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(Press Release from Oswego Speedway.)
The 2011 Oswego Speedway Hall of Fame class includes, a racing pioneer whose family has had a great impact on the track, one of the major sponsors of the Oswego Speedway, a Small Block Supermodified star, who made his mark starting from the first year of that division, and one of the all-time greatest Supermodified drivers whose illustrious career spans four decades. In addition, an “in memory” group of five people who helped grow the track from its very beginning and are no longer with us will also be added. The nine new members to the Oswego Speedway Hall of Fame will be inducted at the annual banquet Saturday, October 29 at the Holiday Inn on Electronics Parkway in Syracuse.
Being inducted In Memoriam are five people who helped the Caruso brothers, Bill, George and Harry, practically from the time the track opened. Bud McManus was one of the main people responsible for the construction of the original scoreboard, which after 40 years was replaced this season with a state of the art scoreboard. But at the time the original was put in place, it was the best any weekly track had to offer. Miles of wiring was needed to connect the scoreboard to the scoring tower. Many times every race night it was announced for Bud McManus to report here, or there, to solve a problem.
Newton Tilton was another do-everything person for the Oswego Speedway. Newt, as he was known, was always there to work on any maintenance or construction project. He also helped run the concession stands for years.
Dr. John Puzauskas and his wife, Helen, were the original medical team at the track, and served in that capacity for over three decades. Any time the ambulance rolled onto the track Doc John and Helen were right there. Helen was the sister of Bill, George and Harry Caruso.
Ed Piersall and Pete Trenca were the two people all the regulars at the track knew by name. They were the Oswego Speedway program sellers, with Pete at the front gate and Ed roaming the pits and grandstands. Pete was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004, and will now be joined there by Ed.
Johnny Torrese, Sr. is being inducted as a racing pioneer. Johnny’s career at the track was fairly short, but his impact remains to this day. In a very short racing career Johnny grabbed four wins at the Oswego Speedway. At the 50th Anniversary of the track Johnny was named one of the top 50 all time drivers. He brought such a love of the track to his family that his son Johnny, Jr. raced here for years as both a weekly competitor and with ISMA, and now he and brother Eric have stepped forward to buy the track and return it to its former glory.
From the Small Block Supermodified division comes Russ Brown. Russ stands second on the all-time win list with former Hall of Fame Inductee Mike Bond just passing him this year. Russ leads all drivers in top five finishes with 98, and is third in all-time points. He was the first ever track champion of the Small Block Supermodified division, then called Limited Supers.
Joe Gosek, the 2011 Supermodified Track Champion and former Indy 500 veteran, will enter the Hall of Fame this season. Joe is a two-time Oswego Supermodified Track Champion, winning his first title in 2003 with car owner Mike Muldoon. This season he won the title in his famed 00 and he did it the hard way, with consistent top five finishes but no wins. Joe now ranks fourth on the all-time top five finishers list, fifth in Supermodified feature wins, top four in all-time Supermodified points, surpassing Bentley Warren’s total in 2011, and has started 32 consecutive International Classics.
A new category called race sponsor was added to the Hall of Fame, and first to be inducted in this category was Dan Dorsey Sr., owner of Eagle Beverage Distributors has supported the Oswego Speedway for decades with a sponsorship second-to-none. For over 40 years Dorsey has not only supplied monetary help, but has been a hands-on sponsor. He lines up each year to shake hands with each Budweiser International Classic competitor, supplying hats, Budweiser beer and shirts to all. He’s also done everything from hanging banners to setting up inflatables on the speedway roof.
The Hall of Fame committee is made up of Debbie Bond and Chuck Handley, representing the Oswego Speedway, and Hall of Fame members Carol D. Haynes, George Caruso, Romey Caruso and Roy Sova. Tickets to the Hall of Fame Banquet are available by calling Debbie Bond at the Oswego Speedway office at 315-342-0646. Tickets are $45.00.
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As a driver/owner in the Limited Supermodified division, JJ Andrews covers mostly Oswego Speedway events, from a driver's point of view.