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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!
2/29/24 Hi, everyone - Dino is preparing the next newsletter and we want to include items you'd like to share, including any leftovers you may have from the convention last month. You can either send your new/pics to me or directly to Dino at (or both) and we'll be sure to include it. 

Hope you had fun in the south if you ventured there to get the racing season underway.

We'll all be busy really soon, and that's a great thing!

Take care - 
Carol Houssock

Eastern Motorsport Press Association Celebrates Excellence and Professionalism at 51st Convention

(Wilkes-Barre, PA)   When Jonathan Swift said ‘everything old is new again’ in the 1700’s, the 51st Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) convention proved he was right. With new business sponsors joining our longtime supporters, new winners of the organization’s various contests, a new Saturday format, new Association members in attendance, and a new venue, superior teamwork combined to make what several said was the best-ever EMPA convention. That’s a home run in another sport, but for motorsports professionals it was a checkered flag.
Members and supporters gathered at the Holiday Inn East Mountain in Wilkes-Barre, PA for a weekend that annually blends work with celebration. The event is made possible because of support from the business community and individuals involved in some aspect of motorsports.
The induction of outstanding individuals into the EMPA Hall of Fame is the weekend’s crown jewel event. This year two asphalt racers (George Kent and the late Ted Christopher), two dirt racers (Brett Hearn and Billy Pauch, Sr.) and two motorsports professionals (writer Ron Hedger and photographer Ace Lane, Jr.) received the most votes from EMPA members and are now in the hall.
Hearn remarked that when you’re racing you don’t think about what you’ve done, you think about what you’re going to do. Pauch said the EMPA membership made drivers like him heroes by what they wrote and the pictures they took. Emotions took over during a pair of acceptance speeches. Mike Christopher accepted the award for his late twin brother, Ted, while Lane mentioned how many photographers his late father had inspired during his own Hall of Fame career.
EMPA’s President, Dino Oberto, kicked things off by welcoming everyone to the convention during the Friday evening Belmont’s Garage Champions Night. This event was added several years ago as a way to interview various track champions during the recently completed season. He, Carol Houssock and Earl Krause interviewed Micah Adams (Evergreen Raceway), Brett Tonkin (Penn Can/Afton), Zane Zeiner (ROC Modified Series), Logan Watt (Grandview), Nick Robinson (Chemung Speedrome), Josh Patterson (East Coast TQ Midgets), Ryan Godown (Georgetown/New Egypt), and Buddy Sload (ATQMRA).
Saturday morning press conferences featured Mike Lewis from Dover Motor Speedway, Kyle Taraska from the ATQMRA, Chris Dolack from World Racing Group, and Steven Ovens from Land of Legends Raceway. Each spoke highlighted 2023 and provided information on the upcoming season. Ovens presented data from their video coverage, which is free and proving beneficial for racers seeking sponsorship.
EMPA’s Vice President, Karl Fredrickson, introduced the keynote speaker, Dave Argabright. He spoke about his entrance into motorsports and how communicating with the public has changed over the years. He kept the audience engaged with his light-hearted stories of working with the likes of Chris Economaki, as a columnist and later as author of a book on the legendary man. Argabright told the members that you have to be unique, entertaining, relevant and informative. He added that he is most proud that the racing community accepted him.
Bob Stephens, a retired pilot and former race car owner, joined Argabright and Ovens in a panel discussion on the changing world of motorsports media. Stephens, who spent years as a member of the distinguished Blue Angels and flew for Southwest Airlines for over 30 years, shared what he sees as almost one-to-one similarities between being in the military and NASCAR Cup racing. He stated that each requires a high level of professionalism and reliance on a team for success. The panel then discussed artificial intelligence, which is certain to infiltrate and appeal to some who accept nonsense. Argabright added the importance of works like credibility, accountability and integrity when putting your name to what you write or shoot as a photographer. Ovens emphasized the importance of getting the word out.
Oberto mentioned three awards to close out the morning session. He recognized Rich Corbett, now living in Florida, with a President’s Award for his dedication to, and marketing of, EMPA. Corbett recruits new members on an ongoing basis. Carol Houssock accepted George Kent’s Hall of Fame award. Kent had planned to attend but a medical issue prevented travel. She will present the statue to Kent at the upcoming Chemung Speedrome banquet. Pete MacDonald received the Howie and Mary Hodge photography award from Mike Jaworecki, Sr.
Oberto facilitated an engaging afternoon discussion among three book authors in attendance. Dave Argabright, Buffy Swanson, and Jim (JK) Kelly spoke of the arduous task of actually writing a book, from coming up with the idea or subject, through distribution. They agreed there is no one way to do. Those writing fiction have to paint the whole story, while non-fiction books required careful photo selection. Even coming up with a title can be as simple as hearing a phrase or having ideas just come to them. This discussion was very well received by the membership.
Saturday evening was all about awards. Those going in the Hall of Fame received their hardware and spoke a few words. Emcee and President Dino Oberto then moved in to the presentation of driver, member and other awards listed below. Matt Hirschman and Matt Sheppard were on hand, just as they were a year ago, to receive hardware for being voted the Northeast asphalt and dirt drivers of the year. Both repeated a prior season of excellence and incredible numbers. Ryan Blaney and Ricky Thornton, Jr. were voted the National asphalt and dirt drivers of the year. Blaney sent a video thanking the membership for their votes, saying it was special to receive this award from an organization where both his father and grandfather are in the EMPA Hall of Fame.
Reviews of the weekend have come in swiftly, with many saying they had attended the best convention ever. EMPA remains dedicated to promoting the best in motorsports through its professional, associate and corporate members. 

