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30th Annual Berks-Schuylkill Oil Heat Association Reading Race Reunion & Car Show
Presented by Weichert Realtors Neighborhood One Action Track USA.
Reading, PA (Story by Barry Angstadt 02-12-15)- The 30th Annual Berks-Schuylkill Oil Heat Association Reading Racing Reunion & Car Show, presented by Weichert Realtors Neighborhood One Action Track USA, begins on February 22nd at the Fairgrounds Square Mall. And the show's new director, Brad Reinert, while still working furiously to finalize a multitude of details, is pleased with the manner in which the week long motorsports extravaganza is coming together.
With the assistance of some of the staff and management team from Action Track USA, Reinert has worked extremely hard to assemble a large fleet of race cars, local speedways, and nightly activities for the week-long show that will run from February 22 - 28. As of February 11, more than 100 racing machines are committed to decorate the mall from end to end, but there's still some space available for last minute entries.
"We can accommodate some additional cars," said Reinert, "but I've got to know they're coming. Race teams need to contact me (prior to move in time at 9 p.m. on February 21) if they'd like to place their cars in the show." Race cars of every shape and size will fill the mall, with the area's dirt and asphalt Modifieds, Late Models, Sprint Cars, Midgets, and SpeedSTR's among the mix, along with racers from the various small car divisions such as Micro-Sprints, Slingshots, Xcel Modifieds, Karts, and Quarter-Midgets.
Race teams wishing to display their creations can download the show's registration form at www.actiontrackusa.com. Questions and/or registration commitments should be directed to Reinert at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 610-401-3348.
Reinert also announced a new marketing partner for the show. In addition to the Berks-Schuylkill Oil Heat Association (www.bsoha.org), Recovery Coaching Services, Inc. has now aligned itself with the Reading Racing Reunion & Car Show. Sam Albert, whose family became synonymous with the Reading Fairgrounds race track and a Berks County institution through its Sammy's Steaks business, now dedicates himself to serving individuals and families in their journey to recovery from alcoholism and addiction by providing support and guidance through recovery coaching to ensure the best possible outcome.
A pair of very special awards will be handed out on Monday and Tuesday, February 23rd and 24th, at the show. Both awards are going to Berks County natives who began their careers at the Reading Fairgrounds, then went on to have continued success while making an impact at the national level of short track racing. Area political leaders will be on hand with special proclamations for these two deserving racers.
Other news released by Reinert included a new sponsor for the Tire Changing Competition that will take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 28. Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic joins NAPA Auto Parts and Yuasa in presenting the contest pitting two-person teams against each other and the clock. There will be three divisions of tire changing involving a Modified, a Micro Sprint, and a Vintage Car. The Tire Changing Awards presentation will immediately follow the competition.
"We're still signing up teams for the tire changing competition," said Reinert. "And we're looking for more teams to take part in this contest. It would be pretty cool to see race tracks challenge one another, or maybe a Modified duo versus a Sprint Car team, or something like that." Potential contestants can sign up by contacting Reinert prior to or during the week of the show.
Also on Saturday, the 28th at 3 p.m., there will be an Old Timers Autograph Session, as a Legends Reunion Encore takes place for those former drivers who are not able to attend Friday night's Old Timers Reunion. The Bash will commence at the conclusion of Friday night's activities at the mall. The annual "after party" gets underway at Jimbo's Steaks and Sandwich Shop, 3400 Plaza Drive, Suite 3, just off of Bellevue Avenue (across the street from Unique Pretzels about two blocks from the Fairgrounds Square Mall). Tickets are already on sale for the Bash, and the $20 ticket price is good for food, beer, soda, and music. There will also be a cash bar, and the Best of Show Awards will be presented during the Bash as well.
"All monies collected - the $25 to enter cars in the show and the $20 ticket price for the Bash - will be used to offset the cost of the show itself and for the Bash," stated Reinert. "Everything money-wise goes back into the show." Tickets for the Bash are currently available at Jimbo's, at Business Link in Kutztown, or by contacting Brad Reinert. The tickets can also be purchased during the show at the Bob Hilbert Sportswear booth, which will be open for business each day of the Reading Racing Reunion & Car Show. In addition to the display by the Reading Fairgrounds Historical Society, the group dedicated to keeping the memories of Nazareth and Harmony Speedways will have a display of memorabilia and vintage racecars at the mall.
