Weaver led a long list of honorees at the historic quarter-mile oval's Awards Banquet. Every seat was filled for the gala affair, held in conjunction with the Race of Champions Dirt Modified/Sportsman and Asphalt Modified Tour presentations.
Leon Andrus served as the emcee as the top 10 drivers from each of the five weekly divisions at the Kirkwood track collected their portion of the $100,000 point fund distributed throughout the evening. The awards portion followed a first-rate dinner.
For Weaver, the FMP title is one of 14 championship trophies on the mantle. But it's arguably the most significant. The Windsor, N.Y., star had little trouble racking up Modified championships at Penn-Can (Pa.) Speedway and Thunder Mountain (N.Y.) Speedway over the years. Five Mile Point, however, had been a sticking point. Weaver raced there weekly from 1982 to 1994 before returning in 2004 with championship aspirations.
"Winning a championship at Five Mile Point has been very important to me for a long time," Weaver said. "I needed to get it done while the potential was still there." Weaver started the season at FMP driving a Ritter Performance Machine-powered Bicknell No. 5 for Brad Grammes. When the combination didn't click (their best effort was a second in the May 7 50-lap Season Opener), Grammes and Weaver parted ways following the June 25 41st Heath Memorial. Weaver had finished an unspectacular 12th in that event.
The split opened the door for Weaver's Friday-night and Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour car owner Randy Decker to fill the void. Weaver won the first night out with Decker's familiar No. 9R, a Bicknell mount equipped with Wally Fiehl power, taking the checkered first on July 9. When he won the RoC Dirt Modified Tour South Region 75-lap event at FMP on July 13 and recorded a runner-up finish on July 16 in a regular night 30-lapper, Decker decided to stick it out for the title run. "We had planned to use the July 9 show as a warm-up for the RoC race, and that was it," Weaver said. "When we had some success right off the bat, Randy decided to run the rest of the races."
Weaver was quietly consistent for the rest of the season, outrunning J.R. Crouse by 16 point with a series of top-five and top-10 finishes. The 43-year-old was quick to offer praise to both owners, recognizing the effort Grammes put forth as well as Decker. "That was a great deal on paper," Weaver said of the Grammes deal. "It just never panned out on the track like it should have. Brad gave me all the best stuff, he worked hard at it, but it wasn't meant to be. "Luckily Randy came through and we're able to be here tonight."
Crouse, 46, of Nazareth, Pa., registered his third runner-up finish in the FMP standings. It was a productive year for Crouse, who drove his familiar No. 8JR TRC chassis. His best finish - a second - came on Sept. 3 in the Season Championship Night 50-lapper. Rich Keehle Jr. of Windsor, N.Y., three-time winner Jim Crawn of LeRaysville, Pa., and Joel Batzel of Kirkwood, N.Y., rounded out the top five. Finishing sixth through 10th were George Hildebrant, Glenn Knapp, Brian Malcolm, Dana Wagner and Russell Hendrickson Jr.