2023 Pocono Raceway/EMPA Writer’s Contest
Feature: 1st Ron Hedger (Speed Sport Insider), 2nd Thomas Pope (Speedway Illustrated), 3rd Mike Adaskaveg (
Column: 1st Dan Anderson (Speedway Illustrated), 2nd Scott Walsh (Scranton Times-Tribune), 3rd Karl Fredrickson (Speedway Illustrated)
Personality Profile: 1st Carol Houssock (Speedway Illustrated), 2nd Mike Adaskaveg (, 3rd Bobby Chalmers (Race Pro Weekly)
Race Report: 1st Scott Walsh (Scranton Times-Tribune), 2nd Nick Graziano (, 3rd Ron Hedger (
News: 1st Scott Walsh (Scranton Times-Tribune), 2nd Mike Adaskaveg (, 3rd Len Sammons (Area Auto Racing News)

2023 Brice’s NAPA Auto Photography Contest
Action: 1st Brent Smith, 2nd Harry Meeks, 3rd Brent Smith, honorable mention Tommy Lane, Jack Kromer
Action Sequence: 1st Duane Canfield, 2nd Jim Smith, 3rd Harry Meeks, honorable mention Debbie Gastelu
Crash Action: 1st Bobby Chalmers, 2nd Todd Dziadosz, 3rd Peter MacDonald, honorable mention Evan Canfield, Bob Yurko
Feature: 1st Jack Kromer, 2nd Bob Yurko, 3rd Walt Smith, honorable mention Tommy Lane, Duane Canfield
Picture Story: 1st Bob Yurko, 2nd Erika Bye, 3rd Paul Arch, honorable mention Paul Arch (2)
Portrait & Personality: 1st Jack Kromer, 2nd Bob Yurko, 3rd Matt Butcosk, honorable mention Duane Canfield, Brent Smith, Matt Butcosk
Pure Art: 1st Duane Canfield, 2nd Matt Butcosk, 3rd Brent Smith, honorable mention Debbie Gastelu, Walt Smith, Kristen Cocca
Unpublished Color: 1st Brent Smith, 2nd Todd Dziadosz, 3rd Brent Smith, honorable mention Micah Adams, Todd Dziadosz, Jeremy Zarfus
Portfolio: Brent Smith
Best of Show: Brent Smith

EMPA Hall of Fame: Ted Christopher, Brett Hearn, Ron Hedger, George Kent, Ace Lane, Jr., Billy Pauch, Sr.
Junie Dunlevy Spirit of the Sport: Red Farmer
Janice Brice photo award: Matt Butcosk
John Blewett III Young Gun, Presented by New England Race Fuels: Austin Beers
Jerry Reigle Outstanding Contribution to Sprint Car Racing: Allan Holland 
Richie Evans Northeast Asphalt Driver of the Year: Matt Hirschman
Richie Evans Northeast Dirt Driver of the Year: Matt Sheppard         
Al Holbert National Dirt Driver of the Year: Ricky Thornton Jr.
Al Holbert National Asphalt Driver of the Year; Ryan Blaney
Chris Economaki Newsmaker of the Year: High Limit Sprint Car Series
Ace Lane, Sr. Photographer of the Year: Evan Canfield                                              
Jim Hunter Writer of the Year: Bruce Bennett
President’s Award: Rich Corbett

Howie and Mary Hodge Photo: Pete MacDonald
1/10/24 I'm sharing a note from Board Member, Karl Fredrickson, and I've attached the weekend schedule again for those who didn't catch it the first time. Carol

Good Day All:

As Dave Argabright and I have been conspiring to present something of value to media professionals on Saturday morning, this note is to inform you that Dave just sent a rough draft of what he's been working on. 

