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Topic: Williams Grove to Hold Al Hamilton Tribute Race in August Email this topic to a friend | Subscribe to this TopicReport this Topic to Moderator
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SpcJay
December 26, 2017 at 06:41:50 AM
Joined: 01/29/2014
Posts: 277
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This message was edited on December 27, 2017 at 06:59:42 AM by SpcJay

Williams Grove Speedway to Hold Al Hamilton Tribute Race

Story BY: Justin Snyder

On August 31, 2018, Williams Grove Speedway will host a race honoring one of the area’s most successful owners in Al Hamilton. The Al Hamilton Tribute Race for the 410 Sprint Cars will pay $4770 to the night’s winner and $400 to start.

The event will be a Hoosier Racing Tire Diamond Series race and will feature an extended point fund for the top 5 finishing drivers. Also on the bill for the night will be the 360 Sprint Cars sanctioned by the United Racing Club Series and the Patriot Sprint Tour. The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing will host a display focusing on the many Hamilton owned cars, drivers and history with fans also being treated to fireworks.

Past drivers will be on hand to honor the famed owner and sign autographs along with possible retro paint schemes to be run for the night’s event.

“As a track that prides ourselves in our history, we feel it very important to honor those who have played an instrumental part in making Williams Grove Speedway the track it is today,” said speedway general manager Justin Loh, “Al Hamilton is the winningest car owner in the history of Williams Grove Speedway and it’s an honor to pass on his legacy to our fans and drivers for one night.”

A 2003 Inductee to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum, Hamilton and his Red #77 were synonymous with Central PA Sprint Car racing. At Williams Grove specifically Hamilton captured 8 owner track championships, 4 National Open titles and over 80 race victories.

Hamilton first became a 410 Sprint Car owner during the 1967 season after a brief stint as a driver. His first driver was Mus Weyant.

For the next 40 plus season, Hamilton’s car was driven by the who’s who of sprint car racing. Notable drivers to find success in the car throughout the 70’s included Bobby Adamson, Smokey Snellbaker, Jan Opperman, Lynn Paxton, Kramer Williamson and Mitch Smith.

Hamilton stepped away from racing for 6 years in 1976 before returning in 1983 with Paxton at the helm. Paxton would go on to win the Williams Grove National Open that season before retiring. As an owner he finished out the 80’s with over 80 feature victories thanks to Keith Kauffman.

In 1989 Hamilton hired a young Stevie Smith and in 1990 the duo took to the World of Outlaws Tour for 4 ½ seasons, racking up over 40 feature wins and nearly winning the 1993 Knoxville Nationals. Future Outlaw standouts Danny Lasoski, Jeff Sheppard, Johnny Herrera and Joe Gaerte would take turns wheeling the car on the road before Hamilton returned to Central PA in 1996.

Dave Calaman picked up a victory for Hamilton in a brief stint in the car before Fred Rahmer was hired as the driver. Together they became one of the most consistent and powerful forces in Central PA until 2001 where Lance Dewease became his driver.

Current driver of the Heffner Motorsports #27, Greg Hodnett, piloted the #77 for two seasons in 2005 and 2006. After a successful few years in Central PA driving for Bob Stewart and a brief return to the World of Outlaws, it was with Hamilton that Hodnett, a Memphis native, became a full-fledged member of the PA Posse.

“It was a great opportunity to get to drive such a historic car that was not only a large fixture in Central PA racing, but Sprint Car racing as a whole,” said Hodnett. “Getting to be apart of the legacy that is Al Hamilton and strapping into his car, if I wasn’t already looked at as a PA Posse guy, I’d say that just about cemented me as a local. I’ve since made my home in PA and I guess in a way that’s thanks to Al and I’m really proud of my time in the car.”

While winning is always the goal each night Hodnett and his team pull into the pits, it would be an extra special moment if he were to capture the victory in this race. 

“One of the coolest moments for me as a driver was driving the Hamilton #77 to victory lane at Williams Grove Speedway on Al’s 77th birthday,” said Hodnett. “His whole family was there and it was just a really special night to end up on the front stretch with that checkered flag and see Al beaming ear to ear.”

“I look back on that moment and how cool it was to be apart of that and it really be a cool moment to take home the victory in honor of him again in this special race.”

Aaron Ott most recently piloted a Hamilton sponsored red #77 car in the 2011 racing season.

General admission prices for the night’s event will be $18 for adults and $10 for youth. More details regarding potential tributes and drivers attending will be released in the near future.




alum.427
December 26, 2017 at 12:19:29 PM
Joined: 03/16/2017
Posts: 561
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Dyer first, now Hamilton, that list could get a lot longer. How about a race for the true outlaws ? go get there cars out of the museum and if the drivers are still able have them show up. WOW what a list that could be, i think it would pack the joint.



RodinCanada
MyWebsite
December 26, 2017 at 12:54:54 PM
Joined: 07/24/2016
Posts: 362
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The history and record keeping in this sport, especially in these hot beds is mind blowing to a guy like me. Our oldest building in my town is only slightly older than the Grove. Whoever had the foresight to record the feature wins and results etc etc was a hero allowing us today to enjoy a bit of those days. Thank you whoever you are.



revjimk
December 26, 2017 at 03:16:27 PM
Joined: 09/14/2010
Posts: 4234
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Whats the Hoosier Tire Diamond series?



beezr2002
December 26, 2017 at 05:44:15 PM
Joined: 04/21/2017
Posts: 133
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Sounds like another TT show at the grove. How many handicapped shows are they going to have versus the TT shows. I prefer the handicapped shows.



