As NASCAR's 2014 racing season prepares to ramp up with Preseason Thunder at Daytona testing, it can't move forward without the hard work and dedication of hundreds of professionals in the vital areas of track services, safety and security. And that goes for every event on this season's NASCAR calendar.

Earlier this week at the annual preseason NASCAR Summit at the Concord (N.C.) Convention Center, awards were presented to several individuals who excelled during the 2013 season in their various fields. The Summit is an avenue for representatives from all tracks that host NASCAR and IMSA races to address topics relating to their respective disciplines. Over 700 participants attended this year's event.

During the event, St. Joseph Health RN, Todd Axberg,  received the Nursing Director Award for the work he does in the medical center at Sonoma Raceway during major events.

"We are so impressed," said Jere Starks, Vice President of Facilities at Sonoma Raceway. "Our head nurse and our medical center was picked out of all the race tracks across the country who host NASCAR events. Todd is a good, solid, dependable guy who delivers great service and is very concerned about patient care. I'm very proud of our medical center."

The ceremony also included the posthumous presentation of the prestigious Jim Bockoven Track Services Lifetime Achievement Award to Ernie Thurston, former Corporate Coordinator of Track Safety and Emergency Services for International Speedway Corporation (ISC). Thurston, who passed away last November, was instrumental in implementing best safety procedures and policies across the company over a 20-year career.

Eldora Speedway was recognized in two areas: as co-recipient of the Track Services Mission Award, together with Michigan International Speedway, and with the Teamwork Award, presented by NASCAR's Medical Liaison staff. Liz Denlinger, R.N., nursing director at Eldora's infield care center and Emergency Department nursing director at Miami Valley Hospital, accepted on behalf of a group including Andy Hawk, M.D., medical director of CareFlight Air and Mobile Services at MVH; Keith Bricking, medical director of Eldora's infield care center and Emergency Department medical director at MVH and Terry Kibler, the track's safety director.

Other 2013 NASCAR Summit award winners included:

  • Track Services Innovation Award - Luke Clement, Iowa Speedway
  • Track Services Teamwork Award - Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • Excellence in Track Services Award - Kevin O'Brien, Pocono Raceway
  • NASCAR Security Award for Excellence - Jean Ann Bowman (Kansas Speedway); Cody Chalfant (Mid-Ohio); Jay Fraioli (Homestead-Miami Speedway)
  • Nursing Director Award (presented by NASCAR Medical Liaison Department) - Kathy Vance, Daytona International Speedway; Todd Axberg, Sonoma Raceway
  • Above and Beyond Award (presented by NASCAR Medical Liaison Department) - Bill Heisel, Ortho Carolina, Charlotte, N.C.

About NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™, NASCAR Nationwide Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) governs the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information, visit www.nascar.com and follow NASCAR at www.facebook.com/NASCARand Twitter: @NASCAR.