NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Keepin’ it Short – Racing loses another hero

There are stories everywhere about people who epitomize the essence of racing and Hershel Roberts was as much of an example of living to race as anyone. This past week Roberts lost his battle with cancer and racing lost one of its most ardent supporters. Roberts was given six months to live in 2006 but refused to slow down and lived some five years before cancer finally won out, and racing is better for those 60 months that Hershel hung on.

Roberts was born in 1943 and worked for John Deere for 42 years. He started racing in 1968 with a car he purchased from Benny Hofer in figure 8 and sportsman races. In 2004, Roberts and his son Ken moved up to the late model ranks in what coincidentally was the year he was first diagnosed with colon cancer. Doctors removed 17 inches of his colon and he was declared cancer free. Unfortunately in February, 2006 cancer returned to the lining of Roberts’ stomach and it was declared inoperable. The doctors gave him six months to live and Roberts simply continued doing what he was doing and let the chips fall where they may. He underwent chemotherapy treatments that slowed the growth but did not stop it while he pressed forward to get the maximum out of the life that he had left.

Roberts spoke in an interview in 2008 about his views on his condition.

“They told me to get everything in order and get a will made. Why sit around and worry about it? I’m going to try and live the best life I can and do the stuff I want to do while I’m still alive.”

While he continued his racing career one of his doctors was quoted as saying “He’s the healthiest sick man I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Roberts stayed behind the wheel of his No. 58 car until 2009 when his health finally forced him to get out of the seat. He was concerned that he was becoming a liability to the other competitors and, in true Roberts fashion, was always concerned about others even to the end. When Roberts got out of the car he didn’t park it, instead he handed the wheel to Ray Guss, Jr. and continued working on the car up until the very end of his life.

Guss did Roberts proud, winning five races in each of the last two seasons on the Deery Brothers Tour as well as three track championships in 2010 alone. As 2010 drew to a close Roberts climbed behind the wheel on more time at his home track, Quad Cities Speedway. Roberts won a consolation race which put him into the 100 lap feature event. Roberts ran all 100 laps.

“I’ll be darned if he didn’t stay out there and complete it,” Guss said after the race. “That shows you right there that he was doing what he wanted to do and fulfilling his dream.”

Over his career Roberts won 300 races, 14 track championships, five of which were late model titles. 72 hours before he passed away Guss gave Roberts the trophy from a win last Friday night at Donnellson, Iowa. After his passing, Guss shared his favorite memory.

“The biggest thing you learned from Hershel, he wasn’t looking for no sympathy from nobody. He was just living every day for what it was and doing what he wanted to do. Evidently that’s how everybody should look at life..you’ve gotta live every minute of every day and be happy with what you’re doing.”

