50th Anniversary Season Awards Banquet and 2000 Hall of Fame Induction Saturday, October 21 at Holiday Inn, Liverpool Oswego, NY The Oswego Speedway Awards Banquet for the 50th Anniversary Season and Hall of Fame Inductions for the Class of 2000...
50th Anniversary Season Awards Banquet and 2000 Hall of Fame Induction Saturday, October 21 at Holiday Inn, Liverpool
Oswego, NY The Oswego Speedway Awards Banquet for the 50th Anniversary Season and Hall of Fame Inductions for the Class of 2000 will be held on Saturday, October 21 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Liverpool, NY. Honorees will include 2000 Supermodified Track and Classic Champion Greg Furlong, two-time Limited Supermodified Champion Keith Gilliam and the first-ever Super Stock Champion Lou LeVea. The Eagles Fan Club will distribute over $27,000 in cash to the top twenty supermodified and limited supermodified owners who competed at Oswego Speedway during the season. The banquet starts at 6:00 pm with a cash bar, an international buffet in the main ballroom at 7:00 pm, awards at 8:00 pm and live music by "Dunes & The Del-Tunes" from 9:30 pm - 1:00 am. Tickets can be purchased at the Oswego Speedway office at 300 E. Albany St., Oswego; by phone: (315) 342-0646, fax: (315) 343-3829, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or thru the Oswego Speedway on-line store: http://oswegospeedway.com/
The Hall of Fame Committee recently selected the following individuals for the 2000 Class: Billy Blum - driver from the 50's and early 60's Chuck Ciprich - supermodified driver Norm Mackereth - supermodified driver Tom Heveron, Sr. - owner of Doug Heveron's Championship-winning supermodified Charlie Hopkins - Oswego Speedway Track Superintendent from 1951 thru 1992 Richie Evans - Special Achievement Award for outstanding careers both at Oswego Speedway and throughout the racing world. They will be inducted into the Oswego Speedway Hall of Fame during awards ceremonies at the banquet.
BILLY BLUM , Syracuse, NY - The "Flying Dutchman" - was Oswego Speedway's original "helmet carrier." Never owning a car of his own, Blum carved a legendary driving career at Oswego in the fifties and early sixties by piloting a number of different cars to fifteen feature wins, including the 1958 International Classic in the Nick Virgo #23. Blum won the very first race ever staged at Oswego Speedway - heat race #1 on opening night in August of 1951. He is also credited with winning the first feature on the newly enlarged 5/8 mile Oswego track in 1961, driving the Bobby Sherman #67. Blum had 63 top five feature finishes with the Class 'A' Modifieds from 1951 through 1961, and five top five finishes in the early years of supermodified competition. He finished in the top five in points five times during his career. Besides winning the 1958 Classic, Blum finished second in the '59 Classic with the George Adams #90.
CHUCK CIPRICH , Burdett, NY came over from the DIRT modified circuit to drive the Dick Dumigan #90, vacated by Ronnie Wallace in 1973. Ciprich moved from there to the JK Tobin 21, but is was in the Ron Buckner #36 that 'Chargin' Charlie' gained most of his success at Oswego, beginning with his first win in 1977. Charlie went on to register sixteen feature wins in his supermodified career, which included back-to-back International Classic wins in 1978 and 1979. Charlie started the '78 Classic from the pole with a new track record in time trials. Charlie also registered 52 top five feature finishes, one of them being a surprise third-place finish with the Herm Graf c15 in June 1975. Ciprich finished in the top five in championship points four times. He retired from supermodified racing after the 1981 season for a brief career in Indy car racing with his supermodified car owner Ron Buckner.
RICHIE EVANS was NASCAR's winningest modified driver with nine championship titles. He is Oswego Speedway's all-time modified champion as well, recording 13 feature wins and 34 top-five finishes over his illustrious career. That total places him in the top twenty in all-time victories at Oswego - an incredible feat considering that the modifieds competed here only a few times each season! The modifieds have always been a big part of Oswego Speedway's history and in 1969, the annual Modified 200 was established. For the next 25 years, all of the top stars of the modified tour competed here, including Evans, Jerry Cook, Ronnie Bouchard, Maynard Troyer, Roger Treicher, Eddie Flemke, Greg Sacks, Charlie Jarzombek, Geoff Bodine, Ray Hendricks and George Kent. Richie Evans was one of the most famous and celebrated stars of NASCAR during the 1970's and 80's. And he was equally proficient on the super speedways as well as the bullrings, recording wins at Daytona International Speedway, and at the Race of Champions on the 2-1/2 mile Pocono International Speedway. In fact, Evans' time trial run at Daytona was faster than the Winston Cup cars and remained a speed record for many years. A big part of Evans' sustained dominance in the modifieds can be attributed to close personal friend Gene DeWitt, whose guidance and financial backing helped Richie attain success in many different racing divisions and series. Richie Evans' career and life came to an end in October, 1985 at Martinsville, VA.
