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Andrew Harpell
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(607) 775-5555
E-Mail: [email protected]

Race of Champions  P.O. Box 2828
Binghamton, NY 13902
24-hour fax:
(607) 775-3417

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Over 600 Watch Alan Johnson Take RoC Top Honors At Awards Banquet

01/10/07 – BINGHAMTON, NY – It has almost become routine for Alan Johnson this off-season.

On Saturday night at the Binghamton Regency Hotel and Conference Center, Johnson was honored as the overall 2006 Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour high-points man, one of six championships notched by the Middlesex, N.Y.,
veteran during an outstanding season.

Nearly 600 racers, sponsors, crew members, officials, media members and track promoters were on hand for the combined Awards Banquet, featuring the RoC Dirt Modified and Sportsman Tours, RoC Asphalt Modified Tour and Five
Mile Point (N.Y.) Speedway’s regular divisions.

The awards ceremony began following a delicious dinner.

Johnson, 49, became the RoC champion in the second year of dirt Modified touring series’ existence, finishing second in both of the year-end
combination events – Sept. 17 in the ‘King of the Can’ at Penn-Can (Pa.) Speedway and Oct. 14 in Five Mile Point’s Southern Tier 100.

Driving Jeff Rudalavage’s No. 14J, Johnson entered the RoC Dirt season finale at Five Mile Point trailing Mitch Gibbs by two markers.

While ‘A.J. Slideways’ cruised to the aforementioned runner-up finish to his
younger brother Danny, Gibbs was forced pitside by a heat-race incident and charged from the rear in the 100-lap grind to finish eighth (he was as high
as sixth before suffering a late-race flat tire).

While his performance on the track certainly put Johnson in position to contend for the top RoC crown, Mother Nature made it possible for Johnson to collect the big trophy.

Penn-Can’s ‘King of the Can’ was originally scheduled for Fri., Sept 15 – dead against an Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series event at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Speedway. Rain pushed Penn-Can back two days, while Canandaigua ran
on schedule, allowing Johnson to attend both shows.

That stroke of good fortune made the difference in the end. Johnson won the RoC title without attending every event. He missed a South
Region race at New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway, and North shows at Utica-Rome (N.Y.) and Albany-Saratoga (N.Y.). However, he still placed high enough in the regional standings (second in South, fourth in North) to challenge for the combination title.

Drivers who compete in both regions use their better standing to set the stage for the year-end events, so Johnson’s second in the South set the
stage for his title run.

Johnson, who was already crowned Mr. DIRT Modified for the fifth time at DIRT NorthEast¹s November Awards Banquet, also took track titles at his three weekly Central New York haunts – Brewerton, Fulton and Cayuga County,
in addition to the televised Empire Dirt Series at Cayuga County.

According to Johnson, he couldn’t have done it without his dedicated, all-volunteer team – actually, teams.

You see, Johnson utilized three different pit crews, depending on where he raced – Super DIRT Series and Friday/Saturday action, Sunday racing and RoC

Why did Johnson opt to race for both the RoC and DIRT crowns?

“It was actually convenient for Jeff (Rudalavage),” Johnson explained. “A lot of the races were close to his shop (in Eynon, Pa.), so he could do it.

“It worked out well for us.”

Johnson earned RoC victories at Utica-Rome (May 14 – North), Five Mile Point (July 20 – North) and Pa.’s Big Diamond (July 25 – South).

Johnson earned over $5,000 for competing in nine RoC events.

Gibbs, 43, of North Norwich, N.Y., was a disappointed second in the final tally after sharing the ’05 RoC Dirt Modified overall crown with Bobby Varin (the two tied after an intense battle).

Gibbs split the RoC Dirt schedule between two rides, his self-owned No. 2G and Lance Kenyon¹s No. 22G.

Gibbs ended the season 18 markers behind Johnson. The personable veteran
opened the RoC Dirt season on April 8 by winning the ‘Ice Jam’ 50-lap event at Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway.

Orange County (N.Y.) Fair Speedway regular Jerry Higbie Jr. of Slate Hill, N.Y., finished third in the overall standings, 39 points behind Johnson.
Higbie drove his family-owned No. 97 in RoC competition.

Danny Johnson of Rochester, N.Y., was fourth in the standings for special events owner Mike Payne. Johnson drove Payne¹s No. 7Z Teo-Pro car to victory in the year-end Southern Tier 100 at FMP. He also won a South Region race at FMP on Aug. 9.

2005 RoC Dirt co-champ Bobby Varin of Sharon Springs, N.Y., was fifth. Varin was the ’06 Fonda Speedway Modified champion, driving Jake and Nancy Spraker’s No. 1J.

The top 12 overall drivers received points fund money.


While he came up short in his quest for overall top RoC Dirt Modified honors, Gibbs secured the North Region title.

After winning the ‘Ice Jam’ at Fonda to establish an early lead in the North standings, Gibbs clicked off consistent finishes, ultimately clinching the
crown with a fourth-place finish at Utica-Rome on Aug. 20.

