2016 Central New York Stock
Car Hall of Fame Induction
It’s hard to believe that this will
be our 21st year of honoring
former racers at our annual HOF
Induction. When Richard Parry,
Dave Conde and Mel Ogden
came to this notion, it was a
fairly low-key affair held at the
Madison County Fairgrounds in
Brookfield. As the event became
more popular it was moved to
the West Winfield VFW and now
for the last decade, at the Otsego
County Fairgrounds in Morris,
NY – home of Midstate Speedway
where many of us got hooked on
this sport. The event itself has
blossomed into our Super Bowl
and everyone involved in the
club looks forward to this event
just a salivating like Pavlov’s
dog… I know just pulling into
the gate at Midstate, my heart
starts pumping like a big bass
drum.. You get the picture I’m
sure, we look forward to it. Our
former inductees look forward to
it as well, it’s a great day filled
with old racecars, great stories
and the bucolic scenery of the
prettiest grandstand in upstate
NY – which with a little luck this
year we hope to see fill as we lap
the track… But, of course, I’m
getting ahead of myself. The
fellows looking forward to this
day with likely the greatest
anticipation are our inductees,
and the class of 2016 is a
deserving one:

Bob Hackel – “Mr. Mini-Stock”
won with his VW bug throughout
the NY State footprint,
dominating the division on a
yearly basis. Truly, on those
occasions that he didn’t win, it
was an upset and that’s not an
exaggeration. Bob kicked ass
everywhere, including Midstate
where he went 4 for 4 which was
only 1% of his total wins..

Gary Beagell – The 3rd Beagell
Brother to enter our HOF, Gary
is well known for his Automotive
Business in Kirkwood, Gary’s U-
Pull It, which is a fixture. He’s
also very well known for his
generous sponsorship of racing
events throughout the Southern
Tier but what isn’t as well-
known was his talent as a driver,
which was considerable. Gary
ably copped several Late Model
features (including one at
Midstate in 1972) as well as
racing competitively at Penn Can
& 5MP with the modifieds.

Cross Brothers – Howard and
John Cross entered the racing
game in the early 60’s and while
they may have gotten interested
in the sport at Midstate, the New
Berlin based team set their sites
on Fonda instead. That was a
bold move as ‘The Track of
Champions’ boasted some of the
toughest competition available
at the time. Wonderfully
underfunded but energetic and
clever, they became competitive
shortly after teaming with driver
Jerry Townley, finishing 2nd two
weeks in a row in features there
(nearly winning both). When Jim
Luke left the Pop Wilcox seat,
the Brothers generously
recommended Townley for the
potent ride, knowing Pop offered
better opportunity than they
could. Unselfishness and
sportsmanship are words
bantered about at times with
little care, actions always speak
louder – the Cross Brothers
epitomize class.

Wink Hinkley – The Grand
Gorge try hard Late Model driver
who’s been at it since the early
70’s and raced all through
Central New York. “Perseverance
pays off’ should be Wink’s motto,
or perhaps “For the love of the
sport” is more apt. Regardless,
Winks success has to be
measured not only in feature
wins, but also in the ability to
race, and enjoy it for nearly 30
years, an achievement in itself.

Joel Canfield – Another Rip
Van Winkler from the Catskills,
Joel cut his teeth at Midstate
and Fonda in the pretty Late
Models of the late 1960’s.
Competitive in the class through
many years, Joels’ support of the
class was only extinguished
when the class was.

Frank Wright Jr. & Sr.
Frank Jr. assisted head flagger
Don Phoenix for several seasons
in the early to Mid 1960’s at
Midstate Speedway. His
interested in the sport was quite
naturally inspired by his dare-
devil father who rode Harley’s
during WWII and was well
known around New Berlin for his
driving exploits in delivery
trucks… When local garage
owner Hermie Strain got the
racing bug and built a ’35 Ford
for competition at Midstate,
Frank Sr. got the seat. Hermie
installed a ‘California Special’
racing engine, (that he took out
a ‘business’ loan for from the
bank…) and coil springs in the
front-end. The springs were a
mistake, Otto Graham recalled
the car ‘pogo-sticking down the
frontstretch’ – it didn’t make the
backstretch as Frank Sr.
deposited the new car over the
first turn bank ending what has
to be the shortest racing career
in the history of the speedway.
We’re pleased to honor the
father son team with the Don
Phoenix Memorial Award this
As always - Admission is free. Come join us for a great day of bench
racing as we honor these former racers, share stories and take a trip
back to a time when racing was nothing but fun..