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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:48 am 
Back when my parents first moved us down from Long Island to PA, they opened a pizza place (Salvatore's Pizza) in the shopping center just in front of the Reading Fairgrounds. On Friday nights, I was dropped off at the shop after school and helped out a bit. I'd hear the roar of the engines whenever a heat race. consi or feature started up. I was nine years old at the time. I had all these fantasies about what actually went on over at the fairgrounds and being stuck at the pizza place, that's all they could be. When the races would let out, I'd sit on the back steps of the pizza place and watch the open trailers pour past the fairgrounds farmer's market on their way out of the track grounds.

When I turned ten I was allowed to go check out the races on Friday nights and then on Sunday afternoons when they started running then. I'd get two slices of pepperoni pizza, a bottle of soda and a metal folding chair and carry them on down the fairgrounds road and sit on the backstretch among all the cars. For those who never went to the fairgrounds, there was an area where cars would park on the backstretch like a drive in movie and watch the races from their cars. In the summer it was cool because everyone would sit on blankets on the hood of their cars. In the fall, it got d@mn cold sitting on that metal folding chair and one night an older couple in the next car over insisted I sit in their back seat watch the races. That was an awesome night. They were long time fans and knew many of the local drivers and they filled me in on the history of the place, the great drivers that had raced there in the past and we talked about who our favorites were and it was just a great night. Of course you would never thinking of sending a kid to the races on their own like that in this day and age, but in those days things were a lot different.

The next year I started getting paid a little for working in the pizza place and was able to "graduate" to the home stretch stands. I alternated between the Kenny Weld fan club section and the Kenny Brightbill section depending on if Weld was there that week or not. I had absolutely no idea that Weld was this big time Sprint Car guy. I always assumed he was just a Modified driver/builder. It wasn't until many years later that I figured that out.

The pizza place closed about a year after the track did. I never went to another race until 1997. I had just bought a new car and felt the need to take it on a long drive and I was in a turkey hill mini market and noticed an AARN for sale and decided to buy a copy and scanned it thoroughly for a suitable track that was running that weekend. It was very early season and being a modified guy back then, I picked a race at Bridgeport. So I went. After all these years who was there ? Kenny Brightbill ! Brightbill also won on that day. The pilot light of racing was reignited and I devoured that AARN looking for the next races I could go to which then led me to Sprint Cars and the rest is history.

Years may pass, but when something gets a hold of you in your youth, it never ever lets go ! :driving: I thank that couple for saving my butt from freezing that night at the fairgrounds and filling my head with racing.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:22 am 
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Greggbert wrote:
The pilot light of racing was reignited


Nah, it never has to be reignited..it may have dimmed a bit but once you light that fire, it never goes out! :thumbleft:

Like 1080 said, when you get to be around as long as we have, you have sooo many memories...and if you're really old, they run together :laughing7:

I can remember the first time I met Ray Tilley, my hero and how I was upset when he was hurt so badly at Langhorne...the battles at the Grove and Lincoln...meeting Jan Opperman...watching Van May in wonderment, early version of the Wild Child...meeting my best friend Jimmy Edwards and the drive to Hagerstown...losing Stevie Howard....watching Bobby Allen beat the field by running sooo low on the track...Steve Smith leaving Lincoln, going back to the shop, returning to the track, starting in the rear and whipping everyones butt..Lynn Paxton spinning out doing a 180 right around me in the 3/4 turns of the Grove and kept his foot in it and kept on going...time to change my pants :oops: ...enjoying the 150 lap National Open...
I've been away from the tracks for a bit, but vow to return this year.

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"Lick the lollipop of mediocrity once and you will suck forever!"


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:30 am 
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1080 wrote:
When you are as old as some of us are and have been going to the races for almost 50 years....stories add up quick. The ones I had as a youngster still stick with me. Some of the cherished moments I have include meeting some of the legends of racing. Johnny Mackison...Bobby Hersh...Ray Tilley....Bob Brymesser...Leroy Felty...Johnny Grum..

Stories galore...most when I was just a kid.

Sitting in a diner booth with Leroy Felty getting harassed about being a Tilley fan.

Sitting in the Mackison / Tilley #1 at the McCoy garage.

Sitting in the Judges stand with Jack Gunn.

The rides to Selinsgrove in Duke Negleys GTO and Bobby Brymesser saying that the ride to the races was more exciting than being on the track.....Thanks Duke!

My first time at Port Royal...scared to death.

One of the best things ever was the internet and these message boards......MANY new friends have been made.....makes the racing that much better!

