Wearing family racing legacy continues
Dirt track racing always has been a family affair.
A large part of Lernerville Speedway's history is dotted with multi-generational racing families.
Families like Blaney, Lynch, Swartzlander, Ferree, Flick and Murdick, among others, have thrilled race fans for 50 years. But there is one name above all, one name in Lernerville's history, and indeed the Tri-State area's history that stands above them all: Wearing.
Bob Wearing Sr. won 179 races and nine championships at Lernerville. In 1979, Senior won all 12 Late Model features at Lernerville. He's tied with Lou Blaney as far as titles but is 61 victories in front of Blaney on the all-time list. Bob Wearing Jr. won two V-8 Modified titles and 40 Lernerville races in his career. Senior won more than 600 races, an average of 20 per season.
Next in line is Brandon Wearing, son of Senior and brother to Junior. It's pretty much an impossible legacy to defend, but Brandon has not shied away from the track because of those expectations.
Brandon has two Late Model victories in his career, both at Gamblers Raceway Park near Clearfield.
“When I first started and was younger, it definitely got to me,” said Wearing, 34 of Callery. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to live up to my dad and my brother. But now that I am older and have been doing this long enough, it doesn't bother me so much. I was 16 years old when I started out and was a boy in a man's sport. You get humbled; it's not like playing a video game.”
Wearing cannot avoid any of what came before him.
“I did get a chance to watch dad; he raced until 2000, so I did get to race with him, too,” Wearing said. “That was great, a good time. We got together up at Marion Center one time. I ended up spinning, and he kept going. Pretty typical: He kept going, and I was spinning.”
Even while Senior raced him hard there were things he tried to pass on to Junior and Brandon.
“Starting out, it was a lot of the little stuff like looking at the track,” Wearing said. “People used to kind of look at me funny when I said I was going to look at the track, saying, ‘it's a circle.' Well, it's not just a circle. We see the dirt; we see everything. Dad taught us how to see the track and what tires to use, but that doesn't matter as much because we all have to run basically the same tires.
“I don't think anyone can dominate the way some of those guys did before. Everyone runs the same equipment and buys their speed. In the end, I think it's bad for the overall racing. Guys like my dad fabricated their parts to go faster.”
Wearing is racing Late Model and a Sportsman Stock this season, and his goals are simple.
“My goal at this point is to go out and have fun,” Wearing said.
“I think I'm accomplishing that. Running both cars this year has been fun. So far we only did it opening night, and tonight, but we are going to try all season. I'd still say the Late Model is the one I enjoy the most. I'd like to get in the top two or three in the Stock, and if I can get into the top 10 in the Late Model, that would be fantastic.”
Thomas Zuck is a freelance writer.