Sunday, May 19, 2002

McWilliams family tree rooted in racing


Branches, including basketball, keep patriarch busy

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        The Chuck McWilliams family ranks among the elite of Greater Cincinnati auto racing. These days, a younger relation is grabbing headlines in a different sport.

        Justin Doellman, the Ryle High School basketball star who recently committed to Xavier University, is grandson of Chuck McWilliams. McWilliams is a former USAC and ARCA star who lives in Union, Ky., and many family members live nearby.

        That includes his daughter, Pam McWilliams Doellman, who married former Roger Bacon and NKU basketball star Dan Doellman. And now, 6-foot-8 Justin Doellman is the star of the moment after leading Ryle to its first Northern Kentucky regional basketball title. He will be a senior at Ryle next year, then join Xavier in the fall of 2003.

        “We're so proud of him,” Chuck McWilliams said. “We just hope he continues to do well. He was player of the year over here in Northern Kentucky.”

        McWilliams, 66, still raced as recently as last year and might compete again this summer. He mostly leaves the driving now to sons Audie, Mike and Dave, who all race at Tristate tracks, including the group's home turf, the half-mile dirt track at Florence Speedway. The family has an auto parts business in Union.

        “Last week, Mike was driving in Richmond, David was up in Ohio, and Audie was at the Ralph Latham Memorial race at Florence,” Chuck McWilliams said. “I get to where I don't know where to go, who to watch.”

        Chuck McWilliams' career includes a USAC Late Model rookie of the year trophy in 1969 and several starts in the ARCA races at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Veteran fans know him as one of the top names in local racing history.

        Audie McWilliams, at 40 the eldest son of Chuck, said the family is mostly in it for the love of racing.

        “We all run around Kentucky here, and a little bit up in Ohio now and then, things like that,” Audie said. “It's tough to race against those guys who do it for a living. We just do it for a hobby, and we love it.”

        KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY: Alternative rock group Dishwalla will entertain fans before the NASCAR Busch race June 15.

        The race, officially “The Kroger 300 Presented by Oreo,'' is expected to sell out. More than 50,000 seats have been sold, with capacity 60,089. Last year's Busch race drew 70,338. For information visit www.kentuckyspeedway.com.

        LOCAL TRACKS: Current points leaders at Florence Speedway: Late Models — Ted Nobbe; Modifieds — Bill Vaughn; Super Dirt Stocks — Rick Allen; Figure Eights — Denny Kleier. The track has its regular weekly show on Saturday. For information visit www.florencespeedway.com.

        • Edgewater Sports Park (Cleves) features “Import Car Day” today, along with drag racing. Visit www.edgewaterrace.com.

        • Tri-State Dragway (Hamilton) has its regular event today and its Championship Bracket Series races May 25-27. Visit www.tristatedragway.com.

        • Lawrenceburg Speedway continues runs its Roy Mattlin Memorial Saturday and Fast Track Driving School Night next Sunday. Visit www.home.fuse.net/kewendel.

        • Thorn Hill Drag Strip (Decoursey Pike in Kenton, Ky.) continues its weekly programs. For information, 859-356-7702.

       E-mail tgroeschen@enquirer.com

       



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