posted June 10, 2002 01:51 AM
Path Valley Racers Honor Memory of Darin Whitsel
By Walt Cox
Spring Run, PA_ “Darin was among my best friends, and I know if he were here he would love these races,” said Jimmy Callahan after winning the Dash for Cash at the Path Valley Speedway Park’s special Saturday night Darin Whitsel Memorial.
“I hope we can make this an annual event and keep Darin with us, at least in memory,” Callahan said.
Whitsel, a homicide victim in December, was a key racer for more than a decade at local tracks, and the Darin Whitsel Memorial was organized by Chris Talbot and Doug Booher of SSATAF Racing to remember their friend and fellow worker and to raise funds for his young sons, Devin and Gage. The Darin Whitsel memorial website is at http://www.geocities.com/darin121670/.
Appropriately, all three 30-lap feature winners had raced against Whitsel or in other classes with him. Donnie Hendershot of Clear Spring MD took home the $600-to-win in the 600cc Sprints and the first place trophy from Russell Brantner of Brantner Masonry. Doug Hoffman took the $1000 win in the V-8 Street Stocks and Jerry Bard of Shippensburg won the $1000 mini stock feature.
The approving crowd stayed following Callahan’s dash win and heartfelt tribute to enjoy a booming and flashing fireworks show by Republic Fireworks Limited of Harrisburg.
The 600 Sprints opened the show with Josh Weller in the lead and Donnie Hendershot, fresh from a win the night before, starting sixth. On the second lap, defending champion Jim Brookens flipped on turn one to bring out a red flag. Hendershot moved into second on lap five and finally took the lead through the inside of turns three and four on lap 19.
The race went non-stop after a lap 13 restart and Hendershot built up a full turn lead before encountering the rear of the pack on lap 23. With Weller on his bumper amid lapped cars Hendershot broke free on lap 28 to rebuild a decisive lead on the smooth, hard clay. Heat race winners were Duane Harbaugh and Jim Callahan and Harbaugh drew a #10 pill for the starting order inversion. Weller and Steve Owens took home the second and third place trophies.
A little bit of luck was all Jerry Bard needed and he got it when defending mini stock champion Arlin Brougher won the first heat race and drew another 10 pill to put Bard on the pole. Frankie Gordon dogged him all the way to the finish, through a dozen cautions and restarts including three to finish lap 29, and two-time past champion Ricky Harper came from seventh to claim the third place trophy. Along with Brougher, John Stoll Jr. and Brian Lessley won heat races. All of the six cars that made the lineup call for the consi advanced to the feature.
Doug Hoffman, of Newville, pulled alongside leader Tony Stoneberger at the pole on lap seven of the street stock feature and completed his pass out of turn four on the next lap. Then on the next lap Hoffman overtook Brian Helman and Stoneberger used the cars going a lap down to pull alongside Hoffman. A lap 19 restart regrouped the leaders and put Hoffman securely in the lead with Steve Lowery in second but Stoneberger took back that spot on the next circuit and a final lap caution and restart was anticlimactic. Heat winners were Randy Patterson and Jeff Bennett and Patterson drew a six-car inversion to put Terry Deshong on the pole.
Jim Callahan got the hole shot at the start of the five-lap dash for cash and at the finish all four cars were evenly spaced about four lengths apart, in order, Callahan, Duane Harbaugh, Donnie Hendershot and Pat Klose.
Race organizers Talbot and Booher extended their special thanks to Rochelle McGee for help and to sponsors Wakefield Auto Parts, N&S Construction, Clark’s 4X4, Chris Talbot, Wright Builders, Dunnie’s Garage, Cohenhauer’s Auto Service, Welsh Excavating, Stuller Motors, Judy Timmons, Robert Allison, Lila Devlin, Roy McGee, F.B.I. and Gold-N-Gray. In addition, many in attendance contributed lap money, special prizes, and donations to the Darin Whitsel Memorial fund. Parents Ellis and Gloria Whitsel joined Darin’s sons in the winners circle, along with their mother Kelly.
Regular racing resumes next Friday night, June 14, at Path Valley with double features for the Central PA Legends Cars that produced two INEX national champions last season. A Kid’s Foot Race is scheduled and the Dwarf Cars make a monthly visit and will face a full technical inspection, Geesey announced, including tires, weight, and a maximum compression of 210 pounds. Both the Modified and Classic Dwarf Cars will run in the same feature.
The Path Valley Speedway Park is located in Spring Run PA a mile north on PA Route 641 from the intersection with PA Route 75, halfway between Port Royal and Hagerstown. It is five miles east from the Willow Hill Exit 14 of the PA Turnpike. The new phone number at the track for promoter Ken Geesey is 717-349-7111.
For information on the 2002 schedule and track, race teams and fans can call the owners at 717-426-4756 or 717-426-2910, consult the website at www.pathvalley.com, or they can email them at email@example.com.
PHOTO MENU AND ID – Photos by Walt Cox listed are immediately available to media as high-resolution JPEG images from firstname.lastname@example.org.
PVwc1 – Dash winner Jim Callahan poses with Darin Whitsel Memorial organizers Chris Talbot, left, and Doug Booher.
PVwc2 – Street Stock winner Doug Hoffman with Ellis and Gloria Whitsel, parents of the late Darin Whitsel.
PVwc3 – Mini-stock winner Jerry Bard with Devin, left, and Gage Whitsel.
PVwc4 – Sprint winner Donnie Hendershot with Darin Whitsel Memorial organizers Chris Talbot and Doug Booher and Whitsel’s sons, Devin and Gage.
PVwc5 – Donnie Hendershot (31) dives inside Pat Klose going into turn one in the 600cc feature.
600 Sprints – Donnie Hendershot, Josh Weller, Steve Owens, Jim Callahan, Pat Klose, Brett Schoenly, Leo Ruffing, Terry Peters, Kevin Bastian, Scott Riggan, Duane Harbaugh, Mark Hendershot, Doug Gray, Scott Smith, Jim Brookens, Justin Frontz, Kerry Shanz; Heats to Harbaugh, Callahan, Brougher.
Mini Stock – Jerry Bard, Frank Gordon, Ricky Harper, Ron Beam, Steve McCartney, Mark Whitsel, Dave Staley, Ed Kirby, Bob Dunn, Judy Wiser, Chuck Ingram, Derrick Casner, John Stoll, Dave Kirby, Joe Jakubic, Tim Berkholder, Brian Gordan, Arlin Brougher, Ed Williamson, Denny Snyder, Gary Dehart, Kyle Wiser, Brian Lessley, Josh Angle, Will Enderlin; heats to Brougher, Stoll and Lessley.
V-8 Street Stock – Doug Hoffman, Tony Stoneberger, Steve Lowery, Tony Daniels, Terry O’Donel, James Andrews, Randy Patterson, Shawn Whitsel, Bob Talbot, Brian Helman, Terry Deshong, David Leahy, Jeff Bennett, Brad Long, Ellis Whitsel; Heats to Patterson, Bennett.
600 Dash – Jim Callahan, Duane Harbaugh, Donnie Hendershot, Pat Klose.
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Photos by Walt Cox
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