The Pittsburgh Circle Track Club honored the 2010 champions and their top ten drivers at the 34th Annual Awards Banquet January 15th at the Butler Days Inn. The festivities began with a Cocktail Hour at 5:00 PM.
The people in attendance were glued to the TV watching the Steeler game in the ballroom until the awards began at 6:00 PM. We left the game on with the volume down and asked modified driver Rick Hall to yell touchdown. Each time the Steelers scored we stopped the program to watch the replay and then resumed the activities.
The football game played during the dinner portion of the program and the attendees were kept up to speed. The resumption of the banquet program was delayed about 15 minutes until the Steeler Victory. Our DJ Dave Conley fired up the crowd with the Steeler fight song and the banquet continued with a very celebratory crowd.
The veterans in attendance were recognized with the special song God bless the USA. Plaques were presented to the 2010 Rookies of the year in their respective divisions. Mike Lutz Jr. - Go-Karts, Factory Stocks - Ricky Steigerwald, Mod Lites - Darin Gallagher, Street Stocks - Scott AielIo, and Modifieds - Pat Hanley. [More banquet info]
2010 Hall of Fame Inductees...Dave Burt had a passion for local stock car racing and NASCAR and was well known for his extensive collection of racing photos and memorabilia. He served as the historian for the Pittsburgh Circle Track Club and was a member of many automobile clubs including the Canonsburg Sultans Car Club, and the Eastern Museum of Auto Racing. Dave Burt died Wednesday, September 22, 2010 in Washington PA. and his wife Janet accepted his award.
Mark Cassella, the “West Virginia Wild Thing” was a second generation driver; father Pete and brother Billy both successful open wheel competitors. Mark drove for twenty four years before retiring after a serious racing accident caused him to lose sight in his right eye.
He found success at Attica, Bloomington, Buckeye, Challenger, Eldora, Hickory, IRP, Jennerstown, Kokomo, Lawrenceburg, Lernerville, Mansfield, Ohio, Manzanita, Mercer, Motordrome, Phoenix International Speedway, Pittsburgh, Port Royal, Raceway 7, Salem, Selinsgrove, Sharon, Sportsman’s Speedway, Tri-City, Winchester, and Williams Grove.
Memorable moments in racing include his first sprint car victory at Pittsburgh, his first USAC victory over Jack Hewitt, and winning the Lernerville Track Championship driving for Tim Guzzo.
Bill Emig, Car Owner: 1969-1990 (22 Years) 1969 - 1976 drivers such as Jim Becker, Bob Krauss, Donnie Martin, John Buzzard, Jerry Lesnak, Butch Haefke, 1977, Lou Gentile began to wheel the Emig #1 and a 22-year relationship was forged. Andy Priest, Jimmy Hawley, Frank Guidace and Rodney Beltz have all wheeled the Emig #1.
His cars won over 250 features along with multiple track championships and several Cavalcade Championships. A large man in stature, Bill was very soft-hearted; and although he never lived to see the day his daughters continued his racing legacy by purchasing Mercer Raceway Park in 1999. Bill would have been very proud of his daughter Jody, who although never a race fan, ran the concessions at Mercer for 12 years.
Steve Peles started racing in 1978 at Marion Center Speedway in Late Models. In 1986 he switched over to asphalt at Clearfield Speedway and continued at Jennerstown and Motordrome Speedways. Steve claimed well over 100 feature wins on both dirt and asphalt.
Championships and accolades included: Jennerstown Speedway Championships in 1987 - 1990, Motordrome Speedway and Clearfield Speedway Championships, Tops in Jennerstown Speedway Career Late Model Feature wins at 46 and two prestigious NASCAR Winston Racing Series North East Region Championships in 1987 and 1990. He was inducted into the Indiana County Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
Sidelined due to a scary crash in 1991 at Motordrome Speedway that broke his back, Steve Peles recovered and came back in 1992 and won in his fourth race back. 1996 – 2002 Steve was the promoter at the Jennerstown Speedway.
Special Awards were Dave Burt Good Guy Award to Deek & Pat Scott for donating Herb’s trophies to the club, the Heinz History Center and the Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame. The auction of Herb’s trophies netted $1,225.00 for the PCTC. Several of Herb Scott’s trophies were donated to the Heinz History Center and Sports Museum they included Pittsburgh Racing Association Championships for 1956, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1967.
The Glade Neil Memorial Sportsmanship Award…the guidelines for the award are Youth Involvement, Family Awareness, Fan Involvement, Sponsor Involvement, Commitment to Excellence, Ambassador to Racing; Lend a Helping Hand, P.C.T.C. Club Involvement went to Bob Miller.
The Bill Steinbach Memorial Media Award this year the award was presented to Jody Halbedl. Bill was one of the most popular and well-respected members of the Pittsburgh media. He was a newscaster at KDKA Radio for 37 years and a pioneer in the reporting and promotion of auto racing in Western Penna. His interest in racing started in the early 60’s and at one point in his career he was calling the races at Heidelberg, South Park, Greater Pittsburgh, North Hills and Lernerville. Bill wrote a Motorsports column for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette for six years. Bill loved our sport and did everything in his power to promote racing and this award is used every year to recognize an individual who carries on the task of telling everyone about the greatest sport in America and for the promotion of Auto Racing in Western Pennsylvania.
The Art Smilie Award for the Race Track Person of the Year went to the Super Snuffers.
Championship trophies and jackets were awarded to the following competitors: Go-Karts Gregory Sherwin, Young Guns Hanna Ramsey, Factory Stocks Brian Huchko, Late Models Tony Musolino, Sprints Mike Lutz, Mod Lites Darin Gallagher, Chargers - Zane Ferrell and Street Stocks – Scott Aiello & Howie Balis.
Dave Conley of R & R Music provided an extensive selection of music...100,000 songs, 1940’s to the present.
Bob Miller’s Hall of Fame PowerPoint presentation was a big hit with the crowd. The presentation included a slide, with picture and brief biography, for each Circle Track Hall of Fame inductee from its 1983 inception through 2010. Copies of this show are available on a disc for $25 with all net proceeds going to the Pittsburgh Circle Track Club. If you would like to review a sample of this presentation which includes two lead in slides along with a slide for each of the four 2010 inductees click on the link which follows. For additional information contact Don at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sample of the PowerPoint can be sent to you via e-mail.
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