Gibbs’s final advantage was a scant seven points over Jerry Higbie Jr., who made a late run at the title by winning a heat and finishing second in the
U-R finale.

Bobby Varin, Alan Johnson and Brian Weaver filled out the front five. Jimmy Davis, Pat Ward, Mark Flach Jr., Jeff Trombley and A.J. Romano were sixth
through 10th, respectively.


The ‘Sensational One’ reigned supreme over the RoC South Region standings, capping off a strong year for the 50-year-old veteran that also included a Modified championship at N.J.¹s New Egypt Speedway.

Horton, a Garden State veteran completing his 34th season, scored a fifth at Big Diamond on June 6, fourth on his home turf at New Egypt on June 21, and third at Big Diamond on July 25.

Horton, who wheeled Rick Grosso’s No. 42 Bicknell with Tony Feil power, clinched the crown by finishing sixth at Five Mile Point on Aug. 9.

Sure, Horton was happy to clinch the RoC Dirt South title. But there’s something missing on his long resume – a RoC Dirt race win.

“I want to win one of these RoC races,” said a smiling Horton, who indicated that he’ll enter RoC events again in ’07. “We’ve had some good
opportunities, but we haven’t been able to make it to the finish yet.”

Horton’s best ’06 opportunity came at Big Diamond on June 6, when he cut a right-rear tire leading just 12 laps from the end (he bolted on a new
right-rear and charged back for fifth in that event).

He also looked to be a sure winner at a Five Mile Point South Region event in 2005 (at that time driving the No. 51M), but became the victim of a
lapped-traffic incident.

Alan Johnson finished nine points behind Horton in second, with Rick Laubach, Brian Weaver and Ryan Watt placing third through fifth, respectively.

Danny Johnson, Billy Pauch, Billy Pauch Jr., Joey Grammes and Steve Bottcher were the remaining top-10 finishers.


RoC Modified special awards included:
*Owner of the Year – Jeff Rudalavage, who fields *Alan Johnson¹s No. 14J;
*Hard Luck Award – Bobby Varin, who went winless in ’06 RoC competition;
*Most Improved Driver – Jimmy Davis, a Fonda regular who ran well on the RoC circuit; and
*Best Appearing Car – Jerry Higbie Jr.


Danny Creeden proved his versatility as a driver by winning the RoC Dirt Sportsman Tour overall crown. The Middletown, N.Y., 23-year-old was fast in ’06, from Accord (N.Y.) Speedway’s tight quarter-mile layout (where he took the track championship) to the wide and fast five-eighths-mile Bridgeport
(N.J.) Speedway, where he topped a RoC South Region race in August.

After winning events in the North and South regions, Creeden kicked off the combination races by winning at the Penn-Can lid-lifter on Sept. 17.
Despite an accident that prompted a poor finish at Fonda on Sept. 23, Creeden rebounded to finish fourth in the Oct. 13 Five Mile Point finale,
earning the championship by 17 points over Utica-Rome regular Steve Way.

Off the track, it was a trying year for the Creeden family. Rusty Creeden, Danny’s father, a former dirt Mod racer and respected member of the Orange
County racing community, battled health issues that kept him from attending many of his son’s race events.

Rusty did make it to the Banquet and was among the topics of Danny’s emotional speech.

Creeden also announced during his presentation that he would switch Saturday-night tracks in ’07, opting for Five Mile Point Speedway over Orange County, where he’s been a regular since the beginning of his career.

Way, of Vernon Center, N.Y., put forth a formidable challenge by winning two of the three combination events (Fonda and Five Mile Point), but settled for
runner-up status with his No. 27S.

Ken Titus of Kirkwood, N.Y., placed third, ahead of Hamburg, Pa.’s Kyle Weiss and Shaun Walker of Masonville, N.Y.


Way topped the RoC Dirt Sportsman Tour¹s North Region by seven points over Ken Titus. Way won at Utica-Rome on May 28 and decided at that point to
chase RoC glory.

“I didn’t plan on running RoC this year,” Way admitted. “Then, we won at Utica-Rome.”

By finishing fifth at U-R in the Aug. 6 North Region finale, Way etched his name in the record books as a regional champ.

Creeden, meanwhile, earned RoC Dirt Sportsman South Region laurels dramatically – he scored a last-lap win at Bridgeport on Aug. 27, slipping
by Mike Lyons to take the win and championship in style.

Creeden had three runner-up finishes in the South Region – Five Mile Point April 9, Penn-Can May 29 and Big Diamond July 25.

Kyle Weiss was the South Region second-place finisher, 22 points back.


RoC Sportsman special awards included:
*Owner of the Year – Danny Creeden, who drove his self-owned Precision-powered No. 16X Teo-Pro car to the overall title and South Region
*Hard Luck Award – Matt Janczuk, an up-and-coming Sportsman talent;
*Most Improved Driver – Ken Titus, who nearly won the North Region title;
*Best Appearing Car – Kyle Lewis.