Just a sampling of the cars that are expected to be parked proudly inside the mall during the final week of the month include the beautiful new Modifieds of Craig Von Dohren and Jared Umbenhauer, the USAC Championship SpeedSTR driven by Kenny Brightbill, and the winged 410 Sprint Car chauffeured by Don Kreitz, Jr. It all begins, for the 30th consecutive year, on February 22nd.
"Sunday the 22nd, which is my birthday by the way, we'll kick off the show with a presentation at 12:15...and it will take place right on the start/finish line of the former speedway, which is directly in front of the Your Bet store (between the movie theaters and the Subway restaurant). We are asking everyone to celebrate my birthday by bringing a canned good (of non-perishable food) as a donation to the Greater Berks Food Bank. The donation will be in honor of the Reading Fairgrounds Racing Historical Society," stated Reinert.
The show will have plenty of interesting and enjoyable activities for both the hardcore and casual motorsports enthusiasts. Reinert has planned some special movie nights at the Cinema; there will be Celebrity Appearances and interviews each night; some very special awards will be presented to local racers throughout the week; there will be a Reading Fairgrounds Trivia game; Gary Silverman racing videos will play each night; Model Car Alley Racing will once again take place; technical round table discussions will focus on the direction of the sport; and there will be a plethora of vendors selling and displaying their race-related merchandise.
Local race tracks already on board and set to hand out 2015 schedules at their display include Grandview Speedway, the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA in Kutztown, Linda's Speedway, and Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, with several additional tracks expected to confirm their attendance with the next few weeks.
Bob Hilbert Sportswear is designing and producing very attractive 2015 Reading Racing Reunion commemorative tee-shirts and sweatshirts that will be sold at the show.
The nightly schedule is as follows:
Saturday, February 21 at 9 p.m. - race cars, with the exception of Vintage Cars, will move into the mall.
Sunday, February 22 - the show opens with a presentation, at 12:15 p.m., to the Greater Berks Food Bank. All attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable canned food item as a donation.
Monday, February 23 - Open Wheel Night with interviews of drivers in the Micro-Sprint, Midget, and Sprint Car divisions. Also: a "must see" award presentation to a very accomplished local driver who began his career at the Reading Fairgrounds.
Tuesday, February 24 - Weichert Realtor Neighborhood One Action Track USA Night, featuring interviews with drivers from the track's weekly divisions and its promotional team. Another "can't miss" award presentation to a local driver who attained much success during and after his Reading Fairgrounds career.
Wednesday, February 25 - Modified Madness and Late Model/ Street Stock/ Road Runner Night highlighted by driver interviews from each of these divisions.
Thursday, February 26 - Local track and Race Club Night...updates on the upcoming season and area clubs' young, up-and-coming drivers will be in the spotlight.
Friday, February 27 - NAPA Old Timers Reunion - interviews with the Legends of the Reading Fairgrounds. BASH begins at 9 p.m. at Jimbo's Steaks & Sandwich Shop...Best of Show Awards, Driver Appearances, Music until ???
Show ends when mall closes at 9 p.m. Cars will be moved out when mall is closed. More details regarding the show will be released as they are confirmed. Reinert is seeking additional marketing partners for the show; businesses or individuals who are interested in becoming a part of this 30th annual event should contact Brad Reinert at the email address or phone number listed above.
JAY HARTMAN EARNS THE FIRST ALL-STAR SLINGSHOT FEATURE WIN
OF 2015 BY CAPITALIZING ON OTHERS LAST LAP MISFORTUNES...
Jay Hartman is a driver with $1,500.00 things to smile about as he stands
in the middle with the winners trophy, jacket, and large check just minutes
after winning the Lentini Auto Salvage All-Star Slingshot Feature. Shelby Harper
(Ms. Motorsports 2015), and (NHRA Funny Car Driver) Ron Capps were presenters.
Photo by Tim Krysiuk of Strictly Dirt Photography
Atlantic City NJ (Story by AARN 01-31-15) - The twenty-four car, twenty-five lap, Lentini Auto Salvage Slingshot feature came down to a highly controversial finish. Coming down the backstretch for the final lap, Gary Hieber, who had spun out on the first lap, made a bid for the lead against leader Demetrious Drellos. Drellos had taken the lead on lap five after Jerry Schott, leader from the outset, bobbled.
The All-Star Slingshots were applauded for having the best racing
of the weekend by any of the divisions that were on hand in AC.
