|Date: 1/9/2012 9:47:44 PM|
EASTERN MOTORSPORT PRESS ASSOCIATION
CONTACT: RON HEDGER, PRESIDENT, 518-885-7481
LENNY SAMMONS, VICE PRESIDENT, 609-888-3618 JOHN SNYDER, MEDIA OFFICE, 845-225-3560
ROBIN ERWIN, WEBMASTER, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STEWART, ECKERT TOP THE LIST OF HONOREES AT ANNUAL NASCAR/EMPA HALL OF FAME BANQUET
Writer Jerry Reigle and Photographer Lee Smith Garner EMPA Awards
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA (January 9).…..Tony Stewart, winner of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, and dirt track Late Model driver Rick Eckert, winner of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship, topped the list of racing personalities and media members honored during the NASCAR/EMPA Hall of Fame Banquet Saturday night, January 7, at the Crowne Plaza Valley Forge in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Chosen by the members of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA), Stewart was tabbed the Al Holbert Memorial National Driver of the Year, while Eckert was voted the Richie Evans Memorial Northeast Driver of the Year. Eckert was present to accept his award.
Other honorees included IZOD IndyCar head Randy Bernard who was named the T. Wayne Robertson Newsmaker of the Year, while Long Island Modified driver Justin Bonsignore was chosen by the EMPA members as the winner of the John Blewett III Young Guns Award Presented by New England Racing Fuel. Pennsylvania businessman and longtime racing supporter Stan Lobitz received the Junie Donlavey Spirit of the Sport Award. Bonsignore and Lobitz were present to accept their awards.
Inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame were the late Frank Blunk, The New York Times Motorsports Editor; the late Jim Hunter, NASCAR executive and former Darlington Raceway president; retired dirt track Modified star driver Jack Johnson; retired NASCAR and independent dirt and asphalt star driver Merv Treichler; the late Jack Arute Sr., owner and promoter of Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, and the late Bill Singer, longtime race track announcer and radio personality. Members of the Hunter, Arute, and Singer families were present for the inductions.
EMPA members also recognized their own for outstanding contributions to the sport. The late Jerry Reigle, former daily newspaper reporter and Assistant Editor of Area Auto Racing News, was awarded the Jim Hunter Memorial Writers Award, and Lee Smith, Area Auto Racing News and other publications, was voted the Ace Lane Sr. Memorial Photography Award. The late Dick Greenawalt received the Art McHugh Memorial Award for his contributions to EMPA. Members of the Greenawalt family were present to receive his award. The President’s Award, which is not given every year, went to retiring EMPA Treasurer Bill Yoder, who had held the position since the organization was founded.
World Racing Group initiated a new award this year, the Jerry Reigle Outstanding Contribution to Sprint Car Racing Award presented by the World of Outlaws. The first recipient of this award (which will be given annually) was Pennsylvania race track promoter Alan Kreitzer. Accepting his award, Kreitzer announced a special racing program at Lincoln Speedway this coming May that will benefit the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing building fund, especially the Jerry Reigle Racing Library.
A highlight of the evening was the awarding of prizes in the organization’s video and broadcast, writing, and photography contests. Winning first places in the American Honda Motor Company/EMPA Video and Broadcast Contest were Matt Thomas, Non-Broadcast Race Coverage; Mel Thomas, Non-Broadcast Non-Event/Compilation Videos; Brian Unangst, Broadcast Local/Regional News Segment and Broadcast Local/Regional Auto Racing Shows; and Matt Thomas, Broadcast Race Coverage Single Event.
Winning top honors in the Pocono Raceway/EMPA Writers Contest were Len Sammons, Race Report; Chuck Givler, Personality Profile; Andy Heintzelman, Feature; John Snyder, Column; and Kyle Hardner, News. Sammons, Snyder, and Hardner’s articles appeared in Area Auto Racing News; Givler was cited for an Easton (PA) Express-Times piece; while Heintzelman’s feature was in Performance Racing Industry, a monthly trade magazine.
