Since its beginning in 1939, Pennsylvania’s Williams Grove Speedway has been one of the top weekly sprint car tracks in the country. The track is known for many historical reasons, from the backstretch bridge to its unique shape, and the annual National Open, drawing drivers from all over the country. There is also another very well-known location at the track besides the bridge and it’s known as Beer Hill.
Beer Hill is on the backstretch entering turn three, and it has been called that for many decades. No one knows for sure who started calling it that, as there are many who claim starting the name. It was always just a place where friends gathered to drink beer and watch the races. Back in 2002, the friends who gathered there starting calling themselves “The Beer Hill Gang.” The Beer Hill Gang you ask? Yes! The Beer Hill Gang. A passionate group of sprint car fans all gathering at Williams Grove Speedway.
Basically, in the beginning it stayed just friends drinking beer and watching races. Then one night a few of them decided to raise some money from fans right there at the track to help out Rick Lafferty with his racing expenses. Little did they know that effort to support drivers would continue into 2021, and beyond. Since then, they have supported many different drivers, from Rick Lafferty to Lucas Wolfe, Brian Montieth, Alan Krimes and more.
They raise all of their money through raffles, auctions and apparel sales at the track and on the internet. All of the proceeds from everything they do go to support drivers. All of the work they do during the week, and at the track, for The Beer Hill Gang is volunteer. The drivers they support benefit from it.
About five years ago, they started Beer Hill Gang TV and it has grown tremendously. They do driver interviews and talk about the past races and upcoming events. It’s a live weekly show on Facebook, and now recently on Twitter. The proceeds from the TV show also go to supporting drivers. They also do PA Sprint Car Live, with driver interviews after the races right from the track (which are also part of Beer Hill Gang TV on Facebook and Twitter).
This group of fans has changed throughout the years, with different people always stepping up to take on the work. Most of the day-to-day work is done by four or five people, but there are many other volunteers out there stepping up to help sell T-shirts at the tracks and do driver interviews on race nights. They also have a lot going on behind the scenes during the week, as it has turned into an every day effort. There is always some new fan walking over to Beer Hill asking if they can help out with anything. A few of the teams are also involved, and employees at Port Royal Speedway do announcing and media.
You will sometimes see them in victory lane with a beer or hosting the winning driver in the air, but they have taken the intense fan support for sprint car racing in Central Pennsylvania to another level.
Their slogan, “Beers, friends and 410s” has turned into something to support Central Pennsylvania sprint car racing, now and long into the future.