DeGRAFF – Bill “Hot Rod” McElfresh of Columbus will be honored Saturday night at Shady Bowl Speedway.
The race will be 55 laps for the Harrod Septic Solutions Compacts with $1,022 to win. The race will pay $75 to start, plus numerous special awards.
The 66-year old driver has run a limited schedule in recent seasons. He started his racing career in 1979 in the Big Bomber class at Columbus Motor Speedway. The first car he built was a 1966 Impala, which was his wife’s daily driver. It’s a story in itself how the car came to be. McElfresh kept taking parts off the car until it was no longer driveable. He told his wife the car had been vandalized and to replace the stolen parts and make it street legal would more than it was worth.
She gave in and told him he could have the car to make a race car. McElfresh magically had the parts to get the car running. Near the end of the 1979 season he tangled with Debby Curry at CMS and destroyed his Chevy. In 1980 he began a 10-year run on dirt tracks.
He took some time off and began working on and driving front-wheel drive cars at CMS. Jimmy McElfresh and Bill Ramey, Bill’s sons, competed in the compact class and both notched feature wins in cars wrenched by Bill.
Bill has retired and spends his days working on the family race cars and friends’ racers. He spends a lot of race nights going car to car helping solve problems. He lists Burgess White and the late Denny Dean as his favorite drivers.
“Those two guys have made it with no big-time sponsors and very little help,” he said. “Dean and White showed you can make it to the top. I had to do it the same way.”
The Dave Nagel Excavating Late Models, Adams Automotive Street Stocks, The Bullet Liner of Dayton Thunder Cars and the Tuners will also do battle. The Tuners will run VORES Touring Compact Series type rules.
The green flag will drop on Saturday at 7 p.m.