NYSSCA Selects Hall of Fame Class
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — The Hall of Fame committee of the New York State Stock Car Ass’n has selected a diverse group of racers for the Hall’s next class, with induction set for Jan. 22-23.
The new Hall of Fame members include retired drivers Dickie Larkin and Jack Cottrell, longtime car owner and sponsor Paul Emerich and the husband and wife officiating and track management team of Marty and Hertha Beberwyck.
The new Hall of Fame members will be inducted during the NYSSCA Awards Banquet at the Polish Community Center in Albany, N.Y., Jan. 22, with the traditional “meet the fans” event set for 11 a.m. the following morning at the Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The museum’s Racing in New York gallery is the home of NYSSCA’s permanent Hall of Fame exhibit and the event will feature remarks by the four presenters and new Hall of Fame members along with a question and answer session involving the audience.
Larkin’s name is generally associated with the Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y., where he stands fifth on the all-time modified win list with 35 victories in addition to his 1990 and ’94 track championships.
Larkin was also very successful in the Valley’s small-block division, notching 29 wins to rank fifth on that list, making him the only driver in the top five for both divisions. He also has the distinction of being the only driver to claim big-block and small-block features on the same night in four different decades, notching doubleheader wins in 1976, ’81, ’91 and ’01.
The Massachusetts resident was also very successful on the road, winning the 1982 State Fair championship on the Syracuse mile at the New York State Fairgrounds, where he was the first driver to break the 30-second barrier. He also has the distinction of claiming five wins in the prestigious Race of Kings at Lebanon Valley.
Cottrell was successful at Lebanon Valley and Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway with his big-block car and on the CVRA big and small-block circuits and he also won the first DIRT asphalt modified series event, run at Canada’s Cayuga Speedway in 1988.
Cottrell had an outstanding record in the late-model class, claiming three Albany-Saratoga Speedway championships along with 11 wins and a track title at Fonda Speedway, where he was also the 1999 358 modified champion.
Emerich’s career began as the owner of Johnny Neet’s street stock at Albany-Saratoga in 1970, but he soon achieved prominence as the owner and sponsor of the NASCAR asphalt modified wheeled by popular Canadian Denny Giroux.
They pair won all over the Northeast, including Albany-Saratoga, Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vt., and Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Conn. The duo worked together until Giroux suffered career-ending injuries.
Emerich then became involved with Cottrell for many years before moving his sponsorship to the team of Kenny Tremont, Jr. Together they won 52 big-block races,
the 1999 Super DIRTcar Series big-block modified championship and three titles at Lebanon Valley, where they swept the Lebanon Valley 200 and the Mr. Dirt Track USA events in 1998 and ’99.
The Beberwycks have been involved with auto racing for more than 50 years, starting with Marty Beberwyck driving at Lebanon Valley and the Pine Bowl Speedway at age 17.
He then turned to the officiating side, lining up cars at Lebanon Valley before moving to the position of backstretch flagger. He then replaced Teddy Ryan as starter when he retired after the 1971 season. M. Beberwyck worked for the CVRA at Albany-Saratoga, was the starter at Super DIRT Week when it first began and flagged at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in Elbridge, N.Y., until becoming chief steward at Lebanon Valley.
M. Beberwyck was chief steward at both Lebanon Valley and Syracuse before moving to Fonda Speedway as general manager when Ric Lucia assumed the promotional duties at the speedway 14 years ago.
Hertha Beberwyck also became a big part of auto racing in the region after starting at Lebanon Valley writing race reports for promoter Howie Commander. She soon became a full-time employee, handling the office, sponsorship programs, victory lane ceremonies, media relations and all the unseen activities that make weekly speedways successful.
Winner of the Gater Racing News Women in Racing Award in 2002, she continues to be involved in auto racing by manning the pit booth weekly at Fonda Speedway.