Racing Pioneer Johnny Torrese Sr. was inducted to start the evening. Mr. Torrese was one of the original drivers at Oswego, finishing second in the very first race ever held at Oswego. He is also one of a very few drivers to win on both dirt and asphalt surfaces at Oswego Speedway.
Newly crowned track champion Joe Gosek was next in line to accept entrance into the Hall of Fame. Gosek is one of the most decorated drivers in the history of the supermodified division at Oswego Speedway, with 3 Classic wins, 2 track championships, and 39 feature wins.
Russ Brown took to the podium next, being inducted for his accomplishments in the Small Block Supermodified division. Russ came to Oswego in 1992, and instantly was one of the men to beat in the division. Even today, some 20 years later, Russ is still a threat anytime he straps himself into any race car. Russ has 3 SBS Classic wins, 4 time track champion and a 19 time winner at Oswego.
Dan Dorsey was named as the first sponsor to gain entrance in the Oswego Speedway HoF. Budweiser has been involved at Oswego Speedway for over 40 years, thanks for Dan’s tireless work and dedication to the local auto racing scene. Dan is a familiar sight at the race track, and has been for four decades.
Dr. John and Helen Puzauskas were inducted, as they were the ones that set the bar safety wise at Oswego Speedway. Doc John and Helen were the track medical staff from 1951 to the 1980’s, and were ahead of their time setting the bat for race tracks everywhere in the safety department, They knew how important having an attending physician and registered nurse at the speedway on race nights, and worked tirelessly to help make Oswego Speedway as safe as it could possibly be for its competitors.
Bud McManus was inducted, and his position was accepted by his son. Bud was always there, ready to fix anything that malfunctioned on race nights. His biggest project was the old scoreboard in turn one, which was revolutionary at the time. If it was on Oswego Speedway grounds, and it was broke, no matter what it was, Bud had the magic touch to fix it.
Newt Tilton was one of the many men behind the scenes at Oswego Speedway that made it successful. Whether it was behind the counter, behind the mower, or whatever George Sr. thought of, Newt was there. He was the man to unlock the gates at 7:30 am raceday, and also lock up the joint at the end of the night. If there were any tasks on a to do list, Newt got It done.
Eddie Piersall was a familiar figure at Oswego for over 40 years, mostly known for selling the Eagle Program. Eddie’s family was on hand to accept his honor, with an emotional and heartfelt speech reliving Ed’s time at Oswego Speedway. As they said, “It wasn’t a job, it was what he loved to do.”
It was on to the awards portion of the evening, with the Ed Clark Safety Crew “Spirit” Award first up. Long time safety crew member George Feeney was the worthy recipient. Oswego Speedway “Recognition” Awards were next in line, with brothers Mike and Dan Johnson sharing the award.
The top ten SBS drivers were called to the stage next, to accept their point fund money from both the Oswego Speedway and Eagles Fan Club. Mike Bond took to the microphone to thank his family, crew, owners and sponsors for his 2011 championship, his third. Andrew Schartner and Jack Patrick were second and third in the point standings.
The top point getters in the supermodified division were next on stage, with Joe Gosek the 2011 track champ. Joe was happy to win the track championship for the first time with his 00 guys, and also thanked his family, team, crew, sponsors and new owners of the speedway. Randy Ritskes and Otto Sitterly were in contention for the title right up on the last race night, to finish second and third respectively.
The Tony White and Jim Shampine Memorial Awards were highly anticipated and the most prestigious awards given out during the ceremony. Barry Kingsley, one of the most dedicated SBS owners and drivers in the pits was given the Tony White award for his dedication to the division. Longtime fixture at Oswego, Craig Danzer received a standing ovation for winning the Jim Shampine award, for the supermodified division.
The Rookies of the Year were next up, with Dave Latulip and Dave Danzer the worthy recipients for the 2011 season. It was possibly the first time in speedway history to have rookies win features in both divisions. Car Owner of the Year went to Jack Patrick in the SBS division, and Bill Samuels and Bob Hoefer, the leaders of Double Deuce Racing in supers.
Crew of the Year, SBS, went to the Mike Bruce 22 team, while Randy Darratt of the 88 team in supermodifieds won the award. Best Appearing SBS crew was given to Kreig Heroth and the 44 guys, while Best Appearing SBS car went to Jack Patrick.
Supermodified best Appearing Car was placed to Danzer Racing, with Otto Sitterly’s 7 team receiving Best Appearing Crew. Hard Luck Awards are ones no one likes to win, but Dan Connors(supers), and Cameron Rowe(SBS), picked up the hardware.
2011 was a successful season, with a lot of changes and positive momentum all season long. There is a long winter ahead, but all systems are go for 2012. The new racing season is already being talked about as every indication shows that 2012 will be bigger and better than any in recent memory.