NASHVILLE — Appearing humbled yet proud, 22-year-old Peyton Sellers was honored Saturday night at Nashville’s world-famous Gaylord Opryland Hotel, as the 2005 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national champion. Sellers, of Danville, Va., is the youngest national champion in series history. The championship-winning driver saluted the family members, friends and sponsors that helped him win the title.
“It is an honor for our race team to be here to represent NASCAR and the Dodge Weekly Series,” Sellers said. “I’m only a small part of the reason for our success this year.”
Sellers addressed the crowd of over 600 guests and praised his fellow competitors.
“I urge every one of you not to single me out, but to treat each and every driver as a national champion,” Sellers said. “My team and I realize that every crew and driver here worked just as hard as we have. When I leave here, I’m going to go out and be the best champion I can be.”
Sellers’ family-run team, including his father and brother, along with sponsors Clarence’s Steakhouse, Danville Community College and Race to GED, received top honors at the exclusive black-tie affair, which was held in the hotel’s Presidential Ballroom. Peyton’s older brother, H.C. Sellers, was recognized with a $5,950 award as the Lunati national champion crew chief. Their father, Bert Sellers, received the $5,000 Lincoln Electric national champion car owner award.
NASCAR, along with series title sponsor Dodge, recognized the top drivers from each of the series’ 65 tracks, led by NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Division champions Chris Spieker, of Massena, Iowa (Division II), Kevin Nuttleman, of Bangor, Wis. (Division III) and Donny Reuvers, of Dundas, Minn. (Division IV). Each of the Division champions receives a $25,000 award from the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series point fund. Sellers, who won the Division I and national titles, receives an additional $50,000 bonus.
Along with his cash awards, Sellers was presented with several special keepsakes. He received a diamond championship ring, two exquisite trophies, a custom-painted commemorative helmet from Bell Racing, a one-of-a-kind Gibson Les Paul guitar designed by noted motorsports artist Sam Bass, the Mobil 1 Command Performance Award, the USG Going the Distance championship award, along with a beautiful framed copy of his championship story that appears in NASCAR Insider magazine, the official NASCAR membership publication.
David Spieker, brother of Division II champion driver Chris Spieker, was named the 2005 Craftsman Mechanic of the Year national award winner. Other highlights of the festive evening included a humorous musical performance by entertainer Jimmy Travis and a keynote remarks by NASCAR Director of Regional Racing Development Don Hawk and Manager of Dodge Motorsports Communications Linda Mahoney. Long-time NASCAR employee Lisa Horne, executive assitant to NASCAR Vice Chairman Jim France, received a special NASCAR appreciation award, for supporting the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series over her 21 years with the company. NASCAR on FOX personality and Speedway Illustrated Executive Editor Dick Berggren served as the event’s emcee.