When Brad Reinert took over the promotion of the Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show, he vowed to keep the popular off-season event going and make necessary changes so that the show could grow and prosper.
After one year at the helm, Reinert, with assistance from Doug Rose and Rich Tobias, has given the decades-old event an almost complete makeover, as a new date and duration will be in effect, along with a new name for the wintertime gathering of legendary and present-day drivers and racecars on the site of the former Reading Fairgrounds half-mile oval.
On February 4, 5, and 6, the 31st Annual Berks-Schuylkill Oil Heat Association Reading Motorsports Show presented by the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA will take place at the Fairgrounds Square Mall in Muhlenberg Township near Reading, PA.
Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic and EnerSys have signed on as associate sponsors of the event, which has been condensed from its previous week-long run to a Thursday, Friday, Saturday format. And the show will happen at the beginning of February, rather than its typical end-of-the-month slot on the calendar.
“The change of date came about due to a combination of factors,” said Reinert. “Early February worked better for the Mall’s management, and we actually wanted to move it up because later in the month it was affected by the racers and fans who go to Florida for all the races surrounding Speedweek in Daytona. We feel this earlier date will work better for everyone concerned.”
“Shortening the show to three days was something we kicked around after last year’s event,” he continued. “We just felt it would be more successful if we condensed everything into three days (from seven) so there would always be something going on and the race teams displaying their cars wouldn’t have to commit to having someone at the mall for an entire week.”
The name change comes about because Reinert and his partners, while still fully intending to pay tribute to the racing legends who made the Reading Fairgrounds famous, are also bringing in some vendors whose products are geared towards the race teams. “We’ll start slow with this aspect and grow it steadily over the next few years,” stated Reinert, who literally grew up in the shadows of the historic race track where the mall now sits.
He is committed to keeping the show at its current location because, “this is where all those wonderful memories were created…this is where the Fairgrounds became the Home of Champions, and this is where the show belongs,” explained Reinert.
Interest among racers is high, noted the second-year organizer, as many have contacted him to state their plans to display both vintage and modern day racing vehicles when move-in begins at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, February 3rd. “We still have display space available, but it’s filling up,” said Reinert. “I need race teams to contact me as soon as possible if they’d like to display their cars. We will have cars from all divisions of local motorsports at this year’s show, and several of the area’s speedways, clubs, and sanctioning bodies will have displays set up at the mall. Vendors who do business with racers as well as tracks and clubs who want to be involved with the show should also get in touch with me as soon as possible.”
Reinert can be reached at 610-401-3348 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year’s schedule of events is as follows:
Thursday, February 4 is Track and Club Night, when representatives of local speedways and racing clubs will be interviewed about their plans for the upcoming season.
Friday, February 5 is the Racing Legends Reunion, featuring interviews with former drivers who competed at the Reading Fairgrounds and other well known speedways.
Saturday, February 6 will be highlighted by a couple of special events. There will be an autograph session with drivers from past and present, along with introductions of those who will be signing autographs. The autograph session will run from noon to 4 p.m., with drivers taking turns at the tables. Following the session, at 4 p.m., rising country music singer TJ Bebb will perform at Center Court. A Berks County resident, Bebb has gained quite a following as he continues his rise to country music stardom.
The show’s Awards Presentation will take place after Bebb’s performance.
Other highlights of this year’s show will include:
Alley Racing – a very popular activity of the past few years, the model car method of down the ramp competition will once again be held all three days of the show with racing beginning at 6 p.m. on February 4 and 5, and at 10 a.m. on Saturday the 6th. Anyone interested in participating or having questions regarding the Alley Racing events should contact Mike Feltenberger at 610-223-4181 or by email at StarterOne@aol.com.
Silver Crown Car on display – Rich Tobias will have his No. 17 USAC Silver Crown car at the show. This is the car with which Tobias competed the past two seasons at the Silver Crown race held on the Moody Mile in Syracuse, NY. The car’s appearance is also to build awareness of the return of the USAC Silver Crown division to Williams Grove Speedway on June 10 of this year.
The winner of the Grand Finale` – when the Reading Fairgrounds held its final event, in June of 1979, Dave Kelly drove his beautiful Mustang-bodied No. 17 to victory. That car has been restored and it will be parked inside the mall for this year’s show, on the very site where it carried Kelly to that memorable triumph nearly 37 years ago.
Lookin’ Sharp – fans attending the show need to stop by the Bob Hilbert Sportswear display to pick up a 2016 Berks-Schuylkill Oil Heat Association Reading Motorsports Show commemorative t-shirt. The Bob Hilbert staff will also have other racing apparel on sale at the show.
Show Benefits Local Causes – such as South Mountain YMCA Camps and the One Wish Foundation, both of whom will have a significant presence at the show. The South Mountain YMCA offers Operation Purple Camp for children whose parent(s) are active and full-time members of the Armed Forces. The kids can go to camp in the summer to have fun and forget (for at least a little while) about the stress of having one or both parents serving in the military.
The One Wish Foundation is a local organization that creates fantastic memories by granting wishes of terminally ill children.
In 2015, through the efforts of Reinert and the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA, two children were able to attend Operation Purple Camp at no charge to their parents. Two more kids will have the same opportunity this summer, courtesy of Action Track USA.
Some of the groups and speedways that will be present at the show include the Reading Fairgrounds Racing Historical Society, the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds, Linda’s Speedway, and Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Dirt Modifieds, Late Models, Sprint Cars, Micro-Sprints, Slingshots, USAC SpeedSTRs, Midgets, Quarter-Midgets, and Karts are just some of the different types of racing vehicles that will be on display during the three days.
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By Barry Angstadt – https://www.facebook.com/barry.angstadt?fref=ts