2002 EMPA awards

Stewart and Hearn earn Driver of the Year honors. Gant, Economaki, Kelly and Weld go to the EMPA Hall of Fame. Junie Donlavey gets first Donlavey Spirit of the Sport award. LANGHORNE, PA January 18, 2003 . . . Tony Stewart and Brett Hearn ...

Stewart and Hearn earn Driver of the Year honors.
Gant, Economaki, Kelly and Weld go to the EMPA Hall of Fame.
Junie Donlavey gets first Donlavey Spirit of the Sport award.

LANGHORNE, PA January 18, 2003 . . . Tony Stewart and Brett Hearn earned Driver of the Year honors at the 33rd annual Eastern Motorsport Press Association Convention but it was Junie Donlavey, the veteran Winston Cup car owner, who got the standing ovation.

Stewart earned the Al Holbert Memorial EMPA Driver of the Year award while Brett Hearn took the Richie Evans Northeast Driver of the Year award. Both drivers won their awards for the second time. Stewart earned his award for his 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup title. Hearn was voted his award based on his stellar efforts in DIRT modified stock car racing throughout the season.

However Junie Donlavey, involved in the sport for more than 50 years, had an award named after him and was presented the very first Junie Donlavey Spirit of the Sport Award. The award, in the future, will go to individuals who best represent the independent spirit of the sport and do so much behind the scenes to make the sport better.The presentation was made by Dr. Joe Mattioli, Pocono Raceway.

Close to 150 media, sponsors, personalities, racers and other industry figures were in the audience for the annual R.J.Reynolds Hall of Fame Dinner held at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Trevose, PA (just north of Philadelphia).

During the evening, kicked off with the SpeedChannel cocktail reception, the late Kenny Weld, an outstanding modified and sprint racer, was inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame along with former NASCAR Winston Cup racer Harry Gant, five time United Racing Club sprint car champion Dave Kelly and "the dean of motorsports journalism" Chris Economaki.

The Frank Blunk Memorial, named in memory of the late New York Times sports writer, went to Jerry Reigle of the Harrisburg Patriot News and Area Auto Racing News.

Ace Lane Jr. presented the Ace Lane Memorial Photography award to Bob Armbruster of the Area Auto Racing News.

Freelance photographer Dick Myers received the prestigious Art McHugh Memorial for his devotion to the organization and his work with the ConocoPhillips photo contest.

Special President's awards were presented by organization president Ernie Saxton to the United Racing Club, Joe McHugh, National Hot Rod Association and Pocono Raceway for their support of the organization.

The first annual Jerry Glase Memorial Award went to Patty and Bill Miller who have worked behind the scenes on behalf of the organization for many years.

Throughout the three day convention there were a variety of social events presented along with press conferences and presentations featuring ARCA, NASCAR, URC, SpeedChannel, Indy Racing League, Pocono Raceway, Dover Motorsports, Lyn St. James, former Dale Earnhardt Inc. president Don Hawk, SCCA, Craftsman Tools with driver Rick Crawford, Jason Jarrett, Ed Carpenter, URC champion Bill Brian, NHRA drivers Reggie Showers and Craig Paisley.

The NASCAR luncheon moderated by NASCAR's Al Robinson and Jeremy Davidson featured NASCAR Featherlite Modified champion Mike Stefanik, Grandview Speedway champion Jeff Strunk, NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge National Champion Pete Daniels, and Busch North Series racers Greg Schafer and Joey McCarthy.

A panel made up of several media and industry figures discussed the state of the sport, the future of the sport and other subjects of interest and closed out the "business" part of the convention.

Plans for the 2004 convention will be announced in the very near future.

Winners in the Valvoline #1 Choice EMPA Writers Contest were:

Monte Dutton, Gaston Gazette, Personality Profile
Richard Huff, New York Daily News, Race Report
Jerry Reigle, Sunday Patriot-News, Column
Nolan Weidner, The Post-Standard, Feature
Noland Weidner, The Post-Standard, News

Ernie Saxton, Inside Track Motorsports News, Column
Rob Sneddon, Speedway Illustrated, Feature
Chris Romano, Trackside, Personality Profile
Rob Sneddon, Speedway Illustrated, Race Report

Mike Lloyd, Area Auto Racing News, Column
Gary Tremper, Area Auto Racing News, Feature
J.R.Kennerup, Area Auto Racing News, News
Kevin Kovac, Area Auto Racing News, Profile
Kyle Hardner, Area Auto Racing News, Race Report


Kim Hart, Racing With Heart, Fultonville, NY

Thomas Video, Smash & Crash Volume 14

Monte Dutton, RacingOne.com, Column
Ron Hedger, OpenWheelRacing.com, Feature
David Reininger, ESPN.com, News
Amanda Capps, RacingOne.com, Personality Profile
Patrick Jennings, Motorsport.com, Race Report

Portfolio of the Year - Greg Gage
Best of Show - Jack Kromer with a portrait
Action Photography - Leroy Bogert, Blue Mountain Speedway Yearbook
Action Sequence - Reading Eagle
Crash Action - Dick Greenawalt - Lanco Micro Program Book
Feature - Greg Gage - Area Auto Racing News
Picture Story - Harold Hoch - The Southern Berks News
Portrait and Personality - Jack Kromer - Speedway Illustrated
Unpublished Black and White - Todd Dziadosz - Capps Cockpit
Unpublished Color - Dave Dalesandro - Behind the Glory

Action Photography - Harold Hoch - Berks Mont News.com
Action Sequence - Todd Dziadosz - Beaver Springs Dragway.com
Crash Action - Thomas Chemris - Motorsport.com
Feature Photography - David Dalesandro - PhillyRacing.com
Picture Story - Harold Hoch - Berksmontnews.com
Portrait and Personality - Gregory Gage - Motorsport.com
Portfolio- David Dalesandro - PhillyRacing.com/Yatchee@aol.com
Pure Art - Bob Yurko - The Freedom


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About this article
Series Automotive , General , NASCAR Cup , Stock car
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Tony Stewart , Reggie Showers , Rick Crawford , Lyn St. James , Jason Jarrett , Al Holbert , Brett Hearn , Harry Gant