EMPA convention news including awards

TREVOSE, PA JANUARY 24, 2004 . . . The Eastern Motorsport Press Association honored United States Auto Club Triple Crown champion J.J. Yeley with their Al Holbert Memorial/EMPA Driver of the Year award during their annual convention this past ...

TREVOSE, PA JANUARY 24, 2004 . . . The Eastern Motorsport Press Association honored United States Auto Club Triple Crown champion J.J. Yeley with their Al Holbert Memorial/EMPA Driver of the Year award during their annual convention this past weekend at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA.

DIRT Motorsports modified standout Alan Johnson, winner of three track championships and 28 big block and small block modified events in 2003, received the Richie Evans Memorial/EMPA Northeast Driver of the Year award with close to 150 media and other guests on hand for the NASCAR/EMPA Hall of Fame Dinner.

NASCAR Nextel Cup legendary car owner Junie Donlavey was on hand to present the "Junie" (Spirit of the Sport Award) to dirt modified racing star Kenny Brightbill. Donlavey was happy to be able to present the award to Brightbill because the veteran driver had driven for Junie in the past.

Five time NHRA World Champion Top Fuel racer Joe Amato was inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame as were Northeast dirt modified racing ace Stan Ploski Jr., former NASCAR Modified champion Bugs Stevens, Lou Lazzaro (winner of more than 250 modified feature events during his career), and Motor Racing Network founder and long time face and voice of NASCAR on CBS Ken Squier.

The T.Wayne Robertson Memorial/EMPA Newsmaker Award was presented to Boundless Motorsports the organization that has created a great deal of news centered on their purchase efforts of DIRT Motorsports, O'Reilly World of Outlaws and their recent efforts to form a new Late Model racing organization. Bobby Hartslief represented Boundless and spoke of the "poor working conditions" media are faced with at many short tracks and promised an effort by Boundless to improve those conditions where his organization is involved.

Long time EMPA treasurer Bill Yoder was honored for his years of work behind the scenes with the second annual Jerry Glase Memorial Award presented by Marilyn and Ernie Saxton.

Chuck Givler, veteran journalist with the Easton Times-Express, was honored with the prestigious Frank Blunk Memorial Award recognizing his many years of covering motorsports both on a national and local level. ARCA Re/Max Series racer Andy Belmont, who also does some motorsports writing and broadcasting work, was presented with the Art McHugh Memorial for his outstanding efforts behind the scenes on behalf of the EMPA.

Gregory Gage was presented with the Ace Lane Memorial Award for his photography work with a variety of publications including Motorsport.com, The Voice, Crest Communications and Cycling East.

Presidents Awards were presented to ConocoPhillips, NASCAR and SPEEDChannel for their support of the organization.

Drivers and other notables from a number of organizations, including ARDC, URC, DIRT, ALMS, ACT, Craftsman, Boundless Motorsports, NASCAR, ARCA, IRL, NHRA, SPEEDChannel, Pocono Raceway, Dover International Raceway, Richmond International Raceway and others were on hand to make presentations to the more than 100 media on hand for the three day convention.

Highlights of the three day convention included presentations by former Dale Earnhardt Inc. vice-president Don Hawk and ACT/Thunder Road (Vermont) executive Tom Curley. Both spoke of the problems facing auto racing and in particular short track racing. And they offered their solutions and ideas for getting short track racing growing and prospering again.

NASCAR's Jim Hunter, Vice President of Communications, was the keynote speaker at the Hall of Fame dinner.

First place awards in the Performance Racing Industry Broadcast Contests went to:
    Kim Hart, 810WGY-AM/PYX 106FAM - first place in radio category
    Kim Hart, WCTX(UPN)TV - first place in television category
    Bill Channell, Channell One Video -first place in Independent Video

First place awards in the Valvoline Journalism Contests in the daily newspaper division went to:
    Jerry Reigle, Columns - The Patriot News
    Sandra McKee, Features - The Baltimore Sun
    Jerry Elliott, News - The Patriot News
    Sandra McKee, Personality Profile - The Baltimore Sun
    Sandra McKee, Race Report - The Baltimore Sun

First place awards in the Valvoline Journalism Contest in the Weekly publication division went to:
    John Snyder, Columns - Area Auto Racing News
    J.R. Kennerup, Features - Area Auto Racing News
    Kevin Kovac, News - Area Auto Racing News
    Jerry Reigle , Personality Profile - Area Auto Racing News
    J.R.Kennerup, Race Report - Area Auto Racing News

First place awards in the Valvoline Journalism Contest in the Magazine division went to:
    Ernie Saxton, Columns - Inside Track Motorsports News
    Andy Heintzelman, Feature - Performance Racing Industry
    Jim Donnelly, Personality Profile - Hemmings Rods & Performance

First place awards in the Valvoline Internet Contests went to:
    Lynda Przygodski, Columns - Motorsports.com
    Thomas Chemris, Feature - PhillyRacing.com
    Thomas Chemris, News - Motorsports.com
    Ron Hedger, Personality Profile - OpenWheelRacing.com
    Ken Plotkin, Race Report - Motorsport.com

First place awards in the ConocoPhillips Photography Contests went to:
    Gregory Gage, Action Photo - Area Auto Racing News
    Rev. Dan Schafer, Feature Photo - ISPORT Network
    Chris Budihas, Crash Sequence - Area Auto Racing News
    Harold Hoch, Portrait - Berks Mont News Racing Supplement
    Chris Budihas, Crash - Area Auto Racing News
    Todd Dziadosz, Picture Story - DragRacingOn Line. Com
    Bob Yurko, Pure Art - Area Auto Racing News
    Todd Dziadosz , Unpublished Color
    Chris Budihas, Portfolio - Area Auto Racing News
    Todd Dziadosz, Best of Show

Plans for the 2005 Eastern Motorsport Press Association Convention will be announced in the very near future. Information on the organization may be had by telephoning Ernie Saxton at 215.752.7797. More than 200 professional media covering motorsports on a regular basis make up the membership of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association and those wishing to become members must reach rigid standards that attest to their professional status in the industry.

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Series Automotive
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Joe Amato , Andy Belmont , Al Holbert , Jim Hunter