The York County Racing Club played host to its 32nd annual Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday evening at the Holiday Inn in West York.
Six new members were inducted into the Hall of Fame and several special awards were presented. NASCAR Truck Series Rookie of the Year Ryan Blaney was the guest speaker.
Blaney, who just turned 20 on New Year's Eve, won in both the Truck Series and the Grand National Series in 2013. A third-generation driver, Blaney kept the folks at the banquet entertained with stories of his young career and some mentions of his father, grandfather and uncle.
He noted that his schedule for 2014 includes a full Truck schedule, with plans in the works for some more Grand National events as well. His hopes are to progress to a full Grand National schedule in 2015 and the Cup series in 2016.
The new Hall of Fame members are as follows:
HALL OF FAMERS
Past driver: Randy Wolfe was named the Past Driver inductee into the Hall of Fame.
Wolfe's career in sprint-car racing began as a mechanic for drivers Lee Osborne and Pancho Carter before he began driving himself at the end of the 1975 season. In 1976, Wolfe raced the URC schedule, picking up one win. He advanced to the local circuit in 1977 and was named Rookie of the Year on Jack Gunn's KARS circuit, with one win that season.
Over the next several decades, Wolfe raced all over the country, but mostly in the area with numerous wins and a point championship. His championship came in 1982 at Port Royal. In the late 1990s, Wolfe stepped out of the driver's seat to work with his young son, Lucas, as the then-pre-teen began his own racing career.
Past owner/mechanic: Late car owner Wilbur Hawthorne was named the Past Owner/Mechanic inductee into the Hall of Fame.
Hawthorne came east from his Ohio home with driver Bobbie Adamson in 1966 and put together several very good years, which included two Williams Grove National Open wins, many other victories and several point championships. His final year in the area was 1970, when both Billy Cassella and Ronnie Dunstan won races in the famed No. 35.
Hawthorne's four children were on hand to accept the award, and Adamson also came north from his Florida home to be on hand.
Past miscellaneous: The late Dick Jones was honored as the Past Miscellaneous inductee.
Jones raced briefly in his native upstate New York before moving to Maryland. It was while living in Maryland that Jones began publishing the Tri State Speed Press. He and his wife Marrilee published the popular racing paper from 1966 until 1983.
After closing the paper, he still plied his trade as a racing photographer for many years. Marrilee and many family members were on hand to receive the award.
Present driver: The YCRC's Present Driver award was presented to sprint-car driver Jeff Shepard.
Shepard began his racing career in go-karts and moved into sprint cars in 1987, when he reached 16. From that point until suffering career-ending injuries at the 2008 Knoxville Nationals, Shepard became one of this area's top drivers and a great representative for this area on the road.
All told, Shepard won 87 sprint-car races at 35 tracks in 16 states.
Present owner/mechanic: Late car owner Jesse Keen picked up the Present Owner/Mechanic Award.
At his untimely death early in the 2012 season, Keen had fielded cars for some of the area's best drivers, with wins at many big races locally and outside the area.
His career began in the late 1970s at Silver Spring with driver Larry Jackson. In 1982, he went sprint-car racing with Wolfe, and after a long association with Wolfe, he moved on to time with his son, Shawn, and then several other drivers, such as Skip Jackson, Pat Cannon, Daryn Pittman, Tyler Walker, Todd Shaffer and Brian Leppo.
Shawn Keen accepted the award in his father's memory.
Present miscellaneous: Multi-talented Joe Becker was named the Present Miscellaneous award winner.
Following high school and a stint in the service, Becker was introduced to racing by a friend who drove a push truck. Becker quickly put a push bumper on his truck as well.
That didn't last long, and soon there was a late model in Becker's garage. He raced for a number of years, scoring two wins while racing on a tight budget. When his budget became too tight, Becker stepped out of the driver's seat.
He quickly found a job as a corner flagman at Lincoln, but that didn't last too long either. That's because then-Lincoln promoter Tom Livelsberger found a job more suited to Becker's talents. It was in the late 1970s that Becker began driving Lincoln's pace car, something he's still doing to this day.
Along the way, he also spent many years wheeling the pace car at Williams Grove. Perhaps his best quote years ago was that he found driving the pace car was "the best way to stay in front of the pack."
Paul Miller Memorial Presidents Award: Each year the YCRC presents the special Paul Miller Memorial Presidents Award to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the sport.
This year the club presented the award to Debbie Rahmer.
The wife of Fred Rahmer has always stood behind her husband's racing career, but she has also done so many things behind the scenes to help the sport. She's always been a strong supporter of the YCRC, and her always-upbeat personality and charming smile are always welcome at the race tracks.
Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Special Achievement Award: The Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Special Achievement Award went to the entire Rob Sell Racing Team.
With Fred Rahmer as their driver, the team won seven races last year, including the Williams Grove National Open. They were the overall champions of the Speedway Motors/Champion Racing Oil Series and won titles at Williams Grove and Lincoln.
With Rahmer at the wheel, the team finished in the top 10 in 61 of 66 races last year. When Rahmer retired and Sell's son, Derek, took over for two races at the end of the season, there was another win in Susquehanna's Final Showdown.
Ed Stauffer Memorial Mechanic of the Year: Moon Byers, along with Freddie Rahmer and Brandon Rahmer, received the Ed Stauffer Memorial Mechanic of the Year Award for their work with the Sell team.
Byers did the at-track set-ups on the car and the Rahmer children did all the at-shop work.
During the whole season, the Sell car only suffered two mechanical failures.
Hectic day for Rahmers: Last Saturday was a hectic one for the whole Rahmer family.
All told, they had to attend three banquets, and Fred also served as a guest speaker elsewhere.
The day started with Fred Rahmer speaking at Donnie Kreitz Jr.'s Chassis Seminar in Sinking Spring. From there, Fred Rahmer went to the Eastern Motorsports Press Association banquet in King of Prussia, where he won the Richie Evans Memorial Northeast Driver of the Year Award and the World Racing Group's Jerry Reigle Memorial Outstanding Contribution to the Sport Award.
While Fred was in King of Prussia, wife Debbie Rahmer and daughter Chessie attended the York County Racing Club Banquet with the Sell family and Moon Byers. Debbie was quite surprised at her own award.
While their parents were at the other two banquets, Freddie and Brandon Rahmer were at the National SpeedSTR's awards banquet, where Freddie was picking up his award as the 2013 champion. Fred and Debbie each left their own banquets early to join their sons at the SpeedSTR banquet.
By the way, the EMPA banquet also honored Outlaw champion Daryn Pittman with its Al Holbert Memorial Driver of the Year Award.
While at their respective banquets, Fred and Debbie Rahmer each released some word about Fred's plans for 2014. Of course, they had already mentioned that they will be supporting both Freddie and Brandon as the youngsters begin their sprint-car career every Saturday at Lincoln. But one of the cars will also compete on a semi-regular basis at Williams Grove. Rahmer has offered Stevie Smith a ride for all of the Williams Grove time-trial shows.
In addition, Fred Rahmer will don the promoter's hat for a Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek race at Path Valley on June 29.
Motorsports show: The Motorsports show will be held this coming weekend in Oaks, with 2012 NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski in attendance on Saturday afternoon.
The show runs Friday from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
-- Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.