|Date: 11/30/2008 2:09:07 PM|
November 29, 2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DEESE JR CLAIMS SIXTH HAGERSTOWN CINDY ROWE TITLE
FRIES REPEATS HOOSIER TITLE, HOLLIDGE EARNS 1ST ERNIE’S TITLE
HAGERSTOWN, MD -- Hagerstown Speedway officially wrapped up its 2008 season last evening with the Annual Awards Banquet held at the Hagerstown Elks Lodge.
Following the meal, the program began with a video by Sports Plus Video highlighting not only the champions but other racing throughout the season and a chance to catch a glimpse of those memorable moments.
Then arrived the time awaited as drivers in the Cindy Rowe Auto Glass late models, Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic late model sportsman and Ernie’s Auto Enterprises pure stocks began to receive the awards and point monies for their season long efforts.
Making the top grades in their classes during 2008 were Roy Deese Jr, Laurel, Md, Andy Fries, Mercersburg, Pa and Dale Hollidge, Mechanicsville, Md.
Deese tied Denny Bonebrake at six championships apiece and now trails Nathan Durboraw by two.
“It’s nice to be part of history at Hagerstown,” the repeat Cindy Rowe Auto Glass champion said. “I don’t take it for granted. They’re not easy to win. I’ve had the opportunity and six times able to take advantage. I work hard at it and sacrifice a lot to show up at Hagerstown prepared.”
While Deese had his problems last season, he arrived and was atop his game right from the start and won the first two point races. That gave him a jump start on the others and he held to the top spot all season. However, he couldn’t leave his guard down as Jim Yoder, Kirk Ryan and then Yoder again were close enough most of the season to take over the top spot if he faltered.
The Deese Trucking entry owned by Deese and his father Deese Sr., had a few trying times but made up some ground in several of the final point events to come out of the pile on top. He ended 179 points to the good over Durboraw who took the runner up spot from Yoder in the final point race, the McBee/Hays Championship. That was despite Deese ending in an unavoidable crash and finishing 20th in that finale and Durboraw ending 12th.
“I had a good start, then had some parts and engine issues, struggled through the middle of the year and then finished up competitively at the end,” Deese said.
Deese earned the “Bad Boy Roy Deese” name from past issues, but he does have a good side about him. He’s always trying to put on a good show for the fans and make them want to come back and cheer on their favorites even when the outsiders arrive for special races.
Deese also has a big heart when it comes to those who don’t enjoy life like the rest of us.
“They say a bad night at the race track is better than a good night on the couch,” he said. “On my worst night, I get to race a race.car. Some people can’t do that, especially handicapped people. I have a big heart for handicapped children. It puts it into perspective real quick when I think I’m having a bad night. When on my worst night, I get to drive a race car and live a dream, it’s not a bad night after all.”
In the racer that Fries owns with his brother Toby, he was ready to throw in the towel early on as he lagged behind some, but continued his weekly program and soon was atop the standings by turning in a number of consistent finishes. He ended as the HTMA late model sportsman champion for the third consecutive season while winning twice, the opening non point race and later winning a Maryland Clash event. While having several drivers nipping at his heels after taking the top spot, he ended 54 points over Ashley Barrett who put together four wins and four runner-up finishes in the second half of the season.
“We started the year out and we weren’t running for the championship,” he said. “We dropped out back there at the beginning of the year, fell back in points, thought we were out of it. Toby said ‘We’re out of the points now. We don’t have to worry about that’. Then a couple weeks later, we were right back in.”
Hollidge “tested the Hagerstown waters” seven times during 2007 in the Ernie’s pure stocks and scored a single win. He thought he could do better.
“We decided we were going to run Hagerstown all year and see what we could do,” Hollidge said of deciding to make the 135 mile one way trip. “Luckily we won the championship.”
He also couldn’t let his guard down with several others in a close chase. When they had a bad night, he didn’t. He ended with four wins and a top five in every race but one all season. In fact, he only had one fifth place, the rest were all better plus one dismal 19th.
“We were leading that one but broke the motor with three to go,” he said. “We hardly had any mechanical failures and were always up in the top five.”
Trailing Hollidge earlier by only 13 points, Hans Stamberg reclaimed the runner up spot and then won four of the last five races, ending 53 points back.
Special awards were presented to various drivers in the three divisions.
Recipients of the Cindy Rowe late models awards were: Mike Lupfer (Sportsmanship Award); Nathan Durboraw (Hard Luck Award); Paul Crowl, (Most Improved Award) and J.T. Spence (Best Appearing Award)
The HTMA late model sportsman awards went to: Jerry Bard (Sportsmanship); Scott Palmer (Hard Luck); Ashley Barrett (Most Improved) and Pete Weaver (Best Appearing).
