Pennsylvania Racing News
Friday, March 1, 2013
Modified Madness Took Over Fairgrounds Square Mall Thursday
by Brett Deyo
READING, Pa. -- On Thursday night, 'Modified Madness' took over the Fairgrounds Square Mall for the 28th annual Berks-Schuylkill Oil Heat Association Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show.
Drivers representing the area's big- and small-block Modified divisions took the stage in Center Court to discuss their 2013 plans, share stories and meet fans. A large turnout of Modified enthusiasts congregated to see their favorite drivers and get insight on the quickly approaching '13 campaign.
Grandview (Pa.) Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series 358-Modified champion and American Racer Cup champion Duane Howard led the procession as he discussed the BPG Racing/Chad Sinon Motorsports team's switch to Bicknell chassis and the addition of a special-event schedule driving for Glenn Hyneman's Keystone Racing No. 126 operation.
Howard stressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming Northeast Modified opener at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway.
From New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway, Ryan Godown reflected on his breakout season that produced the NES championship and included 12 victories spread among three states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. Godown will return to NES to race with the spec head small-block Modified division in addition to extensive traveling to other events.
Jeff Strunk, a many-time champion on the Pennsy 358-Mod circuit, met fans as he looks ahead toward a new season driving for the New York-based Vinnie Salerno Four Star Motorsports operation, a ride he landed late in the off-season.
Doug Manmiller, the Coalcracker 72 winner at Big Diamond (Pa.) Speedway in September, hit the stage to outline a '13 season that includes weekly Friday and Saturday weekly racing in addition to specials driving for Josh and Beth Biever's race team.
Other drivers who turned out included 1999 Grandview champion Terry Meitzler; steadily improving Ryan Grim; New Egypt's Neal Williams (fresh off his trip to Florida); Glenn Strunk (who spoke about his ride with car owner Rich Stankiewicz); John Willman (announcing '13 sponsorship info); Five Mile Point (N.Y.) Speedway regular Barry White; small car graduate Brad Arnold (with Reading Eagle/WEEU support in '13); second-generation driver Jordan Umbenhauer; Bridgeport (N.J.) Modified star Ryan Watt; Late Model graduate Nate Christman; and consistent veteran Kyle Weiss.
The new management teams of both New Jersey dirt tracks were on hand, including Bridgeport's Keith Hoffman and Danny Serrano and New Egypt's Allyse Wolfinger and Mike Mehedin. Wolfinger and Hoffman addressed the crowd on stage as they outlined their seasons and ready for their openers: March 23 (New Egypt) and March 30 (Bridgeport).
After the activities ceased at the mall, Godown, Manmiller, Williams and Weiss served as guest bartenders at the Applebee's adjacent to the mall.
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 tonight (March 1) beginning at 6:30 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.
To learn more about the Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show, log onto www.bdmotorsportsmedia.com or e-mail Brett Deyo at Deyo99H@aol.com. BD Motorsports Media LLC is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BDMotorsportsMedia and Twitter @BrettDeyo.
28th Annual Berks-Schuylkill Oil Heat Association Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show Schedule of Events
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.