Saturday, the York County Racing Club played host to its 38th annual hall-of-fame awards banquet at the Wyndham Garden in West Manchester Township.
Guest speaker Ray Evernham entertained the large crowd with tales from his many years in racing — from his beginnings on the short tracks of New Jersey to his glory days in NASCAR with guys such as Jeff Gordon and Bill Elliott.
Each year, the YCRC inducts six new members to its hall of fame. Several special awards were also presented Saturday.
This year’s hall-of-fame inductees were:
Past Driver: Lynn Weibley was inducted in the Past Driver category this year.
A top competitor at Silver Spring Speedway in the 1950s and early 1960s, Weibley was a multi-time champion at Silver Spring. Weibley’s son, former racer Brook Weibley, was on hand to pick up the award for his late father.
Past Owner/Mechanic: Dover’s Ronnie Frye was honored in the Past Owner/Mechanic category.
Frye actually fits in as both an owner and mechanic. He was the owner and mechanic on race- and championship-winning late models for many years. Many of Frye’s past drivers were on hand to see him honored, including Jim Shuttlesworth, Jeff Leiphart, Jason Covert, his brothers Dale and Doug, and his son, Coleby, the 2019 Selinsgrove Speedway champion. Longtime friend and hall-of-fame driver Gary Snelbaker also joined the Frye gang at the banquet.
Past Miscellaneous: Longtime race announcer and television personality Glenn Presgraves was honored as the Past Miscellaneous inductee.
Before his death, the longtime TV sportscaster in the Hagerstown, Maryland, area, had become a frequent visitor to the announcing stands at many of the local ovals. His first time was at Selinsgrove Speedway in the early 1970s. Over the years, he graced the booths at Hagerstown, Winchester (Virginia) and Williams Grove speedways as well. Presgraves' son, Steve, accepted the award in his father’s honor.
Present Driver: Bobby Gerhart Jr. joins his late father as member of the hall of fame after his induction as this year’s Present Driver winner.
Gerhart Sr. was a top contender in this area in modifieds, sprints and late models. Gerhart Jr. started on the local circuit in late models and modifieds, but his mark was made on a national stage. Gerhart Jr. has won more ARCA 200 races at Daytona than any other driver. He has eight ARCA wins at Daytona and another at Talladega. He has also competed in all of NASCAR’s top classes.
Present Owner/Mechanic: Yorker Michael Barshinger was honored as this year’s Present Owner/Mechanic inductee.
He, too, fits both descriptions. He has always been both an owner and mechanic. As a youngster, Barshinger cheered for Johnny Mackison Sr. and Bobby Hersh. His first driver ended up being Johnny Makcison Jr., and he has developed close ties to John Trone, whose father fielded cars for Hersh.
Mackison, T.J. Stutts and Cory Haas all won for Barshinger and were on hand at the banquet, as was Candi Ausherman, whose late husband, Scott, also won for Barshinger. Only current driver Lucas Wolfe wasn’t able to attend. He was racing in Australia.
Present Miscellaneous: Thunder on the Hill promoter Bob Miller was honored as the Present Miscellaneous inductee.
In a career that started as a teenager at the Reading Fairgrounds, Miller has been very active as a promoter and race official ever since. Thirty years ago he convinced the Rogers family that owns Grandview Speedway to try a 410 sprint race, and that was the start of Thunder on the Hill, which has presented 130 races and paid out more than $4.8 million.
Special awards: The following special awards were also presented Saturday:
Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Special Achievement Award: The Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Special Achievement Award for the 2019 season was presented to late-model star Rick Eckert of York.
During the 2019 season, Eckert reached the career milestone of 200 late-model wins. Mechanic Bob Miller picked up the award for Eckert, who was racing in New Mexico over the weekend.
Ed Stauffer Memorial Mechanic of the Year: Jake Scrignoli, who central Pennsylvania series champion Danny Dietrich describes as his best friend, won the Ed Stauffer Memorial Mechanic of the Year Award.
Scrignoli turned the wrenches for Dietrich’s tremendous season. Dietrich was also on hand to pick up his central Pennsylvania point series award.
President's Award: The Paul Miller Memorial President’s Award was supposed to be a big surprise for someone who always works hard for the YCRC.
As it turns out, banquet emcee Wayne Harper had some health issues and spent the night in the hospital and wasn’t able to perform his usual duties. John Crawl substituted, and Harper was presented with his President’s Award in his hospital room on Sunday morning.
Extra award: The YCRC also presented one extra award. Local resident Courtney Wolf was named Little Ms. Motorsports for the 2019 season. She was able to attend many tracks and helped with victory-lane ceremonies during the year.
At the start of the season, Courtney set herself a goal to raise $2,500 for the YCRC’s Injured Drivers' Fund. She did much better, gathering more than $4,000 in donations from fans at tracks she attended.
Race results: Two of the top drivers in winter indoor racing picked up wins over the weekend in the start of the 2020 Indoor Racing Series at Allentown’s PPL Center.
In Friday’s program, top northeast dirt-modified driver Erick Rudolph drove to the victory, while on Saturday it was Ryan Flores, a NASCAR tire changer during the summer season, who picked up the win.
Friday, Rudolph bested Shawn Nye for the win, with Matt Janisch, Andy Jankowiak and Jonathan Reid in the top five. Rounding out the top 10 were Tim Buckwalter, Ryan Bartlett, Briggs Danner, Matt Roselli and Michael Barns.
Saturday, Flores scored the victory over Steve Kemmery, Jeremy Haudricourt, Anthony Payne and Bartlett. Rounding out the top 10 were Danner, Janisch, Earl Paulus, Barns and Buckwalter.
Friday’s champ-kart feature was won by Tyler Brown. Local racer T.J. Reed finished fourth. Saturday’s Slingshot event was won by Dylan Hoch.
Wolfe, meanwhile, scored a fifth-place finish over the weekend in Australia.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.