DIRT TRACK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
FORMER WINNERS REMEMBER PENNSBORO
Note: This article originally appeared in 2001.
Freddy Smith had been known as “Mr. Pennsboro” long before he won the DIRT TRACK WORLD
CHAMPIONSHIP five times. To many, Pennsboro is Smith’s track. When Smith first came to Pennsboro
Speedway to race in July 1979 for the SPIRIT OF ’76 race, Smith dominated the affair.
In 1983 Smith scored his first DTWC win, the third edition of Carl Short’s extravaganza, after starting
fifth and surviving 17 caution flags. Driving his then-famous Denny’s Marina sponsored Custom Chassis
#00, Smith was coming off a win the previous month in Short’s HILLBILLY 100. Two years later he
became the first repeat winner outrunning Dock Potts and Rodney Combs. And they kept coming. In all,
Smith owns five DTWC victories.
During Smith’s long career he has raced at hundreds of tracks and won with nearly every sanctioning
group that has existed. Among his HILLBILLY 100 and DTWC wins, Smith won the first ever $100,000
THE DREAM race at Eldora Speedway and numerous other high profile events all across the United
What does Mr. Pennsboro think of the DTWC and the legendary race track?
“The track has been really good to us,” stated Smith. “It’s exciting and great to win shows there. The
first time we went there we came up over the hill and, gee whiz, two bridges! Really an experience. Never
ran on anything like that.”
It was with the third DTWC that Smith snared a win. He still remembers the excitement.
“Great!” was how Smith described the win. “We never raced for money like that before, and we were
traveling for a couple years then and it was great to know we could get up there and win a show like that.”
Smith was asked if there was considerable pre-race planning when going to Pennsboro.
“Not really,” said Smith. “Too many factors to take into account. Besides, not always the fastest car
wins. It depends on how and where you qualify. Been there many times when it was two grooved, like the
time we rained out and we raced on Monday. The rain sure helped make it two grooved.”
“I’ve seen the track really nice when you can really pass- that’s good for the fans. Would like I tot be
two grooved all the time, but we’ve been fortunate to qualify up front a lot.”
As for his competition, when asked to look back and declare who were and are the toughest, Smith doesn’t
have a ready-made list.
“All of them are,” proclaimed Smith. “There are so many racers who are running so good these days.
Fifteen drivers can win this race.”
Smith was also asked what the attraction was to the rustic old race track.
“It doesn’t change,” Smith responded. “Same old race track. Lot of people don’t like it, they say they
don’t like it, but they come back every year.”
Donnie Moran has been a player at Pennsboro Speedway for years, winning the HILLBILLY 100
multiple times and capturing the 1988 DTWC. He has fond memories of Pennsboro and his win as he
prepares for the 2001 edition.
“It felt pretty darn good winning that race in 1988,” stated Moran. “Pennsboro is a lot of luck. Don’t
get a good qualifying spot, you’re done! It’s a challenge. You drive both ends completely different. One
corner you sweep through and the other end you have to drive it like asphalt. There is no room for error.”
“When there are two grooves it’s one of the best places to race. It’s a blast! When you can get outside
it’s one of my favorite places to race. When it’s one lane, I hate it!”
Moran can’t be specific to name his toughest competition. There are too many variables when dealing
“Anybody can be tough,” said Moran. “It’s hard to say. 2-30 guys can be tough, tough,tough! You just
never know. Look at Scott Bloomquist. He should have won it already, has been in apposition to, but it’s
his hard luck track.”
For two time STARS national champion Racin’ John Mason, his turn at making dirt Late Model history
at Pennsoro came with his DTWC win in 1989. After coming to Pennsboro for years, Mason started yet
another DTWC feature. In 1989 he started third, slipped back a few spots, but worked his way back up
By the halfway point he was in second behind Jack Boggs and took the lead on a high risk outside move
on lap 63. Mason held on to win $48,000 in his CJ Rayburn/ Malcuit Racing Engines #72.
It was a day Mason won’t soon forget.
“I can’t describe winning it,” declared Mason. “I don’t think it really soaked in for three days, but it
was a numbing experience. That’s all I can say: I was numb!”
Mason had showed up every year for the HILLBILLY 100 and DTWC and, having made the features
11 times, finally experienced the highest high.
“We’ve run the whole gamut at Pennsboro,” explained Mason. “We’ve won races, wrecked cars and
went to the hospital. It means a lot to me, still one of the premier races and it’s hard to pass up.”
Mason also finds the mystique of the old track interesting.