I'm writing to encourage you to share with colleagues that what he has to say is among the most insightful, powerful, and inspiring words I've read. I am eager to hear them in person. The notion that a Q&A will be available afterwards is an extraordinary opportunity that only rarely comes along. 

If you want to become or improve your skills as a professional in the media, some of the best, most formative, and insightful guidance you'll ever receive will be presented on Saturday morning at the Holiday Inn, Wilkes-Barre.

As my friend Russ, one of the greatest promoters ever, would say: Tell your friends!

Looking forward to seeing each of you on Friday.


Greetings all,

We’re just one week away from the convention and everything is really coming together nicely.

As a matter of fact, we have our best attendance numbers in some time, and we’re not taking any more requests at this time.

Friday night is jam packed, Saturday morning will have a bit of a new look to the press conferences, the photo contest is going to have some amazing entries, and the awards dinner is shaping up to be a great and memorable affair.

We’re very much looking forward to seeing you all, and we’ll have the complete weekend itinerary out following this weekend.

Peace, out


12/27/23 Greetings all,
Just a FYI - your Convention Attendance form must be in 
by Dec. 31.  Dino

Greetings everyone

I would like to take a brief moment here and thank you all for participating in the voting for the Hall of Fame and the other special categories.

It was very well received this year and I personally appreciate everyone’s effort to make every vote count.

The Board worked very hard putting together this year’s ballot and, judging by the outcome and the votes cast, I feel we did just that.

We are now in contact with the winners, and it is looking like the convention is going to be awesome for both Friday and Saturday with attendees.

A reminder that time is running out to get your weekend plans in to us - and the same goes for making your room reservation.

Thanks again,

Peace out,


2024 Convention Attendance Form

Eastern Motorsport Press Association Hall of Fame Inductees and Award Winners Announced…

Ted Christopher, Brett Hearn, Ron Hedger, Ace Lane, Jr., George Kent and Billy Pauch, Sr. to HoF; Matt Hirschman and Matt Sheppard repeat as Northeast Drivers of the Year

(HAZLE TOWNSHIP, PA 12-19-23) The Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) is proud to announce the latest inductees into its prestigious Hall of Fame in advance of the

51st EMPA Convention, which takes place January 12-14 at the Holiday Inn in Wilkes-Barre, PA.


Voting was conducted by the EMPA membership and the select group elected to the Hall of Fame class of 2024 includes pavement Modified standouts George Kent and the late Ted Christopher. Both established themselves as outstanding competitors and achieved many victories every time they strapped into their racecars.


Two successful talents, no matter what they drove, are also entering into the Hall of Fame. For years, Brett Hearn and Billy Pauch, Sr. powered their way to countless wins and championships, most notably in dirt Modifieds. Their combined win total is staggering, and their careers will arguably go down in history among the best to ever wheel a racecar. 


A past president of EMPA, Ron Hedger is one of the most respected motorsports journalists in the business. His fair and unbiased reporting of the sport has, for years, given readers an accurate and detailed account whether it be a race report or profile. 


Award winning photo journalist Ace Lane Jr., will also be inducted, joining his late father, Ace Lane Sr., who was voted to the Hall of Fame in 2011.   


EMPA members also voted to recognize several individuals and organizations for excellence in 2023.


Matt Hirschman and Matt Sheppard have been voted as repeat winners of the Richie Evans Memorial Northeast Driver of the Year respectively in asphalt and dirt. For Hirschman it is his unprecedented fifth consecutive time receiving the honor while Sheppard has earned his fourth.


The Al Holbert Memorial National Driver of the Year, one each in asphalt and dirt, is going to 2023 NASCAR Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney and dirt Late Model sensation Ricky Thornton Jr.


The 2023 John Blewett III Young Gun awardee, is presented by New England Race Fuels, is asphalt Modified racer Austin Beers. Beers is coming off a breakout year on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with a pair of wins and a solid third in the championship standings.


