For many years, race fans, officials and drivers across the Northeast opened their latest issue of Area Auto Racing News in anticipation of Don and Jo Ann Davies’ “New York Modifieds” column.

On Tuesday, June 25, they’ll be in anticipation of the “Don Davies New York Modifieds 76” Super DIRTcar Series race at Albany-Saratoga Speedway – a chance to honor Don, who died last year after battling cancer.

“After speaking with Don’s wife Jo Ann, we’re excited to create an event that’s composed of items Don wanted to see in a race,” Lyle DeVore, Albany-Saratoga track promoter said. “This will definitely be different from all of the other [Super DIRTcar Series] races. The “Race within a Race” is a unique change to the standard Series format.

“I think this unique experience will be welcomed by the drivers, the officials, and especially the fans!”

Don and Jo Ann spent every Friday night at Albany-Saratoga, gathering information for their column. But according to the track’s announcer Dan Martin, they also played a vital role behind the scenes.

“Don and Jo Ann were soundboards for Lyle when he went to run (Albany-Saratoga) on his own,” Martin said. “They shared their knowledge, and when Lyle had an idea, they would either give him the confidence that it was a good idea or maybe give him directions if the idea needed to be tweaked. Even if it was just backing Lyle with the confidence and support with their craft, that made a world of difference.

“When they gave someone else their word, we were doing things right up there; people didn’t doubt it. They knew it wasn’t just lip service.”

Along with Albany-Saratoga, Don and Jo Ann became household names at multiple tracks across the Northeast, including Weedsport Speedway.

“Him and Jo Ann became almost like family,” said Jimmy Phelps, Weedsport Speedway general manager and Super DIRTcar Series driver. “They were always around, especially with us heading up Weedsport. Those guys were always camping there. They helped us with our events above and beyond just the media side. We got to spend a lot of extra time with them, and I just truly appreciate anything they did. 

“They were ultra professional, and at the end of the day, he was a friend. It wasn’t really like it was part of the media when Don was around.”

Don’s professionalism showed in his weekly column. And according to Area Auto Racing News Editor Len Sammons, the hall of fame motorsports journalist made it a point to talk to everyone in the pit area.

“He didn’t cover one or two people when he was at the track,” Sammons said. “He really prided himself in talking to the guys in Sportsman and Pro Stocks as well as the Modifieds. He didn’t just go after the winner; he was available to everybody. He had these great little nuggets of coverage.

“But at the same time, he was on to the heartbeat of what was going on in the division and the sport. A lot of times, he uncovered some ideas that were going on, sent them to me, and I would do some of the more hardcore-type stories. But I wouldn’t have known about it if it wasn’t for him being boots on the ground all the time.”

Martin echoed Sammons’s comments about the column and added that you knew you could trust Don when you talked to him.

“[The column] wasn’t opinionated, it was factual,” Martin said. “And people knew that when they talked to Don and shared something with Don, it wasn’t going to be taken out of context. You knew you were talking to an honest, genuine person that loved racing.”

Don’s love of racing and what he wanted to see in an event will be on full display when the Super DIRTcar Series battles at Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Tuesday, June 25, in the “Don Davies New York Modifieds 76,” featuring a “Race Within a Race.”

RELATED: “Race Within A Race” Highlights Don Davies New York Modifieds 76 at Albany-Saratoga Speedway

“It’s going to be a special night,” Phelps said. “It’ll be emotional for a lot of people. I hope the weather’s good, and I hope everyone can take a minute and reflect on why we’re there and what we’re racing for.”

DIRTcar Sportsman and DIRTcar Pro Stocks will join the Super DIRTcar Series at the event. Bonus money will be available in all three divisions in addition to the Feature purse.

Wednesday, June 26, will be the reschedule date if weather hinders the event.

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all of the Super DIRTcar Series action on DIRTVision, either online or with the DIRTVision app.