Elma, WA (March 26, 2015)......Please join us in thanking everyone that helped make the 7th EARHoF Induction Ceremony a huge success. As you can see by the following lists it takes a great many people. The next time you cross paths with these people please thank them for supporting the Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame. We appreciate each and every one who helped, but some people help with little fan fair! I apologize if I omitted anyone.
Rick Leighty, EARHoF President
Thank you to following who volunteered their time to make the evening a success:
Bob Valencia; Candice Wixson Reagan; Cindy Badgett; George Wade; Glenn Walker; Jeanne; Leona Walker; Melissa Beck; Phil Martelli; Randy Badgett; Rich Leighty; Stan Dillingham; Vonnie Dillingham; Wendy Leighty
Thank you to the following who donated one or more item to the nights activities:
Al Lytle; Bayview Redi-Mix; Betty Mason; Bob’s Bar and Grill; Bob Valencia; Brian McLees; Candice Wixson Regan; Carla & Gaylon Stewart; Charlotte Turpin; Cindy Badgett; Cocopah Speedway; Coleen Walker; Cut Rate Auto Parts; Donny Spoon; Ed Williams; Five Star Dealerships; Gina Goodman; Glenn Walker; Grays Harbor Raceway; Jamie Kwiatkowski; Jeff Bell; Karen Ellingson; Karen Sherwin; Lee Smith; Leighty Racing; Masco Petroleum; Megan Leighty; Melissa Beck; Old House Antique; Rachel Kittle; Rich Leighty; Rick & Sandy Terry; Rick Leighty; Scatter Creek Winery; Scotty B; Steve Beitler; Tamara Courts; Theresa & Bryan Oleachea; Thomas Nasti; Tommy Williams; Tony Stewart Foundation; Tracey Larnard; Vonnie and Stan Dillingham; Wendy Leighty
Thank you to everyone who donated desserts for the Dessert Auction. I don’t have a list of donors, but you helped create a great, fun and successful event.
Thank you to the Elma Eagles for allowing us the use of their banquet room. Their support through the years have allowed us to make the Induction Ceremony a great event to kick off the new racing season.
Thank you to Shaun Hulbert of Shauninthedirt.com, Brendan Carl of The Daily World, and Aaron Reed of Aaron's Race Video for covering the evenings activities.
Thank you to Judy Mayhew of Fun 4 Design in Ocean Shores for creating the beautiful jackets that were presented to each inductee and working overtime to get them done on time.
Finally, Thank you to everyone who participated in the auctions and raffles, joined the EARHoF, and donated money, helping the EARHoF get off to a great start in 2015.
Elma, WA (March 21, 2015)……The Class of 2015 officially entered the Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame before an estimated crowd of 250 people during a ceremony in the Elma Eagles Hall.
The eight newest members of the EARHoF were introduced to the standing room only crowd by master of ceremony Bob Valencia. Facts and interesting details were given about each inductee then the inductee addressed the audience with each thanking those that had helped them reach hall of fame status.
EARHoF board members Cindy Badgett and George Wade presented each inductee with EARHoF Induction Jackets and framed certificates after which each individual was interviewed by Shaun Hulbert for the Shaun in the Dirt podcast that can be found at http://shauninthedirt.podomatic.com/entry/2015-03-22T10_55_13-07_00.
Four time sprint car champion, Mike Zvono was the first 2015 inductee. Zvono who is deceased was represented by his daughter Cari Babcock and his son Troy Zvono. Valencia introduced Zvono as one of the best ever seen at Grays Harbor Raceway and talked about Zvono winning at everything he raced from soap box derby to go carts to sprint cars. The Montesano native joins his father Nick Zvono as an EARHoF Inductee. Babcock and Zvono spoke about how much their father loved racing and how proud they were of him.
An emotional John Dickinson was the second to be honored. The former Montesano postal worker became involved in racing in 1968 as part owner and crew member and became one of the top sprint car crew chiefs before stepping away from racing in 2012. Dickinson also had a stint as the Evergreen Auto Racing Association president and led the group thru some of its most successful years. Now a resident of Arizona, Dickinson expressed his appreciation for the award, especially since his lifelong friend Mike Zvono was going in at the same time.
