By DINO OBERTO
(ALLENTOWN, PA. 11-12-17) The 8th Annual Dorney Park Speedway/Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame induction ceremony held on Sunday afternoon at the America on Wheels museum in Allentown installed the latest entries with the class of 2017.
Don Weida, the late Bimpy Marx, Dave Schlenker and Paul Bauscher were the members of Dorney Park while the late Bups Ahner, Clarence Ruppert, Kevin Graver Sr., and Tim Santee had their names engraved with Mahoning Valley.
Weida was a very popular driver of the Park where he enjoyed a good amount of success until the track’s closing in 1986. Although he competed at Mahoning Valley as well as Evergreen Raceway, which were the three prominent asphalt short tracks of eastern Pennsylvania, Weida noted that he was most at home at Dorney, winning regularly and running as a title contender between 1980 and 1986.
Marx was considered one of the best when it came to Dorney Park. A two-time Sportsman Modified champion, (1961 & ’65), his 29 career wins is second only to George Wambold on the all-time winners list.
Marx dominated throughout the 1960’s decade. Accepting his award was daughter Stephanie who was very overcome with emotion as she fondly recalled the great times with her dad and the family during his career.
Dave Schlenker was an official at Dorney Park who did it all from announcing to scoring to handicapping and officiating. He remains a main figure at today’s races with sons Randy and Alan who compete in Street Stocks. Randy was the 2017 Evergreen champion.
“The Flying Farmer” Paul Bauscher was a fan favorite and a fierce competitor. Driver of the signature No. 91, Bauscher scored 23 career Modified wins between 1975 and 1986. When Dorney closed at the end of the ’86 season he then went over to Mahoning Valley where he raced to 13 more wins through 1990.
At Mahoning Valley, Bups Ahner had a long and storied history that dated back to the days of dirt and then asphalt. His son, Rusty Ahner was on hand to accept and represent the family which all stood proud in remembering the accomplishments of the patriarch. Bups’ grandson, Jared Ahner, has carried on the legacy as a top notch Street Stock driver.
Clarence Ruppert was just a teenager in the mid-60’s when he had the notion to become a race car driver. With a home built car he began at Dorney Park as well as several area dirt tracks. Although he raced well and won at the Park, winning in Modifieds, it wasn’t until he tried his hand at the circular Mahoning track that his stock began to rise.
His first win there came in 1971. 20 years later he picked up a Modified victory. But, when he put together a D/A Modified that wins began coming in earnest. His 27 victories stand in the history books as the all-time leader with that class plus he won three consecutive titles from 1993-’95.
His brother Carl Ruppert was also a popular wheelman and this past year Clarence became a car-owner champion after grandson Mike Stofflet captured the Dirt Mod title at Mahoning.
Kevin Graver Sr., was a Mahoning Pro 4 champion but that is only part of the story. The Graver family has been responsible for putting numerous championship level drivers behind the wheel of the infamous No. 01.
Graver Sr., served as crew chief on over 100+ wins and was responsible for championships won by his son, Kevin Jr., and grandson, Kristopher Graver.
Tim Santee first started winning races in the Pro 4 division then moved up to Modifieds where the success followed. Victories for Santee included both at Mahoning Valley and Evergreen.
Over the past six years he served as Race Director at Mahoning Valley where he help run a smooth and steady show.
Racing photographers Bob and Dale Snyder once again coordinated the affair which was attended by a great crowd. On display where many restored and contemporary race cars from Dorney and Mahoning.