The York County Racing Club inducted six new members into its Hall of Fame on Saturday evening at the Holiday Inn in West York.
Numerous special awards were also presented.
The evening started with MRN Radio's Steve Post as the guest speaker. Post, a northcentral Pennsylvania native, works as a pit reporter for MRN's NASCAR Sprint Cup broadcasts, and also co-hosts the Winged Nation program with Kendra Jacobs. He spoke of how impressed he is with the racing and the fans from this area.
Johnny Murphy: The Hall of Fame ceremonies began with the induction of Past Driver inductee Johnny Murphy.
Murphy was one of this area's top super-sportsman drivers, and still ranks second on the all-time career super-sportsman win list at 83. He also drove sprint cars and modifieds for a brief time.
Murphy is a five-time Silver Spring champion, and also won titles at Penn National and Williams Grove. He has also won three Sportsman 100 races.
Murphy retired from driving in 1996, and began fielding cars for sons Ben and Jake. He also spent some time as race director at Silver Spring. His son Ben in now working as an engineer for the Penske Racing Sprint Cup team, which powered Brad Keselowski to this year's NASCAR championship.
Billy Gettle: Next up was the Past Owner or Mechanic inductee, Billy Gettle.
Gettle began fielding cars for Dick Tobias in the early 1950s. His cars raced at places such as Reading and Hilltop before moving into the local circuit. In the late 1950s, Tobias, Frankie Thompson and Leroy Felty had some great years in Gettle's No. 17 coupe.
From there, Gettle moved into the local "bugs" with Felty, Bobby Gerhart, Boots Podjed and George Speck driving. At this time he teamed with John Lux, and eventually they moved back to Reading with Florida transplant Jackie Evans doing the driving.
Gettle lost his desire to field a race car when Evans was fatally injured in the car at Reading, but never lost his love of the sport. By that time he had a thriving machine shop and parts business, and he's actually still at that to this day, at age 81.
Local racing legend Lynn Paxton said that Gettle did the machine work on nearly every engine Paxton ever raced, and that includes those built by another local legend, Davey Brown Sr. Brown, who still builds engines for Donnie Kreitz Jr., said that Gettle has done his machine work for more than 40 years. Yet another local racing mechanic, Lee Stauffer, said that he and his father, Ed, worked with Gettle for years, and Lee remembers times when he stayed with the Gettle family while working on engines at the Gettle shop.
Glen Stitt: The Past Miscellaneous inductee was Glen Stitt.
Stitt developed an interest in racing as a young man when he spotted the dust and heard the noise from Port Royal Speedway while going from fishing on the Tuscarora River to his job at the brick factory in Port Royal. It was 1950, and Stitt decided to check out what was going on. He's remained hooked to this day.
When Stitt's children were younger, he fielded quarter-midgets for them to race, and became the scorer for the organization that raced at Fairview. From there he became a fan again at Port Royal before taking over duties as scorer at the Port in 1964. He stayed at the Port for many years, and actually did the research that has documented Port Royal Speedway's history.
In 1980, then Lincoln promoter Tom Livelsberger promoted Friday night racing at Selinsgrove, and while he took some of his staff from Lincoln, he also employed some Port Royal officials. It was during this brief period of Friday racing at Selinsgrove that Port Royal scorer Glen Stitt met Lincoln scorer Mildred "Billie" Good. The Friday racing at Selinsgrove didn't last out the year, but Stitt's and Good's romance did. They were married in November of 1980 and are still going strong 32 years later.
Eventually Stitt left Port Royal to join "Billie" at Lincoln, and over the years they also worked races together at Susquehanna and Williams Grove. Eventually "Billie" retired from scoring, but Glen kept right on working. He stopped scoring, but continued to work the pit gates and conduct the post-race payoff for many years, not retiring until the end of the 2008 racing season when he was 80.
While still keeping his records of racing events at the local tracks, poor health kept the now 84-year-old Stitt from attending the banquet.
