Looking back at the York County Racing Club's first Hall of Fame classes

The club is set to induct six new members this weekend.

Bryan Householder
For The York Dispatch

The York County Racing Club will host its 40th annual Hall of Fame banquet this Saturday evening at the Wyndham Garden in West York. Six new members will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

There will also be several special awards, such as the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Special Achievement Award for 2022, the Ed Stauffer Memorial Mechanic of the Year Award for 2022 and the Paul Miller Memorial President’s Award. Dillsburg’s Anthony Macri will also be officially crowned as the 2022 Champion Racing Oil Central PA Sprint Car champion.

The YCRC was formed in June 1979 when 26 members of the local racing community gathered to discuss a way to honor local racing personalities, and draw attention to local auto racing. The group was active right from the start, but it took a little bit of time to get everything in place to create a Hall of Fame for the local racers.

By the time the club was ready, a few years had passed, and it was decided that the first two banquets would honor two year’s worth of inductees to bring things up to date. When the first banquet was held, the YCRC honored new Hall of Fame members for the years 1980 and 1981.

Let’s take a look back at that first class of YCRC Hall of Fame inductees. The Class of 1980 would officially be the very first members to the YCRC Hall of Fame. It was a deserving bunch.  

The Past Driver inductee that year was Otis Stine. Stine was a Yorker who raced sprint cars back in the days before roll cages; in fact, his career started in the time when sprint cars were still called big cars. Stine was a winner at the now-restored Latimore Valley Fairgrounds and was the first driver to ever turn a lap at Williams Grove Speedway.  On the national level, Stine’s biggest accomplishment was a second-place point finish with the AAA sprint circuit, which was the highest form of sprint car racing in its day.

Yorker George Kelbaugh was the first Owner/Mechanic inductee into the Hall of Fame. Kelbaugh was both an owner and a mechanic during his career, and in fact had often fielded cars for Stine. Later, he served as a pit steward at Susquehanna Speedway while he continued to build engines for other racers at his shop. His engines often sat under the hood of the car driven by the famed Bobby Abel.

The first Past Miscellaneous inductee was Roy Richwine Sr., who built and operated the Williams Grove Speedway. Richwine was at the helm at Williams Grove from the day it opened in 1939 until his passing in 1960.

The YCRC’s first Present Driver inductee was Dick Tobias. “Toby” was a force in local racing from 1950 until his life ended with a fatal crash at Flemington, N.J., during a 1978 USAC Sprint Car event. Tobias moved through the local ranks from the stock cars to the bugs and then sprint cars. He also spent considerable time racing the modifieds. He did several stints with the USAC Sprint Cars, and even won a televised USAC Sprint Car race in Terra Haute, Indiana.

The Present Owner/Mechanic first inducted by the YCRC is still active today, although he is well into his 80s. Davey Brown Sr. started his career with Johnny Mackison Sr. at the Bowling Green Speedway in 1954. He has been active ever since, and has seen either his cars or engines win in every year since then. Of course, Brown is now with the Donnie Kreitz Jr. team and driver Lance Dewease.

The first Present Miscellaneous inductee into the Hall of Fame was the late Hagerstown announcer Frank Sagi.  Sagi’s career spanned many years beginning in the late 1950s, and his voice is one that will never be forgotten.

The YCRC Special Achievement Award that year went to sprint car driver Lynn Paxton after a very productive season. At that time, by the way, Davey Brown Sr. was Paxton’s mechanic.

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As noted, the first banquet covered two years. The Class of 1981 inductees included Past Driver Bobby Hersh, a top racer in the local area until a career ending accident at Williams Grove in 1963; and Past Owner/Mechanic Harold Brubaker, who was one of the best at getting flathead Ford engines to victory lane, with teams like Dottie’s Diner, Jerry Burkett and Tony Madonna. Past Miscellaneous went to long time photographer Lloyd King.

The Present Driver Award went to driver builder Kenny Weld, who did just about everything one could do on the local circuit. The Owner/Mechanic award went to the late Laroy “Shorty” Emrich, who fielded cars from his Manchester Chevy dealership for drivers like Johnny Mackison Sr., Dick Tobias, Lynn Paxton and Bobby Allen.  Promoter Jack Gunn was the Present Miscellaneous award winner that year.

The Special Achievement Award went to late model driver Jimmy McBee, who won 32 features in 1981.

INDOOR SEASON STARTS

The indoor racing season starts this weekend in Allentown. The TQ Midgets will headline action inside the PPL Center in downtown Allentown. Racing will be held on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Friday will feature three 20-lap qualifying events for the TQs along with qualifying action for the Champ Karts and Slingshots. Saturday is the final qualifying event plus all of the main events.