(Top Left) The one and only Keith "Crazy Bob" Pelphry with Kenny Patton at Eldora. (Bottom Left)
Kenny Patton cooking at Eldora. (Right) Darlene Herter with "Crazy Bob".
Nominated By JTodd LeFevers
Interview By JTodd LeFevers
The following is a Hall of Fame interview with Kenny Patton of Portsmouth, Ohio. I've
known Kenny for about 4 years. In those 4 years, Kenny and Darlene Herter have provided
me with laughs, history, pranks, shelter, good cooking (Thanks to Darlene), and good old
fashion racing hospitality. I'm proud to call Kenny a friend. Congratulations and welcome to
the Fans Hall of Fame Kenny!
(JTodd) Kenny can you tell me how you got involved with Dirt Racing, and what are some of
you first memories of a track?
(Kenny) Well, I got involved in it through the family. Just as a kid
going. I was born in 1958, started going in probably 1959 or 60 with my
Mom, the late Sam Irwin and his family. I use to tag along with them all
the time. That was back in the old Super Modified times, before they
became Sprint Cars.
(JTodd) What track was that?
(Kenny) Old Portsmouth Speedway, and Atomic. Well Atomic Raceway
is KC now. It also use to be called Alma Speedway, then it was Atomic,
And now it's KC.
(JTodd) Who are some of your favorite drivers, and why do you support and follow them?
(Kenny) In Late Models. Well , like I said when I first started going it
was the Old Super Mods and Sprints. But I would say Charlie Swartz,
Jack Boggs. Even before them Junior Spencer and many, many, many
of them. I continue to follow the sport. I enjoy the racing, the
friendship of the fans, and having a big time.
(JTodd) What are some of your favorite tracks and some of your fondess memories of them?
(Kenny) Well, everybody's going to pick Eldora Speedway in this part
of the country as a favorite track. But there are a lot tracks. KC,
Southern Ohio, lots of them. Back in probably 1974 one that stands
out. Well, I've seen a lot of good races at Old Southern Ohio Speedway
between Charlie Swartz and Delmas Conley. But back in the Early 70's
I saw Charlie Swartz out run Delmas Conley on 3 wheels. The last few
laps of the feature the left front tire came off Charlie' Car. He ran the
last few laps without it and won. Another time that stands out probably
back in 1974 I remember David Speers and Finn Watson were driving
for Bobby Paul in the Pauls Pipline Cars. We got to know them. My
Mom and Aunt Wanda which is the late Sam Irwins sister cooked a big
dinner at midnight at the Southern 100. I was helping David Speers
work on his car and they brought out a big spread of chicken and
everything. Billy Teegarden and his family were in a old schoolbus they
hauled the car in. Mom told Billy to bring his family and come over and
eat. Well, they didn't come out of the bus. So Mom, Bobby Paul, and
David took food over to Billy's family. That was a good memory.
(JTodd) What numbers were the Bobby Paul cars of Watson, and Speers?
(Kenny) Finn Watson drove a Red and Yellow #21 and David Speers
drove a Red and Yellow #22
(JTodd) Since you've been involved with racing what are some of changes that you have seen?
(Kenny) The cars, the equipment, the money involved in it, the tracks
upgrading, the haulers. Just about everything. Many of the big names
would show up with two and three cars. People sleeping in the backs of
cars to vans to great big motorhomes.
(JTodd) If you could have inducted the first class of Dirt Late Model Hall Of Famers, and
picked them yourself.. who would have first five members been?
(Kenny) Well first, I think they should be retired for at least three to
five years like all other Hall of Fames. But, I would say Billy
Teegarden, "Butterball" Woolridge, Pat Patrick, Charlie Swartz, Jack
Boggs, Fats Coffey. There is just so many that it's hard to just pick five.
I mean up in this area where I'm from we had some good drivers that
could be in it now that have been retired for a while.
(JTodd) What are some of your Favorite racing memories?
(Kenny) There are so many different memories you get from a race
track. The people you meet, the great racing. One of the best racing
memories would be when Birkhofer passed Bloomquist to win the
World 100. So many of them back years ago. My first time at Eldora
Speedway 1974. David Speers told me if I want to go to Eldora to the
World 100. He said I'll leave Cambellsville, Ky and drive to
Portsmouth, Ohio and pick you up. He picked me up in a brand new
Lincoln drove right up to the pit gates and down into the track right
next to the cars. That was my first trip to Eldora. It was all grass and
hillside. The only bleachers were under the roof down the frontstretch.
Just to how it's grown up, it's incredible. Many memories at KC
Speedway thats an awesome race track. Sprint or Late Models.
Southern Ohio for the Southern 100 had all the big drivers from all
over the country. There's just so many good memories. I've enjoyed it
(JTodd) Can you tell me a little bit about yourself outside of racing?
(Kenny) I was married one time. I have a 22 year old Daughter named
Sara, and 28 year old step Daughter Heather, and two grandsons
Austin Blaze, and David Keith. I've been with Darlene for thirteen
years. I've worked constuction for the last 25 years. Belong to the
plumbers and pipefitters union local 521 in Hunington, West Virgina.
I've traveled around a lot and hit a few race tracks when I was out on
the road. I use to fish a lot. Use to go fishing to Canada, North Carolina,
Lake Cumberland. About eight or ten of my buddies we would all take
our boats for a week. I like to ride four wheelers with my buddies also.
(JTodd) Tell me a little about Darlene.
(Kenny) She enjoys the racing. Meeting the people. Getting away from
the house, job. Every year at Eldora everybody meets up and camps
together, eat, cook, tell stories, drink beer and watch the races. She just
enjoys getting away, and I think she loves me.
(JTodd) Do you have any Brothers or Sisters?
(Kenny) I have a brother Doug. He lives in Lima, Ohio. He belongs to
the plumbers and pipefitters local in Lima.
(JTodd) I want to thank you for your time Kenny, Is there anything else you would like to add
or anything you would like to say to all those reading this?
(Kenny) It's just nice to live in the United States where we have our
freedom. We can get out and enjoy a sport we love and do what we want
to do. God Bless Everybody.
Eldora Speedway Rossburg, OH
Southern Ohio Portsmouth, OH
Muskigum County Zanesville, OH
Brushcreek Peebles, OH
Old Portsmouth Speedway
Portsmouth Raceway Park
Mudlick Valley Raceway
Bluegrass Speedway Bardstown, KY
West Virgina Motor Speedway
Log Cabin Speedway