The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

August 9, 2013

Shawn Wood's column on motorsports: Remembering the Pink Panther

The feature story for today's motorsports page was to have been about Kramer Williamson -- the 1978 Selinsgrove Speedway track champion -- as the United Racing Company is at Selinsgrove on Friday for a stand-alone feature as part of its 2013 season.

Instead, we are writing another column about the passing of a sprint car driver, the third such this year.

Last Friday at Williams Grove Speedway, I spent time with Kramer and his family while getting photos for the feature. It was quite a shock when the news came on Saturday that he was hurt and airlifted to the hospital.

I first met Kramer in person in the last 1980s at the Flemington Fair Speedway (N.J.) through my late mentor Bill Singer, the track's announcer. Williamson was on Friday night the same as when I first met him -- big hearty hand shake and that big smile of his.

While taking photos for the feature during the evening last Friday, I decided to get a family photo. It is so sad to look back and know that was the last one they ever had taken.

Williamson succumbed to serious injuries on Sunday afternoon following an on-track accident in a URC-sanctioned event at Lincoln Speedway last Saturday.

No one had a more recognizable car than Williamson's famed No. 73 Pink Panther.

His 25 sprint car wins at Selinsgrove is tied for ninth with Barry Camp and he won the 1978 track title. That year, he also won the Williams Grove track title and the National Open at the Grove. His first Williams Grove title came in 1976.

Among the tributes to Williamson this weekend, the Empire Super Sprints will have the word 'Hoosier' on the tires colored pink and a pink 73 will be placed on the each driver's wing.

All of the tracks in Central Pennsylvania will take up a collection to help offset the medical expenses for the family and a 'Pink Out' will take place at Selinsgrove where fans and racers are encouraged to wear pink to honor Kramer's memory.

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