With an unmistakable look, Dave Sprunger could always be found on a Friday or Saturday night at either the Mt. Pleasant Speedway or Crystal Motor Speedway.
The owner of the Smokers Club in Mt. Pleasant, Sprunger died in February at the age of 54.
As a show of their appreciation for Sprunger’s years of support for dirt track racing, Racer’s Speed Shop in Mt. Pleasant is presenting the “Smoke Shop Dave” Memorial $600 to win Street Stock Invitational this Friday, June 17. Special thanks also goes to J.R. Schmid for his contribution to the winnings and to the anonymous donor of the added payout for second place.
“Smoke Shop Dave was one of our local racing pillars,” said Racer’s Speed Shop owner Dale Thrush. “I believe he singly sponsored more racers than anyone, let alone multiple track sponsorships. Dave’s death was a huge loss to our sport.”
Married for 33 years in April, Sprunger’s widow Kim said in a previous Morning Sun article that her husband loved supporting racecars at Mt. Pleasant and Crystal, and would often sponsor upwards of 30 racers at between the two tracks.
“…Dirt track (racing) is where it’s at,” Kim Sprunger said in the previous article.
Not only did Sprunger support individual racers, but he also was the class sponsor at both Mt. Pleasant and Crystal for the Street Stock division.
“He loved the Street Stock class because that’s the way cars look and a lot of people could afford to race in that class,” Kim Sprunger said.
Always one to help racers out, Sprunger, who was simply known around circles as “Smoke Shop Dave,” was just one of the guys at the track.
“He was just like one of us racers,” said Mt. Pleasant Speedway driver Ray Hutson Jr. in the previous article. “He never felt like he was better than anyone.”
Racers across the board felt the loss of ‘Smoke Shop Dave’ when hearing of his unexpected death in late February.
“He was like an ambassador to the sport of dirt racing,” said former Crystal Motor Speedway Street Stock driver Brian LeBaron. “I don’t know anybody who did more for racing than Dave (Sprunger).”
Tonight those Street Stock drivers who were sponsored by Smokers Club and more are expected to be at the Mt. Pleasant Speedway gunning for the $600 top prize.
“Dave did a lot for the racing community,” said Mt. Pleasant Speedway Modified driver Kevin Miller. “He would always talk to all the drivers and wish them all good luck. It’s hard to lose a good friend like Dave. If you were down, he’d cheer you up and he would always put a smile on your face.”
In addition to tonight’s “Smoke Shop Dave” Street Stock Invitational, the Mt. Pleasant Speedway is also hosting a special night of MORA Mini Mods, plus regular show of UMP Late Models, NAPA UMP Modified Mini Stocks, and Mt. Pleasant and Clare Automotive Stock Minis. Gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 7:45 p.m. For more details go to www.mtpleasantspeedway.com or on Facebook.
(From June 17 Morning Sun, by JEREMY DICKMAN)