On the final run down the backstretch, Hieber drew even with Drellos on the inside. That’s when Drellos forced Hieber into the third turn infield tire barrier. Hieber flipped in spectacular style across the track, collecting Drellos, who drove away with body damage.
Officials reasoned that Drellos had driven overly aggressively and disqualified him. Hartman thus advanced from third to first with John Gilroy making a last turn pass to shade Jesse Hartman for second. Kyle Herve and Mike Glass rounded out the top five.
Jay Hartman on his way to a $1,500.00 pay day while keeping
a hungry field of racers battling behind him.
Lentini Auto Salvage Slingshot Feature (25 Laps):
1. Jay Hartman, 2. John Gilroy, 3. Jesse Hartman, 4. Kyle Herve, 5. Mike Glass, 6. Matt Massone, 7. Kurt Bettler, 8. AJ Gerhart, 9. Nick Shaw, 10. Eddie Reeder, 11. Don Boonstra, 12. Matt Langbein, 13. Vern McLaughlin III, 14. Walter Lapicki, 15. Gary Hieber, 16. Joe Kata, 17. Cody Kline, 18. Brett Bieber, 19. Mike Glass, 20. Ryan Quackenbush, 21. Simon Egan, 22. Jerry Schott Jr., 23. Jackson Ring, 24. Demetrious Drellos (DQ).
IT'S PAUCH (TIMES 2) AT SPEEDWAY ENTERTAINMENT/ACTION TRACK USA AWARDS BANQUET
(left) The 2014 SpeedSTR National Champion Billy Pauch Sr. (middle) accepts his awards from Speedway Entertainment
President Rich Tobias (left), and award presenter Amber Britto (right). (right photo) The 2014 Action Track USA SpeedSTR
Champion Billy Pauch Jr. (middle) accepts his award from Rich Tobias (left), and award presenter Amber Britto (right).
Photos by Tim Krysiuk of Strictly Dirt Photography *click each photo to see full size view*
Macungie, PA (Story by Barry Angstadt 01-12-15)- Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Macungie, Pa provided the setting on Saturday, January 10, as a crowd of 220 gathered to salute the 2014 champions of Speedway Entertainment's three Touring Divisions, along with the top point earners at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA.
The Pauch family of Frenchtown, NJ certainly enjoyed the festivities, as Billy Pauch Sr. was crowned USAC SpeedSTR National Champion while his son, Billy Jr., accepted the hardware and cash for his SpeedSTR point title at Action Track USA. The elder Pauch was also named as the SpeedSTR division's Driver of the Year.
"At this point in my career, I'm only concerned with winning races," said Billy Pauch Sr. "But this championship is special because these cars are so difficult to drive...they're a handful, and all the drivers will tell you that. But that makes them fun to drive, and the caliber of the competition in this class is unbelievable. I get to race against my heroes like Kenny Brightbill and Jeff Strunk, so that makes it (the National Championship) pretty special, too. And I'll tell you what; you can make money racing these cars. An entire SpeedSTR, race ready, is about $18,000, and we race for $2,000 or $3,000 to win every week. That's why I'm involved in this division."
Speedway Entertainment President, and Action Track USA Co-Promoter Rich Tobias gets ready to address a full house
during the 2014 Awards Banquet at Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Macungie PA. Photos by Tim Krysiuk
Joining Pauch Sr. as the Speedway Entertainment National Champions for 2014 were Dylan Hoch (All Star Slingshots) and Damon Paul (Junior Slingshots). Both teens were well-spoken and poised as they addressed the banquet attendees and posed for photos. Hoch, from Mertztown, Pa, thanked his sponsors and family for all their support and assistance throughout the season. He rallied late in the year and clinched the National Tour's title by winning the Fall Jamboree at Grandview - which was the final race of the campaign. "I'm so pumped up and anxious for the new season," related Hoch, "I just want to get out there and try to win this thing again."
Paul, the driver from Stony Point, NY, credited his dad for working tirelessly on his No. 144 so it was always fast and ready for battle on the Junior Slingshot Tour. Paul triumphed in four of the Junior Tour's nine events in 2014. During his championship speech, the diminutive but charismatic racer revealed his plans for '15...he'll move up to the All Star Slingshot Class and also make his debut in a SpeedSTR at Action Track USA.
(left photo) Action Track USA Primary Series Sponsor Jeffrey Hogue (left) helps present both trophy and plaque to
All Star Slingshot Driver Danny Buccafusca who finished 10th in the National Standings. Mandee Pauch helped to
present the awards along with Action Track USA Co-Promoter Doug Rose. (right photo) Speedway Entertainment
President Rich Tobias (left), along with Mandee Pauch (right) present Chloe Andreas who finished 3rd in the Jr.
