Billy VanInwegen Jr. Crowned 2009 SpeedSTR National and Regional Champion
Billy VanInwegen Jr. #23 shown above is the 2009
SpeedSTR National & Regional Point Champion.
Myerstown, PA - September 29, 2009 - Billy VanInwegen Jr. of Sparrow Bush, NY showed his talents and driving diversity while claiming the 2009 SpeedSTR National and North East Regional Championship. The 17 year old sensation VanInwegen, who was also the 2007 Slingshot National Champion, was consistent and strong all season long in his #23 Len and Joe's Pizza STR. VanInwegen earned 4 feature victories and showed his array of driving ability by winning 1 on Dirt and 3 on Pavement.
After the inaugural SpeedSTR season in 2008 this exciting series entered 2009 with 30 STR's taking to the track. The interest and enthusiasm of this division has been astounding in just a short period of time. With the Canadian market debuting in the SpeedSTR series for 2009, Speedway Entertainment added a new format to their championship series. The SpeedSTR's would be crowning a regional champion from both the Northeast U.S. and Canada along with a 6 race series to crown an overall National Champion.
The National Championship would be determined by a formula calculated from their Regional points compiled with their National event points. The STR's competed in 6 National events, these events took place at a variety of track sizes and surfaces to determine the drivers abilities to adapt and perform at the highest of levels. 2009 events took place at Big Diamond Raceway in Minersville, PA (dirt), Cornwall Speedway in Cornwall, Qc (dirt), St-Eustache Speedway in St-Eustache, Qc (pavement), Mountain Speedway in St. Johns, PA (pavement), Airborne Park Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY (pavement), and again back to Cornwall Speedway in Cornwall, Qc (dirt).
The parity of this division was demonstrated with 6 different National event winners. Rich Tobias Jr. of Hershey, PA (Big Diamond), Dominic Beaulac of Daveyuville Qc (Cornwall), Dominic Lussier of Hyacinthe Qc (St-Eustache), Paul Lotier Jr. of Lebanon, PA (Mountain), Billy VanInwegen Jr. of Sparrow Bush, NY (Airborne), and JF Tessier of St-Damase, QC (Cornwall).
VanInwegen entered 2009 determined to capture his first STR victory and to vie for the 2009 Northeast regional championship. After just the fourth race of the season VanInwegen would complete goal number one by winning the feature event at Susquehanna Speedway Park. VanInwegen would battle all season long compiling points and winning races. As the season reached its mid way point VanInwegen was now seeing that both the Regional and National points were within his reach. After taking a wild flip at the National event at Big Diamond Raceway, the VanInwegen's regrouped and thrashed to prepare for the next STR event. From that point forward the #23 STR was on a tear. Kyle Hieber of Langhorne, PA who competed in both the STR's and the Slingshots in 2009 stayed in contention all season long. Hieber secured his first STR victory at Trailways Speedway during the huge MicroRacing.com Spring Nationals. Third in regional points was pavement specialist DJ Macri Jr. of Waretown, NJ who came over to the SpeedSTR series this season from Legends cars. Macri adapted to the more nimble and higher powered machines very quickly picking up his seasons best finish on his first night out at the Shenandoah Speedway finishing second. Fourth in regional points went to Tyler Potts of Milford, NJ who also made the transition from the Slingshot division for 2009. Potts was a contender at several events all season long. Rounding out the top five was the series mastermind Rich Tobias Jr. of Hershey, PA. Tobias competed this year in the series for three quality reasons, to learn more about his product, to keep the competitors honest, and finally to raise money for a cause dear to his heart, the Fragile X Foundation (http://www.fragilex.org/).
JF Tessier from St-Damase, Québec put up a strong
fight for the title, finishing 2nd in the National Points.
