Billy McCoy, Phil Pash recipients of prestigious awards

During Rockford Speedway’s Jan. 21 Champions’ Banquet, driver, car owner and crew member Billy McCoy of Belvidere and journalist Phil Pash of Rockton were awarded the prestigious Jody Deery Award of Excellence and the Hugh G. Deery Memorial Award, respectively.

The Jody Deery Award of Excellence recognizes the person or people who have gone over and above to make the Rockford Speedway the great place it has become the last 58 years. McCoy is the patriarch of a racing family that has participated at Rockford Speedway since 1978. He has not only been a competitor, but also a car owner and crew member. He has been credited with being an “elder spokesperson” at the track. He is always willing to share his wealth of knowledge and experience, not only about the mechanics of the cars, but also about the techniques of running the quarter-mile banked oval and the psychology of the other competitors.

In presenting the award, Steve Dickson, race director at Rockford Speedway, said, “He is passionate about the Speedway, and he truly wants to improve the place he loves to race.”

The Hugh G. Deery Memorial Award is given to the person who “does the most to foster the positive image of auto racing, both at and away from the track.” Pash has written about and promoted motor sports for more than 50 years. Not only locally, both in this paper and the daily, but also on a national level. Pash has gone from writing for newspapers to the electronic media where he continues to report about topics related to racing on his Web site,

Doug Halberstadt is a local resident and is track announcer at Rockford Speedway. He can be reached via e-mail at

From the Feb. 1-7, 2006, issue

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