National Slingshot points race. Photos by Tim Krysiuk.
*Click on photos to show full size*
The All Star Slingshots Regional Tour Champions were also recognized at Saturday's awards gala. Picking up the big hardware and cash prizes were Louden Reimert (Mid-Atlantic Silver); Dylan Hoch (Mid-Atlantic Gold); Brian Toby (Empire); and Jim Chisholm (Great Lakes). Larry Raifsnider was saluted as the Slingshot Speedweek Champion.
Hoch was named as the All Star Slingshot Driver of the Year, while Paul received the same award in the Junior Slingshot division. The S.E. Rookies of the Year included Tim Buckwalter (SpeedSTR's); Jared LaBagh (All Star Slingshots); and Kyle Smith (Junior Slingshots).
Rich Tobias, President of Speedway Entertainment and Action Track USA, completed his second season as a race promoter along with partner Doug Rose at the oval located on the Kutztown Fairgrounds. Their weekly classes - SpeedSTR's, Wingless 600cc Sprints, and All Star Slingshots - produced another year of outstanding competition and constant wheel-to-wheel action during the Wednesday night racing programs.
After a close runner-up finish in the 2013 point standings, Billy Pauch Jr. claimed the '14 USAC SpeedSTR title. He narrowly defeated his dad, Billy Sr., for the crown, as both father and son notched three victories to lead all other drivers in the SpeedSTR division. "To be successful in racing, you've got to surround yourself with good people. I've got a great car owner in Bob Lesko and a great crew...they are the reason I'm standing here right now," summed up Pauch Jr.
Jay Hartman of Flagtown, NJ registered his second consecutive point title in the always exciting and extremely popular Pioneer Pole Building Wingless 600cc Sprint class. He and brother Jeff have now captured the last five track championships on the Kutztown clay in the Wingless 600cc division. Hartman was best in class as 107 drivers earned points in 2014, and 13 Wingless 600cc features produced nine different winners.
Another of the Action Track USA's point chases that went right down to the wire occurred in the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshot division. The Rockaway Rocket, Danny Buccafusca, prevailed on the final night of racing to win his second straight point crown at the Berks County speedway. Driving Randy Smith's S&S Speedways No. 55, Buccafusca outpointed Larry Raifsnider and Brett Bieber for the title.
The Junior Slingshots competed at Action Track USA on five occasions during the '14 slate of events, with Damon Paul winning the last four of those races. That was more than enough to wrap up the Junior Slinger track championship, a nice compliment to his Junior National title.
Jeffrey Hogue, who owns the naming rights to the hugely successful oval, addressed the crowd and thanked Tobias and Rose for all their hard work and efforts to make the Wednesday night events so popular with racers and fans. He pledged his continued support because he's loved the sport ever since he attended races at the Reading Fairgrounds as a youth. "I was hooked immediately, and I've been a dirt track fan ever since," he admitted.
Rich Tobias also presented his annual "State of Speedway Entertainment Address", stating that there will be some cosmetic changes to the facility in Kutztown and the entry to turn three (at the end of the backstretch) has been widened to hopefully lessen the chances of cars being "pinched" into the wall at that point.
Tobias also expressed his admiration for all of the 2014 Champions and thanked all of the race teams for their support of Speedway Entertainment and Action Track USA. He expressed great optimism over the growth of the SpeedSTR division as orders for new cars - from drivers who have terrific credentials in other classes - continue to pour in to S.E. Headquarters in Myerstown, Pa.
While details of the 2015 Action Track USA schedule will be released at the upcoming Motorsports Show in Oaks, Tobias did inform the banquet attendees that the Wingless 600cc Sprints will have three events that will pay $1,000 to win.The complete schedule will be available at Motorsports 2015 and on the speedway's website, www.actiontrackusa.com.
2015 SPEEDSTR & SLINGSHOT REGISTRATION FORM
Download and print off your download the 2015 registration form.
The form is in Adobe Format. If you don't have the
Adobe Reader Program on your computer, click "Get Adobe Reader".
This is a 2 Page Form, Please make sure you Fill out Both Pages!
CHRIS GRAVER SWITCHING FOCUS FROM ASPHALT TO DIRT IN 2015
MVS CHAMPION SET FOR FULL SEASON OF SPEEDSTR COMPETITION...
