By James Essex
Brownstown Speedway conducted its annual awards banquet Jan. 20 before a packed Pewter Hall in Brownstown.
The top 10 in each of the six racing divisions, along with Rookie of the Year awards, were honored in each class. Also, the 2018 racing schedule has been unveiled with the opening race slated for March 10.
Devin Gilpin of Columbus was honored for his first career late-model track championship at Brownstown. Gilpin also has three modified titles in his career at Brownstown to go along with three national UMP modified championships. The 27-year-old Gilpin thanked his car owners from this past year, his grandfather Don Fleetwood of Brownstown and Jim Beeman of North Vernon.
“It’s an honor to win the late-model track championship at Brownstown Speedway. The list of drivers to win the championship are legendary and to add my name to that list is humbling,” said the son of Todd and Gina Gilpin of Columbus.
Devin Gilpin, who graduated in 2009 from Columbus East High School, also revealed his plans for the 2018 racing season.
“We are going to start the year out in Florida driving a modified for Larry and Lucas Wehmiller of Brownstown. He bought one of my cars last year. After that, the plan is to run an ‘outlaw’ type schedule with the late model for Jim Beeman. We plan to hit all the higher paying races at Brownstown, Florence and other tracks in the region and most likely run Eldora Speedway as well for the Dream and World 100.”
The championship for Gilpin continues a family tradition of winning track championships. His father Todd was co-modified track champion at Brownstown in 1997, and his grandfather Chuck was the 1978 hobby stock champion at Twin Cities Raceway Park in Vernon.
Chad Stapleton of Edinburgh finished second to Gilpin in late-model points, with Jared Bailey of Bedford, Jeff Wilson of Butlerville and Matt Bex of Avoca completing the top five in points. John Baker of French Lick was named Rookie of the Year in the super late model division.
Matt Boknecht of Seymour was feted as the modified track champion, his seventh one at Brownstown in the modifieds division. Brandon Reed of Edinburgh was second in points, with 75-year-old Dennis Boknecht of Seymour taking third in points in his 48th year of racing. Lucas Wehmiller took fourth in points and was named Rookie of the Year in the class. Defending track champion Jacoby Hines of Nineveh was fifth in the final modified points for 2017.
Marty O’Neal of Spencer was again the top man in the Indiana Pro Late Model division. O’Neal drives for car owner Larry Hartwell of North Vernon. Tyler Cain of Seymour, Austin Burns of Morgantown, Tyler Neal of Paragon and Tyler Collins of North Vernon completed the top five in points. Collins was named Rookie of the Year. He is the grandson of former Brownstown Speedway and Twin Cities promoters Ted and Sue Collins.
Jamey Wilson of Seymour was lauded at the banquet for his third consecutive super stocks track championship. Wilson also won the track title at Bloomington Speedway in 2017. Jason Hehman of Brownstown was second in points at Brownstown. He was followed by Colton Sullivan of Columbus, Aubrey Eagan of Bedford and Seymour’s David Brewer. Jaden Mayhan of Elizabethtown was named Rookie of the Year in the class.
Tim Rivers of Salem was the track champion in the pure stocks division. Rivers, who was the 2013 late models champion at Brownstown won his first pure stocks division crown over Zachary Stalker of Heltonville, Jason Combs of Seymour, Jeremy Huebner of Loogootee and North Vernon’s Donnie Wilson.
Donnie Modesty of Seymour dominated the hornets division in 2017, earning his first track championship at the Jackson County Fairgrounds oval. Daniel Hobbs of Springville was second in points and earned Rookie of the Year honors, as well. Brian Moore of Bedford was third, with Nathan Reed of Columbus and Joe Murdock of Milltown completing the top-five drivers.
Brownstown releases 2018 schedule
After a successful awards banquet, Brownstown Speedway released its 2018 racing schedule. The track will host an open practice session on March 3 with the following Saturday on March 10 slated as opening night, featuring the super late models, Indiana Pro late models, pure stocks and hornets.
The first major race of the season will take place March 17 with the 21st Annual Indiana Icebreaker for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, paying $12,000 to win. Also on the racing program will be modifieds and super stocks.
The next weekend will feature the 410 non-wing sprint cars, with two nights of racing at the quarter-mile oval. On March 23 will be the “All in 25,” and March 24, the 10th Annual “No Way Out 40” will be contested. Chad Boespflug is the defending race winner.
For the complete 2018 race schedule, go to brownstownspeedway.com.
James Essex writes a motorsports notebook for The Republic. Send comments to email@example.com.