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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Amber VanOrden Visits Victory Lane Once Again

  • Wallenpaupack Area graduate and Shanty Hill Racing driver all alone atop the Street Stock standings.
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  • Racing has become a hallowed tradition with the VanOrden Family.
    Gary Sr. is the patriarch of the clan, which has long called Hawley home. He began racing competitively as a youngster and helped found Shanty Hill Productions 15 years ago.
    The team evolved into a bona fide force on the Street Stock scene at Bethel Motor Speedway, a quarter-mile oval in upstate New York.
    Gary Sr. competed for the division title every year until recently when he stepped back to let his kids into the driver's seat
    Since then, son Gary Jr. and daughter Amber have made the #54A Monte Carlo a frequent visitor to Victory Lane. Gary Jr. is currently third in the BMS Modified title chase, while Amber is alone atop the Street Stock standings.
    Weather permitting, the Van Orden family will be front & center at Bethel Saturday for "Shanty Hill Productions Night.
    Gates open at 2:30 p.m. with hot laps at 5:30 p.m. Racing action commences at 6:30 p.m. Admission to the grandstand is just $6 per person.
    On Her Way
    Amber VanOrden was a talented, multi-sport athlete during her high school days at Wallenpaupack Area.
    She played softball on the varsity squad through her junior year and remained a standout golfer right up until graduation in 2012.
    Despite a heavy racing schedule, Amber still finds time for softball and golf.
    This summer, she's moved from catcher to pitcher for 590 Services. This brand-new Hawley-based squad competes in the Wayne County Women's Softball League.
    "I'm very competitive," Amber said with a laugh. "I don't like to lose at anything."
    That focused, intense nature serves VanOrden well on the oval.
    Page 2 of 3 - Amber began racing competitively at the tender age of 13. She drove Go Karts at Hamlin Speedway, then graduated to 4-cylinder cars at 15.
    After two years of action, VanOrden moved up to the Street Stock division and never looked back. In fact, she was named Rookie of the Year in 2011 and has been in title contention the past three seasons.
    "I love the adrenaline rush," Amber. "I've been around racing since I was 3-years-old. I don't know what to say ... I really love driving fast."
    Heading into weekend action, VanOrden is first in the Shakleton's Auto & Truck Center Street Stock points standings.
    Amber posted her first feature win of the 2013 campaign two weeks ago.
    "I started on the outside and made my move during the first lap," she said.
    "The other drivers tried everything to get by me, but I wouldn't let them. It was a pretty amazing feeling standing there in Victory Lane. I loved it."
    Amber finished second last Saturday night, holding off a determined, late-race charge from Kevin Skelly.
    To date, VanOrden has accumulated 199 points, seven more than her closest competitor (Steve Steffens, 192).
    Family Effort
    Amber is the daughter of Gary Sr. & Tonya VanOrden Hawley.
    Tonya is also the official track videographer at Bethel Motor Speedway.
    Amber's boyfriend is Dan Fair, former standout ice hockey player at Paupack and now a United States Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
    Shanty Hill Productions are sponsored by Souherton Automotive, JC Teeple and Saaf Speed.
    The team name's origin is ancient in derivation.
    Page 3 of 3 - When the region was first settled by poor Irish immigrants looking for work on the D&H Canal.
    They lived on a hill overlooking Hawley in small houses called "shanties."
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