The annual Gary Wolford Fish Fry on Sunday at the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds will highlight the upcoming weekend.
Wolford is the area's all-time career win leader in super-sportsman competition. Before moving into the class that was long connected with the old Silver Spring Speedway, Wolford began racing the local flathead stock cars.
Wolford won five times in the stock cars that evolved into today's sprint cars before moving over into the then-Class A Sportsman cars at Silver Spring and elsewhere. I've found 145 wins for Wolford in those cars, which today are known as the super sportsmen.
One interesting Wolford story from his days in the flathead stock cars on the area circuit. Early in his racing career, Wolford was mentored by his racing idol, Bobby Abel. Abel, a popular racer from Wrightsville, was one of this area's best. Early one season at Susquehanna, Abel was driving the famed Yorkshire Garage No. 1080, but still had his own equally-famed orange and blue No. 2 at his shop.
On this day at Susquehanna, Abel put Wolford in his own car while driving the No. 1080. Wolford went out and won the feature that day. Guess who finished second? Yep, it was Bobby Abel.
A number of years ago, Wolford began hosting a fish fry for all his racing friends at his excavating business in Brogue. Rumor has it that at the first Fish Fry, all of Wolford's friends showed up. There were two people there, and that included Wolford. By the way, Lynn Paxton told me that story. Actually, from the beginning, the Fish Fry was a gigantic success. So successful, in fact, that Wolford's shop grew too small for the function.
That's when Wolford got the idea to move the event to Latimore Valley and to have it serve as a fundraiser for the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing. The fish and fries are still free, but donation boxes are located around the pavilion. This event has just gotten bigger and bigger.
Many racers, both past and present, mingle with thousands of fans during the day. When the event moved to Latimore Valley, folks began bringing their old race cars along as well. One other thing that happened when the event moved to Latimore was the "Blindfold Race." That first year, Wolford took on Paxton in a race around the old fairgrounds track. Thing was, they were both blindfolded, and needed navigators. Alan Kreitzer and Paul Miller served in that capacity.
Despite several fences being crashed down (Paxton drove right through the third-turn fence) the event became very popular. Since that time, numerous top drivers from this area and beyond have taken part in the race. This year's crop is a good one, and they will have a new twist to work out.
This year one driver will drive blindfolded for three laps, then switch seats, and blindfolds, with his, or her, navigator for another three laps. This years crop of drivers will represent sprint cars, late models, super sportsmen and street stocks.
Last Friday's Williams Grove All Star sprint winner, Logan Schuchart, will join early-season Lincoln winner Brian Leppo as the sprint-car team. The 2011 Sportsman 100 winner, Carmen Perigo Jr., and Scott Geesey, who has won in sprints, 358 sprints and super sportsmen, will represent the super sportsmen. Limited-late-model and street stock-driver Bob Scott Jr. will team up with his daughter, street-stock racer, Jenn Scott on the third team. Arch-rivals Gene Knaub and Bobby Beard will make up the late-model team.
Things should get started around 10 a.m., with the Blindfold Race kicking off around 1 p.m. There will also be a memorabilia auction to benefit the EMMR and York County Racing Club.
WEEKEND RACING SCHEDULE: This weekend, Williams Grove and Lincoln will offer local sprint-car teams a tune-up for the upcoming World of Outlaws shows.
Both tracks will run an Outlaws format for their sprint cars this weekend, featuring time trials, heats and a dash, plus C, B and A mains. Both tracks will pay $4,000 to win. Lincoln will also use the Outlaws double-file restarts for Saturday's race.
The Grove runs Friday with the Outlaw tune-up for the sprints, plus 358 sprints. Saturday, the Grove will try for the third time to kick off the Saturday Series of super sportsmen, limited-late models and street stocks.
Trailway has 358 sprints, limited stocks and sidewinder 1,000cc micro sprints on Friday, and then has a two-day East Meets West Go-Kart event on Saturday and Sunday.
Lincoln hosts the sprints in their Outlaw tune-up Saturday, plus the 358 sprints and thundercars. Port Royal's Saturday slate includes the sprints, late models and ARDC midgets.
At Selinsgrove Saturday, the 358 sprints headline, along with the late models, roadrunners and a championship event for the pro stocks. Susquehanna has limited-late models, street stocks, Xtreme stocks, Legends, minivans and Road Warriors Saturday, and Hagerstown offers up late models, pure stocks, and hobby stocks on Saturday.
50 YEARS AGO: Two of the three scheduled races made it into the record books on this weekend 50 years ago.
Friday at Williams Grove, Delta's Johnny Mackison Sr. drove the Yorkshire Garage/Emrich Chevy No. 1080 to his third overall win of the season. Mackison won over Dick Tobias, Neil Haight, Leroy Felty and Johnny Crawford Sr. Saturday at Port Royal, Tobias drove the Regester Chevy No. 6 to his second win of the season. This time it was Mackison chasing Tobias to the line, with Felty in third. Johnny Dubendorf and Clate Husted completed the top five.
Susquehanna was rained out on Sunday.
ANOTHER FRIEND GONE: The longtime voice of the Hagerstown Speedway, Frank Sagi, died last week.
Sagi had been retired from announcing for several years, but was still a fixture at many races. His son, Alan Sagi, is still a top late-model racer. I first met Sagi not long after I got started in this sport, and he was always a good friend, and a mentor to me. His booming voice and generous personality will be greatly missed.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdis patch.com.