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Author Topic: Bethel Motor Speedway Racers' & Fans' Appreciation Page - unofficial  (Read 31 times)

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Bethel Motor Speedway Racers' & Fans' Appreciation Page - unofficial

This Saturday, June 1st at Bethel Motor Speedway in White Lake, NY is an event that can't be missed! Luzon Enviromental Services of Sullivan County will present 'Truckers Night'. All divisions will be in action plus an Enduro Dash and a Kid's Big Wheel Race. This is a MUST SEE event!

The night will be highlighted by the biggest Pro Stock race of the year! The double points race known as the 'Steel Horse 55' will be run in tribute to long time track supporter Gary O'Donnell who sadly passed away about this time last year after battling major health issues for several years. The race will honor Gary's famous #5 number and pay $555 to Win (Based on 20 car entries) and be the distance of 55 Laps! . Let us all do our part and be at the track to honor such an important person in the track's history. Let's do our part to get as many pro stocks to the track to support this race. Let's convince our street stock racers to roll the dice and enter this event as well! Let's get our kid's on big wheels and take part in this fun family event and lastly let's put on a hell of an enduro as Gary loved to see stock affordable cars racing hard for a trophy. Racing begins at 6:30pm! Only $12 for Adults and half price for those with current CDL licenses with photo id. Come be a part of history this Saturday Night at Bethel Motor Speedway!

Gary O'Donnell ran the majority of his race driving career at Bethel Motor Speedway but also competed at Accord and Orange County Fair Speedways. O'Donnell proved to be a successful racer and mechanic as he picked up elusive track championships in the street stock class in 1979 and 1995. O'Donnell was known as a fan favorite at the track and was affectionately nicknamed 'Gary O' and was often called by that name by track announcers. O'Donnell was known to exciting the crowd with his thrilling driving style and unique #5 race cars. One street stock that was jet black adorned Jolly Rogers flags and bright silver wheels which brought the delight to many, another was a 'street stock' truck that was raced very competitively against a very strong field every week. The last car he competed in was a four cylinder stock Chevy Cavalier that he brought home to Victory Lane in his final season of driving in 2009. The final season of driving was a highlight for Gary as he was able to compete with his brother and cousin in the same class.

While O'Donnell was a successful driver at Bethel, he did more than just that. O'Donnell was known to help spruce up the track before the track's opening day, he hosted a radio show that had a focal point on the racing in Sullivan County, he spent much time talking with people and getting them to attend the speedway, and he was a founding member of a group of racers known as 'Steel Horse'. The last several years in racing, he took great pleasure in turning wrenches and coaching his younger brother Larry O'Donnell with their racing stable of cars. That brotherly combination led to much success with winning a championship and picking up several feature wins mainly in the Pro Stock and Four Cylinder classes. Gary often said that he was more proud to see his younger brother winning races than the wins he achieved himself.

O'Donnell's passion to the speedway and it's local racing was second to none. He loved to share the 'ole times' of the track and explaining the history in years past. He was not afraid to speak against the status quo and often would speak his mind on improving the racing at the track he cherished. He really championed for the full fender classes that the track was founded on and was keen on keeping the racing affordable so everyone willing can get involved in the hobby of grassroots stock car racing. O'Donnell also was a big fan of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Although O'Donnell loved the speedway and the racing, it did not compare to the love of his family and friends. He was thoughtful, caring, and always willing those in need. He was an animal lover and loved the communities of Sullivan County. He was very thankful to all of those who helped him.

While we no longer see 'Gary O' at Bethel Motor Speedway, let's make sure the spirit of this wonderful one-of-a-kind man is at the track and smiling above as he roots for his younger brother Larry, and many other friends and racers on this special night. Enjoy the 'Steel Horse 55'. Godspeed Gary 'O'. We miss you!
Source: Bethel Motor Speedway Racers' & Fans' Appreciation Page - unofficial

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