Tremont, Phelps, Fidanza, Bramall, Compani & Keegan All To Be Enshrined In NYSSCA’s Hall Of Fame

Story By: RON SZCZERBA / NEW YORK STATE STOCK CAR ASSOCIATION – ALBANY, NY – After careful deliberation among the New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA) Hall of Fame Committee, the NYSSCA Hall of Fame Class of 2022 was selected with three drivers, one car owner, one track promoter, and an integral part of the NYSSCA organization who has served the organization for a total of 25 years, seven of them as president.

Kenny Tremont Jr., Roger Phelps, Frank “Sege” Fidanza, Ray Bramall, Ralph Compani, and John Keegan will all be inducted at a ceremony to be held at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 7th at the Fonda Speedway Museum and Hall of Fame building located at the Fonda Fairgrounds followed by a luncheon at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant.

 

KENNY TREMONT JR.

Born on November 13, 1961 Kenny Tremont Jr. has been a standout driver in the Northeast for a long time. His first career win came back on May 29, 1982 in a 30-lap event at the Lebanon Valley Speedway which has been his family’s home track for many years. Tremont’s, Father Ken Sr. has been a car owner at the Valley not only for his son but for other drivers as well making the track a special place for the family to race.

Tremont Jr. has a career total of 392 wins at 22 different tracks, with the majority of them coming at Lebanon Valley where he has amassed a total of 174 victories, 141 Big Block Modified wins and 33 Small Block Modified wins. Two other tracks that Tremont Jr. has considered home tracks for much of his career include the Devils Bowl Speedway in Vermont where he has a total of 90 wins and the Albany Saratoga Speedway where he has 81 career wins.

Tremont Jr. has a total of 46 Track Championships at seven different tracks including Lebanon Valley (14 Big Block & 5 Small Block), Albany Saratoga (13), Devils Bowl (10), New Venture (1), Rolling Wheels (1), Cayuga County (1), and Glen Ridge (1). He is a two-time Super DIRT Series 358-Champion in the first two years of the series in 1993 & 1994 along with the overall CVRA Champion back in 1996 & 1997.

Completing the list is the two Vermont State Championships that Tremont won back in 2017 & 2018 and a one-time champion in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) series. He was the winner of the Super DIRT Week Big Block Modified Championship event at Syracuse in 1999 and the winner of the Super DIRT Week 358-Modified Championship event four times in 1988, 1992, 1996, & 1997.

 

ROGER PHELPS

85 wins at three different tracks, that’s an impressive record in itself. Add seven Track Championships to that record and it’s Hall of Fame worthy without a doubt. Roger Phelps was born on February 23 1951, started racing in 1973 and ended his racing career in 2001. The three different tracks that Phelps had all of this success at were the Brewerton Speedway, the Fulton Speedway, and the Utica Rome Speedway.

At Brewerton Phelps currently sits sixth on the All-Time Win List with 32 victories, his first one coming back on April 30, 1982 and his final one on May 22, 1993. He won three Track Championships at Brewerton including the 1983 and 1990 Small Block Championship and the 1999 358-Modified Championship.

Phelps is fourth on the All-Time Win List at the Fulton Speedway with 45 wins, his first career win at the track coming on July 4, 1981 and his last on May 20, 2000. He was the Modified Track Champion at the track back in 1982, 1983, & 1984.

Phelps was the 1998 Open Competition Modified Champion at the “Home of Heroes” Utica Rome Speedway and has a total of eight Modified wins at the track in seven winning seasons, the first one on July 29, 1990 and the last on July 12, 1998.

 

FRANK “SEGE” FIDANZA

Western New York Asphalt Modified star Frank “Sege” Fidanza started racing in 1969 at the young age of 15 years old and found almost immediate success. But when track officials realized his age, they asked him to come back when he was older. Undeterred, Sege found creative ways to continue competing and by age 18 was the Lancaster Speedway Late Model Champion.

In 1972, Fidanza made the move up to the Modified division competing against fellow future Hall of Famers Richie Evans, Maynard Troyer, and cousins Roger and Merv Treichler. After paying his dues he was soon winning races and championships in bunches. Eleven track titles and an unmatched 112 wins are both still records at the Lancaster Speedway.

The speedways premier event the US Open was won by Sege three times and he won the prestigious Race of Champions at the Oswego Speedway twice. Along with other Modified wins at Oswego, Fidanza also won the Budweiser 100 at the Holland Speedway.

 

RAY BRAMALL

Ray Bramall owned the Freightliner Trucks #6 race cars with only two drivers throughout his ten-year career as a car owner from 1989 through 1998. Those two drivers were Brett Hearn who piloted the car for three years from 1989 through 1991 while Danny Johnson drove the car for the seven remaining seasons from 1992 through 1998.

