Longtime Williams Grove Speedway flagman Gordon "Butch" Book Jr. died last Thursday morning.

Book was the chief starter at Williams Grove from 1984 through the 2011 season. He retired at the end of the 2011 season, with plans to do some traveling. However, early in 2012 he discovered that he had cancer.

Book got his start in racing in the early 1960s as a crew member for Bobby Abel. He then spent a number of years as crew chief for Bob Bender's late models. In the mid-1970s, Book was a spectator at an early-season race in Hagerstown when promoter Jack Gunn asked if he could fill in as a corner flagman.

Book helped out that day, and it wasn't long until he took over as the assistant starter at all three of Gunn's tracks, Williams Grove, Selinsgrove and Hagerstown. When Chub Shadle retired as chief starter, Book took over and he stayed at Williams Grove until he retired.

Book also worked occasionally at Lincoln and Susquehanna, and for several years at the indoor races in Atlantic City.

He was inducted into the York County Racing Club Hall of Fame in 2008.


MOTORSPORTS SHOW: The Motorsports 2013 Race Car and Trade Show will be held this weekend. The show runs Friday from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. It is held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks.

Motorsports is promoted by the Sammons family, who also promotes the winter indoor races around the area. Numerous race cars and racing products will be on display, and a number of "big name" drivers will make appearances. There is also the popular Ms. Motorsports competition.

On the appearance list for the weekend are: Michael Waltrip, Friday, 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.; Parnelli Jones, Saturday, 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.; and Austin and Ty Dillon, Saturday, 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

The Sammons family's Area Auto Racing News put together a list of the area's top 50 drivers during its 50 years in publication. The top 10 drivers have been revealed, but not in order. That order will be announced on Friday evening.

The eight living members of the top 10 are expected to be on hand to sign autographs, along with family members for the other two. Those who will be on hand are Kenny Brightbill, Will Cagle, Brett Hearn, Jimmy Horton, Danny Johnson, Billy Pauch, Fred Rahmer and Frankie Schneider. Family members will represent Richie Evans and Dick Tobias.

DIRT TRACKIN' SHOW: The Dirt Trackin' 2013 show will be at the York Fairgrounds from January 25-27.

Plenty of race cars will be on display, along with representation from all the local tracks, and many racing parts and novelty dealers.

This year, a special benefit auction will be held for former driver Scott Ausherman. Ausherman is suffering from frontal lobe dementia, and has fallen on hard times.

Many items have already been donated for the auction, but more can be used. Those wishing to donate auction items can contact Rick Horn at 717-887-5145. If someone would like to make a cash donation, it should be sent to the York County Racing Club in care of Scott Ausherman.

SPRINT POLL: World of Outlaw champion Donny Schatz got the top ranking in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame's 2012 Sprint Car Poll.

Sammy Swindell and Craig Dollansky were second and third.

Thomasville's Greg Hodnett was ranked fourth in the nation for 2012, with Joey Saldana completing the top five. Other local racers making the top 25 rankings included Danny Dietrich, 13th; Daryn Pittman, 14th; Red Lion's Cody Darrah, 19th; Brian Montieth 20th; Lance Dewease, 23rd; and Lucas Wolfe, 25th.

YCRC MEETING: The York County Racing Club will host a general membership meeting this Wednesday evening at the club hall in Zions View.

Eight-time Daytona ARCA 200 winner Bobby Gerhart will be the guest speaker.

Gerhart is the club's recent Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Special Achievement Award winner. He got his start on the local circuit, following in his father's footsteps. For many years now, Gerhart has been competing with the ARCA stock cars, but he has also competed with NASCAR's top three classes, Cup, Grand National and Trucks.

ARCH BANQUET: The Auto Racing Club of Hagerstown will host its annual banquet this Saturday at the Elks in Hagerstown.

ARCH honors sportsmanship drivers from the tracks it visits, along with inducting two members to its Hall of Fame.

-- Reach Bryan House holder at sports@yorkdis patch.com.