Sitting around the Cave when we invented fire and the wheel :poking:

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I use to like Oreo Cookies and Chocolate milk.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:04 pm 
A few years back Fred Rahmer promoted a 410 race at New Egypt Speedway.Kenny Brightbill squeezed (goes a good 230 lbs.)himself into a #77 backup car and struggled to keep the car under him during hot laps. He managed to just make the feature but passed a dozen cars to finish 7th. Also instead of a DASH for starting order they ran an Australian Kangeroo Match which really had the crowd on their feet. One of the Chesson boys won the feature. Good night for Fred but I think that was the last race he promoted.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:10 pm 
Papa,I was at that race at New Egypt. Billy Pauch won the race not Chesson.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:24 pm 
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I have not been watching as long or as much as I should have...But in the modern day Billy Pauch strapped into Hamiltons 77 car a year or so ago and put on quite a thrilling show at Grandview. Much respect to Pauch for being able to win in a modified or a sprinter. I had a thrill on a much lessor scale. I went to the Outlaw driving school several years ago and drove a 410 ci 77 car that appeared identical to Hamilton's. I never sat in a sprint car in my life. When I was ready to get pushed off my heart was in my throat, shaking like a school girl! :shock: I know the motor was not like the current Outlaw bullet but it was all aluminum with up/down nozzles etc and when that baby came to life I could not see through the helmet beacuse my smile was SO big! 100 laps later I was hooked deep in the belly like a fish! The talent and precision our local drivers have to put on the dance at places Like the Grove, Lincoln etc is in my opinion well overlooked these guys are masters of the clay, my hat goes off to them at every sighting!

On a different note: THANKS TO THE OLDTIMERS, THE FOUNDATION OF OUR SPORT FOR SHARING THEIR MEMORIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :redpepper:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:58 pm 
Papa Heis wrote:
A few years back Fred Rahmer promoted a 410 race at New Egypt Speedway.Kenny Brightbill squeezed (goes a good 230 lbs.)himself into a #77 backup car and struggled to keep the car under him during hot laps. He managed to just make the feature but passed a dozen cars to finish 7th. Also instead of a DASH for starting order they ran an Australian Kangeroo Match which really had the crowd on their feet. One of the Chesson boys won the feature. Good night for Fred but I think that was the last race he promoted.


The 50/50 that night was almost $10,000.00 if I remember correctly. I was 4 numbers off...................story of my life. :pinkelephant:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:01 pm 
none of my favorite track stories really involve racing. Some of my best memories;

gettin a ride in a push truck and waving to the stands all the way down the backstreatch,,Ben was there with his family and his daughter said to him " I think I just saw Larry on the track!!"

showin up with my camper 2 in the morning the night before the Kasey Kahne race,, all of a sudden I'm surrounded by state cops,, someone saw me pull in and called the cops to report someone cuttin threw the pit gate.

my dog gettin skunked at the grove natty o week

Campfire jams are by far my most special track times,,,


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:22 pm 
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dirtflyhigh08 wrote:
Fred may not be the nicest guy on the track but he is truly a great guy off



Nice guys finish last. :thumbleft:

_________________
Tilton Hilton
2 Speedway Drive
Mechanicsburg , PA 17055

2014 races : 46

Port Royal 19
Williams Grove 19
Lincoln. 4
Trailway 1
Path Valley 1
Grandveiw 1
Hagerstown 1


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:18 pm 
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:cheers2:

_________________
Tilton Hilton
2 Speedway Drive
Mechanicsburg , PA 17055

2014 races : 46

Port Royal 19
Williams Grove 19
Lincoln. 4
Trailway 1
Path Valley 1
Grandveiw 1
Hagerstown 1


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:56 pm 
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i'd have to say my best story was during the last National Open. It was my birthday weekend so I had a party at the motorhome. My parents stole one of my Lucas Wolfe pictures and had it put on my birthday cake. (it was one of those edible picture things) i got bored the week before at college and made a birthday shirt for some drivers to sign for me. when i told Freddie Rahmer that it was my birthday and asked him to sign the shirt, he basically lectured me and told me to behave. :lol:

oh and then i cant forget to mention the fact that my dad showed Lucas a picture of the cake and told him that since i couldnt have him, i could have a cake with him on. i was standing right there and nearly died. :oops:

so my story has nothing to do with racing itself....but drivers that made my 18th birthday memorable.

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Justin Henderson, Steve Buckwalter, Fred Rahmer fan...and whoever is in front of Pat Cannon :-P


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:16 pm 
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Heres mine.Ron Kramer just won his first feature at the grove,I was sitting in turn 3.After the race was over I went over to talk to him and give him a victory beer.Well they were the last one to leave the pit area, as I was walking thru the infield the track lights went out ,I thought oh crap .I get to the back gate and they had it shut and locked ,so I chucked my cooler over and climbed the fence to get out . Just 1 of many fine memories :icon_pidu:


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