Cocopah Speedway holds presentation of awards

Cocopah Speedway holds presentation of awards

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Cocopah Speedway officially brought its 2015 season to a close Saturday night with the presentation of awards during a dinner at Wild River Entertainment Center.

Along with crowning the four champions in the Cocopah Speedway Racing Series, the track also announced its Rookie of the Year recipients.

In the IMCA Modified Division, Yuma’s Brett Simala took home the top rookie honor, based largely on his third place in the CSRS standings. After finishing 14th in his very first race in a Modified, Simala went on to post seven top-10 finishes. His best finishes of the CSRS season were two fourth place efforts.

In the IMCA Sport Modified Division, the hands-down top rookie recipient was Yuma’s Kyle Smith, who, in 10 CSRS starts, recorded nine top-10 finishes, including two feature event wins to cap off the season. He finished third in the final point CSRS standings.

Harvey Quinn, meanwhile, also from Yuma, picked up top rookie honors in the IMCA Hobby Stock Division. Quinn recorded nine CSRS feature event starts with his best efforts being three fifth place finishes. He finished third in the final CSRS standings.

And Yuma’s Paul Pilgrim was picked the top rookie in the IMCA Stock Car Division. Pilgrim made nine CSRS starts in 2015 and his best showings were two fourth place finishes. He finished fourth in the final standings.

The drivers who took home CSRS championship honors were, Lance Mari, from Imperial, in the IMCA Modified Division; Chris Toth, from Holtville, in the IMCA Sport Modified Division; Manny Baldiviez, from Yuma, in the IMCA Stock Car Division; and Leonard Manos, from Yuma, in the IMCA Hobby Stock Division.

Mari, in 10 starts, won three times, including the season finale, which vaulted him from second place into the top spot in the CSRS standings.

Toth also had 10 CSRS starts and won four times to go along with three second place finishes.

Manos won the Hobby Stock crown on the strength of three wins and four second place finishes in 10 starts.

And Baldiviez had the strongest showing of any driver in any division, winning six times in 10 CSRA starts for a total of nine top-10 finishes to win the Stock Car title.

Also during Saturday night’s program, the track paid special tribute to Paul Finn, and his wife Renai and son Dereck, “for their outstanding contribution to the speedway.”

The 2016 season at Cocopah Speedway begins Jan. 1, with the first night of the second annual Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown. The second night is Jan. 2, followed by racing on Jan. 5, Jan. 8 and 9.

The 2016 Cocopah Speedway Racing Series begins Jan. 16, and is followed by the fifth annual IMCA Winter Nationals, scheduled Feb. 5, 6, 9, 12 and 13.

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