finished the season with seven feature and nine Perfect North Slopes heat wins, and scored an amazing 84.15% of the points available. Mechanical problems prohibited him from starting the feature on August 17th at Shelbyville or that percentage could have been much higher.
In eleven feature starts Speidel’s worst finish was an eighth place. To go along with his seven wins he also had a second, third and fourth place finish. Speidel led 122 of the 265 feature laps and was presented the Tony Stewart Foundation Leader of the Pack Award. Speidel also won a Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel and finished third in the Duel standings.
Tate Martz’s reign as the only champion in MTQRL history finally ended as he finished the 2013 season in second place and his car owner Roger Ramsey claimed the third spot. The highlight of his season came on August 10th at the Montpelier Motor Speedway when he won his heat race and led all twenty laps to record his eighteenth career feature win. Martz continued his qualifying prowess in Ramsey’s #1 Old Canal Smokehouse Beast Honda by setting quick time at three of the four qualifying events, won three Perfect North Slopes heat races and a Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel finishing second in the Duel standings.
Brett Hankins, driving his father Sam’s #14 Zatkoff Seals & Packing/SpeedPartz.com Kleine TQ, finished the season as the third place driver while Sam was the second place owner. Hankins scored seven top three feature finishes, won four Perfect North Slopes heat races, a semi feature and a Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel.
Fourth place went to Bobby Walton driving the Steed Motorsports #8 E & S Transmission/John Shewbrooks Racing/Tricia Schlechtweg Massage Beast Honda. Walton, who retired after the season finale, started all twelve features and ended the season with five top three and eight top ten finishes.
Logan Arnold, driving his parents Kevin & Angie Arnold’s #43 Lynch Motorsports/Earl’s of Indy Precision Honda claimed fifth in the season standings in only his third season of competition. John Doyle and Roberts’ Family Motorsports presented Arnold with the prestigious SSG Jeremy W. Doyle Memorial Most Improved Driver Award. Arnold was one of only three drivers to start every feature and raced his way to four top five and nine top ten feature finishes. Arnold also won a semi feature and five Perfect North Slopes heat races (second only to champion Speidel).
Jon Steed driving the #7 Steed Motorsports Beard’s Heating & Cooling/Dusty Flannery State Farm Insurance/Tricia Schlechtweg Massage McClure Honda finished his best season to date in sixth place. Steed ended the year with three top five and five top ten feature finishes.
Seventh place went to Cody Kiewitt driving his grandfather Larry’s #60 Don’s Log & Farm/Klinge Farms/Maschino Industries Phantom Honda. The former Tony Stewart Racing Rookie of the Year ended the season with four top ten feature finishes and a Perfect North Slopes heat win. His best run of the season was a fourth place feature finish on August 30th at the Gas City I-69 Speedway,
Matt Hedrick, in his first full season of competition, claimed eighth place driving his mother Emily’s #33 Intat Precision/Hedrick’s Mowing & Landscaping/Unlimited Electric/POC Industries/J & D Catering/PKG Motorsports Beast Honda. Hedrick ended the season on a high note by scoring his first feature win on October 12th at the Brownstown Speedway. Along with his win Hedrick had five more top ten feature finishes and two Perfect North Slopes heat wins.
Ninth place in the season standings went to sophomore driver Tristan Maggart driving his parents Glen & Chris Maggart’s #08 Crossroad Carriers/ASC Graphics/Indiana Insurance Solutions Beast Honda. Maggart started eleven of twelve features finishing in the top ten on four occasions.
Rounding out the top ten was Dustin Wheeldon driving his own #35 Mann Racing/HD Appliance/Geist Chiropractic/Steve Wheeldon Electric Kleine Honda. Although he ran a limited schedule Wheeldon finished the year with three top five and five top ten feature finishes, two semi feature and two Perfect North Slopes heat wins.
Drivers presented awards for their eleventh through fifteenth finish in the season standings included Robbie Roland, Rick Robinson, Chris Mann, Aaron Percell and Chad Hankins. Eleventh through fifteenth owners were Doug Roland, Rick Robinson, Danny Percell, Chad Hankins and Wayne May/J Parks.
Aaron Percell was honored as the 2013 Tony Stewart Racing Rookie of the Year receiving a plaque and a check for $250. Second and third place rookie drivers Dalton Miller and Rex Griffin were also recognized and presented checks of $150 and $100 respectively.
Brett Hankins won the Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel Championship over Tate Martz and Nick Speidel. Hankins was presented a plaque and all three drivers received $50 gift certificates from Jackson Oil & Solvents. Jackson Oil also presented $50 gift certificates, distributed via a random drawing, to car owners Kevin Arnold, Steve Arnold, John Doyle and Matt Hedrick.
Although he only started nine features Robbie Roland finished the season with the most feature passes and was named the Indy Race Parts Hard Charger. Roland made a total of fifty-five feature passes, an average of just over six per race.
An emotional point of the evening came when Duane & Sonja Alexander presented the Hard Luck Award and a $500 check to Chris Mann. Mann, who was diagnosed with cancer just prior to the end of the season, built a new car over the winter and experienced an assortment of mechanical and handling issues which caused him to finish in an uncharacteristic thirteenth place in the standings.
Tom Wilson, MTQRL Chief Steward, was presented the esteemed MTQRL Spirit Award for his sportsmanship, perseverance and positive mental attitude. MTQRL flagman and registrar Steve and Bonnie Motz, who both retired at the end of the 2013 season, were presented an Appreciation Award honoring them for their years of service and dedication to the MTQRL.
The MTQRL implemented two separate point funds for the 2013 season. The first would be for those owners who participated at every event and the second would be an incentive for owners to compete at the Montpelier Motor Speedway races. Title sponsors Mark and Jennifer Frechette of Jenmarco.com started the funds with a $2,000 contribution and additional donations were made from JetStar/6R Racing (Darryl Guiducci), Indy Race Parts (Bernie Stuebgen), RPM Racing (Fred Gormley), Gunslinger (Brandon & Jason Reynolds), Pit Stop BBQ & Grill (Harold Cottongim), Superior Tank (Tom Burkey), Montpelier Motor Speedway (Harold Hunter) and longtime league benefactors Duane and Sonja Alexander.
Seven car owners ended the season with perfect attendance and each were presented with a check for $289.01. Those receiving checks were Kevin & Angie Arnold, Sam Hankins, Glen & Chris Maggart, Roger Ramsey, Joe Speidel and Steed Motorsports #7 & #8.
There were six additional owners who attended the three Montpelier events and were presented with checks of $146.15. Those owners were Ron Hamm, Larry Kiewitt, Wayne May/J Parks, David Miller, Danny Percell and Doug Roland.
All car owners with perfect attendance on the season participated in a random drawing with Roger Ramsey winning a complimentary chassis powder coat from Pace Performance Coatings and Kevin & Angie Arnold receiving 50% off a paint job from Gunslinger.
The Midwest TQ Racing League would like to thank the car owners, drivers, officials, promoters, sponsors, photographers and fans for a successful season and a promising future of three-quarter midget racing in Indiana.