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Eastern Motorsport Press Association

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From the desk of Ron Hedger, EMPA President


The entire membership was saddened when New York’s oldest racing publication, the Patrick family’s Gater Racing Photo News, left the scene recently due to the closing of their longtime printer.

With the closing, a number of our professional members lost the prime outlet for their writing and photography efforts, though a few of them have since joined the staff of Len Sammons’ Area Auto Racing News. Len has graciously converted Gater subscriptions to AARN subscriptions and will continue to offer the displaced readers widespread coverage of the sport.

In light of this abrupt and unexpected change and in consideration of the ever changing media world, the
board of directors has decided that affected Professional members can continue their EMPA affiliation should they not
align with another media outlet before 2015. We encourage members to retain their membership and use their EMPA connections as they network and explore their options into the future.

Shortly after the newsletter went out, news came in from
Member Dave Dalesandro,who tells us that since the demise of the Gater Racing News, RaceProWeekly has taken on six of their former photographers, which is good news for all.  He also indicates that a few former Gater writers are now associated with Dirt Track Digest. 
While a number of people on the Gater staff were not EMPA members, it is great to hear that most are continuing their media work and, as always, we encourage active members working with these writers and photographers to ask them to join and participate in our various activities.  We are all better off having more members of the racing media involved with the EMPA.


A number of members had asked about EMPA decals using our new logo, so we solicited bids from four suppliers
in NY and PA. A firm in Amsterdam, NY recommended by member Matt Noles offered the best price, so we
are awaiting delivery. The plan is to send one with each new membership and renewal. Many thanks to Matt for
all his help.

While we were generally pleased with the new membership card format last year, the quality of the photo reproduction was horrible despite using the equipment recommended by the paper manufacturer and the printer. We have since tested a different product and the quality was much better, so we expect better results this fall. If you want a different photo or did not have one on your card last time and would like one for 2015, please start sending in your headshots.

The 2015 convention starts the day after New Year’s Day, so always tight deadlines for contests, renewals, voting on the awards and convention registrations will be even tighter this time. Please plan accordingly.

One victim of the “close to New Year’s” schedule was our tentative keynote speaker, Mike Joy, who recently told me
“Sorry Ron, but it turns out that January 3 is out for me. When it cycles around to Jan 5 6 or 7 let me know.
Jan 2 and 3 are always family events. Mike”

Fearing that the schedule might complicate matters, when I was in Charlotte for the NASCAR HoF vote, I made arrangements with another auto racing icon to speak to the membership in January should Mike not be able to attend. Once I’m sure his schedule fits ours, we’ll send along the details.

With the 2014 season well past the midway point it is a good time to start looking at your stories and prepare for the 2015 Pocono Raceway Writer’s contest.

With our convention taking place a bit earlier this year it also means we have to move up our cutoff date for entries to be sent in. I will be setting the final date as to when mailings must be postmarked but expect it to be sometime in late October or VERY early November. That still gives you plenty of time to make your choices as to what you want to enter.
The reason for the early deadline is that we get a lot of entries and it takes the judge some time to look over them all properly. Then there is the matter of getting the plaques made and we are now running into December by this juncture. By late October most tracks are down and I have noticed the past few years that rarely, if any, has there been anything from that late, or at least after Super DIRT Week, sent in.

Remember, you can’t win if you don’t enter and we highly encourage you to do so. The judge noted that last year was one of the best he has seen.

I will also be making some tweaks to those who send in entries via webpages (nothing major).
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me or call.
Dino Oberto, chairman EMPA Writer’s Contest

During the recent Watkins Glen NASCAR weekend, the local ABC affiliate ran a segment on EMPA secretary Carol Houssock as part of its racing coverage.
You can take a look at the segment at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a3Ls9IsxkA or go to
www.youtube.com and search for her by name. The piece is titled “A Voice Above the Crowd”.

It was recently announced that the Flemington Speedway Historical Society had been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS, a major accomplishment for the hard-working group. We congratulate the EMPA members who have put a great deal of time and effort into the Society, among them Steve Barrick, Dave Pratt, Diane Tracey and Neal Wilt. Members might want to make plans to support them by attending their major fundraiser, their annual car show, set this year for October 18th.

On a related note, longtime member John Snyder will be discussing Flemington, Nazareth, Harmony and other speedways from that region at the Saratoga Automobile Museum during the annual Lost Speedways program. Other presentations on the program will touch on Vermont’s Pico Speedway, lost motorcycle venues in the Capital District, a look back at the NASCAR modifieds with Brian Ross and Reggie Ruggiero, the original dirt track and short asphalt oval at Oswego and “Walt’s Dirty Dozen,” with Walt Schwinning and I recalling Tighe Scott, Tommy Corellis, Lou Lazzaro, Jack Johnson and the other stars he built cars for.

Until next time.....
Ron Hedger




Board of Directors:
Ron Hedger, President–518-369-1941 or

Dino Oberto, Vice President –570-401-8168 or

Len Sammons –609-888-3618 or

Earl Krause –609-888-3618 or

Brett Deyo –845-728-2781 or


American Honda Motor Company
Webmaster: Robin Ervin-Robinervin1@comcast.net
If you want to send a note to thank the sponsors of EMPA, click here for addresses.
Click here to read comments from the 2014 racing season Writing Contest Judge.

If anyone has a interesting or vintage photo they want to display, email Robin Ervin and I'll display it here.

Please be sure to caption the photo with the photographers By Line along with who the person in the photo is and where the photo was taken.

Scenes from past EMPA conventions

Earl Krause and Herb Anastor check out a display at the 2014 EMPA convention.
(In the right rear of the photo, legendary photographer Ace Lane Jr is chatting with fellow EMPA members.)