NYSSCA BANQUET RELEASE
34TH ANNUAL N.Y. S. S. C. A. AWARD CEREMONIES HONOR AREAS BEST
JANUARY 18, 2003
ALBANY, NY - A packed house of over 400 members and guests were on hand
Saturday night for The New York State Stock Car Association's 34th Annual
Awards Banquet. Masters of Ceremony Dan Martin and John Stanley did a
wonderful job guiding the crowd through the award presentations.
NYSSCA President John Keegan began by welcoming those in attendance and
was excited to announce an almost 30% increase in membership in 2002. Keegan
thanked the N.Y.S.S.C.A. officers and Board of Directors as well as the
volunteers who helped bring about the growth. He continued by urging members
to become more involved and to continue to seek out new members.
The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony kicked off the evening's festivities.
The Bedell family of Nassau in memory of their son and brother, Robert
"Boomer" Bedell, sponsors the ceremony each year. This year's recipients of
N.Y.S.S.C.A.'s highest honors were George Marcus, Robert "Bob" Whitbeck and
John "Jocko" Martterer.
Local racing columnist Rick Harting began by inducting Lebanon Valley
Sportsman driver George Marcus from Danbury, CT. Referring to Marcus as "The
driver who owned the Valley Sportsman class", Harting highlighted a great
career, which began at the Accord Speedway in 1969. Even a stint in the
military in Alaska couldn't keep George away from racing. While stationed in
Alaska Marcus actually picked up his first feature win competing in a
modified street stock class. He returned home and in 1987 when Lebanon Valley
began the dirt sportsman class George found a home. Over the next 14 years
Marcus garnered 38 wins and 4 track championships including the 2000 season.
George retired after the 2000 season and went out on top. In acceptance
Marcus thanked his family and friends and the many sponsors who helped him
over the years and gave special thanks to his brother Robbie who was the
driving force behind the successful team for so many years.
Fellow Hall of Fame member Bill Wimble made the long trip up from Florida
to induct his friend Robert "Bob" Whitbeck. A car builder Whitbeck began
building cars in the late forty's, Jeep Herbert and Pete Corey campaigned
Whitbeck racers. A fixture at the "Track of Champions" for four decades
Whitbeck crew chiefed for the potent #37 Corey drove. Whitbeck cars captured
over 50 feature events at Fonda. A Canajoharie, NY native Whitbeck influenced
another local youngster to try his luck at the racing game. Dave Lape took
his admiration of Whitbeck right to the track and is one of Fonda Speedway's
most successful drivers with nearly 100 feature victories. The Whitbeck
family made the trip from Florida and North Carolina to be present for the
induction. Bob's son and daughter accepted on behalf of their late father and
spoke of him bench racing with Corey, Herbert and Shoemaker in heaven.
Lebanon Valley writer and Troy Record columnist Ed Biittig Jr took the
stage to introduce the final 2002 Hall of Fame inductee. John "Jocko"
Martterer began his racing career as a mechanic and crew chief in the
mid-sixty's at the Pine Bowl and Menands Speedway's in the Capital District
of NY. Teaming up with Lebanon Valley legend Tommy Corellis in the late 60's
Jocko helped Corellis capture rookie of the year honors in 1968 at the Valley
along with track championships in 1969 - 1971. Jocko's long list of
championships include a plethora of drivers such as Mert "Socks" Hulbert,
John Flach Jr, Alan Johnson, Rich Ricci Jr and most recently Brett Hearn. In
the almost five decades Martterer has been wrenching and directing race teams
he has collected twelve championships and has amassed over 100 wins. A man of
few words "Jocko" thanked everyone and humbly accepted the prestigious award.
The ceremonies continued with this year's keynote speaker Vermont's T
hunder Road Speedway owner and well know CBS Sports announcer Ken Squire.
Squire gave accolades to the N.Y.S.S.C.A. organization for the great things
the do for racers and racing and gave praise to the Member Benefit Fund. He
made note of the importance of short track racing in the overall success of
N.A.S.C.A.R. and the popularity of racing in general. Telling a story of how
in 1964 he went to Daytona to help Bill France Sr. and how France told him
that by the next century auto racing would be the biggest sport in America.
