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Welcome to the Eastern Motorsport Press Association! 
The Mission of the EMPA is to acknowledge excellence in motorsports reporting and those whose who have excelled on the track. 

To foster an atmosphere to improve the quality of motorsports reporting through the fellowship and interaction of veteran media with less experienced members in a welcoming atmosphere where tips, techniques and ideas are exchanged and encouraged.  

To increase positive interactions between racetracks, sanctioning bodies and the working racing media. 
Thank you to all our Sponsors for a successful Convention!

Eastern Motorsport Press Association Announces Hall of Fame and Award Nominees

(HAZLE TOWNSHIP, PA 12-5-23) The Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) has released the ballot to members for their prestigious Hall of Fame and special awards that will be presented during the organizations 51st annual Convention set to take place January 12-14, 2024 at the Holiday Inn in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

The EMPA Board of Directors meticulously reviewed the many names that were narrowed down in the respective categories, including just under 60 for induction into the EMPA Hall of Fame.

Respected motorsports journalist and past EMPA president Ron Hedger and northeast pavement Modified ace George Kent are locked in to this year’s entry to the Hall of Fame, needing no votes.

There is an equally impressive list of distinguished individuals who will be voted on by the EMPA membership. They include asphalt Modified standout Ted Christopher, rising Sprint Car star Kevin Gobrecht, dirt Modified kingpins Brett Hearn and Billy Pauch Sr., renowned photojournalist Ace Lane Jr., pavement specialist Steve Park, NHRA perennial champion Don Prudhomme, celebrated central Pennsylvania Sprint Car racer Steve Smith Jr., and Cathy Venturini, a respected co-car owner on the ARCA Series.  

The organization will also honor National and Northeast Driver(s) of the Year in both asphalt and dirt. The youth is also recognized with the John Blewett III Young Gun Award presented by New England Race Fuels. Other honors to be bestowed are Newsmaker of the Year, Promotional Effort of the Year and Spirit of the Sport.

EMPA also recognizes many of their own, presenting a Writer of the Year and Photographer of the Year along with several other awardees in a variety of writer and photographer categories.

The annual three-day convention begins with a Friday evening Salute to the Champions presented by Belmont’s Garage, where a number of local and regional driving titlists are invited to meet and greet with the press. Saturday consists of press conferences and seminars followed by the evening’s formal Hall of Fame dinner and awards ceremony.

The Mission of EMPA is: to acknowledge excellence in motorsports and those who have excelled; to foster an atmosphere to improve the quality of motorsports reporting through fellowship and interaction of veteran media with less experienced members in a welcoming atmosphere where tips, techniques and ideas are exchanged.; and to increase positive interactions between race tracks, sanctioning bodies and the working motorsports media.

Founded in 1969, the Eastern Motorsport Press Association is an organization of professional writers, broadcasters, announcers, videographers, and photographers working in the motorsports industry. It also includes associate and corporate members with backing from Dover International Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Brice’s NAPA Auto Parts, New England Race Fuels, Maple Grove Raceway, and American Racer Tire who are among the supporters of the organization.

2023/24 Eastern Motorsport Press Association Hall of Fame/Award Nominees

EMPA Hall of Fame nominees:

The following two gentlemen will also be inducted. No vote is needed:

Ron Hedger, George Kent

4 will be inducted: Ted Christopher, Kevin Gobrecht, Brett Hearn, Ace Lane, Jr., Steve Park, Billy Pauch, Sr., Don Prudhomme, Steve Smith Jr., Cathy Venturini

John Blewett III Young Gun Presented by New England Race Fuels. One winner: Austin Beers

Justin Grosso, Katie Hettinger, Steven Snyder, Jr., Drake Troutman

Richie Evans Memorial Northeast Asphalt Driver of the Year. One winner: Wayne Helliwell Jr.

Matt Hirschman, Wayne Owen, Ron Silk

Richie Evans Memorial Northeast Dirt Driver of the Year. One winner: Brent Marks, Freddie Rahmer, Matt Sheppard, Mat Williamson

Al Holbert Memorial National Asphalt Driver of the Year. One winner: Ryan Blaney, William Bryon, Doug Kalitta, Kyle Larson, Alex Palou, Leah Pruitt, Brandon Queen

Al Holbert Memorial National Dirt Driver of the Year. One winner: Rico Abreu, Jade Avedisian, Kyle Larson, Hudson O’Neal, Bobby Pierce, Brad Sweet, Rickie Thornton, Jr., Tim Ward

Chris Economaki Memorial EMPA Newsmaker of the Year. One winner: CARS Tour, FLO Racing, High Limit Sprint Series, Tony Stewart, Vores Compact Touring Series

