Pennsylvania Racing News
Friday, March 1, 2013
Late Model, Sportsman & Street Stock Racers Recognized Wednesday at Berks-Schuylkill Oil Heat Association Racing Legends Reunion
by Brett Deyo
READING, Pa. -- Late Model, Sportsman Modified and Street Stock stars took the stage Wednesday evening as the 28th annual Berks-Schuylkill Oil Heat Association Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show rolls on at the Fairgrounds Square Mall.
Jeff Ahlum worked the microphone to outline the 2013 season with the drivers representing the three divisions highlighted during the evening on stage in Center Court.
The Late Model division was represented by Grandview (Pa.) Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model six-time champion Chuck Schutz, who talked about his plans to chase a seventh title at the Berks County one-third-mile clay oval. Schutz loves racing a Late Model at Grandview and is pleased to see some new blood entering the division.
Rookie driver Dan Green told the crowd of his plans to race for the NASCAR Late Model Rookie of the Year Award at Grandview in 2013 driving for AMB Motorsports. The '12 Rookie of the Year, Steve Nederostek, looks to improve upon his freshman effort on the Hill in Bechtelsville, Pa.
From the Super Late Model ranks, second-generation driver Andy Haus (son of racing veteran Scott Haus) and Sammy Schaeffer - both with cars on display at the mall - sketched out their schedules for the '13 campaign.
Standout racer Craig Whitmoyer talked about his Sportsman racing plans for the approaching season as he chases a title in the division's second season as a weekly Grandview division. Whitmoyer will also participate in a number of special events during the year with both his No. 99 Sportsman and a Modified as well.
Reading, Pa., driver Paul Kline reflected on his long career that has included competition in a number of different divisions. Kline, now a Sportsman regular at Grandview, has competed in ARDC Midgets, Micro-Sprints, Mini-Sprints, big-block Modifieds, 358-Modifieds and more. Kline now enjoys competing close to home at Grandview in the Sportsman ranks.
Chris Jenkins, a relative newcomer to the Sportsman ranks, also spent time on stage.
From the Susquehanna (Pa.) Speedway Park Street Stock division, Kevin Heckman discussed full-fender racing, his return to the sport after a long absence and his love for Street Stock racing and its nature as a 'homebuilt' division.
The show continues today (Thursday) with 'Modified Madness' - an invite extended to competitors in the area's big- and small-block Modified divisions. A long list of drivers will take the stage and management teams from local speedways will be out to promote their upcoming seasons. Activities begin in Center Court at 7 p.m. Following interviews at the mall, Ryan Godown, Doug Manmiller, Neal Williams and Kyle Weiss will serve as guest bartenders at the Applebee's in the shopping center parking lot.
A wide cross-section of race cars, nearly 100 strong, have filled the aisles of the Fairgrounds Square Mall for the event, which honors the past, present and future of auto racing. The show, with primary backing from Berks-Schuylkill Oil Heat Association with Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc. and VP Racing Fuels offering associate support, runs through Saturday (March 2) with a busy schedule of events. The Racing Legends Reunion is free-to-the-public during mall hours.
Vehicles of all shapes and sizes are on display at show, including big- and small-block Modifieds, Sprint Cars, Micro-Sprints, SpeedSTRs, ARDC Midgets, Late Models, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Slingshots, Quarter Midgets, XCel 600 Modifieds and more.
Fans of racing’s past enjoy an expansive display of vintage and restored cars assembled by the Reading Fairgrounds Speedway Racing Historical Society. A room full of memorabilia allows attendees to take a step back in time to the famed ‘Home of Champions’ which hosted its final event in June 1979.
Vintage Cars from the Penn-Mar group and Blast from the Past Vintage Club are also on display.
Many of the area’s top speedways and sanctioning bodies are on hand to distribute information and meet fans and racers during the weeklong show. For the first time, both New Jersey dirt tracks – New Egypt Speedway and Bridgeport Speedway – have displays at the show. The new JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA of Kutztown, Pa., now led by Rich Tobias and Doug Rose, has assembled an expansive setup highlighting each of the speedway's weekly divisions.
Others participating at the show include Grandview (Pa.) Speedway/Thunder on the Hill Racing Series, URC, ARDC, LANCO’s Clyde Martin (Pa.) Memorial Speedway, BD Motorsports Media LLC/Friesen-Deyo Promotions and the Montgomery County Quarter Midget Racing Club (Pa.’s Phoenixville Raceway).
The Checkered Flag Fan Club is at the show actively recruiting new members and publicizing their organization. The Reading Eagle newspaper – an avid supporter of local racing - also has plans to participate in the show. The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing (EMMR) also put together a popular display.
A number of vendors are on hand selling memorabilia, photos and other novelties. Gary Silverman of Gary Silverman Productions has DVDs on sale from the 2012 Pennsylvania 358-Modified Dual-Track circuit and other special events, while events of yesteryear recorded on film are sold by Snyder Video Productions.
Fast Action Motorsports Entertainment has set up their R/C track at the show all week. Up to 10 drivers can participate at one time. All those who race leave with a checkered flag. Big winners take home a trophy.