Receiving the Ernie’s pure stock awards were: Hans Stamberg (Sportsmanship); Darrin Younker (Hard Luck); Kevin Keefer (Most Improved) and Dale Hollidge (Best Appearing)
Crew chief awards were received by Roy Deese Sr., Toby Fries and Mike Knight.
Jason Walls of Fayetteville, Pa. was recipient of the 2008 Media Award. Walls began by handling the non race duties for the Walls Racing Teams and used his computer and photography skills to design the WRT website. He expanded his efforts and began designing web sites for numerous drivers and various speedways while attending races at area tracks and providing photos for media publications. Jason joined the speedway as the track photographer at the beginning of the season.
The Always There Award went to Cindy Rowe Auto Glass for the continued involvement in auto racing. When the company’s business interests expanded to the south, Chambersburg and Hagerstown, Cindy Rowe added her name to the speedway’s premier late model division and in the third season, Hagerstown is proud to carry the Cindy Rowe banner.
Shamrock Inn received the World Clock Award for their efforts along with the addition of the Shamrock Small Car Nationals. The late season program gave the lower classes and opportunity to compete for larger purses. In its second annual event, the late season program expanded to a two night program to accommodate the number of competitors for needed qualifying.
Sponsor appreciation awards were also provided to the following businesses for their involvement throughout the season: Sign Design-Bill Funk, JLG Industries (Kristie House),
Premium Distributors, Hagerstown Ford, Checkered Flag Lube Center, Twigg Cycle,
D & D Auto Recycling (Sunoco Race Fuel), Hoosier Tire Mid Atlantic, Advanced Marketing Solutions, County Medical Ambulance, 21st Century Fireplace Services, BP Lesky Distributing, Ernie’s Auto Enterprises, J & M Sportsworld, Booze Brothers Performance,
Comfort Suites and Glenn Nininger.
As always, two deserving recipients from the past were inducted into the Hagerstown Speedway Hall of Fame and were Emmert “Mert” Stine, and Johnny Grum.
Stine, a “local” from Hagerstown was 21 when he got started and began racing sprints for Shorty Bowers. That led to a midget to stock cars to modifieds in a career that spanned 20 years.
After taking a nasty flip at Hagerstown in 1958, he became the flagman for the stock cars and go-karts and then he thought he’d try racing go –karts, but also took a spectacular front stretch flip and decided to return to stock cars with more protection.
The following year, Stine teamed with Richard “Boney” Bonebrake and Ray Staley and bought, restored and raced “Old Rusty” because of all the rust found on the car. Old Rusty brought him fame during 1962 when he won the 100 lap Langhorne Qualifier at St. Thomas Speedway along with winning seven straight at the track plus setting a ten lap track record at Winchester.
During 1964 he started building a 1932 Chevrolet from scratch. In a March 20, 1964 interview, he was quoted as saying, “In this car here, we will wrap up about $2000 before she’s ready to run but we believe we’ll have a good one. We are putting a Chevy engine in the car, a 300 cubic inch job with 150 horses. It should hit 90 on the straightaway of a half mile track, 100 or better on a mile oval.”
Unfortunately, his efforts came to an abrupt end when he destroyed the car after flipping out over the first and second turns during the Williams Grove season opener.
In 1965, he drove his #65 modified to his first of two Hagerstown championships, the other coming in 1967 in a 427 Ford racer with the “Mustangs Racing Team” and didn’t win a race.
During his career, Stine has raced for Staley’s Salvage Yard, Stine’s Tavern, and Stine’s Radiator Shop. He has raced in five different states: in MD, Hagerstown Speedway, winning two Championships, (1965 and 1967); in VA, Winchester; in PA, St. Thomas, Port Royal, Lincoln, Bedford, Langhorne, Everett, Williams Grove, and Tiny Town; in Iowa, Knoxville; and in NC, Raleigh. His car numbers include: 1 (midget, raced in Raleigh, NC), 26 (midget), B-2 (raced for Boney Bonebrake), 59 (“Old Rusty”), won 11 features, 7 consecutive), 63 (won 18 features), 64 (crashed opening night at Williams Grove near turns 1&2), 65, 67 (raced in Knoxville, Iowa), 32 (“Purple People Eater”) and 101 (1969 or 70). His # 65 modified was on the first ARCH float in the Alsatia Mummer’s Parade in 1965 and has been on display at the Grand National Auto Show and the Hagerstown Home Show.
