Racing's family connections were on full display over weekend in central Pennsylvania

Rick Eckert

It has often been said that the racing community is one big family, and that is true. 

While there are squabbles from time to time, folks who are a part of the racing community usually stick together. 

The close-knit bonds among racing families were on full display last weekend on the central Pennsylvania dirt-track circuit. Most of last weekend’s winners came from families with long histories in regional auto racing.  

While he’s the first in his family to sit behind the wheel on the local racing circuit, Williams Grove Speedway 410 sprint winner Dylan Norris comes from a long line of family members with racing ties.

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For many years, his grandparents, Dave and Judy Norris, fielded sprint cars under their All-Radiator banner. Among the many who drove the All-Radiator cars were Smokey Snellbaker, Dale Kerstetter, Bill Landis and Chuck Reinert. Dave has since died, but Judy can still be found at the local tracks supporting her grandson.

Dylan’s father, Shawn Norris, spent many years working on race cars for others. He served as the crew chief for many years with Cris Eash during Eash’s heyday in local racing.

Shawn Norris now twists the wrenches for Dylan Norris’ race car. They have advanced through the ranks from the micro sprints to the 358 sprints and now the super sprints. A winner in both other forms of racing, Dylan Norris has now also become a winner in the super sprints.

The family theme goes one step beyond just the Norris family. Dylan Norris drives a car fielded by Scott Gobrecht. Gobrecht, of course, comes from a family of racers that included the late Kevin Gobrecht. Scott Gobrecht not only fields the race car for Dylan Norris, but also owns BAPS Motor Speedway and has an ownership interest in Lincoln Speedway.

The Williams Grove Speedway super-late-model winner, Rick Eckert, needs no introduction to local fans. The Eckert family has seen four generations behind the wheel at one time or another. Be it father or grandfather, brother or sister, or even great grandchild, there have been Eckerts in victory lane around the area since the early 1960s.

Rick Eckert is by far the most successful of the family members who have raced. His win on Friday was his 213th in a super late model, which places him second in the area all-time for late-model wins. Rick Eckert is part of the third generation of the Eckert family to grace the local ovals.

By the way, a great quote from victory lane Friday was that the Grove’s winners on that night included a teenager (Norris) and a grandfather (Eckert).

Danny Dietrich

Saturday’s 410 sprint win at Lincoln by Danny Dietrich kept the family theme alive.

Dietrich has joined his father, Dan, and brother, Billy, as winners in both 358 and super-sprint competition in the area.

Danny Dietrich has also become the win leader in his family and is climbing the win lists in the area as well. His win at Lincoln was his 56th there, which moves him into a sixth-place tie with late racing great Bobby Abel.


Racing this week: Williams Grove kicks off the weekend racing slate on Friday, with 410 sprint cars and the 305 sprints.

Saturday, the 410 sprints headline at Lincoln and Port Royal speedways.

At Lincoln, the 358 sprints are also on the schedule, while the Port also hosts the super late models and limited late models,

BAPS Motor Speedway will try for a third time to kick off its season on Saturday with the super sportsmen, limited late models, extreme stocks and classic cars.

Selinsgrove will also try to open for a third time on Saturday with the super late models, 305 sprints and roadrunners.

The wingless super sportsmen will headline a multi-class show at Path Valley Saturday.

Bedford is set to open Sunday, with the super late models headlining.

EMMR spring open house: The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing will host its spring open house this coming weekend at the facility near York Springs.

Plenty of activities are set for Saturday and Sunday at the museum and on the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds.

Usually, Saturday is dedicated to the drag-racing community and Sunday to the oval tracks. Sunday’s theme this year is vintage race car restoration.

By the way, I understand there are several new features in the museum.




Presented by

(Wins in parenthesis)

1. Danny Dietrich (1)      194

2. Anthony Macri (2)       180

3. Brent Marks (1)          173

4. Justin Peck (1)           169

5. Freddie Rahmer (1)    116

6. Dylan Norris (1)          101

7. Buddy Kofoid              69

8. Kyle Reinhardt            55

8. Chase Dietz                55

10. Justin Whittall           54

Reach Bryan Householder at or on Twitter at @ydsports.