Stevie Smith: The Present Driver Inductee was second-generation sprint-car driver Stevie Smith.
Smith began appearing in victory lane photos as a youngster, right from the time his father, Steve Smith, won his first race at Susquehanna in 1969. By 1983, Stevie, at age 16, was making those victory lane photos on his own as a driver.
Over the years he's won 200 sprint-car features at nearly 60 tracks in at least 22 states. Of course the majority of those wins have come on local ovals.
Lee Stauffer: The Present Owner or Mechanic inductee was West York's Lee Stauffer, another second-generation racer.
Stauffer followed in the footsteps of his late father, Ed Stauffer, who is also a YCRC Hall of Famer.
Before he could even drive on the highway, Stauffer was turning wrenches on local race cars, first with his father, and then with the Browns on the famed Weikert's Livestock car with Doug Wolfgang as the driver. He later worked with Johnny Mackison Jr., before joining again with his father when Bob Stewart formed the Apple Motorsports team. Since his father's death in 1998, Stauffer has worked for several teams, most recently with Greg Hodnett and the Trone No. 39.
While working with his father, Stauffer's cars won 113 races. Since his father's death, Stauffer has wrenched sprint cars to 151 more wins. Some of those wins were in this area's biggest races.
Barry Skelly: Another West Yorker, Barry Skelly, was named the Present Miscellaneous inductee.
Skelly's interest in racing began when his father, Frank, fielded a stock car at the long-gone Bowling Green Speedway in the mid-1950s. Skelly quickly found his niche in taking photos, and has been doing so ever since.
He has operated the novelty stand at Lincoln Speedway since the 1960s, and has also operated novelty stands at other area speedways over the years.
An avid collector of antique toys, Skelly has also been instrumental in producing many of the scale models of local race cars that are sold around the world.
It was at Skelly's Race-O-Rama Hobby Center that local racing legend Smokey Snellbaker met his first car owner while racing slot cars. For a number of years, Skelly also promoted a race car show at the Queensgate Shopping Center where Race-O-Rama was located.
EMMR: The Paul Miller Memorial President's Award for outstanding contributions to the sport was presented to the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing.
Of course, the EMMR is the museum of racing history located at the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds. Lynn Paxton was on hand to accept the award.
Bobby Gerhart: The Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Special Achievement Award for 2012 was presented to ARCA driver Bobby Gerhart.
The second-generation driver won his record eighth ARCA 200 at Daytona last February. Gerhart started his career at the Linda's Speedway and won a modified championship at Susquehanna on his way to the national scene. He has won nine ARCA races in his career, including the eight at Daytona and one at Talladega. While he hasn't won at any of the other ARCA venues, he's got top-five finishes on every kind of track that ARCA runs. His father, Bobby Gerhart, is a member of the YCRC Hall of Fame.
Gene Knaub: The Ed Stauffer Memorial Mechanic of the Year Award went to driver Gene Knaub of Dover.
While Knaub is best known for his driving prowess, he is also his own mechanic. Knaub has raced and won in many of the local racing divisions. His career resume includes wins in 358 late models, 358 sprints, Xtreme stocks, semi-lates and thundercars. He was racing sprint cars when sidelined by a back injury a number of years ago. That's the only class he hasn't won in, although he did get a second-place finish to Steve Smith at Lincoln.
When Knaub returned from his back injury, he began in the Xtreme stocks, then the thundercars, and then, starting in 2007, the 358 late models. In the past six years he's won 72 races with those cars to push his career win total past 100.
Greg Hodnett: The final award of the evening was the 2012 Speedway Motors Central Pennsylvania Sprint Car Series championship.
Thomasville's Greg Hodnett and the Trone No. 39 team collected $5,000 for the series title. The title was Hodnett's fourth in a row and fifth overall.
-- Reach Bryan House holder at sports@yorkdis patch.com.