“It’s the atmosphere,” said Mason. “The magic of Pennsboro, however you describe it. The fans are
the atmosphere. If not for the fans on the hillside, even for 50 grand, it wouldn’t be nothing.”
When Larry Moore won the DTWC in 1987, he hauled back to his Dayton, Ohio area home a whopping
$60,000. One of the sport’s greatest racers, and biggest winners, Moore was a regular fixture at
Pennsboro Speedway and the DTWC for years.
In 1987 Moore, for the first time, had his own self-owned team. Down to one car and one motor, Moore
made the trip to Pennsboro in ’87 and by virtue of winning the dash, earned the pole position.. Moore took
the lead and never looked back, as he and Freddy Smith pulled away from the field. During the latter
stages Smith made several bold moves on Moore, but Moore held him off and took the win.
And one of the first in victory lane to shale hands and congratulate Moore? Freddy Smith.
“$60,000, it was just wonderful!” exclaimed Moore. “Biggest race I ever won. I already won three
WORLD 100’s by then, but this was my biggest paying race and it was just wonderful!”
“Only year I ever drove for myself and I would have been in trouble financially if not for winning. I
learned I didn’t need to own my own car.”
Moore wasn’t hesitant when asked to give his opinion of Pennsboro Speedway.
“It’s such a challenging track, quite different,” explained Moore. “Never the same. That track can
change two or three seconds over the course of a day. The last couple races I ran the track got faster
earlier than usual. Usually you’re slow in the heats and fast in the feature.”
“It’s such an old place. Got so much character. People claim it’s terrible but they are always there. It’s
quite a sentimental place, really neat. And that bridge!”
©2001 DOC LEHMAN/Dirt America!
21st Annual “Jim Dunn Memorial”
DIRT TRACK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
$50,000 To Win
Saturday October 20
Gates open at 9:00 am
Time trials for Super Late Models begin at 12:00 pm
Heat races for Super Late Models
Heat races for Street Stocks.
Then Come party with us!
Sunday October 21
Gates open 9:00 am
Racing starts at 1:00 pm
Consolation for Super Lates
Street Stock consolation
DIRT TRACK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Street Stock feature
PAST WINNERS : DTWC
1981-Jim Dunn, 1982-Charlie Swartz,
1983-Freddy Smith, 1984-Jack Boggs, 1985-Freddy Smith, 1986-Billy Moyer, 1987-Larry Moore, 1988-
Donnie Moran, 1989-John Mason, 1990-Jack Boggs, 1991-Freddy Smith, 1992-Ronnie Johnson,1993-
Freddy Smith, 1994-Ronnie Johnson, 1995-Jack Boggs, 1996-Billy Moyer, 1997-Marshall Green, 1998-
Freddy Smith, 1999-Steve Francis, 2000-Wendell Wallace.
DTWC: GENERAL INFORMATION
Advance 2-Day General Admission Tickets are $35, Advance 2-Day Pit Passes are $45, Advance 2-Day
General Admission Ages 6-11 are $10, Children under 6 will be admitted FREE. Prices at the gate on race
day are $45 for General Admission and $55 for a Pit Pass.
Camping for the DTWC is FREE with paid admission for the duration of your
stay. There are several hundred primitive camping spots available (no hook
ups). Campers are allowed to set up any time after October 1, 2001.
Hotels available for the DTWC include; In West Virginia – Ameri-Host Inn
304-424-5300, Best Western 800-528-1234, Comfort Suites 304-489-9600, Days Inn 800-329-7466, Econo
Lodge 304-428-7500, Hampton Inn 304-489-2900, Holiday Inn 304-485-6200, Microtel 304-489-3892,
304-422-5401/800-540-5401, Red Roof Inn 304-485-1741/800-THE-ROOF, Motel 6 304-424-5100,
Blennerhassett Hotel 304-422-3131, Expressway Motor Inn 304-485-1851, St. Marys Motel 304-684-
2233, North Bend State Park 304-643-2931, North Bend Pines Bed & Breakfast 304-643-2102, and Hiley’
s Motel 304-428-5250.
In Marietta, Ohio; Holiday Inn 740- 374-9660, Knights Inn 740-373--7373,
Best Western 800-528-1234, Econo Lodge 740-374-8481, and Comfort Inn
Pennsboro Speedway is located midway between Parkersburg and Clarksburg, WV on US Route 50.
Additional DTWC information is available at http://web.archive.org/web/20011228105131/http://www.
©2005 Doc Lehman/Dirt America