Last week, the area lost another of its racing personalities.
Dover’s Jimmy Strausbaugh died last week after a long illness.
Strausbaugh began his career in local auto racing with the Trone’s Sunoco team in the early 1960s. He started as a mechanic with the team and worked in that capacity for a number of years.
For the 1970 season, Strausbaugh set out on his own, building a car for the super-sportsman circuit. The car he built was No. 77 and Bobby Brymesser became his driver. They stayed together for two seasons and scored 10 wins and the 1971 Fredericksburg Stadium point title.
That was when Manchester’s Ed Zirkle, a former Trone driver who had worked with Strausbaugh there, decided to form his own sprint-car team. Zirkle asked Strausbaugh to be his mechanic, and for the most part they were together for about a decade. The first year together they won six races and the Susquehanna Speedway championship. Over the course of their time together, they won numerous races and also a Hagerstown Speedway point title.
When Zirkle retired, Stausbaugh moved on in the sport, working for numerous teams on both the sprint-car and super-sportsman circuits.
One of those teams was the Chuck and Vickie Miller sprint-car team, with driver Randy Ruth of Thomasville. That team enjoyed some success using a big-block engine in their cars.
Eventually, Strausbaugh and his brothers formed a team for the new 358 sprint circuit. With first Ruth and then Terry Leininger at the wheel, that team was very successful.
While Strausbaugh worked with a number top winning teams, he might best be known for his ability to field winning teams on a very limited budget. He was well known around the area for his skill in repairing damaged race cars, and it was that trait that helped any number of limited-budget teams stay in the sport.
Strausbaugh was a member of the York County Racing Club's Hall of Fame.
He will truly be missed.
Beidleman also dies: A little more than a week ago, 358 sprint pioneer Bob Beidleman also died. Beidleman had also been fighting a serious illness for some time.
Beidleman was one of the first to race with the 358 sprint cars, and in fact, scored that division’s very first feature win on April 7, 1989, at Williams Grove. Over the years, Beidleman won 31 races in the 358s and he was the division's first champion.
Beidleman raced with the URC and on this area’s sprint-car circuit, before venturing into the 358 sprint ranks. He was a regular competitor at Selinsgrove in the early 1980s.
YCRC meeting: The York County Racing Club will host a general membership meeting on Wednesday evening at the club hall in Zions View. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.
World of Outlaws late-model driver Rick Eckert will be the guest speaker. Eckert is already a member of the YCRC’s Hall of Fame and it was recently announced that he will be inducted into the National Late Model Hall of Fame in 2017.
EMMR round-table discussion: The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing will host its Third Sunday Round-table Discussion this Sunday at the museum.
The round-table discussion starts at 1 p.m.
Hall of Fame mechanic Davey Brown will be joined by Hall of Fame driver-turned-car-owner, Donnie Kreitz Jr., and Kreitz’s father, Don Kreitz Sr.
Davey Brown has been producing winning race cars since his first win with Johnny Mackison Sr. on May 23, 1954. His career win count may never be known for sure, but it certainly tops 1,000.
Don Kreitz Sr. was a sprint and midget competitor in the early 1960s before moving on to the modifieds, most notably at the Reading Fairgrounds. When Jack Gunn opened up the rules to allow sprint cars to compete with the bugs at the end of the 1966 racing season, Kreitz Sr. was one of the first winners at Williams Grove.
Donnie Kreitz Jr. won 200 sprint-car features during his career and a good handful of modified races as well.
Banquets: Both Lincoln Speedway and the Port Royal Speedway will host their season awards banquets this Saturday.
The Lincoln banquet will be held at the Wyndham Gardens in West York, while the Port Royal banquet will be held in one of the buildings on the Juniata County Fairgrounds, where the track is located.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.