TOLEDO, Ohio (Dec. 6, 2017) -- In 1967, Iggy Katona's championship hardware included a brand new television to go along with his championship trophy. We don't know what his official prize winnings were that year but MARC/ARCA founder John Marcum was a generous man and took care of his membership. In fact, one of Marcum's trademarks was giving away silver dollars to competitors and supporters of the MARC/ARCA brand. Whether it was at the championship banquet or at his annual hamburger fry, Marcum literally gave away hundreds, if not thousands in silver dollars over the years.
Beyond the tidbits on silver dollars and TVs, Katona earned a record 6th championship that '67 season. Katona's all-time championship record held up until Frank Kimmel clinched his 7th title in 2005. Kimmel went on to earn a record 10 titles adding championships in '06, '07 and '13.
At the 1967 ARCA championship awards banquet, Marcum included a trophy for Katona's wife Eleanor, no doubt a well-earned honor. Eleanor accompanied her husband through all the grueling travel to and from races and worked at each track as a scorer. In 1956 -- the year Katona won his second championship -- it must have been especially grinding considering the MARC tour competed in a record 46 races that season.
Katona was also the first driver to win more than one title, earning three consecutive championships from '55 through '57. Katona continued to race in ARCA up until he retired from racing in '77. The Toledo, Ohio driver won at least one ARCA race each season from 1953 to 1972 (20 consecutive seasons). He also must have spent a lot of time on stage during banquet season considering he finished in the top-10 ARCA points each year from 1953 to 1973 (21 consecutive seasons). Katona also set one final record before he hung up his helmet, becoming the oldest superspeedway winner in stock car history with his victory at Daytona in '74 at the age of 57.
The ARCA Racing Series will soon honor another champion this Saturday night, Dec. 9 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis when 2017 champs, driver Austin Theriault and car owner Ken Schrader, take center stage to wrap the 65th annual formal, black-tie awards ceremony in front of more than 300 attendees. The Indiana Convention Center, all decked out in holiday glitz, is convenient because it's connected to just about everything one needs for the weekend -- the PRI Convention and Trade show, the Circle Centre Mall, food options galore, the Westin Hotel, the Marriott and more.
The ARCA Championship Awards Banquet will honor the 2017 ARCA Racing Series champions as well as other top series drivers and special award winners. One such special award includes one of the series' highest honors, the Marcum Award, given away by Marcum's grandson, ARCA President Ron Drager. Banquet attendees will also enjoy a very nice sit-down dinner to be served at their tables.
The festivities will kick off with a hosted reception from 4 to 5:15 p.m. sponsored by K&K Insurance and Sunoco, with the awards program scheduled to start promptly at 5:30. Doors to the banquet hall open at 5:15.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has crowned more than 30 national champions in 64 seasons since 1953, and has toured over 200 race tracks in 26 states since its inception.