SpcJay
December 27, 2017 at 07:03:01 AM
Joined: 01/29/2014
Posts: 277
Reply

The Hoosier Diamond Tires Series is a set of races that Williams Grove holds where the point fund for the top 5 drivers is a little higher and the track provides perks such as purchasing a tire for all the nights competetors. There are different contingency prizes and such as well. It;s sort of simular to the Yellow Breeches races where they pay more to start. Just something they do for the drivers with Hoosier



blazer00
December 27, 2017 at 10:22:46 AM
Joined: 06/10/2015
Posts: 2310
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I have never been able to venture to PA to see any races, so back in the day my only exposure to the #77 Hamilton car was when it came through here for the Nationals, or on the WoO tour. The appearance of the car and hauler remain one of my all time favorites. And to top it off.......that car hauled ass! There are a few races from the '80's on YouTube showcasing the #77 in PA with Kieth Kauffman aboard and what he and Wolfgang in the #29 put on for the fans was unreal. I'd have to look, but I think there was a period of time back then when those two ran 1-2 in like 80 or 90 features. On any given night, one of them was going to win. Lucky for those who saw that and can remember those days.



PA Posse Fan
December 27, 2017 at 02:01:18 PM
Joined: 11/30/2004
Posts: 267
Reply
This message was edited on December 27, 2017 at 02:06:49 PM by PA Posse Fan
Reply to:
Posted By: blazer00 on December 27 2017 at 10:22:46 AM

I have never been able to venture to PA to see any races, so back in the day my only exposure to the #77 Hamilton car was when it came through here for the Nationals, or on the WoO tour. The appearance of the car and hauler remain one of my all time favorites. And to top it off.......that car hauled ass! There are a few races from the '80's on YouTube showcasing the #77 in PA with Kieth Kauffman aboard and what he and Wolfgang in the #29 put on for the fans was unreal. I'd have to look, but I think there was a period of time back then when those two ran 1-2 in like 80 or 90 features. On any given night, one of them was going to win. Lucky for those who saw that and can remember those days.



Remember those days like it was yesterday! 1985 was when Wolfgang won about 55 races while Kauffman won around 35.  October 1983 was when Kauffman beat the Outlaws at Knoxville in the Hamilton 77.  Of course, Stevie did a great job at Knoxville (or anywhere for that matter) in the 77. 

I don't know how many times I watched a YouTube video of a 1985 Outlaw race at the Grove when Kauffman won and Wolfgang was 2nd, and those two had a very good battle between them.  I think S. Kinser and S. Swindell were 3rd & 4th.  Brings back memories of the 77 & 29 on top of their game and when life was very simple!



blazer00
December 27, 2017 at 02:23:20 PM
Joined: 06/10/2015
Posts: 2310
Reply
Reply to:
Posted By: PA Posse Fan on December 27 2017 at 02:01:18 PM

Remember those days like it was yesterday! 1985 was when Wolfgang won about 55 races while Kauffman won around 35.  October 1983 was when Kauffman beat the Outlaws at Knoxville in the Hamilton 77.  Of course, Stevie did a great job at Knoxville (or anywhere for that matter) in the 77. 

I don't know how many times I watched a YouTube video of a 1985 Outlaw race at the Grove when Kauffman won and Wolfgang was 2nd, and those two had a very good battle between them.  I think S. Kinser and S. Swindell were 3rd & 4th.  Brings back memories of the 77 & 29 on top of their game and when life was very simple!



I've watched that one a few times, also. Another with Kauffman 1st and Wolfgng 2nd was a Port Royal race in '85. Doug chased him the entire race but couldn't reel him in.



revjimk
December 28, 2017 at 12:26:06 AM
Joined: 09/14/2010
Posts: 4234
Reply
Reply to:
Posted By: RodinCanada on December 26 2017 at 12:54:54 PM

The history and record keeping in this sport, especially in these hot beds is mind blowing to a guy like me. Our oldest building in my town is only slightly older than the Grove. Whoever had the foresight to record the feature wins and results etc etc was a hero allowing us today to enjoy a bit of those days. Thank you whoever you are.



You need to get to Pennsyltucky, see some races, and go to Eastern Museum of Motor Racing (not far from the Grove). Lynn Paxton is there often & if you ask him questions, he usuallly has lots of answers & stories, sometimes it turns into an informal guided tour....



PA Posse Fan
December 28, 2017 at 09:07:44 AM
Joined: 11/30/2004
Posts: 267
Reply
Reply to:
Posted By: blazer00 on December 27 2017 at 02:23:20 PM

I've watched that one a few times, also. Another with Kauffman 1st and Wolfgng 2nd was a Port Royal race in '85. Doug chased him the entire race but couldn't reel him in.



I watched that PR race as well if you're referring to that early season afternoon race.  How I don't remember watching it in person is beyond me! 



blazer00
December 28, 2017 at 09:48:22 AM
Joined: 06/10/2015
Posts: 2310
Reply

For sure it was an afternoon race. The Tuscarora 50 videos are pretty cool, also. The Van May crash was about as bad as it can get. Several interview videos from those days, also on YouTube that are interesting.





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