The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 2, 2012

Shawn Wood's column on motorsports: Momenet arrives for father, son

From the moment that his son, Phil Walter II was born, Phil Walter of McClure has been waiting for this day.

"Years ago I said that it would be cool if some day we could race together," the veteran sprint car driver said. "We finally got to do it, whether it was one race or two or five races, we at least got to do it."

The 23-year-old third-generation Phil Walter II made his debut in a 358 sprint car last Saturday night at Selinsgrove.

Racing is something that has been in the Walter family since the 1940s.

Phil's dad, Glenn, and his brothers raced in the late 1940s and 50s at Selinsgrove and Glenn's sister, Twila, is the widow of late model driver Paul Long. His brother Mike Walter also races in the 358 sprint car division.

Phil Walter, 46, didn't spend too much time during the week talking with his son about making his debut until Thursday.

"We met at the shop and we worked on the cars all afternoon on Thursday and I spoke with him before the crew showed up," he said. "I wanted to talk with him about putting out of his mind all of the expectations and focus on doing his thing. If that meant barely going, great. If it meant going fast, that's great too. Whatever was comfortable for him."

Walter II would finish 18th while his dad, known as "Flyin' Phil" finished 20th after losing his brakes with about five laps to go in the regularly scheduled 25-lap feature event.

"I told him that he has as much right to be out there as anybody and to go out and run his deal, finish where you finish and bring the car home in one piece and run every lap," Walter said. "When I pulled into the pits, I ran up to the top of the trailer to watch him. He actually looked really smooth. He got through the corners pretty straight and he got a little faster towards the end.

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