The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


November 16, 2013

John Zdelar’s death must not get overshadowed in tragedy

- — John was obviously a good man who had married Kim Gibson in 2009 and accepted the role of stepfather.

He was well-known in auto racing circles. He was former crew chief for Rex King and the King Brothers, who are widely recognized at area tracks and even at national venues.

I received an e-mail from Don Blaney, who lives in Harrisburg, N.C., and is related to the Blaney racing family that owns Sharon Speedway. He had read online my Sunday column about learning lessons from the accident.

Don’s son George and NASCAR driver Dave Blaney both started racing together at the age of 9 and still is involved in the sport.

“Johnny was a really good friend of mine; we raced together,” said Don. “Heck, he even hot-lapped my car at Sharon Speedway because he wanted to see how it felt to drive a race car.”

“...  Kids these days don`t show respect and understand what can happen if they lose control. NHRA drag racer Doug Herbert had the same thing happen to his two  boys here in Charlotte, N.C.,  a few years back and he started a program called BRAKES.

“I think the local area back home needs to look into this program before another nasty accident happens.”

The link to the web is

Obviously another thing that needs to be looked into is putting the cement barriers in the middle of the lanes for that section of Connelly Boulevard. You have to wonder why much of the rest of the Shenango Valley Freeway has barriers but not there.

PennDOT officials said they would look into it. Great. Barriers should have been constructed after the deaths of a local couple in 2007 near the same site on the freeway. PennDOT’s previous review resulted in putting rumble strips at the center of the road.

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