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Peters named Chronicle Driver of the Year Citrus County Speedway

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Drivers take top honors at annual banquet

James Peters
James Peters, driver of the No. 5 Pure Stock, became the Chronicle’s 2020 Driver of the Year after posting 3 wins, 11 top threes, 13 top fives, and 16 top 10 finishes. TYLER SONTAG/SPEED RACER

Peters named Chronicle Driver of the Year Citrus County Speedway

Drivers take top honors at annual banquet

Kimberly Kelly
For the Chronicle

From high intensity action in every division and racing mishaps that left fans and some drivers scratching their heads wondering how each incident happened, Citrus County Speedway’s 2020 season was one that most won’t forget any time soon.

When it was over, champions were crowned and one driver was named the Chronicle’s Driver of the Year.

“The (Chronicle’s Driver of the Year Award) has got to be one of the biggest highlights in my career,” James Peters said. “In my 25 years of racing I’ve won a lot of races and championships on dirt and asphalt, but to get an award like that – across the board to beat out drivers in other classes – it means a lot to me.”

Peters became the Chronicle’s 2020 Driver of the Year after posting 3 wins, 11 top threes, 13 top fives, and 16 top 10 finishes.

The 2020 season was one that Peters was hoping to gain some momentum after he followed his 2018 championship with an overall fourth place finish in the points last year.

“I decided to do the points’ thing again this year and win some races,” Peters said. “(2020) was a year I put a lot of emphasis on, and a lot of hard work, to win the points. I got three wins and kept the car in the top three (each race).”

A setback midway in the season due to a blown motor was unexpected but Rockethead Motorsports helped him put a new motor together to keep him going.

He only missed two of the 18 events that were completed in his division and earned the championship title for 2020 over Danny Maddox, Billy Smith, Lane Wilson, Shannon Kennedy, Jason Waller, Kyle Peters, James Johnston, Sport Wilson, and Larry Welter Jr.

“Overall there was a lot to endure this year with everything: Covid, the shut downs, quite a few weeks of rain, but at the end of the day the track did the best they did to accommodate the needs and come back racing,” he said.

To end the season with the Chronicle Driver of the Year award Peters said, “I wanted it in 2018. I had won the championship, won 6 races, but I still didn’t get it. Years ago (the award) used to be in every class. When you win it under the style it is now, across the board over all the classes, it makes it a much harder achievement to beat 400 – 500 drivers. Getting it this year was ultimately was something that just blew my mind. And I think it is a good thing that the paper recognizes the drivers like they do.”

Drivers who finished the season in the top 10 were also recognized by Citrus County Speedway recently at the Annual Championship Banquet.

Anthony Cataldi took top honors in the Super Late Models over Anthoni Serge, Jesse Dutilly, Jared Irvan, Keith Zavrel, Keith Roggen, Daniel Keene Jr, Scott Grossenbacher, Brad Bowman, and Daniel Webster.

The Open Wheel Modified championship went to Richie Smith. Rounding out the top ten were LJ Grimm, Donnie Duchesne, Jesse Henley, Brad Bowman, James Ellis, John Anderson, Cody Stickler, Steve Gill, and Troy Robinson.

Geoffrey Blotz topped the Outlaw Street Stocks over Jonathan Appleby, Sal DeFranco, AJ Waller, Eric Sharron, Zach Heimann, Joe Gerard, Richie Smith, and Lauren Lanier, respectively. Waller was the divisions Rookie of the Year.

Modified Mini driver Michael Hinde earned the Rookie of the Year honors in his division as well as the championship with Kasey Kilfoyl, Kevin Harrod, Nick Cummins, Sonya Heater, Mike Lawhorn, Tim Scalise, Clint Foley, Lauren Lanier and Erik Lowry finishing out the top ten, respectively.
Thomas Peet took top honors in both the Mini Stocks and Ford Outlaw divisions.

Eric Sharron finished second to Peet in Mini Stocks in front of Brayden Boardman, Gary Holliman Jr., Jason Simons, Rookie of the Year Mike Ledford, Chris Larson, Brian Potvin, Kipp McVey and Steven Wyatt.
Sharron also finished second to Peet in the Ford Outlaws. Jesse Veltman, Dora Thorne, Neil Herne, Rookie of the Year Greg Johnson, Martin Moff, Bobby Taylor, Corey Zavrel, and Clayton Andrews finished out the top ten.
The Raymond Frankart Roofing Demolition Derby championship went to Michael Autenreith.

William Hindman topped the Grocery Enduro leaderboard.

There are 15 different divisions on the 2021 race schedule including Super Late Model, Pure Stock, Outlaw Street Stock, Ford Outlaw, Mini Stock, Mod Mini, Open Wheel Modified, Enduro, School Bus Figure 8, Ford Outlaw Figure 8, Boat Trailer, Flag Pole, Chain Car, Demolition Derby, and Powder Puff, plus the Wheel Man Sportsman Series, Sprints, Legends Cars, and Florida Pro Challenge Truck Series.

Special events include the 3rd Annual Sunoco Race Fuel King of the Open Wheel 100, 5th Annual Full Throttle Super Late Model 100, 3rd Annual Grocery Getter Enduro 150, Fall Brawl Sportsman 200.

All totaled, competitors will make over 4,500 laps on the quarter-mile asphalt oval before the close of the season Saturday, November 13.
The 2021 season is set to begin Saturday, February 6 with a full race card including the Wheel Man Sportsman Series 50, Pure Stock 25, Ford Outlaw 25, Mini Stock 25, and Mod Mini 25


Kimberly Kelly covers Citrus County Speedway for the Citrus County Chronicle. Original story appeared in Monday, January 4, 2021. Reprinted with permission.


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