Weedsport, NY — May 24, 2009 – By Tom Skibinski, DIRTcar Racing Northeast PR Director
*Ken Dippel Photo
The Northeast Modified Hall of Fame driver inductions and special awards ceremonies were staged for the 18th straight year Sunday afternoon in the HoF Museum on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds.
Three more legendary drivers were added to the Hall of Fame’s elite ‘Wall of Fame’ with New Jersey star Ken Brenn Jr., popular Canadian pilot Joe Plazek and the late great Sportsman standout Mike Klapak from Ohio comprising the Class of 2009. Brenn last competed in 2000 and Plazek in 1999 while true stock car pioneer Klapak passed away in 1997 after last fielding a ride in 1964.
In special award presentations, renowned marketing and public relations specialist Ernie Saxton was recognized for his outstanding contributions to motorsports with receipt of the Lenny J. Sammons award while successful Central New York racing couple John and Laura Wight received the Gene DeWitt car owner award.
The entire team of 2008 Rite Aid 200 winner Frank Cozze was honored with the ‘Mechanic of the Year’ award for its recent Super DIRT Week success, with co-crew chief Brent Tittle, motor maintenance man Rudy Horvath, fuel filler Jack Stanley, jack man Chip Morgan, shock specialist Frank Cozze Jr. making the trip north from Pennsylvania to New York for the holiday festivities.
Current open-wheel racers Jessica Zemken and Serenity Sutherland were in attendance to share the eighth annual Gater Racing Photo News “Woman In Racing” awards while Northeast Modified Hall of Fame Selection Committee member Herb Anastor read a personally prepared letter from third winner Gloria Katona Scarpati that expressed her gratitude despite being unable to attend due to family obligations that surfaced during the past week.
Former sponsor and auto racing artist Clark Angstadt from Reading, Pa. was in attendance to present both Brenn and Plazek with a unique commemorative drawing highlighting some of the most famous cars driven during their illustrious careers. Angstadt also provided a custom-crafted stool to Saxton for his loyalty and dedication to the sport that he has been associated with for over four decades.
The afternoon celebration continued into the twilight hours as Wight’s first-string Big-Block Modified driver Billy Decker captured the 50-lap Hall of Fame Classic at the adjacent Cayuga County Fair Speedway while Zemken registered a sprint car win that same evening out of town. Making his only other appearance at the 54 year-old Weedsport oval in a 1985 Super DIRTcar Series special, Brenn stepped into victory lane on this occasion posing alongside Decker in the winner’s circle at the storied 3/8-miler.
Also enjoying the program throughout the day were past HoF inductees Guy ‘Shorty’ Robinson ’93, John McArdell ‘95, Bobby Cain ’05 and Carl Nagel ’05, along with special award winners Don Turner ’95 (car owner) and Norm Patrick ’97 (Sammons), who handed out the Gater News female awards.
DIRTcar Racing Northeast main office is located in Weedsport, New York on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds www.cayugacountyfairspeedway.com, home of the 2009 DIRTcar All-Star Weekend, July 17-19, featuring Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Championship Series events for Sportsman and Big-Block Modifieds in the richest short-track show of its kind in the nation — the $20,000-to-win Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series “DIRTcar All-Star 100” on Sunday, July 19.
Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket retailer of parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United States, serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets As of April 19, 2008, the Company operated 3,291 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Additional information about the Company, employment opportunities, customer services, and on-line shopping for parts and accessories can be found on the Company’s web site at www.advanceautoparts.com.
The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire www.hoosiertire.com and VP Racing Fuels www.vpracingfuels.com. Promotional partners include Rite Aid Corporation www.riteaid.com, Dig Safely New York www.digsafelynewyork.com and the University of Northwestern Ohio www.unoh.com and the contingency sponsors are Bars Leaks www.barsproducts.com, Bert Transmission www.berttransmission.com, Bicknell Racing Products www.bicknellracingproducts.com, Bilstein Shocks www.bilstein.com, Brodix Cylinder Heads www.brodix.com, Ferris Industries www.ferrisindustries.com, Integra Shocks www.integrashocksandsprings.com, Intercomp www.intercomp-racing.com, KSE Racing Products www.kse-racing.com, Motorsports Safety Systems www.motorsportssafetysystems.com, Penske Shocks, www.penskeshocks.com, Racing Electronics www.racingelectronics.com, Rislone Oil Stabilizer www.barsproducts.com and Wrisco Industries www.wrisco.com.