High Limit Racing was the top vote-getter for the Chris Economaki Memorial News Maker of the Year while the EMPA Outstanding Promotional Effort of the Year will be presented to the Indoor Racing Series and Len Sammons Productions.


Legendary Red Farmer, the 91-year old original member of the infamous “Alabama Gang,” will receive the Junie Donlavey “Spirit of the Sport” award for his 75+ years of racing.


During the formal awards dinner the organization will also recognize many of their own including the Jim Hunter Memorial Writer of the Year and Ace Lane Sr., Memorial Photographer of the Year, plus several others whose talents are showcased in the EMPA Pocono Raceway Writers Contest and the Brice’s NAPA Auto Parts Photo Contest.


The annual 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 guest speakers. Noted award winning motorsports author Dave Argabright will be on hand to discuss the media’s role in racing. Dover Motor Speedway will serve as luncheon host. It all culminates with the evening’s Hall of Fame dinner and awards ceremony.


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 Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Brice’s NAPA Auto Parts, Wanick Construction, Belmont’s Garage, New England Race Fuels, Speedway Illustrated, Maple Grove Raceway, Buckley’s Automotive, Inc., and Himmer Graphics, who are among the supporters of the organization.


Greetings all,

Just want to send out some info to you all.

We are now less than one month from the convention, so here are some important things we need to review:

  • Did you send in your 2024 dues so you can vote and attend the convention?
  • Did you fill out your ballot yet? (You have until Monday, December 18).
  • Did you fill out your convention attendance sheet? (This is vital so we can give the hotel the proper head counts).
  • Did you make your room reservations? (The deadline is the end of the month).

Some others items I’d like to pass….our Belmont’s Garage Champions Salute on Friday evening is going to be well attended and we’ll send out the driver list shortly. I will be reaching out to photographers for driver photos.

The voting is REALLY close in a number of categories so, as always, I can’t stress enough how much your vote matters. Once again, look over the bio’s and choose who you feel is best.

Once all the votes are counted, we will announce the winners early next week.

The EMPA Pocono Raceway Writer’s Contest entries are in the hands of the judge as we speak. He has his work cut out for him too as there were close to 90 entries submitted! Winners will be announced during the Saturday evening Hall of Fame and Awards Dinner.

Photographers  - please get your boards ready for the EMPA Brice’s NAPA Auto Parts Photo Contest. As always, that will be taking place on Saturday morning of the convention. Contest chairman, Bob Yurko, is hoping that there will be plenty of entrants and he encourages you to all be part of the contest. He also passes along that if anyone needs assistance, he’s more than willing to help out in any way possible. You can call him at: 484-387-1768 or email him at

Our Saturday morning has some changes from years past. We will have some great speakers giving presentations. I sent out a press release mentioning who will be there, and you can find it on the website. We’ll still have a few others on hand to talk about what’s up with their respective organizations and such. 

We also have an open invitation to any promoters or PR people for Saturday morning to join us. If you know of anyone in those capacities, please let them know and get back to me ASAP.

The staff at the Holiday Inn Wilkes-Barre has been amazing thus far. They have been working with us to ensure this will be a great convention, and I can honestly say it has been a pleasure working out all the details with them to ensure that our stay is a most enjoyable one. I can assure you all that you will not be disappointed.  

I will be putting together the weekend itinerary soon.

Finally, if you know of any members who have not been receiving our emails please let us know and we'll correct it.

More news is on the way and until then…

Peace, out

12/8/23 Attached you'll find the official registration form for the convention for you and any guests you may be bringing. The completed form has to reach Dino by Dec. 31st so he can relay meal numbers to the hotel. 
Please direct any questions to Dino at
Thanks, and hope to see you in January!
Convention Registration

Eastern Motorsports Press Association welcomes Maple Grove Raceway and Buckley’s Automotive as convention sponsors


(HAZLE TOWNSHIP, PA 12-7-23) The Eastern Motorsports Press Association (EMPA), in advance of the organization’s upcoming convention taking place January 12-14, 2024 at the Holiday Inn in Wilkes-Barre, PA, is happy to welcome as event sponsors Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, PA and Buckley’s Automotive Inc., located in Horseheads, NY.


