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NASCAR-BGN: Earnhardt Jr. Earns Eastern Motorsport Press Association Driver of the Year Award

24 December 1998

LANGHORNE, PA--Dale Earnhardt, Jr., 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National champion, and Fred Rahmer, the nation's winningest sprint car driver, have earned prestigious awards from the 250 plus members of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association.

Earnhardt Jr., son of seven time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, Sr., has earned the prestigious Al Holbert Memorial EMPA Driver of the Year Award. Earnhardt won seven races on his way to the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National title in his first full season of competition.

Fred Rahmer was voted the Northeast Driver of the Year by the EMPA membership. Rahmer won 33 sprint car feature races during the 1998 season.

The awards will be presented at the annual Eastern Motorsport Press Association convention taking place at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, Trevose, PA, January 8- 10. More than 125 motorsports journalists, broadcasters and photographers will be on hand for the three day convention which will include a number of press conferences, seminars, social functions and that the Winston Hall of Fame banquet.

"Big Daddy" Don Garlits, one of the best known names in drag racing, will be inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame. In addition Gerald Chamberlain ( an outstanding modified stock car racer in the sixties and seventies ); Ed Darrell ( innovative promoter of midget and sprint car racing events as well as founder of the All Star Outlaw Midgets ); Elton Hildreth ( popular paved track modified racer in the fifties and sixties ); George Nesler ( many time United Racing Club car owner champion in the sixties); and Bob O'Rourke ( the man who shaped stock car racing on Long Island for many years) will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Several other special awards will be presented at the Winston Hall of Fame Banquet. And there will be winners announced in the STP/EMPA Writers Contest, the Tosco 76/EMPA Photographers competition, and the Performance Racing Industry Magazine/EMPA Broadcasters Contest.

During the course of the three day convention Tony Stewart will be on hand representing his NASCAR Winston Cup sponsor Home Depot. He will be talking about his future in NASCAR racing. Century 21 will make a major announcement regarding their sponsorship program in the National Hot Rod Association. Pep Boys Indy Racing League driver Robbie Unser will visit with the media as will DIRT modified racer Brett Hearn, Barber Dodge Series champion Jeff Simmons, sprint car standout Jeff Shepard and a number of others.

Dean Nardi, publisher of Trackside Magazine, will discuss slander and libel in the media.

Representatives of the ARDC, URC, DIRT, Pocono Raceway, Grandview Speedway, Nazareth Speedway, Bridgeport Speedway, NHRA, NASCAR, IRL, CART, ARCA and other speedways and organizations will be on hand to talk about their plans for 1999 and beyond.

Several other guests are expected but plans are still being finalized.

All speedways and sanctioning organizations are invited to participate in the Eastern Motorsport Press Association convention.

"We often hear how difficult it is for speedways and sanctioning organizations to reach the media. We are offering them the opportunity to build a rapport with the motorsports media at the convention. All they have to do is participate," said EMPA president Ernie Saxton.

The Eastern Motorsport Press Association was founded in 1969 and includes more than 250 members of the media who cover motorsports of all types on a regular basis. The EMPA continues to strive toward improving the coverage given motorsports by the media. Members of the organization covering all forms of motorsports including short tracks, superspeedways, drag racing, powerboat competition and more.

Editors Note: The images displayed in this article (plus many more) can be viewed in The Racing ImageGalleries and the Visions of Speed Art Gallery.