NHRA Northeast Division Banquet at Hershey
Drag Racing Action Online Images: Phil Hutchison
The NHRA Northeast Division held their annual banquet February 4 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey Pennsylvania. After a two year absence, the event was held to a packed house. In addition to the 2022 champs, former champions from 2020 and 2021 were invited onstage to finally get their recognition in front of the peers, family, and friends.
The banquet has historically featured one of NHRA’s announcers to emcee the event. Past emcees have included Bob Frey and Lewis Bloom. For the 2023 edition, current NHRA announcer Brian Lohnes was scheduled but had to back out at the last minute with health issues. Northeast Division official Jim Bowen was pressed into service and did a simply great job behind the mic.
The event had a bittersweet aura with long time division director Dave Mohn retiring after years of service. Mohn was awarded with an entry into the NED Hall of Fame along with a beautiful signed and framed Crew Shirt given to Mohn from the D1 certification crew.
Former NED directors Bob Lang and Greg Xakellis were on hand to usher Mohn into the Hall.
Curt LaShure awards the Hall of Fame honor to Frank Aragona’s children, Frankie and Emma Aragona
In addition to Mohn’s retirement, long time Competition Eliminator and former Lucas Oil World champion Frank Aragona Jr was inducted into the Northeast Division Hall of Fame. Due to health issues, the champ could not attend the banquet, but his children Emma and Frankie were on stage to accept their dad’s award. To say the least, there was not a dry eye in the house.
Highlights of the evening were the duo of “Fast” Freddie Perkins and girlfriend Karla Grella winning Northeast Person of the Year and Wrench of the Year respectively. The pair campaign two Top Sportsman cars along with a Top Dragster.
ET Driver of the Year went to Andy Anderson who took his S-10 to a 2022 Summit Pro ET win at the season ending event in Las Vegas.
To no ones surprise, 2022 Super Street champ Keith Mayers was awarded LODRS driver of the year with his total domination of the class in 2022 behind the wheel of his unique Porsche.
Dave Mohn awards Kyle Koretsky with NED Track of the Year
Best Supporting Sponsor went to Tommy Tape who supports the Top Dragster and Top Sportsman class at D1 events and Maple Grove Dragway took 2022 Track of the Year. Track owner Kyle Koretsky was on hand to accept the award. The Koretsky family, recent owners of the track, have gone to great lengths to upgrade the famous facility and only good things came come from their ownership.
Long time NHRA track worker Bill Masiello went home with the 2022 NED Distinguished Service award after his years of keeping the racers straight in the staging lanes.
The NED Image of Youth Award went to Top Dragster champ Bandon Miller
New Jersey racer Jackie Fricke, second from left, won the Eastern Region Top Alcohol Dragster title as DJ Cox from Maryland took home the Eastern Region Top Alcohol Funny Car trophy.
DJ Cox and Dave Mohn
Other Lucas Oil Champs recognized for their 2022 titles were:
Competition Eliminator – Steve Szupka
Super Stock- Marc Labrecque
Stock – Joe Santangelo Jr Accepting for Joe was his dad Joe Sr
Super Comp – Lee Ream