MIDDLEBURG -- Long-time race fans may be doing a double-take when the stroll through the annual week-long Selinsgrove Speedway show at the Susquehanna Valley Mall.
The familiar orange and white No. 63 Selinsgrove Ford Special colors the late Paul Long carried for years will be adorned on Donnie Schick's late model for one last season. Schick is Long's son-in-law.
It's a tribute from the family to Long, a two-time speedway late model champion who is ninth on the track's all-time win list with 32. He won the track championship in 1966 and 1973.
"I'm not sure how the fans are going to react, I'm worried how mother is going to react," said Paula Schick, Paul's daughter.
The car will make its on-track debut April 9, the first late model race of the season.
The original orange and white No. 63 was a 1967 Ford Fairlane that Long and Selinsgrove Motors, now Selinsgrove Ford founder Ray Benner, purchased in Ohio where the car was running on the NASCAR circuit.
"That was the color of the car and the number when we bought it," Benner said. "We looked at it and together we decided to stay with those colors and brought the car back and converted it to a dirt-track car."
Another familiar marking fans will notice on the car is the "Super Snake."
"That came about from my days working with Ford advertising," Benner noted. "I was at a drag race in Englishtown, N.J., and at that time, Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme had a snake on his car. I went up to him and asked him if he had any problems with us putting a snake on our car. He said no. So I had an artist draw up a snake with wheels under it and that's how the snake on the car came about."
One difference fans will notice is the line the No. 63 will take around the track.
"Dad liked the outside line while Donnie likes that inside line," Paula said.
For years, Benner and Long had their cars built in North Carolina by "Tiger" Tom Pistone. The engine came from the legendary Holman-Moody garage in Charlotte.
"Paul was basically into the engines and I was the one who picked the bodies," Benner said. "I wanted something that went along with the dealership and was a popular car."
Over the years, the duo raced several different type of cars and colors outside of the '67 Fairlane.
Benner and Long had seven cars between the Ford Torinos and Mustangs built by Pistone and towards the end, the engines were Holman-Moody 429-cubic inch power plants.
Schick, who will have a Ford engine under his hood, is taking a good look at going for his third track title this season. He won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006 and ranks 16th on the all-time win list with 17. He comes into the 2011 season riding a 10-year streak where he's won at least one race a year since 2000.
"You're going to have to have better luck than he does," Schick said of ending Jeff Rine's four straight track title. "You're going to have to be consistent and do your homework in the garage."
Schick will be back on track in 2012.
"It's a great tribute to Paul and it says a lot about Donnie," Benner added. "Donnie is a really nice guy and he'll represent the dealership well."