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March 4, 2012

Ryan Montgomery 2011 "Western PA Rookie of the Year"

Butler, PA March 3, 2012.......Ryan Montgomery, a young 14-year old driver from Fairmont, West Virginia has been selected the 2011 "Western PA Rookie of the Year". A panel of nearly 70 members of the media and track officials voted on the 44th annual award, sponsored by western Pennsylvania writer/announcer Walt Wimer. Montgomery is one of the youngest, if not the youngest driver, to be so honored since the award was first presented in 1968.

Montgomery, a freshman at East Fairmont High School, began his race driving career in Go-karts at the ripe old age of seven, before moving to full size race cars at the very end of the 2010 season. While driving Go-karts Montgomery won over 170 races and 17 national and state championships. In late 2010 he first began to drive a full-size car racing a handful of races in an E-Mod. In one of those races, at the Roaring Knob Raceway Park near Uniontown, PA, he won on October 23 beating veteran drivers Louis Krushansky and Nolan Dalton after just a couple of races in the car. For the 2011 season his family owned team ventured to East Bay Raceway Park in Florida with a brand new FASTRAK Late Model to get a head start on the new season. After returning home Montgomery ran weekly at Roaring Knob with the red No. 12 car and also followed a part time schedule with the FASTRAK Northeast Touring Series. He also raced the E-Mod car at Elkins Speedway in his home state, picking up a win. In his very first season of running the FASTRAK cars, Montgomery won two feature races at Roaring Knob and finished fifth in track point standings.

The highlight of Montgomery's first season was winning a FASTRAK Northeast Touring Series race at the Sharon Speedway across the border in Ohio in September. Montgomery started 13th in that race and passed fellow teenager Damian Bidwell coming off the fourth turn on the final lap to win the race. Another important milestone for the Mountain State driver was being the champ of the FASTRAK "Futures Cup" series for young drivers where he beat other young up-coming stars of the sport. Montgomery also won Rookie of the Year honors at both the Roaring Knob and Elkins tracks.

Montgomery's car featured a Warrior chassis powered by a 604 Chevrolet "crate" engine owned by his parents Jeff and Jill Montgomery. The elder Montgomery also raced many years back and was crew chief on the No. 12. Crew members included Eric Kirkpatrick, Brian Kirkpatrick, Tom McDaniels, Ron Slavic, Sr., Bobby Riggleman and standout West Virginia driver Doug Horton, who has been Montgomery's mentor. Sponsors included T.J. Contracting & Custom Homes, High Gear Speed Shop, Central Supply, Mountain State Plumbing and Genesis Shocks. For the coming 2012 season the Montgomery team will have a pair of Warrior chassis cars ready to go and plan to run the entire FASTRAK Northeast Touring Series.

In winning the Rookie of the Year award Montgomery topped a field of 16 drivers nominated for the honor and beat runner-up Michael Bauer of Clarion, PA, an Outlaw Sprint Warrior limited Sprint Car driver, who raced at Mercer Raceway Park. Montgomery topped Bauer by an almost a three to one margin and polled over half of the votes from panel members. Honorable Mention goes to Bruce Hordusky, Jr., Anthony Aiello and Matt Latta. Montgomery was the third straight FASTRAK Late Model driver to win the award following Joe Martin (2009) and Billy Stile III (2010). Montgomery was also the third West Virginia resident to win the honor in the 44 years of the award. Some top stars of today have won the award in the past such as Ed Lynch, Jr., Bob Felmlee, Dale Blaney, Kevin Bolland, Jared Miley, Dave Murdick and Dave Blaney, who just finished 15th in the recent NASCAR Daytona 500.
March 4, 2012

Ryan Montgomery Gives Fastrak Racers its 3rd Straight Western PA Rookie-of-the-Year Crown;
Fastrak Racers Sweep Rookie Honors at Raceway 7, Sharon & Twin-State

By Mike Leone
(Pulaski, PA)…Fresh off the inaugural FASTRAK Northeast Late Model “Futures Cup” program, three youngsters from this program have swept four of the region’s rookie awards including the prestigious Western PA Rookie-of-the-Year along with track honors at Raceway 7 and Sharon, as well the Twin-State Auto Racing Club Rookie-of-the-Year on dirt.

For the amazing third straight year, a FASTRAK racer has been the proud recipient of the prestigious Western Pennsylvania Rookie-of-the-Year Award. The award was created by longtime motorsports historian and announcer Walt Wimer and is voted on by regional members of the media and track officials. A total of 16 drivers were eligible for this year’s award.

