Oswego, NY - On October 25 the Oswego Speedway will present the 2003 Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, NY. The seven-member Hall of Fame committee selected the following individuals for the prestigious...
Oswego, NY - On October 25 the Oswego Speedway will present the 2003 Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, NY. The seven-member Hall of Fame committee selected the following individuals for the prestigious honor.
EDDIE BELLINGER, JR. Following in his father's footsteps, 21-year-old Eddie, Jr. bought an old Todd Gibson roadster and began his racing career at Oswego on August 12, 1972. During a career that lasted nearly three decades, Bellinger carved himself a place in Oswego Speedway history, becoming the track's third winningest supermodified driver with 52 victories. His 206 top fives place him second all-time behind the legendary Jimmy Shampine. During his career, Bellinger went head-to-head with some of the most talented and innovative individuals in Oswego Speedway history including Shampine, Bentley Warren, Doug Heveron, Joe Gosek, Doug Didero, Mike Muldoon and Pat Abold. Enormously popular, Eddie kept his success in perspective, always making sure that having fun was the most important aspect of his career.
FREDDY GRAVES was chosen by the Hall of Fame committee for his driving abilities, but could easily have been voted in as a premier car builder as well. A mechanical engineer, Fred began his Oswego career in 1968 in a car built by him and his brother Ronnie. Recognizing the superiority of the rear engine design, Fred bought a former Mario Andretti rear engine car and debuted it as a supermodified in 1973. Soon after, Graves would hook up with one of the nation's premier rear engine expert, Bill Hite, who designed a four-wheel-drive rear engine car. It debuted at Oswego in July 1975 and soon dominated the division. Fred has made a name for himself in the big leagues of NASCAR as well, winning the Craftsman Truck Series Championship as a crew chief to driver Ron Hornaday in 1998. At present, Fred works in the engineering department of the Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Winston Cup team.
DUTT YANNI was a versatile stock car driver, racing on most of the dirt and asphalt short tracks around the central New York area during the 1950's and '60's. At Oswego Speedway, Yanni was best known for his dominance of the Class "B" Flathead division, winning two track titles and sixteen feature events in only four short years of competition. In 1957, Dutt won 10 out of 16 feature events staged that season. Yanni was equally adept on the dirt, winning the 1954 NYS Fair Championship and finishing in the top-five 7 times from 1953 thru 1963. He was the 1958 Watertown Speedway Champion, winning five times on his way to that title.
There have been only six starters in the 53-year history of Oswego Speedway. NORM BACON occupied the starter's tower the longest - from 1969 through 1983. Norm showed up at the track in 1965, volunteering his services in many different capacities. Harry Caruso recognized good help when he saw it, and soon Norm had a full time job as Oswego Speedway's maintenance supervisor. He became an accomplished welder and steel worker as well and was part of the team responsible for major construction projects during the 60's and 70's including the roof over the front grandstand and the building of the back grandstand. As the starter, Bacon was highly respected and well liked by virtually all drivers, mechanics and owners as well as his fellow officials.
The Solvay Automotive 04 was a weekly fixture in the Oswego Speedway pits for more than 25 years. Like most of their contemporaries, owners JOHN PALLOTTA and JIMMY DeLUCIA built and maintained everything on the car, including the engine. Talented machinists, John and Jimmy attracted some of the biggest named drivers at Oswego during their career including Warren Coniam, Bobby Stelter, Jim Cheney and Larry Record. Other noted driver seeing seat time in the 04 included Eddie Bellinger, Jr. and modified driver Merv Treichler. The huge Solvay Automotive crew, one of the first to sport matching crew uniforms, always kept the car in immaculate condition. The Solvay crew was successful at other tracks as well, winning features at Flamboro, Raceway Park and Delaware in Canada; Sandusky, Ohio; Thompson, CT and Fulton, NY.
The Special Achievement Award for 2003 goes to Chemung, NY's GEOFFREY BODINE. His #99 was a familiar sight during the 70's and early '80's whenever the modifieds came to Oswego Speedway. In just over 10 years, Bodine amassed 9 modified victories, second only to the great Richie Evans. He won the Budweiser Modified 200 twice at Oswego - in 1979 and again in 1981, his last win here. Geoffrey's Oswego career included a stint in the supermodified division, competing in a rear engine car during the 1972 season. But it was his reputation as one of the Northeast's most highly-regarded modified shoes that catapulted him to the highest level of professional racing - NASCAR Winston Cup. The crowning achievement of Bodine's racing career came in 1985 when he won the Daytona 500.
The Oswego Speedway Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet will be held on Saturday, October 25th at the Holiday Inn, Electronics Parkway, Liverpool, NY.