The NASCAR Whelen All American Series competitors received high marks at the annual awards banquet held Saturday at Jones Hall in Roseville. Nearly 400 people packed the Placer County Fairgrounds hall to hear praises sung for champions Paulie Harraka, Scott Winters, Mickey Owens and Jason Poppert. Harraka won a storybook Toyota TRD Late Model championship over Granite Bay’s John Moore. The two battled into the final night of action just a handful of points apart, with Harraka needing to win both races to have a chance, while needing Moore to finish worse that second in one race to open the door. Harraka stormed to victory in dominant fashion in both 50-lap races and Moore finished second and third, leaving the two drivers in a tie for the title. Based on the NASCAR rulebook the tiebreaker goes to the driver with the most wins for the year. With 11 feature victories, Harraka recorded more wins than any driver giving him the championship. Moore was gracious in accepting his second place award. “Paulie earned this,” Moore said. “He did everything he had to do to win, and sure I was disappointed, but what a year, I’d sometimes wake up on Sunday morning, and say wow did that really happen.” Harraka thanked a long list of backers including championship car owner Bill McAnally, along with many sponsors, crewmembers, and his father, who was there every race night with him. Harraka was also voted the Diversity Driver of the Year at the NASCAR Banquet in Las Vegas two weeks ago to further supplement his resume. Jill Picaut from NASCAR attended the Roseville banquet, welcoming those in attendance and congratulating all four champions. Gary Glenn, Shannon Mansch and Juan Pitta followed Harraka and Moore to the podium. All five racers were also ranked in the top 20 of the state championship rankings. Laura Hayes was named the Late Model rookie of the year and Jonathan Mawhinney claimed the most improved driver honor. Scott Winters scored his second consecutive championship in the Modified division over Andy Field, Nick Lyons, Michael Newland and Mike Lehman. Newland was named the Modified rookie of the year, and Lyons was the most improved driver. Awards were plentiful for Street Stock champion Mickey Owens, who also captured the sportsman of the year award, the NASCAR Craftsman mechanic of the year, and a new recognition for racer of the year. Owens took note of second place finisher Phil Wilkins in his acceptance speech. Wilkins gave him a run for his money and won a second racer of the year award plus the most improved driver award for the division. Rounding out the top five were Christopher Lambert, Dick Meadows and Bryon Tommeraason. Joseph Colorado was named Street Stock rookie of the year. Jason Poppert raced to the Bomber championship in just his second year or competition. His closest challengers were Mike Dickson, Eric Bocksberger, Adam Chapman and Luke Kaper. Rookie of the year honors went to Chapman, and Dana Kelly was the proud recipient of the most improved award. Track announcer Chase Montgomery and race director of competition Frank Vincent presided over the awards and gave high marks to the entire field of 2008 All American Speedway contenders. Plans are well underway for 2009 with events kicking off in March for all four divisions. Arrangements are nearly complete for a number of visiting groups including the USAC sprint cars. Information may be obtained at the track website at www.allamericanspeedway.com or by calling 786-2025.