The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

NASCAR Winston Racing Series Mehanic of the Year: Dennis Walker

1 October 1997


DAYTONA BEACH, FL - (Sept. 29, 1997) - Dennis Walker, of the Midwest
Region's West Liberty Raceway in West Liberty, Iowa, has been elected
by his peers as the 1997 NASCAR Winston Racing Series True Value
Mechanic of the Year.

Walker, 41, of Riverside, Iowa, becomes the first Iowa dirt track
racing mechanic and crew chief to win the national True Value Mechanic
of the Year Award. A record voting year, the accomplishment comes
seven years after Walker first traveled to the NASCAR Winston Racing
Series banquet in Nashville, Tenn., to be recognized as a regional

A crew chief for his brother Terry, Walker will receive bonuses
totaling $6,500 at the Nashville banquet, which includes $5,000 for
the national title and $1,500 for being the Midwest Region winner.

"We race in a tough division at West Liberty," said Walker. "It takes
a team effort, and I'm not the only member of the team. Our car is
always competitive and we're usually there at the end."

The NASCAR Winston Racing Series' prestigious NASCAR True Value
Mechanic of the Year program continues for its 12th consecutive year
by posting $20,000 in awards plus travel/accommodations to the annual
NASCAR Winston Racing Series Banquet at the Opryland Hotel in
Nashville, Tenn.

True Value, the Official Hardware Store of NASCAR, recognizes a local
winner at each of the nearly 100 NASCAR Winston Racing Series tracks,
ten regional winners, and one national winner.

The 1997 NASCAR Winston Racing Series Regional winners include:

Region              Winner           Track                    Location
Atlantic Seaboard   Darrell Poe      Caraway Speedway         Sophia, NC
Blue Ridge          Eddie Pope       Hickory Motor Speedway   Hickory, NC
Great West          Scott Hans       Colorado National S'way  Erie, CO
Heartland           Dennis Millert   Lakeside Speedway        Kansas City, KS 
Mid-America         Shane Tesch      Raceway Park             Shakopee, MN
Midwest             Dennis Walker    West Liberty R'way       West Liberty, IA
New England         Robert Demling   Riverhead Raceway        Riverhead, NY
Northeast           Mike Gaston      Old Dominion Speedway    
Pacific Coast       Steve Teets      Cajon Speedway           El Cajon, CA
Sunbelt             Ken Howell       Jax Raceways             Jacksonville, FL

Poe, 45, of Bear Creek, NC, is a veteran engine specialist who won his
second consecutive True Value Mechanic of the Year regional award, and
his third straight local award. Poe was busier than ever this season,
as he has 16 engines in cars racing in several divisions at tracks in
the Carolinas and Virginia.

Pope, 34, of Statesville, NC, is a first-year crew chief who started
out working on sheet metal and tires. The season is only Pope's third
season in racing and his second season with the JM Motorsports Late
Model Stock Car team, which is operated by April Garcia and John

Hans, 34, of Englewood, CO, has been with team owner and driver
Richard Burton since he was 11 years old. A first-time winner of the
award, Hans' dedication and commitment to the team is shown week-in
and week-out as he works on virtually every part of the Late Model

Millert, 52, first got into racing when he opened Specialty Automotive
and Performance auto repair shop in Kansas City, KS. Now, after
working in the shop during the day, Millert devotes his evenings and
weekends to building and servicing racing engines for several teams.

Tesch, 23, attended the Motorsports Training Center in Mooresville,
NC, before starting his Tesch Racing Chassis in Jeseli, MN. Even at
his young age, Tesch is gaining experience as a crew chief for Roger
Meyer, and quickly building a reputation for fast, professionally
built cars.

Demling, 31, of Ron Kon Koma, NY, is crew chief for driver Chuck
Steuer, who won the 1996 track championship and placed fifth in this
year's tough track points race. Demling's experience also includes
work on the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour with current NASCAR Busch
Series driver Steve Park.

Gaston, 26, learned his trade at a service station in his teens. Two
years ago Gaston founded Gaston Motorsports in Manassas, VA. The
company builds and repairs race cars, does fabrication, and sells oval
track racing parts and supplies.

Teets, 32, is a former NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour competitor
who traded his helmet in to be a crew chief. Now working with Jerry
Gay's Sportsman Division team, Teets also makes his living in racing,
and founded Short Track Race Cars in California nearly one year ago.

Howell, 49 proved his worth this season when Ronnie and Sue Robin's
team won seven races with three different drivers at the unique
D-shaped dirt track.  The Jacksonville, FL, resident is a field
service technician for heavy equipment, and as a result often has
spare parts and technical advice for his fellow competitors.

NASCAR licensed mechanics participating in the NASCAR Winston Racing
Series are eligible for the award through a two-part selection
process. Ballots for the Initial 1997 voting process appeared in the
June "NASCAR Magazine," the Official Publication for NASCAR Members,
with the final ballot in the August issue.

By NASCAR Public Relations