Photographers earning first place recognition in the Brice’s/NAPA/EMPA Photography Contest were Dave Pratt for Action; Mike Petrucci for Crash Action; Tommy Hein for the Don Marks Memorial Action Sequence; Ace Lane Jr. for Picture Story; Petrucci for Portrait and Personality; Rebecca Eisele for Feature; Dave Dalesandro for Unpublished Color; and Brent Smith for Pure Art.
Ace Lane Jr. won the Portfolio of the Year Award, while Rebecca Eisele took home top honors for Best in Show. The Janice Brice “Honorable Mention” Award went to Jim Smith.
The EMPA Convention included press conferences, seminars, presentations by track and racing series promoters, as well as the video and broadcast, writing, and photography member contests, social interaction with all types of American motorsports personalities, and the NASCAR-sponsored Hall of Fame Banquet. This year’s keynote speaker was Stewart Doty, publisher/editor of Racing Promotion Monthly Newsletter and organizer of the annual RPM Promoters Workshops. Doty was substituting for IndyCar reporter and television personality Robin Miller, who was hospitalized in Indianapolis the evening prior to his scheduled appearance.
A roundtable seminar on The New Media with Doty, Chris Dolack (World Racing Group), and Evan Jones (Maple Grove Raceway) produced a lively participation from the gathered writers and photographers.
Sponsors of the EMPA Convention included NASCAR (represented by Tim Southers, Whelen Modified Tour champion Ron Silk, and driver Michael Speeney); Dover International Speedway (Gary Camp); IZOD IndyCar Series (Kate Guerra); Pocono Raceway (Kevin Heaney); SPEED-TV; World Racing Group/DIRTcar/WoO (Chris Dolack, Kevin Kovac, and Joe Skotnicki); New England Racing Fuel; American Honda Motor Company; and Brice’s Auto Parts, Inc./NAPA (Bill Brice).
American Honda Motor Company/EMPA Video and Broadcast Contest
RACE COVERAGE (1) Matt Thomas, (2) Mike O’Brien
NON-EVENT/COMPILATION VIDEOS (1) Mel Thomas, (2) Brian Unangst
LOCAL/REGIONAL NEWS SEGMENT (1) Brian Unangst
LOCAL/REGIONAL AUTO RACING PROGRAMS (1) Brian Unangst, (2) Mike Feltenberger and Randy Kane
National Programs AND Single Event Coverage
RACE COVERAGE-SINGLE EVENT (1) Matt Thomas, (2) Mike Feltenberger and Randy Kane
Pocono Raceway/EMPA Writers Contest Award Winners
RACE REPORT (1) Len Sammons, (2) Dino Oberto, (3) Ron Hedger
PERSONALITY PROFILE (1) Chuck Givler, (2) Chris Romano, (3) Len Sammons
FEATURE (1) Andy Heintzelman, (2) Chris Romano, (3) Ron Hedger
COLUMN (1) John Snyder, (2) Matt Noles, (3) JR Kennerup
NEWS (1) Kyle Hardner, (2) Len Sammons, (3) Dino Oberto
Brice’s Auto Parts, Inc./NAPA/EMPA Photography Contest Award Winners
ACTION (1) Dave Pratt, (2), and (3) Dave Pratt
CRASH ACTION (1) Mike Petrucci, (2) Jim Smith, (3) Lee Smith
DON MARKS MEMORIAL ACTION SEQUENCE (1) Tommy Hein, (2) Ace Lane Jr., (3) Todd Dziadosz
PICTURE STORY (1) Ace Lane Jr., (2) Dave Dalesandro, (3) Paul Arch
PORTRAIT AND PERSONALITY (1) Mike Petrucci, (2) Paul Arch, (3) Mike Petrucci
FEATURE (1) Rebecca Eisele, (2) Dave Dalesandro, (3) Rick Sweeten
UNPUBLISHED COLOR (1) Dave Dalesandro, (2) Rick Sweeten, (3) Brent Smith
PURE ART (1) Brent Smith, (2) Debbie Gastelu, (3) Bob Yurko
PORTFOLIO OF THE YEAR Ace Lane Jr.
BEST OF SHOW Rebecca Eisele
JANICE BRICE “HONORABLE MENTION” AWARD Jim Smith