Sportsmanship is alive and well in the sport of Dirt Track Racing as witnessed by a selfless action from another competitor recently.
Friday’s Penn Ohio Pro Stock Series race and TDNs featured drive Bobby Whitling of Seneca Pa gave us harsh reminder of how unpredictable this sport can be. Whitling is the owner of 92 career wins in three different classes and is also the owner and proprietor of Slider Chassis out of Seneca Pa. So not only can he drive these complicated race cars, he builds them. Also he is a huge supporter of The Penn Ohio Street Stock Series. The very humble Whitling is often soft spoken and always gets the most out of his equipment not he track. On this night the series was in night one of a weekend double header and huge points implications were on the line. Going into the weekend Whitling sat 2nd begins points leader Andrew Gordon. Whitling was to roll off 7th in the third heat race. One lap into the scheduled 8 lap race Whitling slowed scoring off turn 4 and pulled the 7w into the infield.
Video Interview #1- John McConnell with Bobby Whitling
During an interview after the heats were completed, Whitling’s motor broke a cam and his night was over.
Then the most unlikely of circumstances happened. Fellow competitor Jesse Brock of Stoneboro Pa offered up his 22b for the veteran Whitling to use for the remainder of the night. Brock is not a consistent follower of the Penn Ohio Series and one unique aspect was involved. Whitling built the 22b owned by Brock. He cleared the car change with Series officials and was able to tag the back of the b main to try and race his way into the feature. It was learned that Whitling was the high point man that wasn’t qualified for the feature so he was gaurenteed a starting spot for the main. So being the competitor he is he tried to race his way into the main event missing by one spot.
Video Interview #2- John McConnell with Bobby Whitling
Upon a pre main interview it was learned about the provisional for the high point guy Whitling and crew set out and made some changes to the new mount they were using for the feature. Whitling was headed to the starting grid starting 25th and had all intentions of just feeling out the situation and seeing how the race was going. When the green dropped almost immediately the next decision for Whitling was made by himself. On lap one of the feature the yellow waved for a car that spun directly in front of Whitling almost causing a multi car incedent. Whitling pulled the 22b of Brocks to the pit area.
Video Interview #3 John McConnell with Bobby Whitling
Following the main it was learned that Whitling simply didn’t want to tare up the sharp looking loaner car of Brock’ss and settled for a 25th place finish while thinking of his own mount that was in need of much needed attention with the motor issue. Sportsmanship plays a huge role in this sport we all love And on this night I got to witness two forms of it. Case in pint. The unselfish act of a fellow competitor willing to lend his mount for the betterment of another driver and in the latter the unselfish way that Whitling took care of someone else’s mount not wanting to risk someone else’s ride. As long as drivers like Bobby Whitling and Jesse Brock are in the sport I feel the sport will prosper. Thank you both for the lesson of sportsmanship.
The Penn Ohio Street Stock race was won by Chris Schneider propelling him to the pints lead after the Raceway 7 event.