The York County Racing Club welcomed six new members at its 36th annual Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday evening, Jan. 6, at the Wyndham Garden in West Manchester Township.
In addition, several special awards were presented.
Ashley Stremme served as the guest speaker. Stremme is a native of Mifflintown, who grew up working on her father’s sprint car. She has since gone on to serve in many capacities in auto racing, currently as a co-host of the Winged Nation sprint-car show on television.
Here is a look at those who were honored.
HALL OF FAMERS
Past Driver: The Past Driver inductee into the hall was Lee Osborne.
Osborne is a native of New York state who began racing there on motorcycles in the early 1960s. He moved to asphalt modifieds, before relocating to Etters to begin a sprint-car career. While in the area, he hooked up with the legendary Dick Tobias, working in the Tobias shop building sprint cars as well as racing them.
Osborne spent a little more than five years in the area winning at Williams Grove, Selinsgrove, Susquehanna, Reading, Penn National and Port Royal speedway before being offered a ride on the USAC sprint-car tour. After several winning seasons on the USAC tour, Osborne moved to the World of Outlaws, and then to the All Stars, where he won three consecutive tittles.
He retired from driving in 1984 but continued building sprint cars. Some of his cars went to some big-name drivers, such as A.J. Foyt, Kenny Schrader and Dave Blaney. Perhaps the most-often noted of his customers was a car purchased to launch the career of a 13-year-old, sprint-car rookie named Jeff Gordon.
Osborne was unable to make it to York for the banquet, but hall-of-fame, late-model mechanic Barry Klinedinst, who is restoring a former Osborne ride, accepted the award.
Past Owner or Mechanic: The owner of one of the most iconic cars from the southern part of our local circuit was honored as the Past Owner or Mechanic inductee.
Lee Stultz began fielding his eventually well-known, yellow-and-blue racers with the big red S-3 on the side in the early 1950s.
Over the years, Stultz’s cars went from the full-sized coupes to the “bugs” and then sprint cars. Then he moved to the late models. One thing never changed. Stultz cars were always winners, first with drivers Bill Nalley and Charlie Beeler and later with Ray Dovel and eventually Buddy Armel.
Early in the 1960s, with Nalley in the main class and Beeler running in the limited class, Stultz’s cars won 67 races in one season. Later Dovel won more than 50 races in a short span in the Stultz “bugs” and the first sprint car. Most of Armel’s more than 200 late-model wins came in the S-3.
Stultz's children, David and Darlene, accepted the award.
Past Miscellaneous: York-area native Paul Shiding was honored as the Past Miscellaneous inductee.
Shiding was a longtime race fan who was one of the founders of the Checkered Flag Fan Club. Those who knew him say that next to his wife, Gladys, his two loves were race cars and airplanes. He was said to be a “Walking Encyclopedia of Auto Racing.”
Shiding died in late 2016 after not quite reaching his goal of 100 years of age. Longtime family friend Scott Thompson accepted the award.
Present Driver: The YCRC’s Present Driver inductee is best known for his accomplishments outside this area, but his stats locally are quite impressive as well.
Billy Pauch Sr. may just be the most versatile driver ever to compete in East Coast racing.
His career includes wins in modifieds and late models on both dirt and asphalt. He’s won in SpeedSTRS, midgets, the indoor three-quarter midgets and of course in sprint cars, both with wings and without. His sprint-car wins included biggies such as the Williams Grove National Open, the Syracuse Super Nationals and wins with the World of Outlaws, All Stars, USAC and CRA. He still holds the world speed record for a sprint car, which he set on the “Moody Mile” at Syracuse in 1994. That lap was in excess of 144 mph.
In a career that started in 1975 and is still going strong, Billy Pauch has won 727 races.
Present Owner or Mechanic: Present Owner or Mechanic inductee Dave Middleswarth hasn’t fielded a race car in a little more than a year, but says he still has all the equipment in his shop.
Middleswarth, owner of the potato chip company of the same name, fielded sprint cars for a number of top talents from 1994 through 2015, with a few races in 2016.
With drivers such as Barry Camp, Chad Layton, Randy Plummer, Todd Hestor, Mike Wagner, Todd Shaffer, Brian Seidel and most notably Keith Kauffman, Middleswarth earned nearly 100 sprint-car wins and eight track championships.
Present Miscellaneous: The YCRC’s Present Miscellaneous inductee is car dealer Gary Lawrence.
Lawrence Chevrolet will be entering its 10th year as the sponsor of the sprint-car point funds at both Williams Grove and Lincoln, but Gary Lawrence has been around racing a lot longer than that.
Growing up near Hanover, Lawrence began attending races at a very young age, and in fact would venture across town to watch the construction crews as they built Lincoln Speedway in the early 1950s. He was a longtime three-night-a-week race fan, but it wasn’t until his Chevy dealership moved from downtown Mechanicsburg to the Carlisle Pike that Lawrence became more than “just a fan”.
Lawrence Chevrolet built its new dealership across the pike from Silver Spring Speedway and Lawrence began sponsoring the super-sportsman cars around that time. He stayed with the Springs until it closed, and moved his sponsorship of the Sportsman 100 to Lincoln when the event moved there. When the sprint-car point funds fell open when Cindy Rowe sold her business, Lawrence moved in to fill the gap, and he’s still going strong.
Paul Miller Memorial President's Award: The YCRC presents its Paul Miller Memorial President’s Award to a local racing personality who isn’t often in the spotlight but has done much for the sport and the YCRC.
This year’s winner, according to his wife, has “always been a car guy.” Former York-area businessman Glenn Rudisill has been a fan, and often crew member for many years dating back to the 1950s with driver Johnny Mackison Sr.
“Rudy,” who operated a body shop, even went with Mackison and Davey Brown when they did some NASCAR racing in the late 1950s. Later he worked with Frankie Thompson and Bobby Abel. When good friend Ed Stauffer started the Apple Motorsports team for Bob Stewart, “Rudy” was there for the duration, and then helped with Cody Darrah’s early efforts as well.
“Rudy” is still a big race fan, and a strong supporter of the YCRC.
Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Special Achievement Award: The Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Special Achievement Award went to a family which has turned tragedy into charity.
Robert and Jean Kimmel lost their son Billy in a racing accident at Williams Grove in 2007.
Since then, they have kept Billy’s name alive with an annual Memorial Race and Scholarship Fund in his name.
Still very active in the racing community and the YCRC, the Kimmels have turned tragedy into charity.
Ed Stauffer Memorial Mechanic of the Year: The Ed Stauffer Memorial Mechanic of the Year award went to the same person who earned the World of Outlaws Crew Chief of the Year award.
Barry Jackson wrenched David Gravel to 18 World of Outlaws wins in 2017.
Among them were a perfect score on his preliminary night at the Knoxville Nationals and the Williams Grove National Open.
Jackson is a longtime mechanic from the Carlisle area who has worked with a number of drivers over the years.
Champion Racing Oil/BR Motorsports Central Pennsylvania Sprint Champions: Danny Dietrich and car owner Gary Kauffman picked up their awards as the central Pennsylvania sprint-car champions.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.