Year:  Top Two April 1981, Third 1990's, Fourth 1976
Driver:   Don Ackner
Photo Contributed by:  

Top Photo: Lincoln

Second Photo: Lincoln

Third Photo: Hotrod

Fourth Photo: John Gallant Jr.

Photo Credits:  

Top Photo: Lincoln

Second Photo: Lincoln

Third Photo: Hotrod

Fourth Photo: Unknown

The Back Story:

Lebanon Valley warm-ups were canceled this year but Don was anxious to shake down this new car and motor. We went to the old Route 66 Speedway where Don maneuvered the 97 around  the trees that had grown up and we were able to adjust on and  answer some of the questions that Don and his engine man 'Dr. Dick' Stewart were concerned.

After winning the 1979 Sportsman championship, Don joined the ranks of the Modified division and had a pretty successful rookie year winning the 1980  Modified Championship. The only driver to ever accomplish this goal.

In August, Don would go on to win the Mr. Dirt Track USA title with this car and came up short to Tom Corellis for the 1981 season.

In January 2007, the NEW YORK STATE STOCK CAR ASSOCIATION Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Don Ackner who has been racing now for 36 years. Beginning at Lebanon Valley in 1973, Ackner won the sportsman championship in 1979. The following year he raced in the modified class and won the title in his rookie year, the only driver to ever do so at the high banked speedway. Ackner is also the 1979 sportsman and 1991 358 modified champion at Albany-Saratoga where he has 29 career wins and is seventh overall in track wins. Also racing weekly at Devilís Bowl, Ackner has a total of four track championships with 48 career wins. That places him second on the all time win list for the speedway. Ackner continues to race weekly as well as operate his speed shop business, Ackner Racing Equipment, at the tracks and west of Nassau in Castleton-on-Hudson New York.

Third Photo:

Donnie Ackner behind the wheel of the Jerry Paris owned #97 at the October Super Dirt week show.Many will associate Jerry Paris with Donnie Corellis, but after a short stint in which Jerry tried his own hand at racing, Paris had a short 2 team tandem of Corellis and Ackner in both the Sportsman and Modified divisions.

Ackner never made the grid for the for this years moody mile extravaganza, and had to wait until the 1995 edition of Super Dirt week to finally crack the starting field in the Dale Baldwin owned #97, on his way to becoming the first senior citizen to win SDW rookie of the race honors!

Fourth Photo: A pretty young Donnie Ackner poses next to his always sharp looking #97ís.

Additional Comments:  


We are looking for information and photos about the Valley's history.

If you would like to add to our project, Please contact us at:

Lebanon Valley Classics