Hershey's engines owner-operator dies
Curt Hershey, whose Hershey’s Racing Engines produced powerplants for many Dirt Late Model racers in the Mid-Atlantic region, died June 23 at his home in Greencastle, Pa. He was 58. The owner and operator of Hershey’s Auto Machine for nearly four decades, Hershey’s engines powered Dirt Late Model drivers to hundreds of victories. His business also extended into sprint car, open-wheel modified and asphalt divisions.
Tributes proliferated social media following the passing of the engine builder. A statement from Potomac Speedway in Budds Creek, Md., and Winchester (Va.) Speedway — whose promoter, Greg Gunter, uses Hershey’s engines in the Dirt Late Models he fields for Dale Hollidge of Mechanicsville, Md. — called Hershey “a true friend to everyone he came in contact with” and said he will be remembered “not only for his powerhouse motors” but also “for his stories he told over the years.” Hollidge himself noted that all but two of the victories he’s achieved in his racing career have come using Hershey’s power.
Veteran Jason Covert of York Haven, Pa., who used Hershey’s engines during his stint driving Barry Klinedinst’s No. 43A, remarked that he was “at a complete loss of words” over the death of a man he called “an asset to the racing community.”
Jason Walls, a Pennsylvania racing photographer and designer of the Hershey’s Racing Engines website, succinctly summed up Hershey’s passing in a Facebook post: “You'd be hard-pressed to find another figure in local racing that has had a bigger impact over the last 20+ years. Curt did whatever your budget allowed. If you wanted a hammer to beat the World of Outlaws, he built it. If you had 2-grand and three broken motors, he made sure that you would be ready to race this weekend. He treated everyone he met with kindness, respect and in such a cordial manner that you’d swear you grew up together as best friends. I envy that ability — the ability to genuinely make everyone smile as they leave your company.”
Hershey is survived by his wife of 13 years, Michelle; sons Curtis and Joey; daughter Amellia; stepson Billy Hornbaker; and two sisters and two brothers. Funeral services are 7 p.m. Monday, June 29, at Kelso-Cornelius Funeral Home in Chambersburg, Pa., with the family receiving visitors from 2-4 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. Interment will be private; leave online condolences at kelsocorneliusfh.com.