This Saturday night on May 5 at Hagerstown Speedway, the second annual Frank Sagi Tribute that honors the former speedway announcer will feature local racing legend Buddy Armel as a special guest to the racing festivities, along with many other former drivers that were longtime competitors at the Hub City speed plant.
Now, if you have been a fan of local dirt track racing since the 1960’s, 70’s, or 80’s, then you need not have to ask who Armel is. Simply put, he was one of the best Late Model drivers ever to suit up and climb behind the steering wheel.
Throughout Armel’s career, he drove in and won races in his own No.15 and as a driver for Gerry Smith’s Valley Proteins No.35, 36, and 1vp machines. But he will forever be best remembered as the driver of the yellow and blue No. S-3 machines from the late Lee Stultz.
Anytime and anywhere the S-3 of Stultz and Armel showed up to race, the threat of a win was eminent.
During a spell in the mid to late 1970’s, Armel was practically unbeatable at Winchester Speedway. In 1977, Armel parked the S-3 into Victory Lane at Winchester for 19 wins. Armel won his share of races at Hagerstown as well, with a career total of 81 victories and five track championships.
The biggest win came in 1983 at Hagerstown when Armel bagged a $10,000 payday in the Conococheague 100 over a field mixed of touring professionals and Hagerstown regulars. Armel retired from racing after a stellar career in 1990.
As the featured special guest of the Frank Sagi Tribute, fans will have the opportunity for a meet and greet with the 80-year old from Winchester, Virginia along with many other racers that mixed it up with Armel on the racetrack.
Gates will open at 5pm, while the meet and greet will take place from 5:30-6:30 behind the main grandstand before the racing begins at 7:00. Fans should make plans to get their early for any autographs, and are encouraged to bring any personal memorabilia they would like to be signed.
Fans will also get a once in a lifetime opportunity at a chance to own a piece of Armel memorabilia as the right side body panels from his 1988 No.15 will be raffled off and won by some lucky race fan.
On the racing card will be the Super Late Models, the Mid Atlantic Modifieds, Pure Stock, and Hobby Stock divisions. This is a special event that will be offered at the regular price of admission of $15 for the grandstands. Students/Seniors/Military are $12, and pit admission is $30.
Last year’s Frank Sagi Tribute was an overwhelming successful gathering of racers from the past as well over one hundred former winners were in attendance, and this year should be bigger than last. It’s a race of nostalgic proportions that race fans will not want to miss.
If needed, this race carries a special rain date of Sunday June 10, with an hour earlier start. Stay tuned for details if necessary action will need to be taken for this special event.