Racers, Organizations, Media Honored at EMPA Convention



TREVOSE, PA JANUARY 9, 2000 . . . NASCAR Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year Tony Stewart and Eckerd 300 DIRT Super Series winner Kenny Tremont were honored by the Eastern Motorsport Press Association at their annual convention. Stewart, winner of three NASCAR Winston Cup races, two poles, 12 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes, was voted the prestigious Al Holbert Memorial/EMPA Driver of the Year Award. "What an honor to be named EMPA's Driver of the Year," said Stewart. "This award tops off a tremendous year for the whole team. It may have my name on it, but we were successful this year as a team. Everyone put in a lot of long hours and hard work and it paid off. This award is for the entire Home Depot team." And Tremont, winner of the famous Syracuse, NY Super DIRT Series Classic and more than two dozen DIRT sanctioned events during the season, was honored as the Northeast Driver of the Year. He won his 11th Lebanon Valley Speedway track title and his first-ever Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series Championship. A.J. Foyt, four time winner of the Indianapolis 500 as a driver, was named to the Eastern Motorsport Press Association Hall of Fame. Foyt, busy with testing sessions in Florida and business commitments sent his regrets at not being able to attend. Foyt will accept the award at Daytona during Speedweeks. Ken Hickey, "Mr. Offenhauser" of midget auto racing was unable to attend to accept his Hall of Fame award. However his close friend Bill Kerrigan accepted on Hickey's behalf. The veteran engine and car builder is recovering at home after a recent hospital stay. Leigh Earnshaw and ARDC treasurer Doug Starrett presented the award. Former American Racing Drivers Club champion Leigh Earnshaw, winner of close to 50 ARDC feature races, accepted his Hall of Fame induction award. The award was presented by Earnhshaw's long time crew chief Bill Miller. One of the all time greats of modified stock car racing, Will Cagle, made the trip from Tampa, Florida to accept his Hall of Fame Award. Cagle, a long time general manager of the Orange County Speedway in Middletown, NY, is now working with the USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida. The late Dave Strickler, a top super stock drag racer some years back, was inducted into the Hall and his family was on hand to accept the award. The man that Tom Wolfe called "the last Great American hero," Junior Johnson was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. The former NASCAR Winston Cup champion driver and champion owner will accept his award later in the year....perhaps at Daytona. Monte Dutton, considered one of the most knowledgable journalists in motorsports, received the very prestigious Frank Blunk Memorial Award. The award is named in honor of the late New York Times sportswriter who drew national attention to the sport with his articles in the New York Times. The Ace Lane Memorial Award went to photographer Dave Dalesandro, a freelance photographer. His work is seen often in the folds of the Area Auto Racing News and other publications. David Moulthrop, a writer/photographer for the Berkshire Courier and Gater Racing News, received the Art McHugh Memorial Award in recognition of his outstanding behind-the- scenes efforts on behalf of the organization. Special appreciation awards were presented to the National Hot Rod Association, R.J. Reynolds/Winston, Pocono Raceway and Grandview Speedway for their continued support of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association. The T. Wayne Robertson Memorial EMPA Newsmaker Award went to Ray Evernham and the Chrysler Corporation. Marilyn Saxton accepted the Bill Schindler Memorial/ARDC award presented to the late Ed Darrell, her step father. Darrell was honored for his many years as a championship car owner in ARDC, official, president and major support of midget auto racing. Top awards in the TOSCO 76/EMPA Photography Contest were earned by Leroy Bogert, Area Auto Racing News (Action), Dave DeAngelis (Action Sequence) Drag Racing Magazine, Jim Smith (Feature photo) Racing For Teens, Harold Hoch (Picture Story) Boyertown, PA Times, Dave DeAngelis (Crash Action) Drag Racing Magazine, Harold Hoch (Portrait and Personality), Hamburg, PA Item, Bob Yurko ( Unpublished Black and White), Harold Hoch (Unpublished Color) and Hoch topped off a stellar performance with his camera work by taking Portfolio of the Year and Best of the Show. The awards won by Hoch earned him more than $1,000. Tosco 76 sponsors the photo awards. First place awards in the STP/EMPA Writers Contest, daily newspapers, went to Scott Walsh with the Scranton, PA Times (two wins); Sandra McKee, Baltimore, Md. Sun (two awards); and Kyle Hardner, Philadelphia, PA Daily News. In weekly publications three first place awards went to John Snyder, Area Auto Racing News; and two first place awards went to Kyle Hardner for the Area Auto Racing News. In the magazine category Rob Sneddon of Open Wheel Magazine earned two firsts, Bruce Bennett took an award for Stock Car Racing Magazine, Richard Romer earned an award for Motorsports Fan Report and Eddie Smith got the top award for an article in Diamond Digest. The top awards in the Performance Racing Industry Magazine Broadcast Contest were earned by Mel Thomas (Independent Video Production) and George McNeilly (CBS Radio/Westwood One) for his six one minute radio pieces Today in Auto Racing. All contests are judged by outside judges who are not members of the organization nor are they involved in motorsports. During the course of the three day conventions NHRA Top Fuel Dragster racer Joe Amato talked about his plans for the 2000 season. And Greg Ray, who had just turned some fast times in his Conseco Menard IRL entry, spoke about his test sessions in Orlando and his plans for the new season which starts at the end of January. Tony Stewart and Kenny Tremont spoke to the many members of the 250 member Eastern Motorsport Press Association that were on hand for the annual convention. Representatives of ARDC, DIRT, NASCAR, CART, IRL, NHRA, Nazareth and Dover Downs Speedways were on hand to make presentations to the media. And there were presentations by Andy Belmont outlining his ARCA America Online team plans, Dave Adams spoke about his sponsorship and racing plans, and Rising Star Publications announced the release of their book on Davey Allison. Chuck Lamb, PhillySports.Com, spoke on the internet, websites and motorsports. Donald L. Fauerbach of Millville, NJ was on hand to announce his two car ARCA team, Maurtco Motorsports, which will have Mark Gibson and Joe Cooksey as drivers. In addition Fauerbach, head of the Association of New Jersey Mayors, spoke at length about the current possibilities for a super speedway to be built in the State of New Jersey. Photographers enjoyed a number of workshops to improve their work and several companies from the photography industry were on hand for the convention. Pocono Raceway, Grandview Speedway, Tosco 76, STP, Performance Racing Industry Magazine, NHRA, NASCAR, Winston, MotorMax Extreme, Rising Star Publications and the Indy Racing League were supporters of events and contests as part of the three day convention. Also part of the convention was the "welcome get together" presented by Pocono Raceway that saw a number of local short track and regional champions on hand as guests of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association. "We wanted to give the local short track and regional champions a chance to meet the media. It was a opportunity for the racers and media to build a rapport. It was disappointing that many who were invited from local short tracks and organizations did not have the courtesy to respond to the invites. But we will try again next year. We think that the media can be a big boost to local and regional stock car racing, we just need the cooperation of more of those involved. Overall we consider the first effort a success," said EMPA president Ernie Saxton. The 2001 EMPA Convention is set for January 5-7 at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA.

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Series General
Drivers Tony Stewart , Joe Amato , Greg Ray , Mark Gibson , Dave DeAngelis , Jim Smith , Davey Allison