He missed his prediction by 6 months. The ratings for N.A.S.C.A.R. were
second only the N. F. L. In a sports where the participants are awarded no
scholarships or grants or student loans he commended the drivers and teams
who put their hard earned money and time into the sport they love so much.
Squire also noted the involvement of so many families in racing and its
The awards presentation began with the participating track awards. Awards
were handed out based on achievement at the member's individual home tracks.
Last year, N.Y.S.S.C.A. membership was one of the requirements to be
considered for an award. This rule has been changed for 2002 to award any
member of the racing community that is deemed deserving of these awards, with
the exception of the N.Y.S.S.C.A. special awards, which will only be
presented to N.Y.S.S.C.A. members.
Newcomer of the Year awards were presented to Albany-Saratoga Speedway
drivers: John Filarecki Hobby Stock, Don Daniels Pro Street, Jimmy Cottrell
Sportsman and Jim Becker Modified. Devils Bowl Speedway drivers: Nathan
Chaves Hobby Stock and Eric Mack Modified. Utica Rome Speedway drivers: Rick
Condes Pure Stock, Denny Smith Pro Stock, Jeremy Vunk Sportsman, and Paul
Kinney Modified. Afton Speedway drivers: Ken Carson Jr. 4-Cylinder, Paul
Harrington Pure Stock, Denny Decker Pro Stock, Rodney Hart Sportsman and Dan
Hart Jr. Modified. Lebanon Valley Speedway drivers: Mike Eichstedt Pure
Stock, Kim Lavoy Rookie Pro Stock, Pro Stock Jason DiBello, Ryan Larkin
Sportsman, Jason Herrington 358 Modified and Andy Bachetti Modified. Fonda
Speedway drivers: Carol Parker Street Stock, Joe Mottoshiski Pro Stock, Dan
Ody IMCA, Elmo Reckner Sportsman and Chic Chandler 358 Modified.
Outstanding Performance Awards were presented to Albany-Saratoga Speedway
drivers: Roy Fifield Hobby Stock, Dean Charbonneau Pro Street, Tim Hartman
Sportsman and Matt DeLorenzo Modified. Devils Bowl Speedway drivers: Bob Ross
Cruisers 4-cyl, Robert Cole 6-cyl, Lori Cary Hobby Stock and Vince
Quenneville Modified. Utica Rome Speedway drivers: Jim Thomas Pure Stock,
Buddy Hencke Pro Stock, Tim Mayne Sportsman, and Gordy Button Modified. Afton
Speedway drivers: Jamie Banta 4-Cylinder, Shaun Walker Pure Stock, Harold
Humphrey Pro Stock, Steve Anderson Sportsman and Arnie Slade Modified.
Lebanon Valley Speedway drivers: George Miles Jr. Pure Stock, Bill Lobdell
Rookie Pro Stock, Rob Yetman Pro Stock, K. C. Goewey Sportsman, Rich Ricci
Jr. 358 Modified and Ken Tremont Sr. Modified. Fonda Speedway drivers: Shawn
Simmons Street Stock, Butchie Irwin Pro Stock, Steve Bidwell IMCA, Ryan Odasz
Sportsman, Bob Sitterly 358 Modified and A. J. Romano Modified.
Driver of the Year awards were presented to Albany-Saratoga Speedway
drivers: Jason Duncan Cruisers 4-cyl, Jason Pelton Cruisers 6-cyl, David
Daniels Hobby Stock, Mike Ballestero Sportsman and Brett Hearn Modified.
Devils Bowl Speedway drivers: Tim Whitney Cruisers 4-cyl, Jason Pelton 6-cyl,
Roy Fifield Hobby Stock, Fred Little Pro Stock and Dave Camara Modified.