Maple Grove Raceway is centered around a quarter-mile straight racetrack which features NHRA Drag Racing plus many specialized automotive-oriented events throughout the season. From nostalgia racing, Top Fuel dragsters, and jet-powered vehicles to Street Bike races and Street Legal Grudge racing, Maple Grove has something to offer for almost every type of automobile interest.

In 2023 Maple Grove Raceway entered its 61st year of continuous operation, under new ownership. The Koretsky Family purchased Maple Grove Raceway in April of 2022. It is their mission to make Maple Grove Raceway the most premier racing facility on the East Coast. It is their goal to make Maple Grove home to many other events that promote a thrilling, family-oriented place, where everyone of all ages can enjoy. The beautiful land of Maple Grove hosts not only racing but also concerts, flea markets, festivals, and more.

They didn’t need a franchise. They built a reputation. Buckley’s Automotive is the home of great service with no sales pressure. Whether it’s a brake job, oil change or a simple alignment, their techs are ready for the job. Open Monday through Friday and located in Horseheads. Buckley’s also sells Cooper, Hankook and Mastercraft tires. Visit their Facebook page for more information.

Jody Buckley, the owner and founder of Buckley’s Automotive, is a huge supporter of racing in and around New York’s southern tier. As a racer, he’s won races and track championships. As a race car owner, he’s helped young drivers hone their skills and work their way up to different divisions. As a businessman, he’s helped provide sponsor dollars to racers and race teams throughout the area. But, he’s also been a track promoter, having served in that capacity several years ago at Chemung Speedrome.

The EMPA 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, seminars and a photo contest followed by the evening’s formal Hall of Fame dinner and awards ceremony.


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, Speedway Illustrated, Maple Grove Raceway, Buckley’s Automotive, Inc., and American Racer Tire who are among the supporters of the organization.


EMPA Saturday Schedule Set

Legendary Journalist Dave Argabright to Appear

Wilkes-Barre, PA (12-6-23)

When the annual Eastern Motorsport Press Association convention takes place the weekend of January 12-14, at the Holiday Inn in Wilkes-Barre, PA, the organization proudly welcomes legendary motorsports journalist Dave Argabright for a special appearance discussing the media’s role in racing. Argabright will speak on Saturday morning, January 13. 

Following opening remarks by EMPA President Dino Oberto and a select group of guests, Argabright will offer his take on the role and responsibility of media in today’s changing landscape.

Dave Argabright, one of the most prolific and influential motorsports media figures of his generation, has a career that spans more than 40 years. He has written nearly 20 books, bylined over 1,600 published columns and features, and has appeared as on-air talent in 500 network television broadcasts.

A chance meeting with sports editor of the Anderson Herald in his mid-20s led Argabright to having a weekly column, Track Talk, that began in 1983. His magazine career got off to an inauspicious start as Open Wheel’s Dick Berggren rejected Argabright’s first two submissions. Within days, however, Argabright applied Berggren’s input and produced a story about Chuck Amati that ran in the February 1983 issue of Open Wheel.

In 1999 Argabright teamed with Brad Doty to write Doty’s autobiography, Still Wide Open which became an instant classic and was followed by books on Jack Hewitt, Earl Baltes, Doug Wolfgang, Speedy Bill Smith, Rex Robbins and more including his latest release The Newport Nightmare, Jimmy Owens.

In 2014 Argabright was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

Many television viewers recognize Argabright as a familiar face on racing telecasts. His broadcast work began in 1990, and over the following three-plus decades Argabright has appeared on MAVTV, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, ESPN, The Nashville Network (TNN), and SPEED, among other networks. Argabright also served as a pit reporter with the Indianapolis 500 Radio Network from 2004 to 2010.

Special Guest Bob Stephens will bring a unique perspective when he takes the stage late morning. As a member of the 1981/’82 U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels, Stephens has been a lifelong fan of auto racing and spent years as a car owner.

The Blue Angels have specific goals of community outreach and recruiting for the Navy. Auto racing’s writers and photographers sometimes walk that gray area between telling it like it is and showing racing’s best side.

Stephens, who knows both sides extremely well, will share his experiences about what representation means with regard to accuracy and presenting an appealing activity.

EMPA invites race promoters and PR persons to attend the Saturday morning portion of the convention. Anyone interested should contact Dino Oberto at

About the EMPA: Founded in 1969, the Eastern Motorsports Press Association fosters a better understanding and recognition for the motorsports press and strives to improve working conditions for the media while working with tracks and sanction bodies. 


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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