A Tribute To Phillip Seifert
October 2009 Dale Wilkerson
Fans and drivers Honor fallen driver at Cherokee
Two race cars drove onto the Cherokee Speedway Saturday night. Sparkling beneath the light of a full moon, the engines roaring, echoing as both cars slowly made their way down the back stretch, through turns three and four, then parking at the start/finish line. Both cars were as clean as if they were going to a car show, just like their former driver would have wanted.
These two cars were formally driven by the late Phillip Seifert. On the night, the first car was driven onto the track by Phillip’s cousin, 2009 Cherokee Speedway Hall of Fame Inductee Petey Ivey. This was the #75 Beaver Bail Bonds car, owned by Mark Beaver of Shelby. The second car, driven by Phillip’s former crew chief Dale Greene, was the #51 Pancake House Car owned by Ray Durham, also of Shelby.
The fans in the grandstand rose to their feet, the crews in the infield lined pit road, and most folks raised five fingers into the air, another number that that Phillip had raced during his racing career. Seifert passed last month from a brief illness. Though he was only here a short time, he touched many lives and he left a lasting impression on all of those he came in contact with. “He always had a smile on his face, and he was the most courteous driver on the racetrack,” said local racer Johnny Bell.
Super Late Model Driver, Petey Ivey (75), of Union, SC and Phillip Seifert's crew chief, Dale Greene(51), of Inman, SC take part in the tribute to Phillip Seifert at Cherokee Speedway Saturday night. Seifert who passed away two weeks ago after a brief illness was the driver of the #51 Pancake House car owned by Ray Durham of Shelby, NC and previously drove the #75 Beaver Bail Bonds car owned by Mark Beaver of Shelby, NC. Mike Bulter Photography
As Ivey and Greene rolled off on a couple of slow laps, the loud speakers at the speedway played the song “Go rest high on that Mountain” performed by Vince Gill.
PA-Man Kevin Wray announced that the Pancake House car was going to be parked beneath the press box, and fans stopped for photos all night. Fans also visited the pits to get a look at the Beaver Bails Bonds car as well. Ivey raced this car, finishing in sixth spot in the Super Late Model feature.
In the Crate Late Model feature, Pole sitter Douglas Davis allowed the outside pole man to pull ahead of him on the pace laps, in the missing man formation. Many fans again raised the number five into the air in honor of Phillip. As the Super Late Models rolled off the grid, a huge fireworks display l lit up the night sky, just like Phillip’s smile had lit up the life’s of folks around him for 30 years.
*For fans that want to help with the medical expenses, you can make donations to the Phillip Seifert Fund and the SC-Telco Federal Credit Union, just of Heron Circle in Spartanburg. Also, during the running of the Stick Elliott Memorial Race, donations will be accepted for the family. For a full list of fundraisers, visit www.trackforums.com and click on the Cherokee Speedway thread. **