TOM HEVERON , Jensen Beach, FL (formerly of Syracuse, NY) owned and managed one of the most successful supermodified racing teams in Oswego Speedway history. In 1976 he purchased Jimmy Shampine's '70-'77 winning 8-ball super and installed his 16-year-old son, Doug, into the cockpit. Doug showed promise from the outset, but a trip into the third turn wall and a broken jaw shortened his first season. In 1980 Heveron and chief wrench Ed LaPrade built their own radical offset super which set the stage for a trip to super-stardome for the 'young one.' Doug won his first Oswego supermodified feature midway through the 1980 season and finished second in the '80 classic to his mentor, Jimmy Shampine. Then in 1981, the Heverons wrote their names into Oswego's history books, by winning thirteen features on their way to the track championship. One of those wins was the '81 International Classic. The 1982 season was almost as good, with eleven feature wins, the track title and another Classic win. By then, a second car had been built and added to the Heveron stables. In 1983, Tom Heveron helped to resurrect the career of Bentley Warren when he hired Warren to sub for Doug, who had broken his leg attempting to qualify for the Indy 500. Bentley drove that car to the track championship that year and continued to dominate with the same car for several more seasons after Ed Bowley purchased it from Heveron at the end of the 1983 season and repainted it the "Flyin' 5.'
CHARLIE HOPKINS , Oswego, NY - A long-time employee and close friend of the Caruso family, Charlie Hopkins helped brothers Harry, George and William Caruso to construct the original Oswego Speedway during the early 50's; working nights, weekends and holidays while holding down a full-time job as maintenance supervisor at the Carusos' Northern Steel fabricating plant. Once the track began operations, Charlie's took on the duties of track superintendent, overseeing the safety, fire and ambulance crews until his retirement in 1992. During his tenure, Oswego Speedway built what is perhaps the finest and best trained safety crew in all of racing. Among the innovations over his 40+ years as track superintendent were cornermen in communication with starter and race directors, three fully licensed ambulances staffed by medical professionals, state-of-the-art fire fighting equipment, regular fire and rescue training sessions, an industrial-use vacuum cleaner to clean speedy-dry and rubber from the racing surface and two fully-equipped safety trucks, located at opposite ends of the speedway, reducing response time in half. During the week Charlie was involved with routine maintenance at the huge facility, performing everything from changing light bulbs in the track's lighting system to helping construct the roof over the front grandstand. Charlie Hopkins' dedication to Oswego Speedway and the Caruso family is a big reason for the track's continued success for over 50 years.
NORM MACKERETH , Toronto, Ontario, first competed at Oswego on the small track in 1960 as a Canadian invader for the rich Classic purse. When Oswego switched to supers in 1962, Norm became the first Canadian competitor to make the weekly trip. Overwhelming popular, Norm's first of eight feature wins came aboard his own 'New Toronto Rocket' #40 in 1964. But Norm's greatest years at Oswego were with car owner Norm Hagen, who purchased Todd Gibson's '68 championship-winning roadster midway through the 1969 season. Norm instantly became one of the top competitors of the time, and registered the bulk of his feature wins with this robin-egg blue Hagen-Howard Chevy #40 with hot pink wheels. Norm sat on the outside pole of the International Classic with the Hagen #40 for three straight years: 1969, '70 and '71. And in 1969 Norm turned his favorable starting spot into a runnerup Classic finish. Norm compiled a huge total of seventy-seven top five feature finishes in all the above rides, in addition to later '70's rides like the Flyin' 5, Reece 40 and Norm's own 'loose moose 40.' Mackereth finished in the top five in points on four different occasions during his Oswego career which concluded in 1978.