Photos by Diane Kubicke and Phil Hutchison
Story by Phil Hutchison and courtesy NHRA Northeast Division
More photos go to: http://www.division1photos.com/
Saturday Jan 17th the 48th annual NED banquet was held at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey PA. Nearly 600 racers, family, and friends were on hand to recognize the Best of the Best in the Northeast Division from Junior Dragster to the Blown Alcohol classes.
Former NHRA/ ESPN announcer and D1 favorite son, Bob Frey, was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. And as usual, Bob did an outstanding job keeping the show moving and entertaining the guests with his wit and knowledge of all things NHRA drag racing.
While the banquet awards the champions in the NED for their 2014 feats, the banquet also recognizes non racers too. Track operators, managers, safety officials, and others in the background making the Northeast Division events the successes they are.
One such person was the winner of the 14th annual NED Distinguished Service Award. My good friend and long time NED Certification Team member along with Northeast Stock/Super Stock Association head honcho Dave Ley was the recipient for 2014. Dave, who recently retired from his full time job in his home town in Vincentown NJ, is one of the tireless people that the racers see when going through fuel check or the scales, or you might spot Dave in the staging lanes getting the racers in line for eliminations. Dave along with his wife Gloria, are at the track from sunup to sundown and you cannot thank them enough for what they do. Congratulations to Dave Ley.
The Image of Youth Award is one of my favorite categories. It is awarded to a second generation racer for their exemplary achievements on the track. Amanda Boicesco, daughter of Super Gas racer Iggy Boicesco, was the hands down 2014 winner. Back when she was just getting interested in NHRA drag racing, Amanda competed in the Junior Drag Racing League before joining her father competing regularly at Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events. Amanda chalked up her first LODRS win in April at the NED Season opener at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Again, everyone on stage was a winner but some were bigger winners than others. Bracket racer Steve Sisko falls into the category. Steve, representing Atco Dragway at the Summit ET finals at Delmar Dragway, won Super Pro earning the right to race at the World Finals in Pomona for the Summit Championship. Steve had a great weekend in California as the Atco NJ driver took the Super Pro win over the best ET racers in the USA. What was even crazier, Steve was behind the wheel of Jason Kenny’s Super Comp dragster that Jason offered up for Steve to drive at the Finals. For all of his success in 2014, Steve was awarded the ET Driver of the Year by his fellow racers.
Sportsman racer Thomas Stalba Jr. who, in addition to winning the Super Comp title in 2014, was selected as the NED Lucas Oil Divisional Driver of the Year. Tom, who calls Williamstown NJ home, won back to back races at Atco and Cecil, had a double/double at the Atco event winning Super Gas on top of his Super Comp win. And Tom just lost the NED 2014 Super Gas title by one point to Jason Kenny. The 2014 title was Tom’s career 7th in the NED .
Jackie Frick, who is the 2014 Eastern Region Top Alcohol champ driving Joe Cantrell’s A/FD, was another success story for 2014 as Jackie will go down in history as the first female to win an NHRA Region in the Alcohol classes. Women have won D1 Top Alcohol Dragster divisional titles (Jeanie Booz and Karen Stalba) but Jackie is the first to win the Regional title. Jackie, Stalba, and Sisko, all call New Jersey home. What is it with the Jersey racers? And Bob Frey too??
NHRA JDRL Eastern Conference Finals
|12 Year Old||Jarrod Kissinger||Cecil County Dragway|
2014 Northeast Division JR. Dragster Championships
|Alexis||Waid||8-9 y/o Age Group||Raceway Park|
|James||Paylor||10-11 y/o Age Group||US 13 Dragway|
|Charlotte||Mallow||12-13 y/o Age Group||Mason-Dixon Dragway|
|Benjamin||DeYoung||14-15 y/o Age Group||Lebanon Valley Dragway|
|Cameron||Murray||16-17 y/o Age Group||New England Dragway|
|Cecil County Dragway||Team Champions|