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Lake Alfred and ZAK Award

By Ray Rodda

Mar 21, 2017

As we get ready for the season opener at Lake Alfred just a mere month away, I thought it would be interesting to go back a bit to the 2016 season as our drivers prepare for the 17 season. The USTS had tremendous growth in 2016 and we see new drivers and crews ready to do battle with our veteran Title Series drivers in the upcoming season.
The 2016 National and Season Hi Point Champions I am sure would like nothing better to repeat in 17, but others are lurking out there ready to take the crowns for themselves. This all starts in Lake Alfred in April and continues throughout the Summer leading to the US Title Series Nationals at Depue where we will crown the 2017 National Champions.

And speaking of crowns, one of the most prestigious crowns that is offered each racing season through the hard work of Bill and Eileen Van Steenwyk is the Zak award. This award is given to drivers in different classes each year who exemplify true championship caliber driving and effort. In fact, this year’s winner won it two years in a row for 2015 and 16. Amy Nydahl out of the NCM racing stable won it for 350H in 2015 and took it home in the 250H class that was designated as the Zak award class this year. Her Dad Pete turns the wrenches, but Amy is quite capable of following in Grandpa Ray’s and Dad Pete’s paths to multiple championships. Quite a feat for this young woman as she has shown her rooster tail to many a driver over the years, competing in the 250/350H category and stepping into that beautiful Thirlby Automotive juggernaut in 1100H. She has proven many times and many ways her driving ability.

The ZAK Award is presented in memory of Harry Pasturczak whose loyalty to the Title Series is legendary. At any race we had, Harry could be seen running from pit to pit, to help anyone in need, his apron tied around his waist, that shock of white hair always in motion moving on to the next one in need. Small in stature, but a human dynamo always on move, he was always visible at our races. Harry was one of the first to recognize that the exhaust system in the methanol beasts held great opportunity for more speed and developed the Zak stacks looking for that extra edge.

Bill would like to thank all those who have contributed to the Zak Award and make sure that those who have given of their time, talent and or money are recognized. Since its inception in excess of 20K has been donated for this purpose. The list follows and if I have missed anyone I apologize.

David Teney
Steve Litzell
Mike and Eddie Thrilby. Thrilby Auto
Rex Hall
Dereck Gesler​
Tim Small
Tom Cronk
Ed Provini
Gary Buskirk
Craig DeWald
Ray Rodda
Jerry Peterson
Ralph Donald
Bill Tetro
McKean Marine
Jack Kugler

In addition the large trophy presented each year is a traveling one and was designed and constructed by Mike Krier, and the smaller one which the winner keeps permanently is donated each year by Bill & Eileen Van Steenwyk.

Thanks also go to Todd Brinkman who, in addition to his duties as President of USTS and has been an annual contributor to the award thru B&B Electric, is owed appreciation for taking USTS private and lowering the costs of membership, insurance, sanctions, and so on, which can only insure the continued success of the organization as the premier PRO Racing group in the US.

For those that may be interested in the class that has been decided for next year, it is 125CC Runabout. I am sure David Tenney will be a tough competitor in 2017, if only to try to get some of the money back he has donated to the award in past years. Thanks David.
Don’t forget to register on line for Lake Alfred and all of subsequent races, this helps our crew out and saves you time and effort while you are at the sites.

We look forward to seeing you all this year and wish safety and championships all around. Don’t forget to pre-register online for all of the Title Series races, saves our crews tons of work and you time and effort.