Eleven years ago a tradition was started. Jody London started a Super Stock race in memory of his father, Dave. Now, the Dave London Memorial 50-lap event at New York’s Spencer Speedway has become one of the biggest Super Stock events in the state. This Friday, August 24th, will be the 11th edition of the $2,000-to-win Dave London Memorial race.
“I honestly thought if I did five years then that would be it,” said Jody London, the promoter of the race and son of the race’s namesake, Dave London, just prior to the 10th edition last year. “The very first year I did lap sponsorships. Every year it just builds and builds. Without the New York State Super Stock Series, after the fifth year this race was pretty much done.”
The race is held each year at Spencer Speedway in memory of Jody’s father, who raced Super Stocks and Street Stocks at the Upstate New York flat half-mile paved oval. Dave won many races, but never a championship at Spencer. His only racing title came at what is now known as Wyoming County International Speedway in New York.
But Dave was much more than just another racer at Spencer Speedway, as Jody explained. Dave London organized Spencer’s banquets every year and more.
“Dad did everything at Spencer Speedway. He did the banquets, he did all of the promotional stuff, he did their write-ups. Basically everything behind the scenes at Spencer Speedway he helped out with.”
Dave was also known as a family-man, both at the track and at home. Jody explained that his father viewed all of his fellow racers as family, but that he also took a decade-long absence from his racing family to attend to matters at home with his immediate family.
“When my mom’s health started declining he took a 10-year break,” Jody said. “When she ended up passing away it was just him at home taking care of two kids. He spent 10 years out of his racing to take care of us kids.”
As Jody said, this is the tenth edition of the Dave London Memorial, and every year it has continued to grow. Friday’s race has will pay a guaranteed payout of $2,000 to the winner, plus bonus money. That is the most gratifying part of the whole thing for Jody.
“I’m giving back to the class that Dad gave back to for so long, so it means a lot,” Jody said. “The drivers have become our friends and more like family throughout the years. It’s so nice to see them be so happy and have something they can actually run for. Up here they don’t get to race for anything big ever. So it’s cool to be able to see them have a good time.”
Joining the Super Stocks on the racing card will be a feature for the Spencer Speedway 4-cylinders, and also the Shirley Zacharias Shootout, which will serve as the B-main for the Dave London Memorial.
One year ago it was RoC Asphalt Modified Tour standout Tommy Catalano driving from the B-Main to win the 50-lap feature event in honor of Dave London.
For more information on Friday’s Dave London Memorial, please visit SpencerSpeedway.org.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Mojo Photos