While VanInwegen was taking control in the Northeast region, JF Tessier of St-Damase, Qc was showing his talents in the Canadian region. Tessier captured a SpeedSTR season high, 5 victories in 2009, 3 on dirt and 2 on pavement. The Canadian points battle was fierce all season long. Tessier's teammate, Dominic Lussier of St-Hyacinthe, Qc who conquered 2 STR victories, one on dirt and one on pavement came home second in points with Yannick Poirier of Beloeil, Qc only 62 markers behind in third. Poirier was triumphant at Autodrome Chaudiere. Patrick Vigneault of Trois-Rivieres, Qc finished fourth in points only a mere 2 points behind Poirier. Vigneault was victorious on the pavement at the famed Sanair Speedway. Rounding out the top five was Michel Lainesse of Princeville, Qc who was solid and consistent all season long.
Both VanInwegen and Tessier were triumphant in their respective regions, but VanInwegen would win the clash for the National Championship by beating out Tessier by only 95 points followed closely by Tobias, Lussier, and Vigneault.
K&N Engineering Top 15 in National Points
1. Billy VanInwegen 23 Sparrow Bush, NY 805*
2. JF Tessier 76 St-Damase, QC 710*
3. Rich Tobias 17 Hershey, PA 670*
|4. Dominic Lussier 4 Hyacinthe Qc 640*|
|5. Patrick Vigneault 55 Trois-Rivieres, Qc 635|
|6. Yannick Poirier 28 Matthieu-de-Beloeil Qc 620|
|6. Tyler Potts 12 Milford, NJ 620|
|8. Paul Lotier Jr. 7L Lebanon, PA 570*|
|9. Jeff Gallup 9 Baldwinsville, NY 525|
|10. DJ Macri 28 Waretown, NJ 510|
|11. Dominic Beaulac 30 Daveyuville Qc 500*|
|12. Kyle Hieber 6 Langhorne, PA 435|
|13. Michael Lainesse 11 Victoriaville, Qc. 405|
|14. Nick Pecko 42 Vandling, PA 370|
|15. Alex Roy 13 Candiac, Qc 350|
* designates National event feature victory.
16 Year Old Sensation, Billy VanInwegen wins SpeedSTR Showdown at Shenandoah Speedway
Billy VanInwegen at Shenandoah Speedway just minutes after taking the Feature Win.
Myerstown, PA - September 6th, 2009 - The 16 year old youngster from Sparrow Bush, NY, Billy VanInwegen is on a tear in the SpeedSTR division capturing the victory Saturday evening at Shenandoah Speedway in Shenandoah, VA.
Pavement specialist DJ Macri had been anxiously awaiting the SpeedSTR's return to the Shenandoah Speedway all season long. Macri who came to the STR division this season from the Legends cars series came home third in the season opener at Shenandoah Speedway and was very strong in the latter half of that event. Macri of Waretown, NJ would bring the STR's to the green flag and would lead the majority of the race. Kyle Hieber of Langhorne, PA who has won at Shenandoah in the Slingshot division was looking to add his name to the tracks feature win list under the STR division as well. Hieber would put pressure on the leader all race long while STR point leader, Billy V was methodically cutting his way through the field passing STR's both high and low.
Fourth through eighth you could through a blanket over, with Paul Lotier Jr of Lebanon, PA leading the pack. Lotier had the #87 STR of Doug Rose poking under him lap after lap while Gary Hieber Jr. of Langhorne, PA driving the DR1 was watching for either to make a mistake followed closely by Curt Weller and Katie McCardle in the K&N Challenge #11 STR.
Lap 12 Billy V would take over second from Kyle Hieber and set his sights on capturing his second consecutive STR Northeast Region win. After stalking and feeling out the #28 of Macri for 5 more circuits, Billy V would pounce on lap 17 to secure the lead and drive off to another STR victory and pad his Northeast Region points lead. As the laps wound down K. Hieber would get by the STR of Macri to take over second. While his brother Gary would get by Rose and put extensive pressure on Lotier for fourth, but would run short on laps. It was Billy V taking the checkered in the 25 lap feature event followed closely by K. Hieber, Macri, Lotier Jr., and Gary Hieber would round out the top five.
Pit Notes: Emily VanInwegen who is a top competitor in the Slingshot division made some hot laps in the race winning STR of brother Billy VanInwegen after the evening events. Emily was up to speed in just a couple laps. Good job Emily.....
