URC Names 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees
Posted: September 26th, 2014
It is always a difficult decision inducting the new Hall of Fame members. The list is long of people with incredible accomplishments in URC along with those whose support made URC's long storied history possible. URC has selected five individuals to the 2014 class of Hall of Famers. Here are the 2014 Hall of Fame inductees:
No driver was more charismatic in the 1970’s on the United Racing Club trail than Leroy Felty. But his charm was coupled with a fierce driving style that made him one of the top sprint car drivers of his era. Leroy won his first URC title in 1971 over such names as Buck Buckley and Harry Benjamin with 15 wins to his credit that season. He was a bridesmaid to Harry Benjamin in the 1972 URC point chase with 3 wins, but rebounded in 1973 to win his second championship over Carl Bergkvist. Felty won 7 times in 1973 and continued his winning ways into the late 1970’s. URC is honored to induct Leroy Felty into the URC Hall of Fame.
John Wergland has a very storied history with URC that spanned over 3 decades. John started his racing career at age 15 when he joined the crew of the legendary Pappy Hough team. He became a URC car owner in 1960 and over a 25 year period fielded some of the biggest names in sprint car racing. Amongst his drivers were Mario Andretti, Red Riegel, Al Unser, Bobby Marvin, Johnny Rutherford, and Carl Bergkvist to name a few. John has 19 career URC wins to his credit with many different drivers. The Wergland Chevy was a threat at each and every event they attended. URC is proud to induct John Wergland to the URC Hall of Fame.
Clay Parks is an executive of the Bars Products Corporation, a trusted and very valued member of the Bars Family, who overseen the company’s 20-year Tour sponsorship with the URC. Clay is more than a face associated with a sponsor; Clay is a true friend of URC. Clay always ensured URC had the tools needed to meet their sponsorship requirements, and always went the extra mile for URC, despite being busy traveling worldwide for Bars Leaks/Rislone. Clay even flew out from Michigan to pay respect to URC’s fallen hero, Kramer Williamson. It is his good nature, professionalism, and friendship that earned Clay Parks a spot in the URC Hall of Fame.
If ever there was a car owner for the ages, it would certainly have been Don Kerr . Kerr entered the URC scene without much attention until he hired a modified driver with a long list of credentials…enter Glenn Fitzcharles. Kerr’s cars were always immaculately prepared and rarely suffered any mechanical problems. Kerr would dominate in 1987 and many subsequent seasons with 21 incredible wins in the 1987 season alone…yes, 21 wins in a season! Kerr was a quiet man, and a man who would help any of his fellow competitors in the pits and loved racing with URC. In 1988, he garnered 12 wins with Fitzcharles at the helm, and continued his winning ways until his retirement. Kerr won 4 straight URC car owner championships. It is Kerr’s high standards of performance above and beyond the norm that earns him a coveted spot in the URC Hall of Fame.
Throughout our 67 year history, URC has raced for many promoters. Charlie Cathell has hosted more URC events than any other promoter in URC history. Charlie has always provided racers with a great racing surface for decades. Charlie and his family have put their heart and soul into their speedway and take great pride in providing their racers with a first class facility. Charlie has hosted as many as 10 URC events in a single season. Charlie continues to be a supporter and friend of URC. Charlie’s unparalleled support of URC has earned him a place in the URC Hall of Fame.
Posted: September 19th, 2014
Sad news came to us today that Paul "Sandy" Rochelle passed away.
"Sandy", as he was affectionately known in the United Racing Club won both the 1979 and 1980 driver championships. Driving for Pete Sacks during his peak in URC, Sandy was a comedian, a prankster, and loved spending hours after the races having fun with his fellow competitors.
I began working for the United Racing Club in 1979, and they asked me to do a story on Sandy. However, before I was able to make that call, I got the news that Sandy was in a very bad accident. While trying to cut down a tree, misfortune struck as the tree fell on Sandy breaking his back. He insisted he would be back racing in April. I sent him a little stuffed animal dog with a get well card.
April rolled around as URC opened at East Windsor Speedway. Sandy was still very painful and we all watched in disbelief as his crew carried him to the race car and bolted him in the cockpit. He had a strong finished that day. As his crew struggled to get his tall, lanky body out of the car after the race, I glimpsed into his cockpit. Tied to the inside of his cockpit was the little stuffed animal dog...something he kept the whole season as a good luck charm. It may sound trivial, but to this 15-year old girl at the time, Sandy was larger than life.
He won many URC races and gave 100% every time he raced. But, Sandy was best known for his infectious smile, fun-loving laugh, and practical jokes. Sandy enjoyed the United Racing Club fair dates and would be the first one in the pool trying his version of log rolling sometime after midnight.
Those who knew him will miss him dearly. And those who don't remember Sandy Rochelle will look in the URC history books and surely recognize him as one of URC's best.