Thursday, March 4th, 2010
By Janie Southard
Sprint car owner talks about need for speed
St. Marys Rotary
ST. MARYS - He was born into car racing and left the sport for several years. He's back now, and sprinting with the best of them.
Dayton native Ron Gorby, a local businessman for many years, told St. Marys Rotarians both his parents raced at Dayton Speedway and he was nearly born at the track in 1957.
"My dad raced (cars), and my mom raced go-carts and Powder Puff. He said he never lost, but he couldn't beat her. My dad was 14 when he started racing. You had to have a driver's license and he was too young, so he stole his brother's license," Gorby said following the Rotary lunch meeting.
Gorby, former owner of America's Best Value Inn and Suites in St. Marys/Celina, and now owner of the Sears Store in St. Marys, also owned horses for years and ran them at fairs and at Scioto Downs, near Columbus. Last year he got into racing sprint cars during time away from work.
"I'm an old gearhead from way back and it was great to reunite with race fans. There's nothing better than beer and hard-core racing," he said.
The reunion came after Gorby learned financial issues may keep a promising young driver from racing. Gorby got in touch with him and asked if accommodations at Americas Best would help. From that, he developed friendships with drivers and a lot of fans.
"Racing is expensive, no question," said Gorby, who is owner of Gorby Motorsports.
It wasn't long before Gorby owned a $40,000 motor, which a few drivers used and usually finished in the money. From there, it was an easy step to car ownership and Gorby said he had a ball last season going from track to track.
"I had the car but no way to get to the tracks; so I bought a trailer and a truck and raced 20 times last year (with various drivers)," Gorby said.
Of the 20, his car won two, placed four times in the top five and six times in the top 10.
His first race was in Terre Haute, Ind., where his car qualified eighth and then on to other tracks east of the Mississippi, such as Charlotte and Lawrenceburg. Some proud moments came right in his racing backyard, Eldora and Kings Royal.
"I put the wings on the car and ran 14th of 50 cars in the big show on Saturday night. We made the feature on a bent axle and used rear tires ... placed 22nd," he said.
Now he said he's got a job.
"I found that the (sprint) car would fit through the front doors (of Sears), so I displayed it at the grand opening surrounded by refrigerators, washers and dryers," Gorby said.
One last word to his fellow Rotarians: "Eldora debuts in four weeks."
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