(Story by Barry Angstadt 01-06-15) - Even though he's
only 21 years-old, Lehighton's Kris Graver has been competing on
the asphalt of Mahoning Valley Speedway for the past seven
seasons. And the young charger has packed a tractor-trailer full
of success into those seven campaigns...
Graver has accumulated 37 feature wins and four track championships during his time behind the wheel at the ultra competitive quarter-mile of pavement, including the feat of becoming the youngest driver to win a Mahoning Modified point title, which he accomplished in 2014.
Kris has also earned a pair of Dirt Mod championships and a Pro-4 title, along with two feature wins in his first two starts aboard a USAC Championship SpeedSTR - both of those wins came at his home track as the Rich Tobias/ Speedway Entertainment creations made their MVS debut last season.
Graver proudly points out that all of
those wins and championships came from cars produced and
maintained "in my grandfather's basement garage; the same garage
that he (Kevin Graver, Sr.) started his career in and throughout
my uncle's (Kevin, Jr.) career, too." Now that he's built such
an impressive resume on the Mahoning asphalt, what's next? "I
want to get dirty," smiles the friendly but soft-spoken Graver.
"I love dirt racing, even though pretty much all of my experience is on asphalt," he explained. "In 2015, I am going to focus on becoming a dirt track driver. I'll still race at Mahoning, but my focus will be with the SpeedSTR on dirt. If I want to eventually move up to Big Block Modifieds or whatever, I have to get a lot of experience on the dirt. And the SpeedSTR division, at Kutztown's Action Track USA and on their National Tour, is a perfect place to race against top notch drivers and get that seat time on dirt."
Kris compares the technique needed to gas a SpeedSTR to that of driving a dirt Modified. "A few years ago, I got to practice a bit with my uncle's Small Block Modified at Big Diamond. And now I've had one start in a SpeedSTR on dirt (at Grandview). The SpeedSTR seems to drive somewhat like the Modified, but I think my biggest learning curve will be adapting from asphalt to dirt." Graver's first two results in a SpeedSTR - those triumphs at MVS - appear to reinforce the fact that the youthful wheel-twister is not fazed by hopping into different types of racecars. It's the new and different surface on which he's competing, however, that will require some education.
Graver is set to join the three-car team fielded by John Kovatch of Nesquehoning, Pa. He'll be a teammate to Kovatch and Mike Bednar, and the trio will be weekly fixtures at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds, as well as most, if not all, of the SpeedSTR National Tour events.
"I believe Kris will adapt to the dirt very quickly and very well," noted Kovatch. "He ran a SpeedSTR at Grandview's Fall Jamboree in November and he looked good. He won his heat and was having a decent run in the feature until someone got crossed up and Kris wound up flipping because of it. But he'll be fine; he's a real wheel-man, no matter what he's driving."
"You know," continued Kovatch, "family values are important and they are constantly on display in racing. The Gravers are a role model for racing families...if every family in the pit area acted like they do, the sport would be better off and a lot more fun. I know, as a car owner and sponsor, that the Gravers will never make me or my business look bad. I'm proud to have them represent me at any track where we go to race."
The deal to put Kris Graver in a Kovatch-owned SpeedSTR came about after John jokingly suggested it. "Kevin (Graver, Jr., who is Kris' uncle) drove my Dirt Mod at Mahoning last year and Kevin's son, Ryan, drove one of my Slingshots a few times. I was sort of kidding when I said to Kevin, 'why don't you sell that Modified and let Kris drive one of my SpeedSTR's?' We both thought about it and realized it was a really good idea." The Gravers will help with the weekly maintenance on the KME/ FireTruckParts.com SpeedSTR's, and that definitely appeals to the team owner, too.
"We're looking to establish a better maintenance program this year," said Kovatch. "Based on their success over the years at Mahoning, I know the Gravers spend a lot of time in their basement garage, going over the cars in detail each week. That kind of effort will help our program a bunch; my drivers are responsible for the maintenance on their car, but we all work together to help each other, too."
The Kovatch Team is unique - not to mention extremely benevolent - in the fact that all of its prize money goes to worthy causes throughout the Lehigh Valley and Nesquehoning communities. Kovatch has donated race winnings during his entire career, and that practice will continue this season. The KME race team has donated to various charities over the years, but the main benefactors have been the Lehigh Valley Burn Prevention Network and the Sonny Kovatch Scholarship Foundation.