With Bramall as their car owner, Hearn won a total of 99 feature events while Johnson won a total of 92 for a grand total of 191 wins! The threesome won a total of three Super DIRT Series Big Block Championship events, two with Hearn in 1990 & 1991 and one with Johnson in 1997. Hearn was the winner of two Super DIRT Week Small Block Championship events back in 1989 & 1990 while Johnson was the winner of that event in 1994.

Other big event wins for the Bramall led team included four Eastern States 200 victories (one by Hearn in 1989 and three by Johnson in 1992, 1993, & 1997); two Eastern States Weekend Small Block victories by Johnson in 1992 & 1996; three Lebanon Valley 200 wins (two by Hearn in 1989 & 1990 and one by Johnson in 1996); one Race of Kings win at Lebanon Valley by Johnson in 1996 when he swept the weekend after also winning the Lebanon Valley 200; three Mr. Dirt Track USA victories at Lebanon Valley (two by Hearn in 1989 & 1990 and one by Johnson in 1997); and one Flemington 200 win by Hearn back in 1989.

Together through the years with Bramall, Hearn was the winner of a total of 12 Championships at various racetracks and various series while Johnson was the winner of a total of 11 Championships at various racetracks and series.

 

RALPH COMPANI

Ralph joined his brother Ron Compani and Seymour Hayes as a management team and formed Fonda Fultonville Speedway Inc. putting together a successful bid to the Montgomery County Fair Board to promote the Fonda Speedway in 1980. Ron Compani & Hayes left Fonda Fultonville Speedway Inc. soon afterwards but Ralph stayed on as promoter of the “Track of Champions” through 1996 with Ric Lucia taking over in 1997.

Ralph Compani came up with the “Paddle Award”, giving away a wooden canoe paddle to any unlucky driver who crashed into the Mohawk River. He brought Pat Ward to Fonda in 1986 and Jack Johnson back to Fonda after he left to race Canandaigua in 1987. Compani promoted the initial “Thunder on the Mohawk” $15,000 to win race in 1992 at Fonda along with the “Thunder on the Mohawk” race in 1996 as the first DIRT sanctioned race to have been televised live and the first ever race from Fonda to have been broadcast nationally.

Compani also promoted the “Rumble” event at Fonda, an open competition 358-Modified version of the “Thunder” event paying $10,000 to win. Ralph lived right around the corner from the Fonda Speedway and probably spent more time at the track than he did around the corner at home. He lived and breathed the Fonda Speedway and kept it alive and thriving through the late 1990’s.

 

JOHN KEEGAN

As a kid before he got his driver’s license, John Keegan did whatever he had to do in order to get to the racetrack including hitchhiking, begging anyone that he could for a ride, or riding in the race car as it was flat towed to the track. Keegan wore all hats in racing, he worked on racecars, he owned racecars, and he drove racecars. He was the car owner for Joe Palmer when Palmer won the 1998 Pro Stock/Street Stock point championship at the “Home of Heroes” Utica Rome Speedway. The following year Keegan and Palmer raced on the DIRT Pro Stock Tour with a goal of top ten finish in points which they were able to achieve.

John also drove a racecar in 1991 & 1992 before money and technology forced him out of racing and he sold all of his equipment in the late 90’s. Keegan did race one more time in a Street Stock benefit for charity at Utica Rome in 2003, starting up front and holding the lead before Tom Cole and Shane Andrews were able to get by him. When Cole and Andrews got together while racing for the lead, Keegan made the pass for the win.

The Keegan family were all involved in racing in some capacity, John’s brother Larry raced with his career highlight being a champion at the Woodhull Speedway along with a win in a very special Memorial event honoring the founder and builder of the Woodhull Speedway, George Williams. Keegan’s sister Mary organized the trailer while his mother Elizabeth or “Betty” as she was called scraped mud off of the car while his sister Ann raced in Powder Puff events. While the children were doing chores on the family farm, their father, whose name was also John, but most people knew as Bob, which was his middle name, was welding and working on racecars.

Betty Biittig, Dick Sweet, John Osterhoudt, and Artie McCarty all had a hand in signing John up for the New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA) 25 years ago and since then Keegan has either been on the Board of Directors or the President of the organization, a position that he held three different times for a total of seven years. John also served on the editorial and yearbook committees for NYSSCA and continues to drive two hours one way to attend the monthly meetings that the organization holds during the racing off season.

Special thanks to Brian Bedell and Andy Hickok for their help with the information used in this release.

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