Stine also seemed to have more troubles going to Port Royal than anywhere. One night, the race car came loose and going down the mountain and passed the truck towing it. Another time, Stine’s brother Pumpkin, had to get out and use the race car to help push the truck over the mountain. And then after having a trailer to haul the car, in 1966, he tipped the trailer over with the car on it.
In the late 60ies, Stine had an encounter at Everett that he’d like to forget after forgetting to stay on the track especially with a creek nearby. With no guard rails in turns 3 and 4, he rolled the race car into the water, landing upside down which resulted in a trip to the hospital. His son Doug recalled the incident, “He was walking out of the hospital with soggy boots, sloshing with every step and man, he was mad.”
In 1970, Stine hung up his helmet after a long and memorable career. He was inducted into the ARCH Hall of Fame in 1982.
Grum, on the other hand, also got his start around 1950 after watching his father compete in western Pennsylvania. He began racing at the Tipton Speedway which was close to his Altoona home.
He didn’t arrive on the Central Pennsylvania scene until 1964 when he raced at Selinsgrove, finished seventh in points and had a third as his best finish.
The following year, he returned to Selinsgrove and was more successful as he posted his first win on May 22nd. He then tried his luck at Port Royal and scored a win there on July 10th and later followed it up with two more triumphs. He also was victorious twice at Bedford that same year.
In 1966, Grum and car owner Harry Fletcher teamed up to become one of the most impressive teams in the area. Fletcher had built a Ford powdered "sidewinder" Super Modified, and Grum piloted the racer mainly at Port Royal and Hagerstown. They won three races at Hagerstown, including the Hub City 100, enough to claim the point title that season. He also won twice at Port and Bedford.
The "sidewinder" reappeared again in 1967 and even more potent than before. Grum won nine races in the car including five at Hagerstown, three at Port and one at Everett.
During 1968, Grum took the “sidewinder’ to four more wins while sprint cars were beginning to make their appearance in the area.
For 1969, Fletcher put a sprint car together and powered it with a Chevrolet engine. It was highly successful as Grum took it to four wins and the point title at Port Royal along with two wins and the Hagerstown point title.
The Grum and Fletcher team just kept getting better. In 1970, they had a banner season with nine wins posted at Port Royal, three at Hagerstown and one at Selinsgrove. He also took top honors four times at Williams Grove including the prestigious season ending 150-lap National Open.
The wins kept coming in 1971 with another three apiece at Port and Hagerstown and another single at Selinsgrove. Although he lacked a win at Williams Grove, during the final race, he lost the championship by only 20 points to Kenny Weld.
He continued winning through the 1972 and 1973 seasons but in 1974 was shut out. That only resulted in getting revenge in 1975. That season, he took the checkered 11 times at Port Royal along with earning another championship. After the 1976 season when he won three more times, Grum retired from the sprint car, however, that wasn’t the last the area would see of him. While sprint drivers now had some relief, he then had late models drivers on the run. He made the switch and never missed a beat. For the next five or so years, he continued on to win
26 late model features, including nine each at Port Royal and Bedford.
After arriving on the Central Pennsylvania circuit, Grum won 108 times, 82 of those in the Super Modified/Sprint Car class, and then the 26 in late models. Grum's 47 sprint wins at Port Royal still has him seventh on the all-time list and at Hagerstown, his 22 wins places him third overall in the sprints. At Hagerstown, he continues to hold sprint records set in 1974 for 35 laps of 13:03:40 set June 24th and the 100 lap mark of 44:53:00 set April 18th.
Stine and Grum join these other previous inductees: Buddy Armel, Denny Bonebrake, Larry Gorman, Sam Nally, Wayne Stouffer, Tom Peck, Jerry Hart, Frank Sagi, Dick Warrenfeltz, Bill Richards, Al Richards and last years recipients, Rodney Franklin and Stan Dillon.
Promoter Frank Plessinger released the 2009 schedule which will get under way with the Race –A-Rama on Wednesday, February 18th with the first racing program that Saturday, the 21st. Weather permitting, the schedule will revert back to the 410 sprints joining the late models for the opening program with the big and small block modifieds then arriving in the next weeks.
Attached is an Excel spreadsheet of top 15 drivers rewarded at the banquet along with their statistics for the season.
Promoter Plessinger and the speedway staff wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and look forward to everyone’s return for 2009.
For all the up to date news, the 2009 schedule, driver information and more, check out the speedway’s website at www.hagerstownspeedway.com.
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