Force named Al Holbert Memorial Driver of the Year

Earnhardt, Magill, Gerhart Sr., Dickson, Force And Christopher Are Top Eastern Motorsport Press Assocication Award Winners LANGHORNE, PA DECEMBER 9, 2001 . . . Eleven time National Hot Rod Association Funny Car champion John Force has been ...

Earnhardt, Magill, Gerhart Sr., Dickson, Force And Christopher Are Top Eastern Motorsport Press Assocication Award Winners

LANGHORNE, PA DECEMBER 9, 2001 . . . Eleven time National Hot Rod Association Funny Car champion John Force has been named the Al Holbert Memorial/Eastern Motorsport Press Association Driver of the Year. Force becomes just the second drag racer to earn the award in the 31 year history of the media organization. Force has won the NHRA Funny Car title the last nine years in a row.

The award is named in honor of the late Al Holbert who was an outstanding sports car and Indianapolis car racer who made his home in Warrington, PA.

Ted Christopher, NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series National Champion, has earned the Northeast Driver of the Year honors for the second year in a row. Christopher was also the Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified champion.

Seven time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, fatally injured in an accident at Daytona International Speedway in February, will be inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame. Earnhardt, known as "The Intimidator," was the most high profile driver in NASCAR Winston Cup racing and his death brought a great deal of attention to the sport. The winner of 78 Winston Cup races made it to the EMPA Hall of Fame the first time his name has appeared on the voting ballot.

In addition former Indianapolis car racer and three-time United Racing Club sprint car driving champion Mike Magill will join Earnhardt in the Hall. Nicknamed "Iron Mike," he was a successful Modified and Midget racer in the 1940s and 50s.

Also being inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame will be three-time USAC Sprint Car champion Larry Dickson. He also made eight appearances in the Indianapolis 500 with his best finish being ninth in 1969. Dickson was a top talent with the United Racing Club and American Racing Drivers Club in the early part of his career. Dickson won 45 features in USAC Sprint Car racing.

And Bobby Gerhart Sr., winner of 41 modified stock car features at the old Reading, PA Fairgrounds Speedway, will have his name added to the Hall of Fame. Gerhart was also the Modified champion at Reading in 1969 and 1970. His son, Bobby, is currently a top performer on the ARCA RE/MAX Series.

More than 200 members, media covering motorsports of all types on a regular basis, took part in the voting.

The induction ceremonies will take place at the annual Winston Hall of Fame Awards Dinner which is part of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association Convention, January 18- 20, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA. More than 125 media are expected to participate in the convention activities which include seminars, press conferences, workshops and social activities. The convention is open to members and invited guests only.

Convention registration starts at 3 p.m. on Friday, January 18, in the United Racing Club/EMPA and Grandview Speedway Hospitality Suites.

Track and organization champions are invited to be part of the Pocono Raceway/EMPA "Get Acquainted Night" which starts at 7 p.m. on the opening night of the convention. Champions and a guest are invited to be part of the evening, great exposure for them and their sponsors, FREE of charge. Invitations were sent to speedways and organizations throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states. Champions interested in attending are asked to contact Ernie Saxton at 215.752.7797 or 215.752.2392.

The 31st Annual Eastern Motorsport Press Association Convention will have support from Winston, NHRA, IRL, NASCAR, Hooters Tour, United Racing Club, Pocono Raceway, Goodyear, Grandview Speedway, Valvoline, Leading Edge Motorsports, 76, and Performance Racing Industry magazine.

-empa-

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Series GENERAL , NHRA