ALBANY, N.Y. – Drivers, owners, crew members, media, and fans of the New York State Stock Car Ass’n gathered in Colonie, NY to recognize member track competitors and Hall of Fame inductees.
The 45th annual awards banquet gathered approximately 450 celebrants with well-known radio and track personalities John Stanley and Dan Martin serving as Masters of Ceremony.
This year’s Hall of Fame Induction ceremony and the Awards Banquet were dedicated in memory of Peg Bedell and Rene “The Champ” Charland.
The NYSSCA Hall of Fame Committee, chaired by John Keegan, inducted five members of the stock car community including veteran announcer Jimmy King and drivers Mike Colsten, Joe Messina, Jimmy Winks, and Bob Savoie. While the official ceremony had taken place at the Saratoga Auto Museum in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., the group was also introduced to the gathering at the banquet and recognized for their many years of service and great accomplishments in the stock car arena.
The 2014 NYSSCA Hall of Fame inductees are a strong and diverse group, representative of those who have achieved greatness in the world of racing.
King’s announcing career began in 1972 at Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway and has included such tracks as Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, Fultonville, N.Y. , Utica-Rome (N.Y.), Lebanon Valley, West Lebanon, N.Y. as well as Albany-Saratoga (N.Y.). In addition, King has been actively involved in recent years with ice racing and snowmobile racing in the winter season.
Last season was the 45th season in which Modified driver Mike Colsten was involved. After overcoming mesothelioma in 2012 Colsten came back to Five Mile Point in Kirkwood, N.Y., to win the track championship, his fourth at the track.
For Bob Savoie the wins were racked up at Utica-Rome Speedway, Albany-Saratoga, Devil’s Bowl, Fair Haven, Vt., Plattsburgh (N.Y.) and most recently, in 2013, at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park with that win giving him over 60 victories in five consecutive decades.
Joe Messina’s racing career began in the late 1950’s when he ran at Pine Bowl (N.Y.) and Empire Speedway, Menands, (N.Y.). He later ran the Ken Tremont Sr. owned No. 115 at Lebanon Valley and Devil’s Bowl. He won the Devil’s Bowl track championship in 1970.
Hailing from the Syracuse, N.Y., area, modified and Super Modified driver Jimmy Winks won the track title twice at Rolling Wheels Raceway, Elbridge, N.Y., as well as five wins at Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway and 37 career victories at Volusia County Speedway, Barberville, Fla. The versatile driver also had two Sprint Car victories. The popular driver passed away in early November at the age of 65.
Krosky presented the “NYSSCA President’s Award” this year to the promoters of the member tracks for their support and dedication to the goals and activities of the organization. Receiving “President’s Award” plaques were Lyle Devore of Albany-Saratoga, Mike Perrotte of Airborne Park, Mike Van Dusen of CRSA, Mike Bruno of Devils Bowl, Pete and Matt Demitraszek of Glen Ridge Motorsports Park, Ron Ford and Jamie Paige of I-88, Howard Commander of Lebanon Valley, Mike Gurda of Orange County, Gene Cole of Utica-Rome and Ted White of Woodhall.
Annually NYSSCA presents several awards to honor and recognize past and present members. This year’s Special Awards were as follows:
The Jim Langenback Memorial Award to Rob Yetman of Castleton, NY who had an outstanding 2013 season in Pro Stock competition.
Leon Andrus, columnist for the Gater Racing News, was recognized with the NYSSCA Journalism Award. Through his column Positive News and Notes and his announcing duties at Five Mile Point and I-88 (NY) Speedways Andrus provides his followers with up-to-date racing news as well as promoting NYSSCA.
The Dedication to Racing in Memory of Harry Peek Award was presented to John Flach Sr. and the Flach Family who have been involved in racing since the 1959 spanning four generations.
Car Owner of the Year accolades went to Tom Cullen owner of the WGC No. 1 driven by Stewart Friesen to 8 wins and a track title at Utica-Rome in 2013.
The Lifetime Contribution to Racing Award in Memory of Kenny Shoemaker was presented to Mike Thoma, who is best known for his support of racing, racers and Speed Chasers (kid’s club) at the Lebanon Valley Speedway through Thoma Tire since the early 80’s.
The Dedication to NYSSCA Award in Memory of Arty McCarty was presented to a very deserving and surprised 25-year NYSSCA member Tom Remington.
The NYSSCA Award of Excellence was presented to two drivers whose achievements in 2013 were remarkable, Kenny Tremont Jr. garnered his 300th career win in May and his August win became the 30th year Tremont had won a feature at the Lebanon Valley Speedway. Vermont native Todd Stone’s season included seven wins at Airborne Park Speedway (N.Y.) and ten wins at Devil’s Bowl as well as being crowned the NASCAR Whelen All American Series National “Rookie of the Year” in addition to being named the NASCAR Vermont State Champion.
The NYSSCA Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Alton and Carole Palmer of Howes Cave, N.Y.
Topping off a 27-win season that included 22 wins in a modified, four in a sprint car and one in a midget earned Stewart Friesen, now of Sprakers, N.Y., the NYSSCA Overall Outstanding Performance Award.