LANGHORNE, PA November 25, 2003 . . . Two of the most popular and talented competitors in stock car racing, one on dirt and one on asphalt, have been voted into the Eastern Motorsport Press Association Hall of Fame. Former NASCAR National Modified Champion Bugsy Stevens and former Flemington, NJ Speedway standout Stan Ploski Jr. will be inducted as part of the press organization's annual convention set for January 23 through January 25th at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Trevose, PA.
Both Stevens and Ploski were "locked into" the Hall of Fame by vote of the EMPA Board of Directors. In addition veteran Modified stock car racer Kenny Brightbill will be presented with the very prestigious "Junie" named in honor of Winston Cup car owner Junie Donlavey. The award recognizes those in the sport who were able to accomplish so much during their career while "retaining their independent status."
Boundless Motorsports, the group that has announced the purchase of DIRT Motorsports and the O'Reilly World of Outlaws, will receive the Newsmaker Award. Representatives of Boundless and DIRT have announced that they will be on hand for the convention.
Members of the EMPA are now voting on additional selections for the EMPA Hall of Fame. Only three can be voted for out of the group that includes the late Bob Weikert (one of the most successful sprint car owners in the history of the sport), drag racing champion Joe Amato, former sprint car racing great Bobby Allen (an original outlaw), the late Ron McBee (an outstanding late model racer back in the seventies), Lou Lazzaro (a king pin in New York State racing when drivers performed on both dirt and asphalt), Ken Squier (founder of the Motor Racing Network and outstanding TV motorsports commentator), Gil Hearne (eight time champion at Wall Township Speedway and all time leading feature winner) and Glenn Fitzcharles (all time leading feature winner with the United Racing Club sprint cars and outstanding modified stock car racer).
In addition EMPA members are now voting on their selection for Richie Evans Northeast Driver of the Year. Included as candidates are DIRT standout Alan Johnson, Central Pennsy sprint star Greg Hodnett, NHRA Alcohol Funny Car chamion Frank Manzo, NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series National Champion Mark McFarland and late model racing ace Gary Stuhler.
Candidates for the Al Holbert Memorial National Driver of the Year include leading NASCAR Winston Cup race winner Ryan Newman, NASCAR Winston Cup champion Matt Kenseth, USAC triple crown champion J.J. Yeley, Indy Racing League champion Scott Dixon, many time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel and International Hot Rod Association standout Clay Millican. Voting will be completed by December 15, 2003.
Other awards presented at the convention include the prestigious Frank Blunk Memorial Award (name in honor of the late New York Times motorsports writer), Ace Lane Sr. Memorial Award and the Art McHugh Memorial Award.
In addition media members will be receive a number of awards for their outstanding journalistic, broadcasting and photography efforts during the year.
The annual convention has been presented for more than 30 years and attracts more than 125 professional media that cover all types of motorsports on a regular basis.
"We invite all the local tracks and organizations to participate. It gives them an opportunity to meet the media and build a rapport that can bring exposure to the tracks and organizations. It is also an opportunity for our members to improve their skills, attend a variety of press conferences and gather news for use in their various publications, websites, and broadcast media outlets," said EMPA president Ernie Saxton. Those participating in the convention, as of this date, include NASCAR, NHRA, ARCA, Indy Racing League, Pocono Raceway, Dover International Speedway, Performance Racing Industry Magazine, URC, ARDC, SPEED Channel, Andy Belmont Motorsports, ConocoPhillips, Valvoline, and others. There are still a couple of sponsorship opportunities available for the convention.
All speedways, organizations and race teams are invited to participate. Information on convention participation is available by telephoning Ernie Saxton at 215.752.7797 or email him at Esaxton144@aol.com.