EMPA CELEBRATES 40TH YEAR,
GREATS INDUCTED INTO EMPA HALL OF FAME,
SAXTON RE-ELECTED TO PRESIDENT
The Eastern Motorsport Press Association celebrated their 40th
anniversary at the organization’s annual convention held at the Radisson
Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA this past weekend.
A number of greats in the sport were inducted into the EMPA
Hall of Fame as part of the NASCAR/EMPA Awards Dinner on Saturday
evening. Inducted were:
* Roger Penske - his cars have won 14 Indianapolis 500 races, more than
250 events in IndyCar, NASCAR and American LeMans competition.
* Parker Bohn - past Modified champion at Wall Township Speedway, one of
the first stars at the old Old Bridge, NJ Speedway and winner of many
features at New Egypt, NJ Speedway. The 90-year-old racing legend
received a standing ovation.
* Tom Skinner - mechanical and motor wizard behind the legendary white
and black-trimmed No. 659 GMC driven by Parker Bohn
Tim Sullivan - one of the most popular public relations figures in the
industry for many years.
* Wally Parks - the man who gets credit for making drag racing what it
is today. The founder of the National Hot Rod Association.
* Ned Jarrett - two-time NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) champion
who went on to become a popular figure on TV and radio.
* Glenn Donnelly - he brought northeast dirt modified racing to new
* Alan Kreitzer - regarded as one of the most successful promoters in
the sport. He has been responsible for the huge success of dirt track
racing in Central Pennsylvania.
Other special awards presented during the weekend included:
* Wayne T. Robertson Newsmaker Award to Speedway Motorsports Inc.
Chairman Bruton Smith
* Al Holbert Memorial/EMPA Driver of the Year Award to World of Outlaw
sprint car racer Donnie Schatz.
* Frank Blunk Memorial/EMPA Journalist of the Year Award to Pete Schnatz
of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
* John Blewett III Young Guns Award presented by New England Fuels went
to Bobby Santos III.
* Richie Evans Memorial/EMPA Northeast Driver of the Year to Brett Hearn
*Junie Donlavey Spirit of the Sport Award presented to Bob Garbarino.
His NASCAR Modified was driven to the championship by Donny Lia.
* Art McHugh Memorial Award presented to long time photographer Ace Lane
* Ace Lane Memorial/EMPA Photographer of the Year award presented to
* Jerry Glase Memorial Award, an award created by Marilyn and Ernie
Saxton, went to veteran journalist and announcer Earl Krause.
During the course of the three day convention there were a
variety of presentations and news conferences presented to the more than
100 professional media that cover the sport on a regular basis.
Supporting the weekend were Pocono Raceway, NHRA, NASCAR,
SPEED Channel, Andy Belmont Motorsports, World Racing Group and the Indy
Racing League. Representatives of ARDC, Dover International Speedway,
Richmond International Raceway, Watkins Glen, New Hampshire Motor
Speedway, ARCA, the new Thunderbolt Speedway, and others were on hand
for the 40th anniversary convention.
First place awards in the Valvoline/EMPA Writers Contest went
to John Snyder for his column in Area Auto Racing News titled “It ain’t
cheatin’ son…”, Rob Fisher for his feature article titled “Not Your
Typical Race Shop” appearing in Circle Track Magazine, Dick Berggren for
his “Remembering Bill France Jr.” personality profile in Speedway
Illustrated, Dino Oberto for his “Martini cracks win column in ARDC”
race report which appeared in the Hazleton, PA Standard-Speaker and
Lenny Sammons for his News story in Area Auto Racing News titled
“Szegedy Declared Winner In Race That Claims Life Of JB III.”
First place awards in the Brice’s Auto Supply/NAPA/EMPA Photo
Contest were earned by:
Rev. Dan Schafer - Action Photo - South Jersey Dirt Racing.com
Don Marks - Action Sequence - Area Auto Racing News
Chris Budihas - Crash Action - South Jersey Dirt Racing.com
Dave Delasandro - Feature - Area Auto Racing News
Mel Stettler - Picture Story - Area Auto Racing News
Bob Yurko - Portrait Personality - Area Auto Racing News
Todd Dziadosz - Pure Art and Unpublished color
Dave D’Alessandro - Portfolio of the Year
Rev. Dan Schafer - Best of Show
“The convention was one of our best. It is hard to believe
that it has been 40 years since the organization was first formed,” said
President Ernie Saxton. “We are already busy working on the next
convention. Our thanks to all who participated.”
Saxton was elected to another two year term as president of
the organization that he helped found. He has been the president all but
one of the 40 years.
Others elected to office include:
Vice President - Len Sammons
Northern Vice President - David Moulthrop
Southern Vice President - Monte Dutton
Board of Directors:
Secretary - Marilyn Saxton
Treasurer - Bill Yoder
Information on membership and other details about the EMPA is
available from Saxton at
Esaxton144@aol.com or telephone 215.752.7797.