I just learnd today that Clarence “Spanky” Wilson, a long-time competitor on the tracks of the tri-state area and the subject of a chapter in “Echoes of Valley Thunder” died on February 20, 2012. Spanky was a close friend of Mike Bice, and I will always treasure the memories of visiting Mike with Spanky when Mike was battling bone cancer. Those two swapped stories that were included in the second version of the book. I last chatted with Spanky last fall at a racers reunion in Parkersburg, WV. Although he had trouble recalling my name, he later walked to the parking lot and saw my “777″ replica. It brought a smile to his face. “The Screaming Gimmy, huh?” he asked. “Yep,” I replied. “You still remember it?” “Sure I do.”
We’ll always remember Spanky…
RIP my friend.
This photo was taken at the Pittsburgh Racing Association annual reunion on November 12, 2011. With me is Myles Witchey, know to Debo fans as “Bobby Barnes,” an alias made necessary due to his basketball career at West Liberty State University and, later, his coaching duties at St, Clairsville High School.
The thought occurs to me that we should schedule a reunion of Debo fans in the near future. Who’s with me in this endeavor? We could hold it somewhere in the valley, and I think Sabatini’s Garage would be a possible site. Thoughts?
We counted approximately 60 race fans at the book signing Tuesday (Feb. 8) at the Schiappa Branch of the Public Library of Steubenville. Obviously a lot of race fans were there, along with some former drivers, including Fred Sabatini, the Dean of Debo Drivers! Unfortunately the demand for books exceeded my expectations…and the supply I brought with me, so apologies go out to those who must wait for a copy. They are going in the mail as fast as I can get to it. We also were offered additional photos, so look for them in the photo section soon. Thanks to all who attended.
After the book went to press I learned that Bill Mason, who is afforded a chapter in the book – and who was a great interview – died on March 6, 2010. I’m sorry he won’t get to enjoy the reactions his recollections of racing at Debo will generate.
The roar of engines has been absent from the turn on Route 7 that was known as The Warrenton Curve for more than 45 years. But those sounds still echo in the minds of those who once made Debo Speedway a regular Saturday night entertainment experience. This site is designed for sharing memories and photos of racing in the Upper Ohio Valley in the 1950s and 60s. Please join our line-up. Memories are best when shared!