The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

February 19, 2011

One last ride for Paul Long's No. 63

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."

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