Unsung Heroes of the Super Cup Stock Car Series
Joy, Pennsylvania (October 12, 2016) – Much like any
motorsports operation or organization, success in the Super Cup
Stock Car Series is based on much more than a single driver or car.
It is a complete team effort.
Sometimes flying under the radar from race to race are those
that are right there for the season-long ride, and many make up a
major piece of the puzzle as part of the group.
Crew members and
officials can bring an immense amount of first-hand knowledge, an
additional opinion, or sometimes simply a helping hand.
Occasionally they have countless stories to tell as well.
In 2017, Lee
Manners will enter his 50th year involved in racing.
The member of the Jeff Zillweger team, which finished a
career best third in 2016 points, began helping the father of a
friend work on a ’33 Plymouth coupe with a six cylinder Hudson
engine as a teenager.
“I have worked on
everything from go-karts to Camping World Trucks, Sprint Cars, and
everything in between,” Manners, who has helped along with
Zillweger at tracks such as Eldora and Gateway with Norm Benning,
resident was fortunate enough to go to engineering school with
General Motors and received his degree in mechanical engineering,
and continued to develop his expertise over the years by assisting
teams, mostly at the dirt tracks.
Nevertheless, it was at former SCSCS facility Motordrome
Speedway that he met Zillweger.
friend’s son drove a Street Stock at Motordrome, and Jeff and his
dad always parked next to the guy I helped eight or nine years
ago,” Manners said. “Jeff
and his family are a great organization to work for.
They take super good care of us.
His dad (Rich) is the nucleus of the team, prepares the cars
at the shop, and keeps us all together.”
Manners plans to
continue doing his part to teach what he has learned to Zillweger,
who picked up his second Most Improved Driver award in three years,
going into next season.
“I might quit
after 50, but Jeff wanted me to sign a lifetime contract a while
ago,” Manners joked. “I
think we’re just coming into a stride.
It all has been very fun.”
longtime individual that has been seen in the SCSCS pit area also
hails from Pennsylvania. Throughout
Kevin Kromer and K2 Motorsports’ tenure since late in the 2008
season, Sam Borger has been wrenching on their cars.
His history with Kromer goes back even further than that.
“I got started
with my uncle at (Northeast Pennsylvania tracks) Reading, Big
Diamond, and Dorney Park,” Borger mentioned.
“Then Kevin drove for my uncle for a couple years and
that’s how I met him.”
Ever since, Borger
has been a mainstay with Kromer’s team, through years of racing
Modifieds to the old USAR Pro Cup Series, and present day.
At times when help was short, Kevin has always been able to
count on Sammy, including visits at the shop during the week.
Nowadays, the team gets additional assistance when at the
track thanks to the generous help from members such as the Wellek
family and Shawn Phillips.
“At one time, I
was running around like a chicken with my head cut off,” Borger
quipped. “I enjoy
working with Kevin and them.”
Borger went on to
mention the positives of being involved in a series like Super Cup.
would give you the shirt off their back,” Borger continued
regarding the camaraderie in SCSCS.
can come around full circle. J.P.
Booth worked with his friend from Eastern Ohio, Ronnie Souders, when
they competed in their local Modified division and then made the
move to Pro Cup.
purchased a car, the two of them helped Joe Harrison’s racing
effort. Joe is the
brother of 2016 champion Harvey Harrison.
12 years later a visit to a nearby race track started tying
everything back to where it started.
wife and I took our son to Motordrome,” Booth explained.
“After the races we talked with Brian and Harvey (Harrison)
and they invited us to the next one.”
Since then, Booth
has traveled to meet up with the Harrison’s Motorsports team at
every event, including a facility he previously called home.
“I first helped
them at Midvale, and Brian’s car was parked in the exact spot we
used to park the Modified,” Booth said.
“I didn’t realize how much I really missed being at the
track and now I’m hooked.”
Booth went on to
point out that it hardly feels like they met Harvey and the entire
team less than two years ago.
“We really do
feel like a part of the family,” Booth indicated.
“The series is almost like a brotherhood.”
While many may have
never stepped behind the wheel of a race car, others with quite the
racing careers offer their advice to current drivers.
In addition, lending a hand can go further than simply
helping one team.
Neil Gacom formerly drove in the Super Cup Stock Car Series,
achieving three top fives and 10 top 10s in 15 starts.
He made his return to the SCSCS pits in 2014 to assist
Director of Competition, Joe Schmaling, in which he met prior during
his years driving in Pro Cup.
“Joe was one of
the officials that was very nice and helpful from day one,” Gacom
commented. “It left a
good impression with me.”
driving career came to a close after a wreck at Motordrome Speedway
in 2010. Harvey
Harrison, family, and team were one of the first to assist in
loading his mangled ride back into the trailer in the pouring rain
when a storm came through right after the checkered flag.
Those were a couple
different memories that led to Neil coming back to the series in a
“You never forget
people like that, and when Joe called it just seemed to be the right
fit,” Gacom said. “People
say racing is like a drug, and you can’t stay away.”
helps out with various inspection items in the pits throughout the
day to make sure teams are following within the rules race-to-race.
thing is safety,” Gacom explained.
“I look at their belts, bolts, fuel cells.
Other than that, basically keep it as fair and even as
During the 2014
season, he even enjoyed passing on some of his knowledge to new
series competitor Chris Wenzel and his family.
examples only scratch the surface in displaying the immense amount
of team effort involved behind the scenes, it certainly shows the
fact that each event would not run nearly as smoothly for the series
or individual teams without each of the unsung heroes that
The Super Cup Stock
Car Series headlines the fall lineup on MAVTV with each race airing
on multiple occasions each week.
Please visit mavtv.com for
full listings of televised coverage of the 2016 SCSCS events.
For news and
developments over the off-season leading into 2017 please be sure to
consult the official series web site at www.supercupstockcarseries.com,
Super Cup Stock Car Series Facebook at www.facebook.com/SCSCSRacing,
or Twitter @SCSCSRacing.