– FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23rd, 1979 – PAGE 6 –
It’s once again time for auto racing’s answer to the Oscar, Emmy and Toni Awards. Yes, it’s time for the NERF’ers “2nd Annual Seymour Awards Ceremony.“
So, Racin’ Person! When I call your name, please come forward and pick up your Seymour! Notice how the Ole’ Nerf said ‘PERSON’ so he wouldn’t get into trouble. Well, now on to the presentations.
The first Seymour goes to “Driver of the Year” for 1979 and as Geoff Bodine dominated with 54 wins last year in the Big Red Machine, our winner this season is a 52-time victor in Big Orange. Semour #1 goes to Richie Evans who captured his second straight NASCAR National Modified Championship this year.
A Seymour for the Most Improved Driver goes to the gentleman who captured the track championship at Thompson Speedway this year. Mr. 1X himself, Joe Howard.
For the second year in a row, the Rookie of the Year Seymour goes to a Westboro Speedway driver, this year’s track champ at that facility, young Jeff Fuller.
The Comeback of the Year Seymour is awarded to the fellow who seems to get younger with age, Mario “Fats” Caruso.
We’ll give two Seymours in the next category because of a tie in the voting. Best Looking Car Seymours go to Ed St. [Michael] Angelo for his 19jr plus one to Dan Mason and his #04 as both were super looking Modifieds and could run too.
The Mechanic of the Year Seymour for 1979 is being awarded to the super crew chief of the Big Orange, the man who kept it running like a fine tuned piano, Billy Nacewicz.
A driver from Maine competing at Star Speedway gets the Good Guy Seymour because that’s just what Pete Madden is, a good guy.
The Best Looking T-Shirt Seymour once again comes from Fred Potito’s Oval Track Design. It’s a new look shirt for Reggie Ruggeiro designed by Potito with car drawing by super artist Bruce Roll.
A gentleman who drove every week from Mattydale, NY to Owego, NY to see the racing programs at Shangri-La Speedway has been selected as the recipient of the Fan of the Year Seymour. Earl Watchorn drove 120 miles (240 round trip) in his first year as an auto racing fan.
Last year, the Tire Changing Seymour went to my old buddy Chuck “Tire Iron” Jeffries. The honors were returned this season as Dave Kolenda and yours truly received the award for our much less than spectacular performance during the Claremont Speedway Pit Crew Competition in July.
Our Bonehead Seymour for this season has to go to the individual or individuals, whoever they may be, that decided to ban the rear engine SuperModifieds at Oswego Speedway for 1980.
Track champion for the last two years at Plainville Stadium in his Rock Age chassied Fred Flintstone-mobile, Ronnie Rocco get the Little Guy Seymour as a definite low-buck operator with great results.
The Hard Luck Seymour goes to last years Little Guy winner. He tried everything possible to make his Modified run like it had in years past, but never got it up to par. So to the Travelin’ Man, Pete Fiandaca, goes this Seymour.
The 1979 ‘CAM2 Race of Champions’ at Pocono International Raceway gets the Blown Motor Seymour by a landslide as more than twenty were lost during the 300-mile event and somewhere near forty went up in smoke during the entire weekend’s activities.
The Sneaky Pete Seymour goes to the Unknown Political who raised havoc with a certain clown during his campaign for re-election as Mayor of Stafford Motor Speedway. Our Unknown friend is still unknown, hiding under his brown paper bag. Some are still askin’ if that was his lunch or his head under the bag, but hiding inside a sack is really sneaky.
Next comes the Ding Bat of the Year Seymour and this award goes to the fellow who told a certain group of car owners and drivers that he didn’t need them and then found out it was tough to run a show with a few cars and low turnout of fans. Wherever you now may be, it’s all yours.
Our Clown of the Year Seymour belongs to Speedway Scene’s Fat Rat for his outstanding performance during the “Busch 250” at Westboro Speedway in his stove-pipe hat and special ‘Omar the Tent-maker’ made suit. Eat yer heart out, Butch!
The Best Starter Seymour this year goes to the man who handles the flags for the D.I.R.T. of Central New York organization and does one heck of a job at it. The man is Bobby Watson.