1970 Jalopy Champion, Earl Fritts was introduced by Valencia next. Fritts got his start at Elma when Al Lytle let him try out his car. Deciding it was something he enjoyed, Fritts built his first car with the help of 2014 EARHoF Inductee Herman Burns in 1968. Fritts teamed up with another Hall of Famer, Perry Crowell, in 1970 and raced jalopies, limited modifieds, and super modifieds throughout the Northwest. Fritts thanked everyone for his recognition and told the crowd how his racing career basically came to an end after a bad accident at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe. Living in Arizona, Fritts occasionally attends NASCAR events.
Sedro Wooley’s Charlie Gibbs, Jr. hooked up with Hall of Famer Jim Sutherby and raced to the 1970 Limited Modified Championship. Gibbs, his wife Dorthy and their 2 children traveled to tracks all over the Northwest and loved the racing scene. Besides being a top driver, Gibbs was a very accomplished mechanic and likeable guy. Daughter Cheryl Gibbs-Taylor and son Wes Gibbs represented their father who passed away two years ago. Both expressed how much their father enjoyed racing at Elma and Cheryl stated that possibly her father was most proud of being recognized with a Sportsmanship Award he won.
In the early 70s John VanWyck began racing in the jalopy class. He moved to the hobby stock class and found success winning the 1977 title. Moving to the super stock class, VanWyck continued racing until moving to Nevada to try his had at gold mining. After returning to Grays Harbor he became a tow truck driver and became a fixture at GHR towing cars back to the pits in the Aberdeen Auto Wrecking Truck. VanWyck thanked his brother Jeff Farnam, Bill Combs, and Ken Courts for all the help they gave him.
Ken Courts is one of the few remaining drivers who raced at the original Grays Harbor race track at Clemons Hill in Central Park starting in 1954. Taking a few years off to help his wife raise their 8 kids, Courts returned to the driver’s seat in 1968. Racing on a shoe string while providing for his family, Courts reached his highest point finish, 4th in the 1976 hobby stocks. Known as someone who was willing to help anyone and everyone, Courts expressed how that is his fondest memory of racing, the comradery of all the racers. He continues to attend the races at GHR as fan in the stands.
The Larry Spoon Distinguished Service Award was presented to Earle Sargent for his love of the sport and the never ending support he has given. Sargent drove a jalopy for two years that he and a partner purchased for $50. When racing was stopped at the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds in the early 60s, Sargent stepped away from racing, but he couldn’t stay away and got back into racing as a crew member and traveled all over with the Perry Crowell teams and Al Lytle teams. A season ticket holder at GHR, Sargent seldom misses a race and is a very enthusiastic supporter, stating, “He just loves the sport and feels fortunate to be able to do something he loves doing.”
If there was a title of Mr. Modified at GHR it would quite possibly belong to 1997 super stock title holder, Glenn Vincent. Instrumental in helping Fred Brownfield start the IMCA style modifieds at GHR, Vincent has driven, sponsored, and helped grow the class throughout the Northwest. One of Vincent’s crowning achievements is the Shipwreck Beads Modified Nationals. Along with his wife Lisa, the Vincent’s support and sponsorship have turned the weekend into one of the biggest events in the Northwest. Though he finds it hard to be at the track without driving, Vincent continues to sponsor the modifieds at GHR and also at Skagit Speedway. His fantastic support and effort have earned Glenn Vincent the Fred Brownfield Exemplary Service Award.
The evening ended with Valencia spurring the audience on in a Dessert Auction that raised over one thousand dollars for the volunteer non-profit Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
EARHoF President, Rick Leighty, summed the event up in glowing terms. “Congratulations to our 2015 Inductees. This was our 7th Induction Ceremony and I would have to say it may have been our most successful. We had a huge crowd, honored some great men, and raised a fair amount of money for preserving and honor our racing heritage. We are already looking and planning for next year. We have outgrown the Elma Eagles Hall. We want to thank them for their support over the years, but if we want this event to continue to grow and prosper, and we do, we have to move to someplace larger. Thank you to everyone for your support!”
The EARHoF would like to thank Shaun Hulbert of “Shaun in the Dirt” for podcasting the ceremony, Aaron Reed of “Aaron’s Racing Videos” for videoing the evening, and Brendan Carl of “The Daily World Newspaper” for covering the activities.
Next up for the EARHoF will be the 7th Annual EARHoF Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser and EARA Reunion on July 4th in the Borden-Seabert Exhibition Hall at the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds.
Further information on the EARHoF can be found at http://elmaautoracinghalloffame.webs.com.
