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TPS at THR Awards Banquet


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TPS at THR Awards Banquet

 

On January 16 at Manchaca Fire Hall

 

The Texas Pro Sedans provided part of the program at the Thunderhill Raceway Awards Banquet on Saturday, January 16 at the Manchaca Fire Hall.

 

Tory Christopher of Universal City, TX who drove his # 01 Toyota Celica to the 2009 Texas Pro Sedans “Rookie of the Year" title was introduced to the large turnout.

 

Mike Merrell of Kingsland, TX was then recognized. Mike won the 2009 Texas Pro Sedans Championship. It was the closest points battle in 34 years of TPS racing with one point separating Merrell and runner-up #15 Tom Johnson. Mike Merrell drove the #70 VW Scirocco owned by his Dad, George Merrell. When Mike was introduced, he received an impressive ovation.

 

Former TPS Race Director and now Administrative Director, Neil Upchurch proudly introduced his successor David Mackey of Austin who will take Neil's place at TPS races. Upchurch noted that Mackey is a man who many were previously unaware was a TPS Car Owner and Driver, TPS Chief Inspector, a part time TPS Inspector and life long supporter of the Texas Pro Sedans. David Mackey's remarks were highlighted by his expression of having always liked TPS racing. He said, "I am proud to have been asked to take over the Race Directors position. Taking Neil's place will be like stepping into some very large shoes".

 

Neil Upchurch completed the Texas Pro Sedans part of the program with the following remarks. "As some of you may have heard, I stepped down as the Race Director of the Texas Pro Sedans. In stepping down, I did stay on as the TPS Administrative Director". He paraphrased a comment from a recent retiree by quoting Pro Football TV commentator John Madden who sent out the shortest retirement News Release ever. It simply read, "It's Time". Upchurch said, "for me and after my more than 50 years in racing, I say the same,It's Time". He said, "I appreciate all of your support during these many years, but I am weary. Weary of doing a large number of jobs that must be done to keep a race organization going for 34 years. Mary Ann Naumann probably well knows to what I refer. I am weary of having to worry about our TPS drivers, crews or officials getting hurt (or even worse) ! I think I've done my best for the TPS, its members, its sponsors and the host tracks where we’ve raced, but I get fatigued at hot tracks, 13 hour days in 100 plus degree heat.

 

You may not know, a month ago, I was 78 years old". He repeated - "It's Time".

 

Neil's parting remarks included his hopes for the future of Texas short track racing. He said "I want Thunderhill Raceway to last forever because it is one of the last and best of a breed. Local racing faces numerous hurdles in these difficult and continuing economic years. It has marketing difficulties not even considered when the sport played to sell out grandstands and when NASCAR wasn't on Saturday night free TV. Today, the cost of racing to racers make participation virtually impractical for a great many".

 

He also said, "THR has announced that a marketing firm has been retained to help the track. I sincerely hope the new marketing firm succeeds and the sport once again plays to sell out grandstands which hopefully will lead to the restoration of purses to economically justify a return to participation by some racers who are not here tonight. The sport must be marketable to survive at all these levels".

 

He closed by saying, "I just described the broken circuit which must be reconnected for tracks to run properly in the future.

 

With that said, except for an occasional RETURN visit to Thunderhill Raceway, I wish you all well during the 2010 season.

 

I say to my many friends here tonight.

 

It's Time - for me to say - GOODBYE".

 

 

This banquet summary was compiled and written by:

 

Neil Upchurch

Texas Pro Sedans

Administrative Director

210/655-3222 office

neilupchurch@sbcglobal.net

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JUST LIKE TO SAY NEIL.... YOU HAVE DONE A FINE JOB WITH TPS .THE WORK YOU HAVE DONE OVER THE YEARS .THE HEAD ACHE.S YOU HAVE INDURED . THE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS .THE WORRYS... PUTTING UP WITH US ... AND I MEAN THAT LATERALLY.. ..THAT PART IS JUST RACERS ..WORKING TO SECURE RACES MUST BE A HARD JOB WITH COUNTLESS HOUR.S CONTRIBUTED ........ ... THOUSANDS OF MILES TRAVELED ... AND MANY OTHER THINGS THAT GO INTO THIS SPORT YOU SO LOVE ........ WE AND I HOPE I SPEAK FOR EVERY ONE HERE IN CORPUS AND BEYOND ..WILL FOR EVER BE GREATFUL FOR YOUR SERVICES ....... NO AMOUNT OF MONEY CAN REPLACE SUCH A PERSON AS YOU .................... SURE GOING TO MISS THOSE LONG BUT FEW I HAVE SET UPON DRIVER MEETINGS YOU HELD ....LOL ............ THANK YOU .. TRUELY ......MIKE MCCAIN ................. I THINK EVERY RACER SHOULD HONOR YOU WITH A THANK YOU NEIL STICKER ON THIER CARS ...

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It was an honor to be present last night and hear Neil's speech.

 

HiTech Mike, I think your idea of the "Thank You, Neil" sticker is perfect. Now we just need to get Mike K back here again for a few days to turn 'em out!

 

I doubt most of us will ever know just how difficult is to be a race director or a series administrator, yet alone both.

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