NHRA Top Fuel great Amato to be inducted into EMPA Hall of Fame. TREVOSE, Pa. -- Five-time NHRA Top Fuel world champion Joe Amato will be inducted into the Eastern Motorsports Press Association's (EMPA) Hall of Fame Saturday, Jan. 24, during the...
NHRA Top Fuel great Amato to be inducted into EMPA Hall of Fame.
TREVOSE, Pa. -- Five-time NHRA Top Fuel world champion Joe Amato will be inducted into the Eastern Motorsports Press Association's (EMPA) Hall of Fame Saturday, Jan. 24, during the motorsports media association's annual awards banquet and convention near Philadelphia.
Amato, winner of a Top Fuel-record 52 NHRA events, including three U.S. Nationals titles at Indianapolis Raceway Park, will be inducted alongside veteran motorsports television announcer Ken Squier, former Flemington, N.J. Speedway standout Stan Ploski, former NASCAR national modified champion Bugsy Stevens and the late Lou Lazzaro, a legendary racer in the New York area known for his versatility on both dirt and asphalt.
"Being honored as an EMPA Hall of Famer is nice because you're being honored by motorsports writers who have watched a lot of race car drivers perform over the years," Amato said. "To be selected as one of the elite few is quite a privilege."
Amato, 59, retired from driving in 2000 and has since fielded a Top Fuel dragster driven by Darrell Russell, who has posted top 10 points finishes in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series during the last three seasons. In 2001 Amato was voted No. 9 on NHRA's list of its 50 greatest drivers, as selected by a distinguished panel of auto racing journalists and historians. Amato was a co-founder of Keystone Automotive Operations, one of the world's largest distributors of aftermarket high-performance parts and accessories. Today he keeps busy by working diligently to secure sponsorship partners for his race team.
Amato will join three other drag racers that have been inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame in past years, including Top Fuel legend Don Garlits, Pro Stock ace Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins and 1968 NHRA Super Stock champion Dave Stricklin.