Column By: LARUIE FALLIS / RPW – ALBANY, NY – It was a great night for all involved in the racing world at the prestigious New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA) Awards Banquet that was held Saturday night at the Polish Community Center in Albany, NY.
Awards were given out for the recipients achievement’s during the 2018 racing season. NYSSCA Hall Of Fame inductees were first to be acknowledge during the evening. The induction ceremony was held earlier in the day at the Saratoga Auto Museum.
The organization’s first Hall of Fame class was in 1984. They felt the need to induct those who contributed to the sport of racing so their legacy will live forever. This year’s class was another that fits perfectly…Pat Ward, Gary Iulg, Jerry Rose and Curt Van Pelt.
As each year is special, 2019 marks a huge milestone for NYSSCA as they have no reached their golden anniversary…50 years. The Association started in 1969 and as president Dan Wood stated, they’ve had their struggles keeping it going at times, but he feels in 2019, the organization is thriving. Thy have a lot of great people that are involved whether it’s members, promoters, media, track reps. or NYSSCA officials and board members. All, in one way or another, are a piece of the puzzle.
After the wonderful meal that was provided, it was time to get honoring those who performed in special ways during the 2018 racing season.
There were a total of ten tracks or series that received awards in different categories. Coming on board for the 2018 season was Devils Bowl and the Mohawk Valley Dirt Modified Series. Those that were already members included Albany-Saratoga, Lebanon Valley, Glen Ridge, Fonda, Utica-Rome, Afton, Woodhull and the CRSA Sprint Cars.
It was great to see promoters from all member tracks and series in attendance to support their award recipients along with showing the dedication to the organization.
As the evening came to a close, over 135 awards had been handed out…it seemed like there was too many to mention. However, one that stood out was for a driver that calls Woodhull Raceway home. That driver, by winning the Modified title at both Woodhull and Freedom Motorsports Park and racking up 11 wins, gave Billy Van Pelt the distinction of the 2018 NYSSCA Overall Outstanding Performance.
The driver from Westfield, PA picked up his 20th Championship at the Woodhull and now has 27 total during his career.
The banquet was a Van Pelt family affair with brother Curt being inducted by his brother into the Hall Of Fame. You could say these two brothers were very honored for the recognition from NYSSCA.
The New York State Stock Car Association is way more then just awards. It’s a group that helps every one of its members that are ever injured at a sanctioned race track. If you are in need, and we know anything can happen at the track, they are there to assist. If you’re unable to work from your injury, the fund will provide cash benefits for its members up to 26 weeks.
For a small fee, being a member of NYSSCA is a must entering the racing season. All members are encouraged to attend meetings and anyone can be a member…even a fan.
I tip my hat to all involved with NYSSCA and all who had a hand in in putting this year’s banquet together. Seeing the Polish Community Center packed with people who love the sport was amazing.
The New York State Stock Car Association strives to promote the sport of racing and we thank them for looking out for the racing family.