Wimer presented the award on Saturday night, March 3 at the annual Lernerville Speedway Awards Banquet to Ryan Montgomery. The 14-year-old Fairmont, West Virginia driver joins 2009 FASTRAK winner Joe Martin and 2010 FASTRAK recipient Billy Stile III. Montgomery becomes the youngest winner of the award, which debuted in 1968. The first winner of the award was Kenny Hemphill, who later became Pittsburgh Racing Association Champion. Other well-known winners include Dave and Dale Blaney, Ed Lynch, Jr., Bob Felmlee, Kevin Bolland, Dave Murdick, Jimmy Weller III, and Jared Miley.

After a slow start, the former go-kart ace hit his stride in mid-season quickly moving up the “Futures Cup” standings and by the end of the season not only would capture the inaugural “Futures Cup” crown, but was one of the drivers to beat wherever he went!

Montgomery garnered his first career FASTRAK win at Roaring Knob on July 9 beating a 21-car field. Three weeks later he finished runner-up and then on August 13 picked up his second feature win. Those wins were the start of something special as he’d continue his forward momentum at Sharon Speedway on September 16 & 17.

In the Friday night race against 36 competitors, Montgomery finished third behind mentor Doug Horton and winner Mike Pegher. On Saturday’s Touring race, he would charge from the 13th starting spot to pass fellow “Futures Cup” competitor Damian Bidwell on the final lap for his first career Touring Series win.

Back his home track Roaring Knob for the Fall Classic Touring finale, he turned in another tremendous performance finishing second behind the great Robbie Blair against 39 competitors and capped off his “Futures Cup” title by winning the Trifecta finale.

Montgomery participated in all three nights of the Grand Nationals and qualified for the feature all three nights finishing in a tie for 14th in the overall standings! These accomplishes would make for a great season for most racers, let alone a 14-year-old rookie!

Another 14-year-old FASTRAK racer was Eric Wilson. The Cortland, Ohio driver competed primarily at Sharon Speedway where he scored a stunning upset victory on August 20 beating three-time National Weekly and Northeast Touring Series Champion Max Blair along with Touring stars George Kowatic, Josh Holtgraver, and Joe Martin plus track champion Josh Double, who were all over the youngster at the finish. Wilson would finish 11th in the Sharon Speedway points and 11th in the “Futures Cup” points. Wilson would garner the overall rookie-of-the-year award at Sharon Speedway and for all dirt divisions for the Twin-State Auto Racing Club.

Matt Latta was one of the “older” “Futures Cup” contenders at 19; however, Latta was a true rookie as he had only prior racing experience in the go-karts along with working on and preparing E-Mods and FASTRAK Late Models for car owner Scott Bidwell over the years. The Conneaut Lake, Pa. driver greatly improved over the course of the season after a late start to make up a lot of ground to move into the top 10 in the “Futures Cup” points thanks to eight top 10 finishes including a season best third in addition to a fourth at the final Sharon Touring Series event. Latta would garner the Raceway 7 “Rookie-of-the-Year Award”.

“We couldn’t be prouder of the accomplishments of these and all of our other Futures Cup racers,” acknowledged sixth year FASTRAK Northeast Co-Director Vicki Emig. “It was just amazing to us how they adapted to full size cars and were competing at a high level amongst some of the best FASTRAK racers in the country. It’s great to see the recognition these kids are receiving locally, regionally as well as nationally. As recently as October 2011, Dirt Late Model magazine featured the Futures Cup class of 2011 in a 10-page full color story. The achievements and honors they are receiving along with an unprecedented amount of press shows how much young talent runs through our ranks.”

The “Futures Cup” program will return for a second straight year. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks as well as a presenting sponsor.

2012 FASTRAK Northeast marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Pace Performance, Hoosier Tires, K&N Filters, Utsinger’s Towing, Original Pizza Logs, Beyea Custom Headers, Genesis Shocks, H&H Racing Equipment, Hyperco, and Wylie Race Cars.

You can reach co-directors Vicki Emig and Mike Leone at the FASTRAK Northeast office at 724-964-9300. E-mail to and snail mail to 4368 Route 422, Pulaski, PA 16143. The office is open daily late mornings and after 1:30 p.m. For more information, check out the FASTRAK Northeast website at Become our fan on Facebook at