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Dick Kluth Celebrates 50 Years of Racing

Perry NY, The Wyoming County International Speedway / SST Series Awards Banquet was held this past weekend at the Big Tree Inn, Geneseo, NY, to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2008 season. Awards for top placement in division and series point standings, and specialty awards designed to take notice of the special accomplishments, were proudly presented. The atmosphere was fun, the food spectacular and as always, the most prestigious award was saved for the end.

Celebrating 50 years of racing competition, veteran driver Dick Kluth from Hilton NY was celebrated for his accomplishments. Competing in short Track modified machines for most of his career, Kluth pointed out, how much his racing involved keeping his family together as they traveled the region.

Several family members were present, including Dick’s son Ricky Kluth, builder of 2Kwik Chassis and sponsor of the SST Modified Series. The crowd that filled the room, provided a standing ovation for the #27 racer, as he made his way to the podium. After a brief interview with promoter Jim Majchrzak and several pictures, ‘Captain History’, Mark Southcott provided a historical recap of Dick Kluth’s career.

Prior to the banquet, regional motor sport reporter Dan Hall interviewed Dick Kluth at the request of WCIS. Providing some great details and stories, the long time racer recalled. Dan’s article will follow and will be used for a historical recap for future readers. Special thanks to Dan for his support. Additional ‘Wall of fame’ inductees from past years can be found at www.wyomingcountyinternationalspeedway.com

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Dick Kluth celebrates fifty years of racing.

By Dan Hall

To do anything for fifty years is incredible. Few people stick with anything that long. Dick Kluth is the exception to that rule. He discovered a passion back in 1958. That passion is racing. The #27 racer has never gotten tired of the sport. The 2008 season was Dick’s fiftieth year of competition. 

The journey began when he was asked to assist another driver who was going to compete at Daytona, 1958. The experience led to the purchase of a car upon the return. “I purchased and old junker to race on dirt. Once we started racing, I began building our first Sportsman Modified.” When the car was completed, the team started racing at Ramsomville, Cayuga, and Merritville. “The first car was raced a lot. One night at Canandaigua it rolled over five times.” Dick began building a new Sportsman Modified after that.

The number 27 team has raced at many different tracks. “In the early seventies, we began to race on asphalt. Friday night at Spencer, Saturday at Lancaster, and Sunday at Fulton.” Dick also raced at Perry (WCIS) and Holland for special Modified shows. One special event was held at Watkins Glen in the seventies. “This was our first time on a road course. I believe all the turns but one were to the right. The race was very challenging.” The U.S. Grand Prix Association was surprised at all the cooperation between the teams. “We were all helping each other and they were quite surprised. They told us, the Formula One teams never shared anything.”

In addition to the local tracks, there were trips to Martinsville (Virginia), Flemington (New Jersey), Langhorne (Pennsylvania), and Pocono. “We ran on both the three quarter mile and two and a half mile tracks at Pocono. Richie Evans gave us a lot of help for the set up. We were hitting speeds of one hundred and fifty-five. The speedy dry on the track felt like buckshot at those speeds.” The three turns at the super speedway provided a lot of excitement for the team. “I never got the handle on the third turn. The tunnel turn had a big bump in the approach. When you entered the turn, the car would be thrown sideways.” Another track the team raced at was Cayuga in Canada. A memorable incident occurred on route 3. “We were returning home and the car fell off the hauler. The car ended up in a farmer’s field. Some of the other teams stopped and helped us. As we were loading the car, the farmer showed up.” The farmer checked out the field. The impact had flattened a large area. “He said it did a nice job on the field. Perhaps he would start using larger tires on the tractor for similar results.”

In 2004, Dick began racing full time in the SST Modified division at Wyoming County International Speedway. He immediately established himself at the bull ring with consistent finishes. He ended up sixth in SST points in 2004. Dick won his first feature at the track in 2005. The 2005 season found Dick in contention for both Track and Overall SST Championships. He ended up third in track points and just missed winning the overall title by placing second. The #27 SST driver had another great year in 2006. He won his second feature, second in track points and third overall for the SST Championship. In 2007, he finished either second or third in the eleven feature race. The 2008 race season found the #27 driver finishing fifth in WCIS SST Points.

In 2009, Dick continues to race his #27 at Wyoming County International Speedway. His team consists of his wife, Carol, Susie (daughter) and Kevin Lewis, Debbie Drennan (daughter), TJ and Ashley Drennan, Tim Allen, Rick Allen, Jeff Blossom, Charlie Lissow, Steve Fuchs and Les Groves. Sponsors of the car are Long Pond Auto Parts, Woodys Collision, Carmestro’s Restaurant and Catering, R and M Landscape, and Kluth Motor sports Chassis. The car features a “2KWIK” chassis built by Dick’s son, Rick. 

Yes, fifty years of racing is a lot. In those fifty years, Dick has made many friends, helped many fellow competitors, and gained a large number of fans. Dick is one of a very few that has achieved this milestone. His passion for racing is only exceeded by the love of his family. He has been presented with numerous awards that include 1978 FOAR SCORE Most Sportsmanlike Driver, 1978  NEARA Family of Racing,
1988  Lancaster Sportsmanship Award - Modified Division, 1988  FOAR SCORE Perseverance Award, 1990  Lancaster Owner Award - Modified Division, 1991  Lancaster  Armed Forces Sportsmanship Award - Modified Division, 1994  Lancaster Tom Druar Contribution Award, 2004  WCIS Most Improved Driver - SST Division, 2005  WCIS Recognition of Achievement Award, 2005  FOAR SCORE Perseverance Award, 2006  WCIS Hard Charger Award, and 2006  Spencer  Appreciation Award. His proudest accomplishment is the fact that his family has always been apart of his racing. In addition, Dick and his family has been featured in the Upstate Magazine issued by the Democrat and Chronicle. They were also featured on the cover of the August 1985 Stock Car Racing Magazine with a six page article on his career. The #27 SST Modified driver has secured his place in western New York racing history. It is estimated that Dick has competed in over 2500 races. The racing community is very proud of Dick’s accomplishments. Wyoming County International Speedway will honor Dick at this year’s banquet. It is an honor well deserved.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 April 2009 23:50