Regional racing group hands out numerous honors, including new class of hall of famers

Lance Dewease, seen here in a file photo, received the Favorite Driver Award in the sprint class from the Auto Racing Club of Hagerstown.

The Auto Racing Club of Hagerstown played host to its annual banquet on Saturday after taking a year off for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sportsmanship drivers from around the area were honored, several special awards were presented and four racers were added to the ARCH Hall of Fame.

Retired late-model star Jeff Robinson was the first driver to be inducted into the ARCH Hall of Fame. Robinson started his career in the early 1970s and amassed 107 wins during his time behind the wheel.

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The late Jimmy Spence was also inducted. Spence started by winning an enduro at Hagerstown that started more than 200 cars. That was in 1985. Spence went on to win in many classes of stock-car racing, including late models. Later he stepped out of the driver’s seat to a car-owner role for his son, J.T. Spence, who also became a big winner in late-model competition.

Wayne Johnson was the living member of the induction class. Johnson started his driving career in 1975 and is still active today with the late models. He has raced and won with several classes of stock cars.

The late Wayne Walls Jr. was the other member to get inducted. Walls was a second-generation driver who won limited-late-model races around the area. His best results came at Hagerstown, where he is still the all-time career win leader with the limited late models.

Favorite Drivers: Some of the other special awards handed out on Saturday evening included the ARCH Favorite Driver awards. 

Lance Dewease topped the sprint class, while Gary Stuhler was the favorite late-model driver. Barry Miller was the top vote getter in the limited-late-model class, Cody Kershner won the honor in the pure-stock class, Alyssa Rowe was the winner in the e-mods and Hunter Kendall got the award in the miscellaneous class.

Best of Show: The Frank Sagi Best of Show honors for the best-appearing car went to owners Norm and Penny Wisner in the sprint class. The Wisners fielded cars for York’s Glenndon Forsythe for many years but they will be retiring as car owners for the upcoming season. 

The Marvin Winters team won the late-model Sagi award. Winters, a longtime competitor, is stepping down as a car owner, but is looking for a ride for the new season.

Devin Weyandt got the nod in the limited-late-model class, while Blane Hessing was the street-stock-type winner. Another retiring team, the Cisneys, who fielded emods for Tim Fedder, won in that class.

Wilts, Snook honored: The Butch Renninger Memorial Award for service to the ARCH club went to former driver turned announcer Dave Wilt and his wife Cheryl.

Renninger was a top late-model racer in the area, who also served on the fair board at Port Royal.

Bobby and Cody Fletcher each year present an award to a young racer on his or her way up. This year that award went to Layne Snook.

Shadle honor: One final award to mention is the Norman “Chub” Shadle award that has annually been presented to someone who has contributed greatly to the sport.

Shadle worked from a position as a corner flagman at Lincoln into a position as the chief starter there. He then took over the same position for Jack Gunn at Williams Grove and Selinsgrove, before sliding over to the handicapper’s position. 

Shadle was also a past president of ARCH, and each year would represent both ARCH and the York County Racing Club at the National Fan Club meet during the Indy 500 week. Shadle was also a member of the Hall of Fame for both ARCH and the YCRC.

It’s been close to 20 years since Shadle died, and since that time his wife Joan presented the award each year. In all that time the award was never presented to the same person twice.

Joan Shadle died in 2021 and this was the last time ARCH will present the award. I am deeply honored to say that I am the final recipient of the award, and the only person to receive it twice. I was first honored with the award in 2006.

The Shadles were longtime friends and helped me along the way in my career. I still deeply miss them and will cherish these awards as long as I live.

Gambler’s Classic: The Gambler’s Classic returns to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall this weekend. 

An indoor race featuring the three-quarter midgets, the Gambler’s Classic was one of many events canceled last winter because of the pandemic.

The three-quarter midgets have raced inside Boardwalk Hall on and off for many years. The Gambler’s Classic brought racing back into the venerable hall around the turn of the century, after more than a decade off. Since its return, the event had been held every year up until last year.

One of the largest and oldest structures in the seaside town, Boardwalk Hall was once known as Convention Hall and for many years also hosted the Miss America competition.

Indoor three-quarter midget racing resumed a few weeks ago at Allentown’s PPL Center and now is coming back to its longtime home. Ryan Flores won the Allentown event.

The three-quarter midgets will be joined by the slingshots and the champ karts for the Atlantic City event. A series of qualifying events is set for Friday evening, with the main events going off on Saturday evening.

Reach Bryan Householder at or on Twitter at @ydsports.