National Parts Peddler dash winner: Kyle Hieber
K&N Engineering Top 10:
1. Billy Van Inwegen Jr. (Future Racing 23, Sparrow Bush, NY), 2. Kyle Hieber (Bucks County International 6, Langhorne, PA), 3. DJ Macri (Johnny Muffler 28, Waretown, NJ), 4. Paul Lotier,Jr. (Lotier 7L, Lebanon, PA), 5. Gary Hieber Jr. ( Amrose Motorsports DR1, Langhorne, PA), 6. Doug Rose (Amrose Motorsports 87, Syracuse, NY) 7. Curt Weller (Thompson Motorsports 17, Wernersville, PA), 8. Katie McCardle (K&N Engineering 11, Honeybrook, PA), 9. Tyler Potts (THP Racing 12, Milford, NJ), 10. Jeff Gallup (Gallup Racing 9, Baldwinsville, NY)
Billy VanInwegen Sores to SpeedSTR National Event Victory at Airborne Speedway
Winner Billy VanInwegen (center) is flanked by Carl Labonte
(right) who finished 2nd, and Paul Lotier Jr. (left) who finished
3rd in the Feature Event at Airborne Speedway.
Myerstown, PA - August 22, 2009 - Billy VanInwegen or better known as Billy V. of Sparrow Bush, NY uses patented high side to fly by the competition at Airborne Speedway to win his 3rd SpeedSTR event of the season.
Paul Lotier Jr. of Lebanon, PA would lead the SpeedSTR field to the green for the fifth SpeedSTR National event of the season. RevStar co-owner (the Canadian SpeedSTR dealership) Carl Labonte would lead the first lap from his outside pole starting position with Lotier hot on is tail. The races first and last caution would fly on lap 4 for a slowing Tyler Potts of Milford, NJ. As the field lined up everyone took notice that the current Canadian point leader, JF Tessier of St. Damase, Quebec had sliced his way through the field from his 16th place starting position and would be restarting 7th and looked like he was going to be the man to beat.
On the ensuing restart the North East region point leader, Billy V soared to the outside and would fly from 6th to 3rd around Patrick Vigneault of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec and DJ Macri of Waretown, NJ. Billy V would immediately start pressuring the front duo on the topside of the track. The front three would begin to dice it out with Labonte working low on Lotier and Billy V working the topside on both of them. Lap 10, Billy V would finally make the outside move work and took over second from Labonte
While the leaders were fighting it out, the middle of the pack was mixing it up too. Rich Tobias started working the high side as well, making it three wide on the spacious Airborne Speedway pavement. Vigneault would dive under Macri on lap 12 to take over fourth as Tobias went around the outside of the #28 of Yannick Poirier of St. Mathieu, Quebec on lap 14 to advance to 6th.
Billy V in his #23 shown above hard on the throttle.
Lap 15 the focus went back to the lead back as Billy V was pressuring Lotier hard for the lead. He sailed it in high in turn three and diamond off to get the run on the #7 STR of Lotier going into turn one. Lotier threw his elbows up and went back hard at Billy V, Lotier pulled along side of the #23 STR of VanInwegen coming out of turn 4 and down the front straight. VanInwegen would stick to the high side followed by the third place runner of Labonte. VanInwegen would solidify the lead down the back stretch, meanwhile Labonte would see it's his time to pounce on Lotier for second and took over the position on the 17th circuit.
Meanwhile Tobias would work his way around the #28 STR of Macri on the final lap to come home a solid 5th and Airborne Speedway Modified driver, Adam Bartemy of Sheldon, VT driving the K&N Challenge car would run solid all evening long and would finish just behind the battle of Tobias and Macri. Crossing the finish line would be Billy V first, followed by Labonte, Lotier, Vigneault, and Tobias.
