READING FAIRGROUNDS REUNION PLANNED AT PPB MOTORSPORTS ON 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SPEEDWAY’S LAST RACE
SPECIAL FRIDAY NIGHT STAGE SHOW, DRIVER AUTOGRAPHS ON SATURDAY ARE PART OF HUGE READING FAIRGROUNDS REUNION PLANNED AT PPB MOTORSPORTS ON 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SPEEDWAY’S LAST RACE
Story By: Ernie Saxton/Motorsports 2019 Trade Show
Photos By: John John Lane & Dan DeMarco/RacersGuide.com
OAKS, PA – The six decade history of racing at Pa.’s Reading Fairgrounds Speedway will be in the spotlight with a three-day reunion of competitors, officials and fans of the legendary track during the Pioneer Pole Building’s sponsored Motorsports 2019 show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa.
The annual show Presented by Sunoco Race Fuels Distributed by Insinger opens on Friday, January 18 at 2 p.m., then at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday the 19th and 20th.
The show closes at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
The “Reading Speedway Reunion” in C-Hall will be dedicated to the memory of the great racing action that took place at that half-mile dirt oval beginning in 1924 before it closed 40 years ago in June 1979. The reunion activities and display are being coordinated by officers and members of the Reading Fairgrounds Racing Historical Society (RFRHS), an organization dedicated to preserving the history of the speedway.
Many drivers and team members who competed at Reading will attend Motorsports 2019 to meet the fans and sign autographs on Saturday afternoon from 2 to 5 pm including the track’s all-time race winner Kenny Brightbill.
Other Modified drivers expected to attend include Bobby Braxton, Freddy Brightbill, Earl Derr, Frank Cozze, LeRoy Felty, Glenn Fitzcharles, Harry Garber, Garry Gollub, Junior Mikosz, Kim Trout and Bruce Young.
The autograph group is so large that it will be broken into two groups. A schedule of those groups and the names of other drivers will be announced prior to the show. They’ll all be signing a special collector Reading poster available for free. There will also be special coloring books given away to children.
On Friday at the show, the night the speedway was best known for holding events, Reading memories will come alive at the stage area. At 5:30 a special show will be held with many of Reading’s favorite drivers scheduled to be guests. One hour prior to this event old racing videos from reading will be shown on the big screen.
There will be a large display at the Reading Reunion area in C-Hall of the show all weekend. This will include vintage open-cockpit, flathead Stock car, Modifieds and motorcycles that ran at Reading.
Among the Reading race cars sure to bring back memories at the show will be restored Modifieds of Bruce Young, Kenny Weld, Don Esky, Diz Dean, Bobby Braxton, Billy Pauch and Dick Quallio; and flathead motor stock cars from the 1950s driven by Leroy Felty, Johnny Mackison Sr. and Russ Smith. The Braxton and Quallio cars are planned to be displayed on classic open trailers, just as they were going to a race night at Reading in the 1960s and 70s!
The era of AAA and USAC racing at Reading will be represented by fabled Sprint Cars driven by Tommy Hinnershitz and Johnny Thomson in the 1950s and Kenny Weld during the 1970s.
There will also be a large display highlighting the years of national championship AMA motorcycle racing at Reading. Former Reading AMA race director Jack Vanino will be a special guest; along with motorcycle racers George Longabaugh, Bob Sholley, Donnie Myers and Jimmie Varnes.
Drag racing also took place at Reading, and its history will be spotlighted as well.
There will also be displays of Reading Speedway memorabilia, such as driver and race team uniforms and jackets; track statistics and photos; and replica scale models of race cars that competed at the track.
Throughout the weekend, members of the RFRHS will be at the reunion to meet with fans and answer questions about the display and history of the Reading Fairgrounds Speedway. They encourage attendees to bring along their personal Reading scrapbooks and items to share with fellow fans to recall those great years of racing!
At the Reading Speedway Reunion during the Motorsports Show, there will also be information available on how to join the RFRHS. The group has its club meetings on the first Tuesday of each month at the Central Fire Company, 1409 Park Place, Laureldale, PA 19605. The club meetings are not restricted to members, but open to all Reading Speedway enthusiasts.
Headlining the show will be NASCAR Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Ray Evernham along with Ryan Preece who will be looking to capture NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors.
There will be a large number of displays with speedways offering information on their 2019 seasons. Hardcore racing vendors will be a big part of the show and fans will have the opportunity to gain some bargains from vendors offering collectible items.
A number of free industry seminars will be offered.
One of the most popular events during the three day show has been, and will again be, the Ms. Motorsports Pageant sponsored by Aqua Duck Water Transport that will see one woman walk off with a $1,500 cash prize along with a poster deal.
Motorsports 2019 opens on Friday, January 18 at 2 p.m., then at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The show closes at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. on Sunday. On Sunday, all children 12 and under are FREE with a parent.
Tickets are available daily at the door one hour before the show opens. To stay informed on the latest show news check in at www.motorsportstradeshow.com or call 609-888-3618.
A few display spaces and room for race car display remain as the show is on its way to becoming another sold out success.