ABBOTTSTOWN, Pa. — If there was such a thing as a mascot of Lincoln Speedway, sprint car driver Chad Trout’s dog Buddy, was it. He spent his dog days going to races, up until a few weeks before his final day.
At a race a few weeks ago, the track paid tribute to their unofficial mascot and beloved K9.
“I never knew a dog could touch so many people and that really meant a lot to us, because he meant a lot to us. So, it definitely meant a lot to know that everyone misses him as much as we do," said Jessi Hershey, Chad Trout's wife and Buddy's mom.
If you’ve attended a race at Lincoln, you’ve probably seen Buddy greeting fans or celebrating a win in victory lane. With Trout’s busy racing schedule, Buddy had no choice but to tag along.
“You can’t leave him at home for as much as we race. So, he went everywhere with us from street rod shows to dirt track races," said Trout. "We made a custom little seat in the freight liner. His head was the same height as the driver and passenger. He just rode everywhere we went.”
Buddy was the team mascot, not only in the pits but on the team merchandise and became quite the popular pup around the tracks.
“It became, we are Buddy’s mom and dad. We weren’t Jess and Chad anymore, we were Buddy’s mom and dad," joked Hershey.
If a night wasn’t panning out the way they would have hoped, he was a good distraction for the Randy Wade Race team but, when the night ended perfectly, Buddy was always there to steal the show in victory lane.
There came a time when Buddy wanted to venture outside the pits.
“When he got to be around ten, he decided he really didn’t want to be in the trailer anymore. He just wasn’t content there. So, I started working up in the office and I asked if I could bring him up there with me. They had no problem with it. He just became the office mascot," said Hershey.
The people who worked in the office at Lincoln adored Buddy.
“He definitely was the mascot of Lincoln. It was just great, after a stressful day at work, to come here to sell 50/50s and get to see him and pet him. He was just always friendly. Oh course, when you brought up food, he’s always going to sit in front of you and beg for that until you give it to him," said Trish Heller, Lincoln Speedway 50/50 girl.
“He always had to do his rounds. Check out everybody, check out all the trash cans because maybe someone left some food behind and he always just put everyone in a good mood," said Emily Winslow, Lincoln Speedway PR/Marketing Coordinator.
Hershey went on to say, “He always had to have his chicken fingers and Marsha, that was her fault. She started feeding him chicken fingers.”
“Chicken strips, we always gave him them. They didn’t make it to the trashcan. We gave him chicken strips and a couple of French Fries but, Buddy was a character. He was just the best," said Marcia Beard, Lincoln Speedway's office manager.
Buddy traveled to all the races for almost 15 years, it was a long run for the beloved Goldendoodle. Lincoln took a moment, during a race to remember the dog that was the face in the Pigeon Hills.
Even though the Trout’s backyard is a bark quieter, the next mascot has already joined the team in the pits. They adopted Charlie when he was nine months old. He's now two.
“We had no idea, when we got Charlie, what he has been exposed to. We didn’t know if he would like it. So, we took a chance taking him and he loves it. He loves the attention and everyone comes over to see him, too," said Hershey. "He just kind of jumped into that spot, he’s going to be the next doodle.”
Charlie is picking up where Buddy left off. He's getting to ride to the track in the truck and is meeting and greeting anyone who stops by the 1X pit.
He’s the 1x number one fan, with big paws to fill at the track.