Bilstein Racing Shocks dash 1 winner: Paul Lotier Jr. National Parts Peddler dash 2 winner: Carl Labonte K&N Engineering Feature Results: 1. Billy Van Inwegen Jr. (Future Racing 23, Sparrow Bush, NY), 2. Carl Labonte (RevStar 24, Quebec), 3. Paul Lotier,Jr. (Lotier 7L, Lebanon, PA), 4. Patrick Vigneault (Vigneault Racing 55, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec), 5. Rich Tobias Jr. (Thompson Motorsports 17, Hershey, PA), 6. DJ Macri (Johnny Muffler 28, Waretown, NJ), 7. Adam Bartemy (K&N Engineering 11, Sheldon, VT), 8. Yannick Poirier (Poirier Motorsports 28, St. Mathieu, Quebec), 9. JF Tessier (Tessier Motorsports 76, St. Damase, Quebec), 10. Alex Roy (Giroux Racing 13, Candiac, Qc), 11. Jeff Gallup (Gallup Racing 9, Baldwinsville, NY), 12. Michel Lainesse (Rocket Racing 11, Victoriaville, Qc), 13. Tyler Potts (THP Racing 12, Milford, NJ), 14. Steve Poirier (JR Productions 5, St. Mathieu, Quebec), 15. Dominic Lussier (Tessier Motorsports 4, St. Hyacinthe, Quebec), 16. Martin Roi Jr. (RevStar 57, Victoriaville, Qc), 17. Daniel Tisseur (Tisseur Racing 90, Napierville, Qc), 18. Dominic Beaulac (Beaulac Racing 30, St-Gregorie, Qc), 19. Nick Pecko (NEP/Napa 42, Vandling, PA), 20. Doug Rose (Amrose Motorsports 87, Syracuse, NY)
Billy VanInwegen Best In Close Susky SpeedSTR Feature
Billy VanInwegen celebrates his win at Susky.
Myerstown, PA - June 1, 2009 - Billy VanInwegen holds off hard charging Tyler Potts lap after lap for close Susquehanna Speedway Park SpeedSTR win.
Rookie sensation Tyler Potts of Milford, NJ would lead the STR field to the green flag, but Potts would make his only mistake of the night, giving up the immediate lead to the 23 of Billy VanInwegen Jr. of Sparrow Bush, NY on the initial start. Kyle Hieber, last week's winner at the Summer Nationals quickly filled in the third position and the 3 youngsters would do battle all race long.
Meanwhile the veteran Richie Tobias Jr was making his way through the field quickly in his Fragile X Foundation #17 and would enter the top five by lap five. Unfortunately a short time later a flat tire would relegate him to the pit area. Meanwhile point leader Doug Rose who has won all 4 heat races and a feature this season was reeling in the 3 leaders followed closely by Don Zrinski driving the Kiwi Farms #33 this week in his debut start.
The red would fly for a tangle between the K&N Challenge car of Scottie Ambruster, a big block modified driver down at the fast and furious Bridgeport Speedway and Legends car graduate DJ Macri. Macri's beautiful #28 would sustain only minor damage after a sequence of 7 barrel rolls.
When the feature continued the top 3 were back at it and Potts's #12 looked like he was going to get by the Billy V STR, Potts tried high and low but VanInwegen was just to strong and would hold on to claim his first SpeedSTR series victory, followed by Potts, Hieber, Zrinski, and Rose.
The #33 STR Kiwi Farms machine has been super strong all season and they have recently ordered a second SpeedSTR for the race team. "Our original plan was to have Doug and Don share the ride, but both have found out how, exciting and racy these hot rods are and want to race every week. So we put together a plan to purchase a second STR which we should have in a week or 2." Both drivers are very excited.
Point leader Doug Rose has announced that Gary Hieber Jr. will be taking over the driving duties of the DR1 STR. "I feel I need to focus more on the day to day business of the SpeedSTR series and my Amrose Homes LLC business. I love racing but business must come first. The Hieber family are great people and I know Gary will do a fantastic job on the car."
The K&N Engineering Challenge car was driven this past weekend by Scottie Ambruster, a Bridgeport Speedway Big Block modified runner. Ambruster would bring home the K&N #11 to a solid 7th place run. The K&N Challenge car offers racers the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an STR throughout the 2009 season and show off their talents and compete for a 2010 season ride. There are still a couple of race events available, contact Rich Tobias at 717-866-7450 to lock in your rental date. Details are on the www.SpeedwayEntertainment.com website.
