Adkinson & Team Honored at Annual NHRA Division 2 Banquet
NHRA Division 2 class racing veteran Jeff Adkinson and his team enjoyed a night full of high honors at the recent NHRA Division 2 Awards Banquet, held in Peachtree City, GA. Adkinson, a peanut farmer by trade, came into the annual banquet knowing he would be honored for the first time as the NHRA Division 2 Stock Eliminator Champion, as he earned the title thanks to a string of successful finishes throughout the 2011 season. What he did not expect, however, were a pair of additional honors for the Adkinson Motorsports team.
Each year, the NHRA Southeast Division competitors vote on a handful of specialty awards. These awards are presented at the annual banquet in addition to the typical championship prizes. Adkinson was pleasantly surprised when his name was called as the NHRA Division 2 Sportsman Driver of the Year, as voted by his peers. To make an incredible evening even better, Adkinson’s crew chief Willie Evans was then honored as the NHRA Division 2 Wrench of the Year.
"What an incredible evening," explained Adkinson. "I was so honored to take the stage as the Stock champion, although I’ll admit I was a little nervous about making a speech. Then for Willie and I to both win individual awards, that was just awesome. Winning the championship was really special for me; it’s been an elusive goal for a long time. But for our team to be honored like that, in a vote among fellow racers and friends… Well I’m not sure that the ‘Driver’ and ‘Wrench’ of the year awards aren’t more meaningful than the championship. All together, it’s extremely satisfying and humbling."
Even on such a memorable evening, Adkinson recognized that something was missing. Jeff’s father, Fred Adkinson, who introduced Jeff to the sport and raced with him for years passed away in 1999 following a racing incident.
"What made the championship so meaningful for me was the fact that it was always one of Dad’s major goals. I wish he could have been there at the banquet to share it with me. Obviously he wasn’t there physically, but I know he was there with me; and I could never had enjoyed those honors if it weren’t for my father."
Adkinson continued, "It was great to share the night with my family. My wife Amy and daughter Kaitlyn normally come to the races with me, and of course they were there. And then my mother Evelyn and sister Stacy surprised us by coming as well. They don‘t normally attend anything like that, so sharing the occasion with them was really special."
Jeff Adkinson and his JDA Farms team will kickoff the 2012 NHRA season this weekend, with the opening Lucas Oil Division Series Event at Orlando Speed World Dragway. Adkinson wished to recognize his teammate, engine builder, and longtime friend Jeff Taylor, crew chief Evans, his wife Amy and their daughter Kaitlyn. In addition to Jeff Taylor Racing Engines, the Adkinson team relies on support from Comp Cams, Mickey Thompson Tires, JEGS, and ThisIsBracketRacing.com.