From 1983-1995, I was active as a sponsor at Selinsgrove Speedway, and used to threaten the track crew that one Saturday I wanted to come in the morning and drive the water truck..I think that was 1989..I did, and I spent a very long and boring day doing that, and I don't have to do that again..Then I told one of the track security guys about my dream of having a push truck..He had a masonry business, and gave me a 1970 F250 in 1990..It had 257000 miles on it, and was a three speed on the column, and couldn't pass inspection..I ran that truck for 5 years at Selinsgrove, either keeping it at the track or towing it..There are a lot of stories of me and that truck, and at the end of 5 years, it had more race car parts on it keep ing it together, and lots of sponsors..My neighbors raced late models, and helped me take care of it, and me..I had a few accidents with it - once when running in the track I slid and hit the fence pretty bad, and once getting it ready to tow, it started drifting in my yard, and I thought I was superwoman, and it ended up hitting me and dragging me under it about 30' in my yard..I was beaten to a pulp, broken ribs, and got a helicopter ride to the hospital..Listening to my racing neighbors tell that story, it's actually pretty funny, but having first hand experience on "being hit by a truck" isn't really very funny..Like I said before, There are a lot of stories of me and that truck and some of the adventures I had with it at Selinsgrove..The little phrase "bump and roll" on the bug guard of my current truck is all about my adventures with my first truck and it running me over, since that's what it did to me..
In 1995, my job changed and I moved to State College, and that was the end of my push trucking..To get to Selinsgrove and tow it was just too much with my new work schedule..I still wanted to push though, and finally in 2007 after noticing Bedford Speedway didn't have many trucks for an All-Star show, I talked to those promoters, who are friends, and asked if I put a bumper on my 2004 F250 4x4 could I push at their special shows? I also told them that since I had a "nice" truck, I didn't want to have to run in the track, and they should not expect me to abuse my truck cause I still had to drive it home.
Of course they said yes..So the following spring, I put the plan in place and had my bumper built..I wanted something that I could put on and off easily, so I put a receiver hitch on the front of my truck (which I mainly use for hauling a canoe, and towing a boat and camper around) and had my bumper built..I built it so I could push every kind of car in Central PA - mini-stocks, street stocks, late models, and sprint cars, as well as protect the front of my truck..Since Central PA has plenty of sprint car tracks and lots of push trucks at most of the tracks, I sort of stick to helping out tracks that don't normally run sprints..I am also a sponsor of the URC series, so when they race at tracks I can get to, I try to go.. My first debut with "big blue" as we call it, was at Central PA speedway in June of 2008 for an All-Star race, and I think I've pushed every show they've had since, with 410 and 305 sprints. I've also pushed a few shows at Bedford, and Clinton County..I also push semi-regularly at Port Royal, since it's the closest and easiest track to get to for me, and I'm a sponsor there too for some of their shows and know a lot of people there.
I've also pushed with URC and the WoO at Rolling Wheels Speedway up in New York in October..when it's always freezing cold, and I'm camping there.
My sister got the idea to try to push at the 2008 World of Outlaw finals, so she contacted Shane Carson with the Outlaws, and that's how we got to do that shows, and we've done the May race there as well when I go to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600 with the camper..It's sort of fun to be a PA truck taking care of all the PA teams down at Charlotte.
I went to 57 races in 2009 and pushed at 37 of them..not too bad for a part time pusher...
I'm not sure if I'll get to as many this year - always depends on the weather, but it's great to be part of the show and meet so many great people.
During the season finale Saturday night at Selinsgrove Speedway, the track paid tribute to Snyder's four decades of service by recognizing him on the front stretch with a call for applause as all his fellow push truck drivers stopped on the track around him.
And for those of you who don't know what a push truck does, it is safe to say they're vital to a racing program. They help run-in and iron out the always-changing clay surface and are charged with pushing off sprint cars throughout the night because the machines are not self-starting.
Snyder has kept track of some statistics throughout the years and they really are quite impressive. Judging by how many races he attends a year at Selinsgrove, Port Royal and Williams Grove, Snyder estimates he has pushed off 16,000 sprint cars over the years.
In addition, he's logged 38,400 miles around the tracks and spent $6,400 in quarters to get his truck clean when the action is over.
Normally being pushy isn't appreciated but in this case, there is plenty of appreciation to go around.
Here is some facts..He stated that he attends 40 races per year between both speedways....He said that he travels about 24 miles per race, and that over the past 32 years he has traveled 30,720 miles around the two tracks....He also said that he pushes about 10 cars per night and thats 12,800 cars over the past 32 years....He also said that he washes the van every night and uses about $4.00 per wash for a grand total of $5,120 in 32 years...Some of the great sprint car drives that he has pushed were Ray Tilley, Kenny Weld, Lynn Paxton, Steve Kinser, Bobbie Adams, Jan Opperman, Gordon Johncock, Sammy Swindell, Toby Tobias, Mitch Smith, Johnny Rutherford, and Jimmy Spencer....He also noted that he thinks that the 1/2 mile dirt track is the best and of course and that centeral Pa. sprint car racing tops all others.