Master of building Championship race cars, Gil Frisbie.
By Dan Hall
One of the earliest innovators of the racing world is Gil Frisbie. Gil got his start by competing at Chemung Speedrome. Jeff Frisbie, Gil’s son, remembers, “My dad started racing at Chemung Speedrome in 1952. He drove the “Buzz Bomb”, a flat top 6 cylinder B Modified. Dad competed anywhere there was a race. He stopped racing in the early sixties and concentrated on building race cars.” Gil’s cars brought home many Championships. His cars dominated at the Chemung Speedrome. The list of Drivers who won in Gil’s cars is a who’s who of racing. Jackie Soper, Geoff Bodine, Brett Bodine, Jimmy Spencer, George Kent, Johnny Wilbur, Jeff Frisbie, Bill Frisbie, and Bob Frisbie are just a few who saw the checkers in his cars. Jeff continued, “The first car Geoff Bodine ever drove was built by my dad. He let Geoff practice at Chemung with the car. Geoff was only fourteen and learned a lot from Dad.” Jeff continued, “My first race car was a 1985 Chevy Monte Carlo Pure Stock. I had worked many hours on the car prior to the race season. When I neared completion of the car, I just needed to paint it. My dad stopped by and took a look at it. He told me to bring it over to his shop. I did and he started taking it apart. He swapped out a bunch of parts on the chassis and cut up the floor board assembly. Once he completed the work, he said I could go ahead and paint it. That car went on to win 12 of the 15 features and the Dunhill Championship.”
Another prominent driver that had a lot of success with Gil’s cars was Jackie Soper. The two formed an alliance that was unbeatable. Jackie won eleven straight feature races for Gil. One of Jackie’s cars was featured in the Gater Racing News. The car was the first to have a 500 horse power engine. The ingenuity of Gil was driven by his passion for winning. “He was always the happiest in victory lane,” remembers Jeff. He continued, “Racing was everything to my Dad. He even missed a few weddings because it (the racing) was his first love.”
Gil’s cars started competing and winning at Wyoming County International Speedway in 1998. Jeff said, “Dad got a call from Jim Majchrzak. He asked Dad about racing at Perry. A few weeks later, we brought the Late Model up to compete. There was a five hundred dollar bounty on Dan Domanowski. We won the feature but Dan got knocked out of the race under a caution. Therefore, no bounty. A couple weeks later, we returned and won the feature. This time we collected the bounty and continued to race at Perry.” Jeff remembered that his Dad thought a lot of owner, Jim Majchrzak. “He really liked racing at Perry. Jim always kept his word and Dad respected that.”
Gil Frisbie’s life was racing. He lived, breathed, and dreamed of it. His passion brought a lot of success to countless drivers. A pioneer of race car innovations is his trademark. Gil had a saying, “The second place car is always the first loser.” He knew that the race was always won by the car that was prepared the best. The countless hours he spent on his cars brought numerous championships. Gil was always happiest in victory lane. This experience was only exceeded in joy when one of his sons captured the victory. Gil was racing right up to the day he passed away. Wyoming County International Speedway honors Gil’s life by his induction to the Wall of Fame.