MOUNT VERNON — It was a four-time champion who took the biggest prize. But it was the pick-up trucks that stole the show on Thursday.
Anthony Shaffer won the championship in the long bus category of Thursday’s Figure 8 School Bus races at the Knox County Fair.
It was the fourth straight win for Shaffer at the fair. But it was a somewhat different look for him, leading to a bittersweet moment as he accepted his trophy.
“Smoking Bus,” his original racing bus, wasn’t there.
“We had a little mishap in our first race in Marion,” Shaffer told the News. “I collided with one of the other buses and broke it.”
Instead, Shaffer drove a brand-new bus, which he dubbed “Smoking Bus Rebuilt.”
“We took a lot of parts off the old one, like the radiator and the bracing, and put them on the new one,” said owner Lew Cantor. “It does good for what we have. We need more power. We’ll get more power out of it by the next race.”
“We saved what we could off of it,” Shaffer said. “It’s working all right.”
Shaffer and team had run Smoking Bus and “Smoking Bus Too” last season. In 2012, he added “Smoking Bus Threeee,” and the three buses were meant to run as a sort of mini bus army. But after the original’s accident, he picked up a brand new bus and outfitted it with some of the original’s innards so it could run for the first time on Thursday.