EMPA Promotional Effort of the Year. One winner: Lyle Devour, Indoor Racing Series, Monaco Modified Tri Track Series, Joe Skotnicki/RoC Series/RPM, Josh Vanada

Junie Donlavey Spirit of the Sport. One winner: Boom Briggs, Red Farmer, Joe Renfro, Wiscasset Motor Speedway

Jim Hunter Memorial EMPA Writer of the Year Award. One winner: Dan Anderson, Bruce Bennett, Thomas Pope, Ted Schmidt, Scott Walsh

Ace Lane, Sr., Memorial EMPA Photographer of the Year. One winner: Evan Canfield, Rich Corbett, Debbie Gastelu, Michael Jaworecki, Sr., Walt Smith


Greetings, all -

Well folks, here it is!

The ballot is ready for you to look over and cast your votes. 

We know this was a little longer than expected but we had a lot to go over and we wanted to get it right. 

I want to say that the Board worked tirelessly on this and I personally thank each of them for the time and effort they put in.

PLEASE  take the time to read over all of the names and bios. This email includes two attachments - one is all of the bios, and the other is a 2-page ballot. There is no question each individual or organization that is up for consideration is worthy of being on the ballot. Now it’s up to you to cast your vote for who you feel is best. 

The DEADLINE for returning your ballot is MONDAY, DECEMBER 18.

That means you will have up to the next two weeks to make your selections and turn in your votes.

I’m asking that you return all votes to me via email to or if need be print and drop it off in the mail and send to yours truly at 211 Columbus Avenue, Hazle Township, PA 18202 ASAP.

A reminder - you must have your 2024 dues paid in order to vote and to attend the convention.

Continue to check your email as there will be plenty more coming your way including information on attending the convention.

EVERY VOTE COUNTS!!!!! So please vote.

Peace, out and happy voting,


EMPA Ballot EMPA Bios

Greetings all,

Passing along some info on the convention.

First, there will be two of our five board seats up for election. So if anyone would like to toss their name into the ring and run please inform me ASAP so we can get you on that ballot. These will be three year terms.

We are making final preparations to send out this year’s Hall of Fame nominees and award selections.


So PLEASE read over all the bios before making your selection.

I always emphasize this because some folks will not cast a vote and many times the tallies are very close

When we send out the ballot it will also have info on whether or not you will be attending the convention. This is very important as we need to have an accurate headcount for the hotel for meals and such. Hopefully we get to see many of you attending.

As you know, the Friday evening Belmont’s Garage Champions Salute is always a great way to kick off the weekend. Right now we have several drivers lined up, however, if there is a champion you feel would like to attend please get with me as we do limit the number.

And, if you haven’t made your hotel reservations yet please do:

You have two ways to book. 

Via Phone- Use code EMS

Via On-Line- Use

If you would like to call the hotel direct here is the number: 570-822-1011

Make sure to let them know you are with EMPA.

More news and info is coming and until then,

Peace, out



A message from Dino....and you'll be receiving them frequently over the next few weeks. Be sure to read them.

Hello all,

Just a quick FYI we have some EMPA info cards that we are sending along with your membership cards for those who are receiving them via mail.

We’d like for you all to pass these out to any media persons you may meet up with and the intent to give them info on the organization.

For the rest of you all we’ll get them to you at the convention.

A big thanks to Debbie Gastelu for coming up with the design and getting the cards made up.

P.S. I’ll be at Wall Stadium this Saturday for Turkey Derby and will have membership and info cards to hand out. If anyone going wants to pay for their membership dues or even hand in your writing contest entries you can do so.

Peace, out



Attention all writers…

The time is running out to get your entries in for the EMPA/Pocono Raceway Writers Contest so please try to get them in soon!

Just an FYI I will be at Wall Stadium on Saturday, November 25 for Turkey Derby. If you want I can pick up entries and dues there.

You must have your 2024 dues paid in order to vote in the upcoming ballot, attend the convention and enter any contests.

Dues remain at just $50.

There are a few ways to pay which includes by check or through Speedway Illustrated on their website at the link

That also gets you a one year free subscription to the magazine and a huge thanks to Karl Fredrickson for this really great offer to the organization.

If paying by check please make out to:

Eastern Motorsport Press Association

Mail to:

Dino Oberto

211 Columbus Avenue

Hazle Township, Pa. 18202

Thanks, Dino






From Bob Yurko:

In 2015 The Bailey Bunch(Randy/Dennis) received the

Junie Donlavey Spirit of the Sport Award at the convention.Found this
photo of Randy and wife Donna.Racing lost a special guy.



Bob Yurko asked me to share the obituary of Carl Hess, as many of you likely knew him. Just click on the link..


Belmont's Garage


EMPA Newsletter Halloween 23

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