PORT ROYAL, PA – The 2017 Port Royal Speedway Founder’s Awards were bestowed on Saturday night June 10 at the track with three honorees feted.
Honored posthumously was the late Richard “Dick” “Pete” Swarmer of Lewistown, Steve Swarmer of Reedsville and Don Lorenz of Thompsontown.
Pete Swarmer was one of the foundation shakers of the Penn Central Racing Association that began and organized weekly auto racing at the track in the mid-1950s.
During his 28-year career in auto racing, Swarmer garnered four sprint car track titles and a pair of late model titles to go along with 45 sprint car wins and 15 late model victories.
Racing both a sprint car and a late model during the last six years of his career, Swarmer was one of if not the most identifiable name at and with Port Royal during the 1950s and 1960s.
Swarmer passed away in 2000.
The son of Pete Swarmer, Steve Swarmer accepted laurels for his father before being surprised with his own award.
Along with being his father’s right hand man during his racing career, Swarmer himself took a turn at a driving career from 1970 – 1974 and was chosen as Port Royal Rookie of the Year in 1970.
In addition, it was Steve Swarmer who is credited with coining the moniker “ Pennsylvania Posse” to describe the gaggle of sprint cars and stars in the region that could not only compete with but also beat the World of Outlaws stars when they invaded the area.
In a Letter To The Editor of National Speed Sport News in 1980, Swarmer commended the outlaws for winning some races in the area but noted that the locals actually won six of 10 outlaws appearances in two years and as such the locals should be known as the “Posse” for rounding up the outlaws.
And hence was the birth of the Pennsylvania Posse.
Steve Swarmer is currently a Port Royal track employee.
Don Lorenz was the voice of Port Royal Speedway and the Public Relations Director of the track from 1968 – 1980 and during that time he presided over an era of racing at the track that included not only the Swarmers but also names like Spencer, Kauffman and many more.
Lorenz was also the original announcer at the original Pocono Raceway when it first opened and for some time he did double duty, handling duties at Port Royal on Saturday’s and at Pocono on Sundays.
Now 85 years of age, Lorenz was also a local radio personality for decades and hosted his own weekly racing wrap up program on WJUN FM.
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