Opposite of the aforementioned award is the Worst Starter Seymour and this goes to the man who took over for the late Ken Small at Star Speedway. He’s so bad I don’t even know his name, but the award is all his.
The Fiasco of the Year Seymour goes to Ernie Hastings as anytime he takes to the track it’s certainly a fiasco.
Next comes the Owner of the Year and this Seymour goes to the man with the bucks behind the Big Orange, Mr. Gene DeWitt.
Our Race of the Year Seymour goes to the Schaefer 200 during SUPER DIRT WEEK at the New York State Fairgrounds. The race, won by Jack Johnson, was definitely all it was billed to be.. Super….
Last years Best Fan Club Seymour went to Bugs Stevens Fan Club. Once again it’s a Stevens Fan Club, but this time it’s Dick Stevens. Although not nearly as large as da Bugman’s club, this little group of people are still big in heart and support for their driver so this season’s award is theirs.
The Best Up and Coming Driver Seymour goes to a young man who captured the Stafford Motor Speedway Limited Sportsman Championship in ’79 and also doubles as a pretty fair Modified driver. Mike Stefanik gets this award for he is definitely an up and comer. Watch him in the future.
Following are new Seymour Awards instituted this year:
The Promoter of the Year Seymour goes not to a track promoter, but to an owner-driver who led a certain group of race cars to a banner season. Dan Meservey gets this award for his leadership of N.E.M.M.A. (New England Mini Modified Association) who had their most successful year ever.
Next is the Racing Media Person of the Year which will encompass writers, photographers, announcers, public relations, television and radio people. This Seymour goes to Ole Baldy hisself, Paul Tremaine, for his dedication to the sport of auto racing via his phone lines for the Checkered Flag Announcer.
The Toy-Let Seymour for this year goes to a fellow who was voted this honor unanimously by Claremont Speedway Tech Man, Howard Bowie and if you knew how big Howard is you’d know why I said, ‘unanimously’. The award goes to Lee Emery and his #71 Toilet…. I mean Modified….
The Racing Organization of the Year Seymour goes C.O.D.A. (Claremont Owners & Drivers Association) who did a super job at their track against all odds.
Our final presentation was given to Ollie Silva last year and this season that same award, the Outstanding Personality Seymour goes to another fantastic driver, one who has more fans than people in Massachusetts and also a super personality, da Bugman – “Bugs Stevens“….
This wraps up another night of Seymours, named after that refugee from Dr. Frankenstein’s Funny Farm, Seymour the Racing Clown. He shows dedication to the sport of auto racing through his humor by making thousands laugh at speedways throughout the northeast.
Till next week; “If you’ve never seen the SPEEDWAY SCENE then you should never be seen again without the SPEEDWAY SCENE, or you just may never be seen again!”
* * * * * * *
A few things from this 1979 column by “the Ole’ Nerf”..
The Bonehead Seymour awarded to Oswego Speedway for banning the rear engine SuperModifieds did create an uproar and major criticism, but in hindsight it was a step in the right direction that saved SuperModified racing. The newer rear engined machines being built were fast and very competitive, but also quite a bit more expensive to build. So, yes, it wasn’t the first time the Ole’ Nerf was wrong and certainly wasn’t the last.
“Fiasco of the Year Seymour goes to Ernie Hastings” and “Toy-Let Semour” to “Lee Emery”, were not rude shots, but ribbing between friends. Both recipients were friends of the Ole’ Nerf. They were a part of C.O.D.A. and the friendly racing community at Claremont Speedway in Claremont, New Hampshire.
The “Best Looking Car Seymour“? Ed St. [Michael] Angelo, as the Ole’ Nerf put it, and Racin’ Danny Mason, both had a couple of beautiful Modifieds. The only reason I can think of as to why he neglected the amazing Bobby Vee, Busch Beer, #2 Arrow bodied Modified, is because Vee’s Modified debuted in 1978. Personally, I still would have given Mr. Vee’s machine the nod, but if I confronted the Ole’ Nerf about it as he wrote this particular column back in late November of 1979, there was the possibility I might have landed in my room, grounded.
All the best to you! And as the Ole’ Nerf said many a time, Keep on Trackin’!