Mike Feltenberger hosts his popular Alley Racing nightly through the show.
The annual Legends Night/Reading Fairgrounds Speedway Reunion is set for Friday (March 1) beginning at 6:30 p.m.
There will be driver bartending at the Applebee’s adjacent to the mall (in the shopping center parking lot) on Thursday night beginning at 9 p.m.
The BASH Awards Party is a show highlight. This year's edition is set for Friday, March 1 at 9 p.m. (after the show closes) at the Temple Fire Company of Temple, Pa. (4963 Kutztown Road Temple, PA 19560).
The BASH is a fun night out for fans of auto racing: get out and party with the racing community! Gary Silverman shows highlights from past and present, including memorable moments from the most recent Pennsylvania 358-Modified season.
Show awards are distributed, including the prestigious Don Marks Memorial Contribution to Motorsports Award.
The Don Marks Memorial Contribution to Motorsports Award was first handed out in 2010 to honor the memory of late Grandview Speedway and Area Auto Racing News photographer Marks, who passed away in 2008. Previous award recipients include Bob Greene of Pioneer Pole Buildings (2012), car owner, fabricator and former racer Dennis ‘Chico’ Bailey (2011) and Area Auto Racing News publisher/promoter Len Sammons (2010).
The overall 'Best of Show' recognition for vehicles on display at the mall will be decided by a fan vote for the third consecutive year. The ballot can be found in the official Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show program book on sale at the show.
A number of divisional awards will be distributed as well, including Best Modified, Best Sportsman, Best Open Wheel, Best Late Model, Best Micro-Sprint, Best Restored Car, Best Quarter Midget and Best Go-Kart. Media members visiting the show vote on the divisional awards. The Sportsman classification is new for ’13.
The entertaining T.J. Fitzpatrick, known as 'TJ the DJ' has come on board to provide music for dancing at the BASH.
Snacks are provided, along with soda, at the BASH. There will be a cash bar. BASH tickets are just $10 and can be purchased at the door or at the apparel/program stand each night of the show.
This year’s pays tribute to a pair of prominent members of the local racing community lost recently. 2013 Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show apparel, designed by Bob Hilbert Sportswear, is a 'must-have' for fans of the sport. The shirt honors the racing career of dirt and pavement driver Doug Hoffman, who passed away unexpectedly on Christmas Eve 2012. Not only was Hoffman one of the Northeast's greatest drivers of all time, he also proved his meddle as a promoter at Mahoning Valley (Pa.) Speedway and Bridgeport Speedway.
The shirt features 10 of Hoffman's most memorable cars from his career ranging from his very first pavement Late Model for Dorney Park (Pa.) Speedway to the car he drove to his final victory: Sal DeBruno’s South Jersey Overhead Door No. 0.
Shirt pricing is set at $20 (tee shirts), $22 (long-sleeve) and $30 (hoodies/sweatshirts). Sizes 3XL and up add $3 extra for tee shirts, long-sleeve shirts and hoodies/sweatshirts.
Another area hero who passed away, the great 'Kutztown Komet' Freddy Adam, has been remembered with a photo spread in the event program and a tribute car displayed in Center Court at the mall.
Thursday, February 28 - Modified Madness Night
7 p.m. - Drivers representing the area's big- and small-block Modified divisions and recognition of Pennsylvania and New Jersey Modified racing at Grandview, Bridgeport and New Egypt speedways featuring Duane Howard, Jeff Strunk, Neal Williams, Ryan Godown, Doug Manmiller, John Willman, Andy Burkhart, Ryan Watt, Brad Arnold, Nate Christman, Ryan Grim, Jordan Umbenhauer, Kyle Weiss, Barry White and more; Meet the new Bridgeport (Keith Hoffman, Danny Serrano and Dave Adams) and New Egypt (Allyse Wolfinger and Mike Mehedin) management teams
9 p.m. - Driver Bartending at Applebee's 5th Street Highway (adjacent to the mall): Ryan Godown, Kyle Weiss, Neal Williams & Doug Manmiller
Friday, March 1 - Salute to the Reading Fairgrounds Speedway & Past and Current Car Owners
6:30 p.m. - Meet drivers from the Reading Fairgrounds Speedway which hosted its final event in 1979 and celebrate car owners of the past and present who keep our favorite drivers on the track
9 p.m. - BASH Racing Party - Temple Fire Company-Tickets are $10 (purchased at the door or at the show apparel table) - Show awards presented including fan vote Best of Show, divisional awards and Don Marks Memorial Contribution to Motorsports Award. Racing films by Gary Silverman of GSP Video and music provided by 'TJ the DJ' T.J. Fitzpatrick
Saturday, March 2 – Show Finale
All Day - 28th annual Curtain Closer - Let's Go Racing!
Alley Model Racing organized by Mike Feltenberger runs throughout the week
R/C Racing by Fast Action Motorsports Entertainment will run throughout the week
- Mall Hours: Sunday 11 a.m-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.-