Plenty of racing events in January
It may be winter, but there are plenty of events on the local racing calendar in the upcoming weeks.
For local fans, it starts on Wednesday evening.
That’s when the York County Racing Club plays host to a general membership meeting at the club hall in Zions View, starting at 7:30 p.m.
Scott Gobrecht will be the guest speaker, and Gobrecht has plenty going on himself. Gobrecht is the new owner of Susquehanna Speedway, and of course there are a lot of ongoing improvements being made at the speedway.
In addition, Gobrecht is also the new owner of the auto racing show held each winter at the York Expo Center. This year the show has a new name, a new location and an old look. The Racing Xtravaganza will move to the Utz Arena at expo center. Gobrecht and his crew are working hard to bring back all the things that made this show so popular in years gone by.
The Racing Xtravaganza will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 6 and Feb. 7.
Sammons events: Before that, the Motorsports Show will reel off this weekend at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks. Presented by Len Sammons Motorsports Productions, the Motorsports Show brings together the best of the local and national racing scene.
There will plenty of race cars, racing parts and novelties, along with some nationally known racing figures. This year NASCAR star Kyle Larson will be on hand Saturday afternoon. Also on hand are famed NASCAR mechanics Robert Yates and Greg Moore. Yates owned the famed No. 28 driven by the likes of Davey Allison, Ernie Irvan and more, and has long been noted as one of the series' top engine builders. Moore is the son of legendary car owner Bud Moore, who owned the No. 15 racers. Bud Moore is 90 years old and had planned to attend himself until recent health issues.
For history buffs there will be a Reading Reunion and a tribute to the now-gone Syracuse “Moody Mile.” Many cars from the Syracuse past will be on display. Add in Saturday’s Ms. Motorsports contest and it’s a busy weekend.
For the folks from Len Sammons Motorsports, things won’t slow down. The following weekend it’s off to Atlantic City for the “Gambler’s Classic” indoor auto races. The “Gambler’s Classic” runs Friday, Jan. 29, and Saturday, Jan. 30.
Florida racing: Then of course there is racing in Florida leading up to the Daytona 500. Local racers from the sprint, late model and modified classes will be heading south in a few weeks.
The late models start first with action at the Golden Isles Speedway in Waynesville, Georgia, on Feb. 4, 5 and 6. The Lucas Oil Series races there, and then moves to East Bay Raceway near Tampa for action from Feb. 7-13. The UMP late models race at Volusia Speedway near Daytona from Feb 15-17, before the World of Outlaw late models take over there from Feb 18-20.
The DIRT modifieds join the late models at Volusia from the Feb. 17-20.
For sprint cars, action begins at the Bubba Raceway near Ocala with the All Stars on Feb. 5 and 6. Then the All Stars venture to Volusia from Feb. 10-11 before the World of Outlaws take over there from Feb. 12-14.
The 360 sprint nationals are at East Bay from Feb. 17-20.
ARCH banquet: The Auto Racing Club of Hagerstown held its 51st annual banquet on Saturday at the Hagerstown Elks. As is their tradition, ARCH inducted two new members to their Hall of Fame, one living and one deceased.
John Grove was the deceased inductee. Grove, as a young man, took an interest in the Hagerstown Speedway as it was being built just after World War II. He worked on many construction projects there and never really left. Grove eventually took charge of track preparation and many past racers will tell you that he always prepared one of the area’s best racing surfaces. His son Randy eventually took over some of the preparation work and also worked as a track official for many years.
The newest member of the ARCH Hall of Fame is late model racer Gary Stuhler. Stuhler is the area’s all-time career winner in the late models with 346 wins. Stuhler started his career in 1975 at the Lincoln Speedway. His first win came in his third race and he’s been winning ever since. Now 60, Stuhler won three times in 2015 and shows no signs of slowing down.
ARCH also presented their Tribute Award to Joan Shadle. “Joanie” worked for many years alongside her late husband Norman “Chubb” Shadle, who worked as a flagman and later handicapper at a number of area tracks, including Lincoln Williams Grove, Selinsgrove and Hagerstown.
"Chubb” has been gone for many years now, but Joan is still at it, working every Friday at Williams Grove, where she works the pit gate and then works the payoff booth. On Saturdays, she works the front ticket window at Lincoln.
"Chubb" Shadle was also a past president of ARCH, and each year an award in his honor is presented to a race official from somewhere around the area. This year’s award, presented by Joan Shadle, went to former driver turned announcer Dave Wilt.
Alan Sagi presented Best Appearing Car awards to drivers from many classes. The award is named in honor of Sagi’s father, Frank Sagi, the longtime voice of the Hagerstown Speedway. Frank Sagi also hosted a car show each winter in Hagerstown.
Fawn Grove’s Matt Campbell won the open wheel honors, with the late model honor going to Kenny Moreland, the limited late model award going to Stoverstown’s Cam Zeigler, the street stock honor going to Mike Corbin and the four cylinder award going to Austin Stover.
The ARCH Favorite Driver awards went to Alysa Rowe in open wheel, Wayne Johnson in late models, Cody Kershner in limited late models, Chris Ebersole in street stocks, Bailey Johnson in four cylinders and J.J. Loss in miscellaneous.
The Harry Fletcher Memorial Young Driver Award of $1,000 from the Fletcher family went to Ray Kable Jr. Kable races quarter midgets and comes from a long line of racers. Not sure about the junior part of the name since his father and grandfather also were known as Ray Kable.
The first Ray Kable was a winner in the stock cars of the 1950s and early 1960s before moving into late models, where he also was a winner. The first Ray Kable Jr. also raced and won with late models, as did his brother, Butch.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.