WEEDSPORT, N.Y. – William C. “Wee Willie” Allen, a standout Central New York racer in the 1950s and ’60s, died April 1. He was 89 years old.
Allen, from Skaneateles, N.Y., was inducted into the Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Fame in 1993. A truck driver by trade, Allen began racing at the old Hemlock Speedway in 1953.
He went on to make his mark at Maple Grove Speedway, in Waterloo, N.Y., and Weedsport Speedway, driving for Dominic Tantalo, Otis Dunham and others. Because of his diminutive size and his immense personality, Allen was a popular favorite, especially with the kids in the crowd.
He fearlessly played the race-track villain, flying a skull-and-crossbones flag, opposite rival Glenn Reiners’ white-hatted hero. Allen won the sole track championship of his career at Weedsport Speedway in 1964.
He was also a top competitor at the New York State Fairgrounds, especially during the Labor Day Fair shows, and took a Sunday Open at Lebanon Valley during a rare road trip in his own No. A5 coupe.
His last stock car victory was a 100-lap special at Waterloo on Sept. 5, 1970. Allen wound down his career driving a DIRT Late Model, with his final ride coming in 1979. Throughout the 1980s, Allen continued to tour the Central New York tracks, serving as the official pace car driver for DIRT Motorsports.