The 23rd annual DIRT Modified Hall of Fame inductions took place at the Hall on Wednesday before an exceptionally large crowd.
On hand were the three driver inductees; Mike Colsten, Lloyd Holt and Charlie Rudolph, plus all of the award winners.
The ceremonies were hosted by Shane Andrews and the voice of central New York racing, Joe Marotta. The evening started off with Dean Reynolds introducing two new additions to the ESS Wall of Fame located inside of the DIRT Modified Hall of Fame and Classic Car Museum. The ESS honored Walter “Walt” Thorne and Johnny Brutcher.
Thorne was a car co-owner for Mike Bozzutto in those early years. Thorne may be better known for his ownership of Walt’s Hobby Shop, a major sponsor of the ESS Dashes.
Brutcher was one of the found.e.rs of the ESS series and one of its earliest stars. He ran up 16 A-main ESS wins during his sprint car career. He also was in the top 10 in series points seven times.
Cliff Barcomb was honored with the Gene DeWitt Car Owner award. Barcomb sat behind the steering wheel for a number of seasons in the 1950’s and 60’s. Then in 1963 he obtained his first opportunity to be a car owner with Buck Holliday as his driver. Over the years he had such stars as Alan Johnson, Buck Holliday, C.D. Coville, and Davey Moore as his drivers.
Lebanon Valley promoter Howie Commander was up next to receive the Lenny H. Sammons Awards for Outstanding Service. Long overdue for this great promoter, Commander related a number of stories about is life as a racing promoter.
First of the drivers to be inducted was Mike Colsten. He related to the assembly about his diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, in September 2012 and having to endure countless chemotherapy treatments and surgeries during the winter to eradicate the disease. When spring arrived, Colsten felt well enough to race and after a discussion with his wife, Lea, returned to Five Mile Point. After three wins, two seconds and never finishing out of the top 10, Colsten walked away with the track championship.
The legendary Lloyd Holt was up next. He began his racing career in 1957 at Merrittville Speedway. Lloyd was one of the first modified drivers to dominate in the U.S. He became a regular at the old Waterloo Speedway and the newly opened Rolling Wheels Raceway. He became the latter’s first full season modified champion.
The final inductee was Charlie Rudolph. He is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in engineering. Rudolph who grew up in a household with father Jim Rudolph driving, had racing in his blood from day one. During his stint at RIT, he got behind the wheel himself in 1978 on the asphalt at Lancaster Speedway. Two years later he found himself dirt racing. In 1986, as he won the track titles at Ransomville, Rolling Wheels and Weedsport, as well as the Mr. DIRT Championship.
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