Fragola Performance Systems dash 1 winner: Billy VanInwegen
Bilstein Shocks dash 2 winner: Doug Rose
K&N Engineering top 12 Feature Results:
1. Billy Van Inwegen Jr. (Future Racing 23, Sparrow Bush, NY), 2. Tyler Potts (THP Racing 12, Milford, NJ), 3. Kyle Hieber (Bucks County International 6, Langhorne, PA), 4. Don Zrinski (Kiwi Farms 33, Piscataway, NJ), 5. Doug Rose (Amrose Motorsports DR1, Syracuse, NY), 6. Nick Pecko (NEP/Napa 42, Vandling, PA), 7. Scott Ambruster (K&N Engineering 11, Bridgeport, NJ), 8. Ken Jones (Radical Design 8, Princeton, NJ), 9. DJ Macri (Johnny Muffler 28, Waretown, NJ), 10. Rich Tobias Jr. (Thompson Motorsports 17, Hershey, PA), 11. Jeff Gallup (Gallup Racing 9, Baldwinsville, NY), 12. Paul Lotier,Jr. (Lotier 7L, Lebanon, PA).
Billy V. Solid In Fonda Speedway CRSA Debut
By Toby LaGrange / LaGrange Motorsports Media for Len & Jo’s Racing
LMMedia@hotmail.com / (518) 844-2196 / www.myspace.com/lagrangemedia
Sparrowbush, NY - Billy VanInwegen, Jr. made the three hour trip north to the Fonda Speedway for the first time Saturday afternoon. The likable 16 year old was set to compete in only his fourth Capital Region Sprint Agency (CRSA) 305 Sprint Car Series event – the season opener for Brian Grisel’s fourth year series.
Billy V. started from the front row in the first of three CRSA heat races. He ran a solid race with the Len & Jo’s Racing #229, taking the lead at the start and holding off a hard charging Dylan Swiernik for the win. Not many people can say that they won in their first official race at the legendary Track of Champions, heat races included.
The win would put Billy in the eleventh starting position for the 25 lap race. Billy drove a cautious eight laps before Mother Nature intervened causing the race to be postponed to this coming Saturday night.
“This place is definitely different” Billy said following the cancellation. The Len & Jo’s Racing Team is unsure if they will return for the held over event.
The Len & Jo’s Racing Team consists of Crew Chief’s Bill VanInwegen, Sr. and Tom Laner, Sr. along with crew members Emily, his Mom, Bernard Rhoades and the Laner family.
Sponsorship for the 2009 racing season will come from Len & Jo’s Racing, Hank Conroy Motorsports, Johnson and Conroy Insurance Co – each of Port Jervis, NY, A1 Engines of Franklin, NJ and Zabriski Trucking.
The 2009 season will see the Len & Jo’s Racing Team follow the entire SpeedSTR by Tobias Schedule and hit as many CRSA shows as they can – at least 12 events.
For more information on Billy V. and the Len & Jo’s Racing Team log on to their website at www.billyvracing.net.
Slingshot drivers find great success in the SpeedSTR Series
Photo 1:Kenny Francis (Kasey Kahne's crew chief), Willy Evernham, Nick Pecko, and Billy VanInwegen.
Photo 2: Paul Lotier, Kyle Hieber, and Steve Hicks have some laughs with Ray Evernham at his race shop.
11.07.08 The Slingshot by Tobias graduates have found great success in the SpeedSTR series. Rich Tobias the founder of the Slingshot division launched his newest creation in 2008, the SpeedSTR's. SpeedSTR's were designed to give Slingshot teams a natural progression to a larger more powerful vehicle with the same economical aspects along with a purse structure that makes better sense than most full size vehicles. An added bonus also came along in '08, Ray Evernham an icon in the Nascar world fielded 2 cars for both himself and his nephew (Willy). Evernham's presence in the STR fields gave Slingshot graduates an added perk of performing in front of Nascar influences. 5 Slingshot teams took full advantage of this series and one would find himself earning the first ever SpeedSTR series presented by Weikel Racewear National Championship.
