The holiday season was a tough one for some members of the racing community, bothÂ nationally and locally.
NASCAR legend Junior Johnson died over the holiday week, as did local notables Maynard Boop and Tommie Spriggle.
While Johnson was known for his excellence, both as a driver and later as a car owner/mechanic on NASCARâs top circuit, it should be noted that one of his 50 wins as a driver in the Cup Series came in the first race for those cars at Lincoln Speedway.
That win for Johnson came on June 10, 1955, when he drove his 1955 Oldsmobile to victory over Tim FlockÂ and Buck Baker at Lincoln.Â That win was worth $1,000, which is about $9,400 in today’s dollars.
Johnson, who grew up in the North Carolina mountains, got his start at fast driving byÂ runningÂ moonshine from his daddyâs still.Â Interestingly, he never got caught while hauling moonshine, but was jailed after being caught atÂ his daddyâs still, âjust after returning from winning a race at a little track in central Pennsylvania (Lincoln Speedway).â
He later received a presidential pardon for his crimes.
Johnsonâs hall-of-fameÂ career, and his familyâs moonshine business, was the basis for the movie âLast American Heroâ.
Johnson, who died at age 88, went on to earn three Cup titles with Cale Yarborough as his driverÂ and another three with Darrell Waltrip.
Maynard Boop: Boop, who died at age 99 on Christmas Eve, was a car owner in the area in the mid-to-late 1970s and early 1980s.
His Boopâs Aluminum Castings company started as a sponsor for Lynn PaxtonÂ and then he became a car owner.Â His team won the KARS point title with a host of drivers, including Kramer Williamson, Dick Tobias, Mitch Smith, Ed ZirkleÂ and Gary Howsare. Ralph Hentzilman and Davey Brown Sr. and Davey Brown Jr. worked for Boop’s teams as mechanics.
All told, Boopâs cars won 111 sprint races in the areaÂ and gained national attention. Some of those wins came at the expense of the World of Outlaws and All Stars.
Tommie Spriggle: Spriggle, who was 75 at the time of his recent death, started racing late models in the area in the early 1960s.Â He quickly moved on to the bugs that would become the sprint cars in this area, scoring his first of nine career wins on opening day 1970 at Susquehanna Speedway in Roy Morralâs famed No. 880.Â
He would later drive for the Troneâs No. 39 team, but it was with Wink Bakerâs No. 42 that he claimed the 1977 Selinsgrove Speedway track title.Â Spriggle ended his career driving in the 358 sprint division, and later his son Alan would also race those cars.
Racing in Australia:Â As many local fans know, it’s summer in AustraliaÂ and sprint racing is going on all over thatÂ country.Â Over the holidays, Outlaw stars Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz both won there.Â
Another winner was Darren Mollenoyux, who was so impressive here during Pennsylvania Sprint CarÂ Speedweek this season.Â Mollenoyux led a number of laps at both Lincoln Speedweek shows and did get a second-place finish in one of those shows. Mollenoyuxâs win came at Avalon.
Local racer Lucas Wolfe had a 10th-place finish over the weekend at Murrayâs Bridge in Australia.
Indoor season starts this week:Â The indoor racing season will kick off this weekend at the PPL Center in Allentown.
The three-quarterÂ midgets will have full shows on both Friday and Saturday evenings at Allentown.
The slingshots and champ karts are also a part of the weekend activities.
Banquets loom:Â The annual York County Racing Club Hall of Fame Banquet is set forÂ Saturday night at the Wyndham GardenÂ in West Manchester Township.
NASCAR Hall of Fame mechanic and car owner Ray Evernham will be the guest speaker for the evening.
The YCRC will induct six new members into its hall of fameÂ and also present several special awards.Â In addition, Danny Dietrich will pick up his laurels as the 2019 Champion Racing Oil/RM Lubricants Central PennsylvaniaÂ 410 sprint champion.
Port Royal Speedway also has its banquet set for Saturday evening.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.