Former Utica-Rome champions inducted to HoF

VERNON, NY - Past Utica-Rome Speedway Track Champions Bill Wimble and Jerry Cook will be inducted into the Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Hall of Fame during the annual EMPA Convention on January 5-7, 2000, at the Radisson Hotel & ...

VERNON, NY - Past Utica-Rome Speedway Track Champions Bill Wimble and Jerry Cook will be inducted into the Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Hall of Fame during the annual EMPA Convention on January 5-7, 2000, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA.

Bill Wimble, who resided in Lisbon, NY during his racing career, was the 1960 NASCAR National Sportsman champion and 1961 co-champion. Wimble is well known for his five track championships at the Fonda Speedway and victories all over the Northeast.


Bill Wimble was one of the early stars at the Utica-Rome Speedway on the 1/3-mile asphalt surface. Photo by John Gray Photo.

He was the 1966 Utica-Rome NASCAR Sportsman Modified Champion and the 1967 Utica-Rome NASCAR Modified champion. Wimble scored eleven feature wins on the 1/3-mile asphalt oval at Utica-Rome, his first coming on July 15, 1962 and his last coming on July 30, 1967. He currently ranks fourteenth on the all-time speedway win list, with six winning seasons. In the late 1960's and early 1970's, Wimble served as the speedway's head tech inspector and has always been important in the history of the speedway.


Jerry Cook, a legend in NASCAR Modified racing, started his career at Utica-Rome Speedway, where he has 19-career feature victories in the division. Photo: U-R Speedway

Jerry Cook, who resided in Rome, NY, began his racing career at Utica-Rome Speedway along with cross-town archrival Richie Evans, who was a legend himself. Cook's greatest accomplishments in racing include six National NASCAR Modified championships plus victories all over the United States, and he is currently a NASCAR official and executive at NASCAR Headquarters in Daytona Beach.

Cook was the 1969 Utica-Rome NASCAR Modified champion, and has nineteen career feature victories at the historic speedway, ranking him tenth on the speedway all-time win list. He had victories in 9 different seasons, with his first win on August 11, 1963 and his final victory on July 5, 1974. Cook has been to the speedway in recent years as a spectator, and always enjoys visiting his old stomping grounds.

The New Utica-Rome Speedway will be celebrating its diverse racing history during the 2001 racing season, which will mark the 40th anniversary of the popular speedway. Opening day is scheduled for Sunday May 6, and weekly Sunday racing action will include the DIRT 358 Modifieds, DIRT Sportsman, DIRT Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Slingshots.

--Doug Zupan

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