Elma, WA (March 14, 2015)......Only one week remains before the Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame honors 8 individuals with induction into the EARHoF.
John Dickinson, Mike Zvono, Charlie Gibbs, Jr; Earl Fritts, Ken Courts, John VanWyck, Earle Sargent, and Glenn Vincent will be recognized and honored for achievements and contributions to auto racing at Grays Harbor Raceway.
The 7th Annual EARHoF Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 21st, in the Elma Eagles Hall Banquet Room. The evenings activities begin with a silent auction and social hour at 6 P.M. The Induction Ceremony is set for 7 P.M.
Other activities during the evening will include a Dessert Auction, 50/50 Raffle, and a Season Kickoff Raffle in which 3 winners will have an opportunity to win Winter Heat tickets and t-shirts donated by Cocopah Speedway, or a barrel of fuel donated by Masco Petroleum, or a gas card.
Memorabilia will be on display throughout the evening and stories always fly about racing past and future. Hors d’ oeuvres, cake, and coffee will be served. The Eagles Hall bar is available to Eagles members and their signed in quests. Inquire as you enter.
The public is welcome. Admission is free to the Induction activities and memorabilia. Silent Auction numbers are a 5 dollar donation.
Proceeds from the auctions, raffles, and donations benefit the non-profit, 100% volunteer Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame in its mission to preserve and honor the heritage of auto racing at the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds.
Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2015
Elma, WA (February 7, 2015)…..Eight men covering 7 different decades of auto racing at Grays Harbor Raceway have been announced as the next group to be enshrined into the Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
The class of 2015 will officially enter the EARHoF at the7th Annual Induction Ceremony and Silent Auction on Saturday, March 21, 2015.
The newest group contains track champions, longtime officials, crew members, track workers, and supporters who have made the racing experience special for the fans of Grays Harbor Raceway.
Mike Zvono, a four time sprint car champion from 1985 – 1988, will join his father, Nick, as an EARHoF Inductee. Zvono, who is deceased, will be represented by his family at the official ceremony.
John Dickinson began as crew member and partner on a jalopy in 1968, eventually becoming one of the top crew chiefs in the sprint car ranks. Dickinson also led the Evergreen Auto Racing Association as president during the 1990s. Now residing in Arizona, Dickinson plans to return for the Inductions.
Charlie Gibbs, Jr. brought his semi-modified from his hometown of Sedro Woolley to the Elma ½ mile in the late 1960s and raced to the track championship in 1970. The deceased Gibbs, a top runner at many Northwest tracks in his driving days, will be represented by his family.
Earl Fritts won the 1970 Jalopy Championship, moved on to be a top competitor in the semi-modifieds and eventually raced super-modifieds throughout the Northwest. A former instructor at West Point, Fritts hopes to return from Arizona for the activities.
John VanWyck held many duties at the race track including race driver. The Aberdeen resident claimed the 1977 Hobby Stock Championship during his driving days and then became one of the most valuable track workers for many years as tow truck operator.
Ken Courts days in racing date back to Central Parks Evergreen Speedway in the mid 1950s. Courts competed primarily in jalopies and hobby stocks, but could be found helping anyone who needed help in any class of car.
Earle Sargent purchased his first race car for $50 and began racing at the Elma Fairgrounds in 1957. Sargent later became a crew member on cars owned by Perry Crowell and has remained a racing fanatic to this day missing very few races. Sargent will be inducted at the 2015 Larry Spoon Distinguished Service Award recipient.
Glenn Vincent put his name in the record books as the 1997 Super Stock Champion, but his influence and legacy on racing at Grays Harbor Raceway continues today. Vincent had a big hand in getting the current modified class started and then the Modified Nationals that attract top racers to Elma each year and through his Shipwreck Beads continues to sponsor the class. Fans in the stands are very aware of his many fan friendly activities. Vincent will enter the EARHoF as the 2015 Fred Brownfield Exemplary Contribution Award recipient.
The 7th Annual EARHoF Induction Ceremony and Silent Auction will be held March 21, 2015, in the banquet room of Elma Eagles Hall at 404 W. Young Street, Elma, WA. The silent auction will get underway at 6 P.M. with the Induction Ceremony starting at 7 P.M. The public is invited. Admission is free, but donations are accepted to help the non-profit, volunteer EARHoF continue its mission of preserving and honoring the racing heritage of Grays Harbor Raceway.