February 27, 2005


FONDA, NY – On Saturday afternoon January 29 at the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA) opened their Hall of Fame with many fans and Hall of Fame members in attendance for the opening ceremonies.

            NYSSCA unveiled their new Hall of Fame display which is a three panel lighted display located on the second floor of the Saratoga Auto Museum. It includes a center panel where the Hall of Fame members have all of their names printed and the year that they were inducted. The two side panels have photos of the Hall of Fame members and their cars. The Hall of Fame was started back in 1984 and includes a total of ninety-six members after the 2004 inductions were made in mid January at the annual NYSSCA awards banquet.

NYSSCA president John Keegan was on hand and spoke briefly about the NYSSCA organization. “I used to talk about NYSSCA to people and the benefits of our organization along with our Hall of Fame,” Keegan said. “I would mention the Hall of Fame and they would ask me where our Hall of Fame was but I couldn’t tell them because we never had a permanent home for it until today with the opening ceremonies at the Saratoga Auto Museum.”

            Ron Hedger who is a member of the NYSSCA Hall of Fame committee and also arranges for the displays of the race cars in the racing part of the museum has a goal to have at least two Hall of Fame cars in the museum all of the time. “Bobby Hackel just offered me his Mini-Stock to display in the racing exhibit at the museum,” he said. “A lot of people know what a Modified looks like but some people have never seen a Mini-Stock.”

            The displays in the racing exhibit at the museum are always changing and there are some “dream” cars that Hedger would like to get into the museum in the future such as a Richie Evans car and a flat head powered 1932 or 1934 Ford, which is what most people started their racing careers with in the 1950’s. “I have a list of cars that I have in mind for displays at the museum,” he said. “I made a deal with the Indianapolis museum to borrow Lee Wallard’s car which we will be getting at the museum next fall.”

            Some of the Hall of Fame members that were on hand for the opening ceremonies were asked about their number one racing memory and here is what they had to say:

            John Grady – “Unfortunately it was Mr. Rene Charland’s French barbeque at Albany Saratoga. That led to the story of the bravest thing that I have ever seen in my life when Eddie Flemke, who weighed all of 125 pounds at the time, ran into a big ball of fire that was Charland’s car and pulled Rene from the flames. I have never seen anything like it in my whole life. Afterwards Flemke shrugged it off and said well Rene would have done it for me to which I jokingly replied don’t count on it.”

            Car owner Cliff Wright – “Repairing the car from all of the wrecks that (Kenny) Shoemaker had. He gave me a lot of glory but also a lot of hard work.”

            Brian Ross – “The fire at Martinsville. I’ll never forget that. Winning the Race of Champions at Pocono. Racing at Daytona and Talladega. Chasing Richie Evans and beating him once in awhile was the deal though.”

            Ron Narducci – “A lot of my memories are not about winning races. The race that I am most proud of though was back in the All Star League when Ernie Gahan, Bill Wimble, and myself represented Fonda in the series one year. Ernie had what we thought was a heart attack, but it wasn’t, which put him out of the Trinkaus #62. Don Wayman took over the ride and just before the championship race at Nazareth at the end of the year Trinkaus built two 350 Modified engines and put one in his car and one in Wimble’s car. Both of those 350 engines blew up within three laps of each other, which left me out on the racetrack with my 327 with Gahan’s twin four barrels on it. Those big hogs down there blew by me on the straight-aways like I was chained to a post but I would go right back by them in the corners. I finished third in that race and that was the most gratifying moment for me because I was building my own cars and engines at the time.”

            Kenny Tremont, Sr. – “Winning the Richie Evans Memorial race at Utica Rome and the 1999 Syracuse race as a car owner with my son Kenny Jr. at the wheel. Those meant an awful lot to me.”

            Nick Ronca – “A big part of my career was all of the friends that I made and the traveling that we did when we used pump gas in the race car that was 30 cents per gallon at the time. In the 70’s when gas started going up in cost it ended an era in my opinion. That changed racing a lot.”


1984 – Steve Danish, Jeep Herbert, Kenny Shoemaker

1985 – Pete Corey, Paul Marshall

1986 – George Proctor, Tony Villano

1987 – Doug Garrison, Irv Taylor, Jerry Townley

1988 – Eddie Flemke, Frank Trinkaus, Bill Wimble

1989 – Rene Charland, Cliff Kotary, Theron Moore, Ted Ryan, Ken Tremont, Sr.

1990 – Ernie Gahan, Mert Hulbert, Dick Nephew, Karl Haeussel

1991 – Nick Ronca, Howie Westervelt, “Tate” Eugene Tetreault

1992 – Cliff Wright, Donald Wayman, “Jollie” Ollie Palmer

1993 – Jerry Cook, Ralph Ouderkirk, Frankie Schneider

1994 – Chuck Ely, Ed Delmolino, Tim Baker, Ed Pieniazek

1995 – Claude Hoard, Hugh Hedger, Ron Narducci, Chet Hames

1996 – Fred DeCarr, Ernie Marshall, Dexter Dorr, Ernie Martin

1997 – Dick Clark, Mike Ehring, Richie Evans, George Janoski, Lou Spanier, Bugsy Stevens

1998 – Margaret Bosley, Leonard Bosley, Carlton Hughes, Harry Peek, Winn Slavin

1999 – Tommy Corellis, C.D. Coville, Stretch VanSteenburgh, Don MacTavish

2000 – Lou Lazzaro, Link Pettit, Sr., Ethel Searing-Wetmore, Ken Goodermote

2001 – Charlie LaDuc, Steve Luse, Vince Quenneville, Sr., John Osterhoudt, C.J. Richards, Ray Dalmata, Ed Feuz, James Gage, Sr., Jim Luke, George Welch, Bob Hackel, Charles “Chuck” Irving, Paul Roberts, Lee Palmer, Allen “Schootch” Schoonmaker, Stan Wetmore, Jon Button, Bernie Miller, Sonny Seamon, Bob Mott, Dutch Hoag, Arthur “Uncle Art” Stuarts

2002 – Robert “Bob” Whitbeck, John “Jocko” Martterer, George Marcus

2003 – Maynard Forrette, Butch Jelley, Andy Romano, Lenny Boehler, Freddy DeSarro

2004 – Donnie Wetmore, Brian Ross, Buck Holiday, John Grady

            For more information on NYSSCA or the Saratoga Auto Museum you can go to their websites www.nyssca.com and www.saratogaautomuseum.com

© 2005  NYSSCA