Steve Hicks - Competed in the Slingshot division for 8 years gaining 15 feature wins, won the '06 North East Regional Championship, second in the '05 Southern series points, second in the '06 Speedweeks, and third in the '07 Weikel Warrior series. Hicks was the first to purchase an STR for '08. He would open the season with a solid second place run on the pavement at the Shenandoah Speedway behind a USAC Silver Crown Superstar, Gary Hieber. Hicks was on the podium 3 times in '08 and would finish the season 4th in the series point standings.
Billy VanInwegen Jr. - The 2007 Slingshot National Champion fielded an STR this past season as part of the Evernham Racing for a Reason program. VanInwegen had great success in the Slingshot division during his 4 year presence. In '04 he became the youngest ever feature winner at the Penn Can Speedway at age 11, VanInwegen won the Hamlin Speedway points title in '06. Overall he captured 21 victories and 2 championships. The VanInwegen's are a showcase of family and racing. On opening night of the '08 season at Hamlin Speedway Billy Jr. won the Slinger feature, his sister Emily won the "B" Main, and good ole dad (Billy Sr.) won the Super-Slinger feature. Billy V's progression to the more powerful STR's was natural, he would be on the podium 5 times and finished just 4 points out of second behind Willy Evernham in the overall points standings. Billy V. was a threat in so many events, but the victory just eluded him by the slimmest of margins.
Paul Lotier Jr. - The son of legendary 410 sprint car driver, Paul Lotier Sr. powered a Slingshot for 3 seasons and earned 10 feature wins, which included 3 tour events (Borger's Nationals, Shenandoah, and Linda's). Lotier Jr. jumped in a SpeedSTR after the 3rd race of the season and took his Slinger background to the track with him. Lotier Jr. would claim an STR victory at the 5/8 superspeedway of Selinsgrove. He was flawless the entire night, winning the shootout and the feature events. Lotier Jr. joined the STR series a bit late but would secure 8th in the series points standings.
Kyle Hieber - The son of USAC Sliver Crown standout Gary Hieber Sr. competed in the Slingshot division for 3 seasons. Kyle would produce 3 feature wins and this season ('08) he would claim the Weikel Warrior and the Weikel Select championships. '08 certainly was Hieber's breakout year, he would be nominated for Driver of the Year, 3rd in MA Silver series points, 2nd in the Empire series, 10th in the MA Gold series, and would win a feature event on both the dirt and the pavement. Mid way through the SpeedSTR season, Hieber would get the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an STR on the pavement at Shenandoah Speedway and would come home a very respectable 6th. When the STR's headed down south to the Friendship Speedway, Hieber would show everyone how talented this young man is. Friendship Speedway would be just Hieber's second time on the dirt in an STR and he would take home the victory in the qualifying shootout event and would lead the first 13 laps of the 20 lap feature event.
Nick Pecko - Has a Slingshot resume that most drivers would trade anything for. Pecko's 5 1/2 year career in the Slingers brought him 66 feature wins, 4 championships (3 at Hamlin Speedway and the '06 National Championship), also was honored with the '04 Openwheelracers.com driver of the year. Two of Pecko's favorite feature wins were the "Spring into Summer 60 lapper" at Hamlin and the "Outten Chevrolet 50 lapper" at Linda's Speedway. With this impressive resume it was no surprise he would also captured the first ever SpeedSTR series Championship. Pecko was on the podium an impressive 8 times, most of any driver in '08, he would secure 3 victories (1 on pavement and 2 on dirt). The diversity of this youngster was impeccable all season long.
The Slingshot series is nationally known for "Launching Racing Careers." Now the Slinger teams have a vehicle that is a perfect transition for advancing those established abilities. The SpeedSTR's have proven to be an excellent transition for young drivers to hone their skills in front of National coverage on both the dirt and the pavement. With the Nascar Influences involved in the STR series the opportunities are astronomical.