EMPA convention awards

TREVOSE, PA JANUARY 7, 2001 . . . NASCAR Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte was named the Al Holbert Memorial/EMPA Driver of the Year and Ted Christopher is the EMPA's Northeast Driver of the Year. Labonte thanked the EMPA members via a...

TREVOSE, PA JANUARY 7, 2001 . . . NASCAR Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte was named the Al Holbert Memorial/EMPA Driver of the Year and Ted Christopher is the EMPA's Northeast Driver of the Year. Labonte thanked the EMPA members via a video shown at the annual Eastern Motorsport Press Association Winston Hall of Fame dinner on Saturday night. Ted Christopher, NASCAR's New England Region Weekly Racing Series champion, was on hand to accept his statue in front of 150 media, event organizers, sanctioning group officials and sponsors. Larry Nuber, the ESPN motorsports broadcast pioneer, was inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame. Nuber's parents made the tip from Ohio to accept the award on behalf of their late son. Former NASCAR Sportsman Champion Bill Wimble received his Hall of Fame Award along with six time NASCAR National Modified Champion Jerry Cook. Mario Andretti, recently named Driver of the Century, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was unable to attend but sent a letter to thank the organization for the "wonderful honor." Andretti wrote, "I have great deal of respect for your industry (media) and it continues to be the most important vehicle in promoting the sport."

Newark Star Ledger, Philadelphia Daily News and Area Auto Racing News writer Kyle Hardner was the recipient of the prestigious Frank Blunk Memorial Journalism Award. Blunk brought motorsports coverage to the New York Times.

Bruce Bennett, freelance photographer, earned the Ace Lane Memorial Photography Award for his outstanding efforts in motorsports photography following the standards set by the late Ace Lane, Sr. The annual Art McHugh Memorial Award, presented to an individual who works behind the scenes on behalf of the EMPA, went to Bob Yurko. The Petty Family earned the T.Wayne Robertson E.M.P.A. Newsmaker Award for their charitable efforts and total devotion by the family to the sport.

EMPA President Ernie Saxton made several special President's Awards to deserving individuals on have worked on behalf of the organization. Included were R.J. Reynolds' Denny Darnell, photographer Dick Myers, Barbara Masser (a member of the convention staff) and The Performance Racing Industry/EMPA Broadcasters Contest, judging handled by Bloomsburg University, was won by Mel Thomas/Thomas Video in the Independent Television category. And the @!WEST-AM Monday Night Motorsports Show

(Easton, PA) hosted by John Richetta, Mark Kenyon and Ernie Saxton earned the top prize in the radio contest.

The Leading Edge Motorsports/EMPA Writers Contest Winners were:
Daily Column: Monte Dutton, Gaston Gazette
Daily Feature: Sandra McKee, Baltimore Sun
Daily News: Valley News Dispatch
Daily Personality Profile: James Reeser, Wilkes Barre Citizen Dispatch
Daily Race Report: Monte Dutton, Gaston Gazette

Weekly Column: Kyle Hardner, Area Auto Racing News
Weekly Feature: Gary Tremper, Area Auto Racing News
Weekly News: Kevin Kovac, Area Auto Racing News
Weekly Personality Profile: Dave Argabright, National Speed Sport News
Weekly Race Report: Kevin Kovac, Area Auto Racing News

Magazine Personality Profile: Dave Argabright, Open Wheel
Magazine Race Report: Dino Oberto, Mahoning Report

The TOSCO 76 PHOTOGRAPHERS CONTEST had a long list of winners including David A. Dalesandro earning Portfolio of the Year and Gregory Gage getting best of the show. Other photograph awards went to:

ACTION: Marty Gordner, Open Wheel Magazine, Skip In the Seat
ACTION SEQUENCE: Dan Schaffer, Area Auto Racing News, Fly Like An Eagle
CRASH ACTION, Bruce Bennett, Speedway Illustrated, Soft Walls, Hard Hit
FEATURE: Harodl Hoch, Berks-Mont Newspapers, Eye On Tune Up
PICTURE STORY: Harold Hoch, Berks Mont Newspapers - We Beat The World Champ
PORTAIT AND PERSONALITY: Gregory Gage, Area Auto Racing News, Safe For Speed
UNPUBLISHED COLOR : Leroy Boger, Sno-Cross Superman All judging for the various contests is handled by outside experts having no affiliation with the organization. One of the highlights of the convention was a 60 minute presentation by Don Hawk (Hawk Sports Management). Hawk, head of Dale Earnhardt Inc. at one time, spoke on sports marketing and talked about the growth of the sport. Glenn Donnelly, President of D.I.R.T. Motorsports had the media's interest with some impressive figures regarding prize money, point funds, racing events in 2001 and more. It was first time visit for Donnelly at the EMPA Convention. During the weekend of EMPA Convention activities a number of drivers were on hand to participate in a variety of press conferences. Included were Sam Hornish (IRL), Randy Tolsma and David Donohue (Craftsman Truck Series): Jason Jarrett, Mike Swaim Jr. and Andy Belmont (ARCA), Ted Christopher, Richard Mitchell (NASCAR Northeast Region Weekly Racing Series Champion), and Frank Manzo (NHRA Alcohol Funny Car National Champion). Don Adams (ATQMRA Champion) and Ray Bull (ARDC champion) were also on hand for Friday activities. Also participating in press conferences, workshops and seminars were Hooters Pro Cup (Tim Southers), Motorsports Academy Charity (Anthony Martin), Pocono Raceway, Nazareth Speedway, Dover Downs International Speedway, ARDC (Don Radebaugh), ARDC (Mike Piazza and Bruce Lee), ATQMRA (Bob Berry), DIRT (Glenn Donnelly, Gary Montgomery and Tom Skibinski), NASCAR (Al Robinson and Jerry Cook), Indy Racing League (Kimberly Miller), Grandview Speedway (Bruce and Theresa Rogers), NHRA (Bob Lang), Aventis Behring NASCAR Craftsman Truck Victory Lane Kids Progam and others. Sponsorship for the three day convention came from Winston/R.J. Reynolds, Tosco, Pocono Raceway, Rising Star Publishing, Goodyear, Indy Racing League, NASCAR, Grandview Speedway, NHRA, Performance Racing Industry Magazine, and Leading Edge Motorsports. For information on the Eastern Motorsport Press Association, an organization made up of more than 200 media professionals who cover motorsports, telephone Ernie or Marilyn Saxton at 215.752.7797 or 215.752.2392. Fax 215.752.1518. Plans are already being made for the January, 2002 convention. And the organization is now creating a category of membership for the Internet media. Additional details will be released shortly.

--Ernie Saxton

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About this article
Series Automotive , General
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bobby Labonte , Andy Belmont , Richard Mitchell , Mario Andretti , David Donohue , Al Holbert , Frank Manzo , Dave DeAngelis , Ted Christopher , Sam Hornish Jr.