EMPA ANNOUNCES HALL OF FAME AND AWARD WINNERS
Story By: RON HEDGER / EASTERN MOTORSPORTS PRESS ASSOCIATION
Photos By: RACERSGUIDE.COM PHOTO FILES
King of Prussia, PA. – December 15, 2016- When the members of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association gather for their annual convention at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in King of Prussia, PA on the weekend of January 6-8, 2017, they will be honoring some of the sport’s greatest names at the NASCAR/EMPA Hall of Fame banquet.
Leading the slate voted on by EMPA members will be the 2017 EMPA Hall of Fame inductees. The outstanding group will include dirt track legend Kenny Brightbill, racer, crew chief, team owner and broadcaster Ray Evernham, longtime NASCAR photographers Howie and Mary Hodge, five-time NASCAR modified division national champion Tony Hirschman and the late sprint car star Kramer Williamson.
The Richie Evans Memorial Northeast Driver of the Year award will be presented to DIRTcar ace Matt Sheppard, while the Al Holbert Memorial National Driver of the Year trophy will go to NASCAR talent Martin Truex Jr.
The family of Bryan Clauson has been chosen as the winners of the Junie Donleavy Spirit of the Sport Award for their dedication to the sport both before and after the untimely passing of the open cockpit superstar.
The John Blewett III Young Guns Award presented by New England Racing Fuels will be presented to North Carolina’s Max McLaughlin, who spent his summer on the DIRTcar tracks of the northeast, while the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be honored as the Chris Economaki Newsmaker of the Year for their outstanding celebration of the 100th running of their 500 mile classic.
Winners of a number of other prestigious awards will be announced at the NASCAR/EMPA Hal of Fame banquet, among them the Jim Hunter Memorial Writer Award, the Ace Lane Sr. Memorial Photography Award, the Ernie and Marilyn Saxton Dedication to EMPA Award and the Jerry Reigle Memorial Outstanding Contribution to Sprint Car Racing award, which is sponsored by the World Racing Group.
Winners in the hard fought Pocono Raceway Writer’s Contest, American Honda Motor Co. Video/Broadcast Contest and Brice’s NAPA Photography Contest will also be announced at the banquet.
Other sponsors of the three-day working convention include NASCAR and breakfast hosts Dover International Speedway and IndyCar. In addition, Firestone will entertain attendees in their hospitality room throughout the weekend and Unique Pretzel will have Rob Rhodes on hand to present gift baskets to the track champions participating in the annual Champions Night on Friday, January 6th.
The convention will conclude Sunday with the annual EMPA business meeting and Board of Directors election.