Short Track Schedule for the Next Week

Fri : May 6 – Ocean Speedway ; Watsonville : CA – Taco Bravo Ocean Sprints
Fri : May 6 – Boyds Speedway ; Ringgold : GA – Volunteer Racing Series
Fri : May 6 – Road Atlanta ; Braselton : GA – F2000 Championship Series
Fri : May 6 – Stateline Stadium ; Post Falls : ID – West Coast Vintage Racers
Fri : May 6 – Bloomington Speedway ; Bloomington : IN – King Of Indiana Sprint Car Series
Fri : May 6 – Humboldt Speedway ; Humboldt : KS – MARS/NCRA DIRTcar Series
Fri : May 6 – Paducah Int Raceway ; Paducah : KY – Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Fri : May 6 – Boothill Speedway ; Shreveport : LA – Ark-La-Tex Winged Modifieds
Fri : May 6 – Boothill Speedway ; Shreveport : LA – SUPR Late Models
Fri : May 6 – Callaway Raceways ; Fulton : MO – United Late Model Association
Fri : May 6 – Fayetteville Motor Speedway ; Fayetteville : NC – WoO Late Model Series
Fri : May 6 – Limaland Motorsports Park ; Allentown : OH – American Late Model Series
Fri : May 6 – Eldora Speedway ; Rossburg : OH – WoO Sprint Cars
Fri : May 6 – Outlaw Motor Speedway ; Wainwright : OK – Oil Capital Racing Series
Fri : May 6 – Thunderbird Speedway ; Muskogee : OK – Mid-South Racing Association
Fri : May 6 – Thunderbird Speedway ; Muskogee : OK – Show-Me Racin Series
Fri : May 6 – Tri-City Speedway ; Franklin : PA – United Late Model Series
Fri : May 6 – Maple Grove Raceway ; Mohnton : PA – American Drag Racing League
Fri : May 6 – Darlington Raceway ; Darlington : SC – NASCAR Nationwide Series
Fri : May 6 – Volunteer Speedway ; Bulls Gap : TN – Unsanctioned
Fri : May 6 – RPM Speedway ; Crandall : TX – USMTS Modifieds
Fri : May 6 – Natural Bridge Speedway ; Natural Bridge : VA – Three State Flyers
Fri : May 6 – Manitowoc Expo Raceway ; Manitowoc : WI – Wisconsin Dirt Late Model Association
Sat : May 7 – Montgomery Motor Speedway ; Montgomery : AL – Show Me The Money
Sat : May 7 – Inde Motorsport Ranch ; Wilcox : AZ – National Auto Sport Association
Sat : May 7 – Crawford County Speedway ; Van Buren : AR – Mid-South Racing Association
Sat : May 7 – Shasta Raceway Park ; Anderson : CA – Airport Auto Brokers Late Models
Sat : May 7 – Madera Speedway ; Madera : CA – BCRA Midgets
Sat : May 7 – Madera Speedway ; Madera : CA – BCRA Vintage
Sat : May 7 – Placerville Speedway ; Placerville : CA – BCRA Midget Lites
Sat : May 7 – Silver Dollar Speedway ; Chico : CA – Golden State Challenge
Sat : May 7 – Waterford Speedbowl ; Waterford : CT – NEMA Lites
Sat : May 7 – Lanier National Speedway ; Brasenton : GA – MMRA / Mini-Cups
Sat : May 7 – Road Atlanta ; Braselton : GA – F2000 Championship Series
Sat : May 7 – Swainsboro Raceway ; Swainsboro : GA – WoO Late Model Series
Sat : May 7 – Stateline Stadium ; Post Falls : ID – ICAR Late Model Series
Sat : May 7 – Stateline Stadium ; Post Falls : ID – West Coast Vintage Racers
Sat : May 7 – Anderson Speedway ; Anderson : IN – CRA Super Series
Sat : May 7 – Brownstown Speedway ; Brownstown : IN – Midwest Mini-Sprint Association
Sat : May 7 – Lincoln Park Speedway ; Putnamville : IN – USAC National Sprint Cars
Sat : May 7 – Knoxville Raceway ; Knoxville : IA – Interstate Racing Association
Sat : May 7 – 81 Speedway ; Wichita : KS – MARS/NCRA DIRTcar Series
Sat : May 7 – Paducah Int Raceway ; Paducah : KY – Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Sat : May 7 – Champion Park Speedway ; Haughton : LA – Southern Thunder Sprints
Sat : May 7 – Allegany County Speedway ; Cumberland : MD – Steel Block Bandits
Sat : May 7 – Berlin Raceway ; Berlin : MI – Boyne Super Late Models
Sat : May 7 – Greenville Speedway ; Greenville : MS – SUPR Late Models
Sat : May 7 – Central Missouri Speedway ; Warrensburg : MO – United Late Model Association
Sat : May 7 – Lucas Oil Speedway ; Wheatland : MO – United Late Model Association
Sat : May 7 – Scotland County Speedway ; Memphis : MO – United Late Model Association
Sat : May 7 – Monadnock Speedway ; Winchester : NH – New England Antique Racers
Sat : May 7 – White Sands Speedway ; Tularosa : NM – New Mexico Motor Racing Association
Sat : May 7 – Black Rock Speedway ; Dundee : NY – BRP CanAm Late Model Series
Sat : May 7 – Black Rock Speedway ; Dundee : NY – United Racing Company
Sat : May 7 – Eldora Speedway ; Rossburg : OH – WoO Sprint Cars
Sat : May 7 – Sandusky Speedway ; Sandusky : OH – Buckeye Super Sprints
Sat : May 7 – Tri-State Speedway ; Pocola : OK – Show-Me Racin Series
Sat : May 7 – Sunset Speedway ; Banks : OR – DAA Late Models
Sat : May 7 – Maple Grove Raceway ; Mohnton : PA – American Drag Racing League
Sat : May 7 – Path Valley Speedway ; Spring Run : PA – PA Sprint Series
Sat : May 7 – Port Royal Speedway ; Port Royal : PA – ARDC Midgets
Sat : May 7 – Susquehanna Speedway ; Newberrytown : PA – Central Pennsylvania LegendCars
Sat : May 7 – Williams Grove Speedway ; Mechanicsburg : PA – Super Sportsmen
Sat : May 7 – Darlington Raceway ; Darlington : SC – NASCAR Sprint Cup
Sat : May 7 – Tazewell Speedway ; Tazewell : TN – Volunteer Racing Series
Sat : May 7 – C C Speedway ; Corpus Christi : TX – Dwarf Car Series of Texas
Sat : May 7 – Cowtown Speedway ; Kennedale : TX – USMTS Modifieds
Sat : May 7 – Devils Bowl Speedway ; Mesquite : TX – ASCS / Lone Star Region
Sat : May 7 – Devils Bowl Speedway ; Mesquite : TX – ASCS / Sooner Region
Sat : May 7 – Rocky Mountain Raceways ; Valley City : UT – Rocky Mountain Challenge Series
Sat : May 7 – Wythe Raceway ; Rural Retreat : VA – Ultimate Super Late Models
Sat : May 7 – South Boston Speedway ; South Boston : VA – PASS Southern Late Model Series
Sat : May 7 – Ephrata Raceway Park ; Ephrata : WA – Washington Econo Sprint Car Organization
Sat : May 7 – Yakima Speedway ; Yakima : WA – Northwest Pro 4 Trucks
Sat : May 7 – Plymouth Dirt Track ; Plymouth : WI – Wisconsin Dirt Late Model Association
Sun : May 8 – Inde Motorsport Ranch ; Wilcox : AZ – National Auto Sport Association
Sun : May 8 – Needmore Speedway ; Norman Park : GA – World of Outlaws Late Models
Sun : May 8 – I-80 Speedway ; Greenwood : NE – Super Late Model Racing Series
Tue : May 10 – Hamilton County Speedway ; Webster City : IA – Hawkeye Dirt Tour
Thu : May 12 – Delaware International Speedway ; Delmar : DE – WoO Late Model Series

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