Sunday, February 27, 2011
Kyle Weiss Earns Best of Show Nod At Reading Eagle-WEEU 830 AM Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show
READING, Pa. – A true friend to motorsports as a car owner, driver and fabricator for more than 40 years, Dennis "Chico" Bailey led the list of Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show presented by Reading Eagle and WEEU 830 AM award winners.
Bailey, the personable resident of Kutztown, Pa., who is a past driving champion, the proprietor of Bailey Fabrications and the current car owner for Terry Meitzler, was recognized as the second recipient of the Don Marks Memorial Contribution to Motorsports Award. The award was handed out during the BASH Racing Party at the Temple Fire Company sponsored by Manmiller Electric with nearly 200 race enthusiasts on hand Friday night. The BASH Party kicked off following a large Reading Fairgrounds Speedway Reunion held at the Fairgrounds Square Mall on 5th Street Highway. The mall served as host for the week-long show in its 26th year.
Bailey is well known and respected in the region for his accomplishments behind the wheel and his commitment to the sport as an owner. He also lends a hand to low-dollar teams via his fabrication business.
Marks was a longtime photographer for Area Auto Racing News and served as the official track photographer for Grandview (Pa.) Speedway for more than a quarter century. An active Eastern Motorsport Press Association member, Marks passed away suddenly prior to the start of the 2008 season. Members of the Marks family were present to see the award presented to a pleasantly surprised Bailey. The award was started in Marks' honor to recognize and individual who has contributed greatly to the sport - media member, sponsor, promoter, driver, car owner, etc.
Bill Gensler received a Dedication Award for his perfect attendance in all 26 Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show events. Gensler is a longtime Late Model and 358-Modified racer at Grandview Speedway.
The Kyle Weiss No. 21K RAACE Foundation 358-Modified was voted Best of Show recipient by attendees. Voting was conducted via a program book ballot and the tally was finalized Thursday night. Divisional award winners (judged by media members) were Kevin Albert Jr. (Modified), Kyle Merkel (Late Model), Dave Shirk (Open Wheel), Jeff Strunk No. 88 (Restored Car), Tom Schearer (Micro-Sprint), Dakota Kohler (Go-Kart) and Hanna Flood (Quarter Midget).
DJ Jammin' Jimmy Payne provided the music entertainment at the BASH while Gary Silverman Productions supplied video footage during the night.
The Reading Fairgrounds Speedway Reunion packed Center Court at the mall Friday evening as Jeff Ahlum served as master of ceremonies. The night was dedicated to the memory of late Reading announcer Warren Ruffner. The legendary "Everett Express" Gerald Chamberlain led a list of former 'Home of Champions' stars that included Carl Van Horn, Kenny Brightbill, Freddy Adam, Glenn Fitzcharles, Bobby Braxton, Red Coffin, Russ Smith and others. Nearly 30 former Reading competitors took part in the reunion some 32 years following the final Reading event held in June 1979.
Memories of Ruffner's famed announcing and other tales of one of the sport's greatest voices drew a rise from the crowd. Ruffner's wife Joanne was on hand for the activities.
Bill Gerhart, now the championship crew chief for the Lucas Oil-backed ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards No. 5 driven by brother Bobby, spoke of growing up watching his father race at the Reading Fairgrounds. He also discussed the team's record seventh win at Daytona International Speedway in the ARCA opener two weeks ago.
The 2011 edition of the Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show, 'powered by VP Racing Fuels' has filled the Reading, Pa., 5th Street Highway shopping center with 114 beautifully-prepared race cars including dirt Modifieds, Sportsman, XCel 600 Modifieds, Sprint Cars, dirt and pavement Late Models, ARDC Midgets, Slingshots, Micro-Sprints, vintage Modifieds, Stage One Modifieds and more.
The Reading Fairgrounds Speedway Racing Historical Society turned back the clock with an expansive display featuring vintage/restored race cars and a tribute to the Reading Fairgrounds Speedway 'Home of Champions' which closed its doors in June 1979.
Collectibles, racing videos and printed materials, speedway/sanction displays, local speed suppliers, racing organizations and the popular Randy's Raceway slot car track provide plenty to keep show attendees occupied.
The show, with free admission, continues through today (Feb. 26) during mall hours.
Mahoning Valley Speedway, the circular paved quarter-mile located in Lehighton, Pa., has a strong presence at this year's Racing Legends Reunion. Promoters Doug and Gena Hoffman have assembled a display promoting the speedway's upcoming season.
Other speedways/sanctions represented include Grandview Speedway, Big Diamond (Pa.) Speedway, Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, Shellhammer's (Pa.) Speedway, Kutztown (Pa.) Speedway, Race of Champions, BD Motorsports Media's Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc. Short Track Four Crown, XCel Chassis, ARDC, URC, Thunder on the Hill Racing Series, Shellhammer's (Pa.) Speedway, Rich Tobias' Speedway Entertainment, Montgomery County Quarter Midget Club and more.
Today (Feb. 26), the 'Next Generation Stars' are saluted at 3 p.m. with go-kart, Quarter Midget and Junior Slingshot talents among those interviewed on stage. Later, at 7 p.m. the second annual Penn National Speedway Reunion takes place to remember the Grantville, Pa., facility that hosted its final event in 1996.
Bob Hilbert Sportswear has produced show apparel, available at the program stand near the center court area.
For further information on the Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show, contact show organizer Brett Deyo by phone at 845.728.2781 or via e-mail at Deyo99H@aol.com. A show schedule is updated on the web at www.bdmotorsportsmedia.com as it is finalized.
The affiliate events of the Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show are taking shape. Registration is underway for the Big Diamond Speedway Race Car Show at the Fairlane Village Mall (Pottsville, Pa.) March 7-12 at www.bdmotorsportsmedia.com and the fourth edition of the IRCO Dirt Track Heroes Show at the Phillipsburg Mall (Phillipsburg, N.J.) March 6-12 at www.thunderonthehillracingseries.com.
The 26th annual Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show is presented by Reading Eagle, WEEU 830 AM, VP Racing Fuels, Reading Plastic Fabricators, 600Scene.com, DJ Jammin' Jimmy Payne, Manmiller Electric, Pioneer Pole Buildings Inc., BFP Specialty, GSP Video, Berks County Historical Society, Four Star Lettering & Graphics, Racers Roundtable Radio and BD Motorsports Media.
26th Annual Racing Legends Reunion & Car Show Schedule of Events
Saturday, February 26 - Salute to Penn National Speedway presented by DJ Jammin' Jimmy Payne
3 p.m. - The Next Generation Stars - Meet the driving talent of the future with Quarter Midget, Go-Kart, Junior Slingshot and other youth recognized
7 p.m. - DJ Jammin' Jimmy Payne-sponsored Penn National Speedway Reunion (Stage) - Former drivers, owners, officials, sponsors, fans, etc., gather to remember the Grantville, Pa., oval that closed its doors in 1996.
Sound provided all week by Racers Roundtable Radio Show on WXLV 90.3 Lehigh Valley Sundays 6-8 p.m.
- Mall Hours: Sunday 11 a.m-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. -