The Estevan Motor Speedway celebrated track champions and others, and reflected on the past season, during its awards night Saturday:
ESTEVAN – The Estevan Motor Speedway celebrated driver achievements and other contributions to the track during its annual awards night on Saturday at the Beefeater Plaza.
Track champions for 2023 were Travis Hagen (IMCA modifieds), Chris Hortness (IMCA stock cars), Robby Rosselli (IMCA sport mods), Kyler Satran (IMCA hobby stocks) and Jacek Ashworth (slingshots). Each was presented with a trophy.
The runners up were Steven Pfeifer (modifieds) Adam Goff (stock cars), Ryder Raynard (sport mods), Kayden Hjorteland (hobby stocks) and Eli Turnbull (slingshots).
Top rookies were JJ Barnstable (modifieds), Cash Saxon (hobby stocks) and Brooks Ones (slingshots).
Diezel Raynard was presented with the most improved driver award for the progress he made in the hobby stock class.
The speedway also saluted Rick Milewicz of Sedley as its top volunteer. A driver in the sport mod class, he was recognized for his contributions to repairs on the speedway’s main grandstand.
Track president Brad Pierson noted Milewicz submitted a detailed plan for the project.
“There was a safety component, there was phases 1, 2 and 3, there were supplies listed. There was everything,” said Pierson. “Rick just grabbed the bull by the horns and took it over.”
A number of other people dedicated time for the grandstand project, which will be completed in the spring.
It takes an estimated 50 drivers a night to make a program happen.
In his remarks, Pierson said it was great to see the American drivers, as well as their families, friends and supporters, back in Estevan this year after a three-year absence due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
“It increases the level of competition, and that’s what this all about,” said Pierson.
Pierson pointed out it’s been getting tougher to get volunteers every year – a trend that other organizations have noticed. He recognizes people are busy, but there are so many things that need to be done.
Volunteers serve as tech officials, tower officials, track preparation crew members, announcers, gate workers, scale workers, flag people and facility maintenance helpers over the course of the season.
“Thanks to everyone for all they have done and have built Estevan Motor Speedway to what it is,” said Pierson.
He was pleased with the Tougher than Dirt Tour in June for hobby stocks and sport mods and the return of the Dakota Classic Modified Tour for modifieds and stock cars in July. Pierson thought Estevan had the best stop on the tour.
“We had the best track. We had a great car count and we had great fans. There was a lot of talk amongst racers from all over about how good Estevan did on the tour,” said Pierson.
Also in July, the speedway not only had its Dirt Wars hobby stock doubleheader, but it also paid tribute to track announcer Riley Raynard, who retired from racing before the start of the season after a decade in the hobby stock division. Raynard was born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and used a specially-modified car to compete.
“It created a heck of a night, it showed unbelievable support for Riley and past that, Riley is a hero to me. I’m sure he’s a hero to a lot of people,” said Pierson.
If he remains president for the next 20 years, Pierson said he wouldn’t have a prouder moment than honouring Riley Raynard.
The event is also the top fundraiser of the year for the speedway, and it featured a live auction and silent auctions. Pierson thanked Taunia Turnbull and her volunteers who helped make the event happen.