York County Racing Club welcomes two classes of inductees into its hall of fame

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
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Danny Dietrich

Saturday evening, the York County Racing Club welcomed a new group to its hall of fame.

Because last year’s banquet was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the YCRC inducted two classes on Saturday.

The 2020 class had been announced last year but not formally inducted until Saturday night.

They included:

Past Driver inductee Gary Gollub, a longtime star of sprint and modified racing.

Past Owner or Mechanic inductee Dick Workman, a longtime late-model car owner.

Past Miscellaneous inductee Tedd Reitz, a longtime announcer and track promoter.

Present Driver inductee Brian Montieth, a sprint racing standout.

Present Owner or Mechanic inductee John Trone, a second-generation sprint owner.

And Present Miscellaneous inductee Peg Baker, whose family owned sprint and super-sportsman cars and who worked for years as a concession manager at several speedways.

The 2021 inductees were then introduced. They were:

Past Driver: Hal Browning was named the Past Driver inductee for the new class.

Browning, who was unable to attend because of illness, had a long and colorful career as a race driver, starting in 1959 at Baltimore’s West Point Stadium and advancing to the local circuit during the time when the cars were transforming from full-sized stock cars to bugs. Browning won locally for much of the decade of the 1960s before moving to modified competition, where he immediately became a winner at the famed Reading Fairgrounds.

During his time with the modifieds, Browning relocated to Delaware, where he became a big winner and also doubled up with late-model racing, which brought him back to the area on numerous occasions, with wins at Williams Grove and Lincoln speedways. As a top driver in Delaware, Browning also got the opportunity to race with NASCAR’s Grand National Series at Dover. His driving career continued until he was well into his 70s.

But it didn’t end there. Browning took on the responsibilities as an instructor at the Dover Downs Driving Experience. It is said that Browning has more laps on the Dover track than any other driver.  He served for years as the pace-car driver, leading drivers at speed for their driving experience.

Past owner or mechanic: Hanover-area car dealer Ken Cooper was added to the hall of fame as the Past Owner or Mechanic inductee.

Cooper, who operates a Ford/ Lincoln dealership, started with his brother Gary Cooper in the street-stock class in the mid-1970s before advancing to late models with Gary and then Paul Tine and Don Zechman.

In the late 1980s, Cooper began fielding sprint cars, with first Dan Dietrich, and then others, such as Jesse Wentz, Randy Wolfe, Scott Ausherman, Kevin Gobrecht and Todd Gracey behind the wheel. Cooper’s son, Pat Cooper, ended up as the final driver, extending Cooper’s career as a car owner to 2011. In all that time, he fielded Ford-powered race cars against the numerous Chevys on the local circuit.

Past Miscellaneous: The Past Miscellaneous inductee was Bev Warner.

During her time in racing, Warner played many roles. She started as a fan, along with her recently departed husband, Norm. They eventually began operating a push truck at the local ovals. Later, they began to sponsor racers in the street-stock-type classes, and in the mid-1980s, became car owners when Bev decided she wanted to try her hand at driving for a few years.

When she hung up her helmet, Warner didn’t leave the sport. Instead, she moved to the officials’ tower, first as a scorer and later as the chief scorer at tracks such Williams Grove, Lincoln and Susquehanna.

Present Driver: Athough his career is still going strong, Present Driver inductee Danny Dietrich has already established a hall-of-fame-worthy career.

Dietrich has won close to 120 sprint races in a career that thus far spans about a decade and a half.

He has won point titles at Williams Grove, Lincoln and Selinsgrove and has won several Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek titles, as well as several Champion Racing Oil Central Pennsylvania overall titles.

Present Owner or Mechanic: Present Owner or Mechanic inductee Jerry Parrish was not on hand to receive his award. He was on a cruise vacation.

Parrish owns Premier Auto Works near Lincoln Speedway, but didn’t get interested in racing until one of his employees introduced him to the sport.

From there, he became a micro-sprint driver before going sprint racing. That led to his decision to step from the driver’s seat and become a car owner. Several drivers piloted his No. 21 racers after he stepped from the seat, but the one best known as his driver is Brian Montieth, who won nearly 100 races and eight Lincoln point titles at the wheel of Parrish’s race cars.

Parrish still fields a race car, which is going to be driven on a limited basis this season by California driver Dominic Scelzi. But his main interest now is as a co-promoter of Lincoln Speedway.

Present Miscellaneous: Few people realize that this year’s Present Miscellaneous inductee, Johnny Gibson, is a native of the western part of Pennsylvania.

His interest in racing came from his visits to the Pennsylvania short tracks and Gibson has carried that interest to the top of the short-track industry, as the voice of the World of Outlaws sprint series.

Perhaps best known for his feature introduction, “often imitated, never duplicated,” Gibson is now known worldwide.

Dillsburg's Anthony Macri won the York County Racing Club's Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Special Achievement Award.

Special Awards: The YCRC banquet is also the time when the official presentation of the Champion Racing Oil Central Pennsylvania Sprint Car Series champion is made.

This year, Dillsburg’s Anthony Macri earned the honor, and his team got a few extra rewards as well.

Macri was also named the YCRC’s Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Special Achievement Award winner. Macri won the central Pennsylvania title at age 22 in just his fifth year of sprint racing. He won 11 full sprint races and another two in 360 sprint competition in 2021.

Macri’s crew chief, Jim Shuttlesworth, was named the YCRC’s Ed Stauffer Memorial Mechanic of the Year. The former hall-of-fame inductee has built a great resume on the local circuit. A winning driver in both the super sportsmen and the limited late models, Shuttlesworth has also owned winning sprint cars and help wrench others to victory lane.

Paul Miller President’s Award: Each year the YCRC honors its late president, Paul Miller, by awarding the President’s Award to someone who has contributed greatly to the racing world.

This year the late Don Clark was honored.

Clark followed in his father, Gerry Clark’s, footsteps and was the man who led Port Royal fair board in the resurgence of the historical oval over the past decade or so.

Behind his family and his faith, the racing at Port Royal was Clark’s greatest love. His family returned that love. They were all on hand for the award.

Reach Bryan Householder at sports@yorkdispatch.com or @ydsports. Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.