After a several week hiatus from racing action due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and in cooperation with local authorities, Hagerstown Speedway will return back to racing with a very special event.
In what has become the event you do not want to miss, the popular Frank Sagi Tribute Race returns to Hagerstown Speedway for the fourth consecutive season on Sunday, August 16.
For 2020, the race annually named after Hall of Fame announcer Frank Sagi, who spent 39 years on the microphone at Hagerstown Speedway, will honor three former drivers that played huge parts in the history of Late Model racing at Hagerstown Speedway.
If you ever heard Sagi announce the nicknames “Freestate Flyer”, “Brunswick Bullet”, or “Slurpee King”, then you know the honorees.
Legendary home state Maryland drivers Denny Bonebrake, Sam Nalley and Larry Gorman will each be honored on the night of this special race, which will be hosted again on a Sunday evening like when those drivers were regularly competing and winning.
Bonebrake, Nalley and Gorman, all of whom started their driving careers in 1968, and raced competitively against each other for over 15 years. The successful trio accounted for over 100 combined feature wins and several championships at Hagerstown Speedway, several of biggest marquee events, and they were all interviewed by Frank Sagi in victory lane on each and every occasion.
Nalley and Gorman both retired from active competition in the mid-1980’s; Gorman in 1983 and Nalley in 1986. Bonebrake continued to race until finally hanging up his helmet in 2014. All three drivers are members of the Auto Racing Club of Hagerstown (ARCH) and Hagerstown Speedway Hall of Fame. Bonebrake has also been inducted into the York County Racing Club and National Dirt Late Model Racing Halls of Fame.
On track action will consist of an efficient two-division program of Super Late Models and the Mid-Atlantic Modifieds.
The Super Late Model division will be racing for an increased purse in a 25-lap feature race paying $3,000 to win, plus an increase in pay for all 24 starting positions. In addition, there will be sponsored bonus cash, products and gift certificates to be distributed to all 24 feature starters. All non-qualified cars in attendance will also receive bonuses, along with tow money from the track.
An exciting new bonus has been added to the Super Late Model drivers. For the first time, the Jimmy Spence Memorial Front Row Challenge will be a part of this annual special event.
This unique bonus is in memory of longtime championship and race winning driver/car owner Jimmy Spence of Winchester, Virginia, who we lost on February 1st of this year. All Super Late Model heat race winners on this night will be offered the chance to race for extra cash, courtesy of the Spence family and Champion Auto Sales, if the drivers are willing to forfeit their upfront starting positions.
All heat winners will be tempted with a $3,000 bonus if they are willing to drop to the rear of the feature starting field and are able to win the race. The second option to be offered to all heat winners is a $1,000 cash bonus if they are willing to start at least 9th and are able to win the 30-lap feature event from there. Any driver who is willing to accept either challenge will receive a guaranteed $200 bonus in memory of hard-charger Jimmy Spence, just for giving it a try.
Joining the Super Late Models on the evening’s card will be the Mid-Atlantic Modified series, who will compete in a 20-lap feature race paying $800 to win. There will also be various cash, products and gift certificates available for all 24 Modified feature starters and all non-qualifiers. No racer in the pits for this event will go home empty handed.
For race fans, nothing has changed with the content for this multi-faceted event, where everyone is a participant in the show.
Race fans will be treated to free brilliant-colored art prints designed by noted racing artist Jeff Lindsay as they enter the grandstand gates, along with other various free gift items.
As in the past years, a large assembled group of retired former star drivers will be in attendance to talk to fans and sign autographs from 4:30 until 6:00.
The popular Turn 5 Turnaround show will have their new Mobile Studio set up on the grounds to entertain fans with live interviews of several current and former drivers.
Dozens of free t-shirts will be shot to fans in the grandstand area throughout the evening by the Father & Son duo of Tim and Brent Hottle from the Outback Motor Speedway and Need-a-Sign?, both in Winchester, VA.
Everyone will also get the opportunity to see nationally-known race car builder and Hall of Fame driver Jim Bernheisel take five lucky fans for high-speed rides around the speedway in his custom-built two-seater Super Late Model. Besides the five fans, one of the evening’s special honorees, Denny Bonebrake, will also be going for a ride with Jim Bernheisel, along with two other mystery riders.
Three iconic restored race cars of the past will be on hand to be viewed and admired. A late ‘50’s/early ‘60’s era flathead powered 1937 coupe, originally owned by Richard Bonebrake and driven back in the day by Red Nininger, will be brought to the track by it’s current owner and restorer, Red’s son Glenn Nininger.
The bright orange 1969 Chevelle raced successfully in the mid-‘70’s by top Central Pennsylvania driver Bob Bender will be in attendance. The #17, owned by son Bob Bender, Jr., has a big block Chevrolet under the hood, just how it raced.
The third vintage racer is one of the most famous in the country, the highly-recognizable yellow Yenko Chevrolet #1, expertly driven in the 1980 racing season by the legendary Bob Wearing. This Howe chassis, big block Chevy powered machine was one of the most feared combinations of it’s day, and will be towed in to Hagerstown from the Western Pennsylvania area by it’s current owner, Kurt Gray.
The Auto Racing Club of Hagerstown (ARCH) will be hosting their annual picnic on the speedway grounds from 1:00 until 3:30. ARCH members will be offered free admission to the evening’s racing program, courtesy of track General Manager Lisa Plessinger.
ARCH officers will also be present to conduct raffles for two great racing collectible items to benefit the non-profit organization. A beautiful, huge, framed, one-of-a-kind drawing done by artist Jeff Lindsay called “Remembering Our Heroes” will be won by one lucky fan at evening’s end. The other item is an impressive custom-etched wood plaque featuring cars driven by Denny Bonebrake, Sam Nalley and Larry Gorman. This is another one-of-a-kind piece, crafted by master woodworker Scott Lorshbaugh.
ARCH will also be selling the great-looking event t-shirts featuring the images of cars driven by Denny Bonebrake, Larry Gorman and Sam Nalley. These eye-catching, multi-colored shirts were designed by Kevin Quirk of Awesome Race Tees, and will be available in all sizes for just $20. All proceeds from the sale of these shirts go to the Auto Racing Club of Hagerstown’s Injured Drivers Fund.
A limited amount of t-shirts commemorating the memory of longtime engine builder Curtis Hershey who recently passed away will also be available.
This event continues to grow in popularity for the racers and fans alike.
For this event, to follow protocols in cooperation with local health department authorities, a reservation system is in place to reserve your passes. There are limits to the number of attendees so please visit https://speedwayshopping.com/ to reserve your place to be able to attend the Frank Sagi Tribute on Sunday, August 16, 2020.
Please follow the social media of Hagerstown Speedway on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates and information, or call the speedway office at (301) 582-0640 for more information