As NASCAR's 2014 racing season prepares to ramp up with Preseason Thunder at Daytona testing, it can't move forward without the hard work and dedication of hundreds of professionals in the vital areas of track services, safety and security. And that goes for every event on this season's NASCAR calendar.
Earlier this week at the annual preseason NASCAR Summit at the Concord (N.C.) Convention Center, awards were presented to several individuals who excelled during the 2013 season in their various fields. The Summit is an avenue for representatives from all tracks that host NASCAR and IMSA races to address topics relating to their respective disciplines. More than 700 participants attended this year's event.
Luke Clement of the Iowa Speedway was given the Track Services Innovation Award.
The ceremony was highlighted by the posthumous presentation of the prestigious Jim Bockoven Track Services Lifetime Achievement Award to Ernie Thurston, former Corporate Coordinator of Track Safety and Emergency Services for International Speedway Corporation (ISC). Thurston, who passed away last November, was instrumental in implementing best safety procedures and policies across the company over a 20-year career.
Eldora Speedway was recognized in two areas: as co-recipient of the Track Services Mission Award, together with Michigan International Speedway, and with the Teamwork Award, presented by NASCAR's Medical Liaison staff. Liz Denlinger, R.N., nursing director at Eldora's infield care center and ED nursing director at Miami Valley Hospital, accepted on behalf of a group including Andy Hawks, M.D., Eldora medical director; Dr. Keith Bricking, medical director at MVH and Terry Kibler, the track's safety director.
Other 2013 NASCAR Summit award winners included:
Track Services Teamwork Award - Charlotte Motor Speedway
Excellence in Track Services Award - Kevin O'Brien, Pocono Raceway
NASCAR Security Award for Excellence - Jean Ann Bowman (Kansas Speedway); Cody Chalfant (Mid-Ohio); Jay Fraioli (Homestead-Miami Speedway)
Nursing Director Award (presented by NASCAR Medical Liaison Department) - Kathy Vance, Daytona International Speedway; Todd Axberg, Sonoma Raceway
Above and Beyond Award (presented by NASCAR Medical Liaison Department) - Bill Heisel, Ortho Carolina, Charlotte, N.C.