Utica Rome Speedway drivers: Dave Mannise Pure Stock, Jason Rood Pro Stock,
Jamie Christian Sportsman and Matt Sheppard Modified. Afton Speedway drivers:
Shawn Mills Banta 4-Cylinder, Buck Mills Pure Stock, James Cornell Pro Stock,
Chad Cook Sportsman and Jeff Rudalavage Modified. Lebanon Valley Speedway
drivers: Peter Wiegand Pure Stock, Jay Corbin Rookie Pro Stock, Paul
LaRochelle Pro Stock, Art Collins Sportsman, Andy Bachetti 358 Modified and
Brett Hearn Modified. Fonda Speedway drivers: Jeff Davis Street Stock, Chris
Morris Pro Stock, Dan Ballard IMCA, Jim Davis Sportsman, Craig Criscone 358
Modified and Jeff Trombley Modified.
Frank Hoard Sr. was later honored with the prestigious N.Y.S.S.C.A.
Lifetime Achievement Award. The family theme continued as Dan Martin made all
aware of the 4 generations of the Hoard family in attendance and their
dedication to auto racing.
Other N.Y.S.S.C.A. Special Awards were given to Car Owner of the Year
Roger Heroux, a three-car team owner who campaigns weekly at Five Mile Point,
Utica Rome and Brewerton Heroux's drivers are Mitch Gibbs, R. C. Faigle and
David Peek presented the Dedication to Racing Award in Memory of Harry
Peek to Ron Proctor who in 2003 will begin his 30th year racing.
The Lifetime Contribution to N.Y.S.S.C.A. and Racing award in memory of
Ken Shoemaker was presented to Ed Feuz. Lew Boyd presented the award along
with Keith Shoemaker. Feuz was the promoter at the Fonda Speedway when it
opened in 1953. Boyd told a story related to him by Fuez about how the second
time the N.A.S.C.A.R. guys came to Fonda Richard Petty got beaten bad on the
track. The following morning at 7am a single person was kneeled down in the
third turn surveying the surface. Approaching the individual it was
discovered to be no other than Petty. When asked what the heck was he doing
on the race track at 7am on a Sunday morning Petty answered this place is
strange, if I'm ever gonna beat this place I gotta get to know it personally.
The person who came across Petty was Ed Fuez who was there to work on his
track. Fuez's dedication to making his racing surface the best it could be
was but one of his strong points. Fuez could not be in attendance but sent a
note thanking N.Y.S.S.C.A for the honor.
The Richards family of the CVRA were honored with the Community Service
award for their involvement in the 1st Annual Judith Richards Memorial Race.
Raising over $10,000 for the Rutland Area Hospice and Visiting Nurses and
other local charities the event was very successful. Bruce Richards thanks
N.Y.S.S.C.A. and also acknowledged his dad C. J., sister Sharon and brother
Jerry for their tireless efforts.
Certificates of Appreciation for Contributions to N.Y.S.S.C.A. were
awarded to Lebanon Valley Pro Stock driver Brian Keough who made a personal
donation to the United Way in the name of N.Y.S.S.C.A. and Ron Szczerba and
Bill Terry who sponsored the Jack Lockhart Memorial Race at Fonda Speedway
for non-winners. The sponsorship money generated from the event was used to
pay the purse but exceeded that amount; Szczerba and Terry donated the
remainder to N.Y.S.S.C.A.
The Overall Outstanding Performance award was presented to Brett Hearn.
In 105 events entered in 2002 Hearn captured 42 wins and championships at
both Lebanon Valley and Albany Saratoga. Hearn was unable to attend due to
accepting the Eastern Motorsports Press Association's Richie Evans Memorial
Northeast Driver of the Year award in Pa. Jody Gable and John Albanese
represented Hearn's Lebanon Valley modified and Albany Saratoga 358 modified
mounts and accepted the award on Brett's behalf.
President Keegan ended the awards portion by presenting Kelly Keefe with
the President's Award in appreciation for her enthusiasm and loyalty to the
organization. Kelly is the N.Y.S.S.C.A. Secretary and goes above and beyond
for the membership. Keefe was surprised and thrilled with the award and
N.Y.S.S.C.A. is "Here for you in 2003"! Join the team by visiting our
website at www.nyssca.com or see your local track representative at the area
car shows or the racetrack to become a member.