FORT WASHINGTON, PA January 15, 2001 . . . There may have been new records established at the Pennzoil Motorsports 2001 Auto Racing Trade Show. Thousands of people were on hand for the mid-winter motorsports happening each of the three days. The show, offering everything motorsports, covered 270,000 square feet of show space at the Fort Washington, PA Expo Center.
"Saturday was a huge day. It may have been our best ever. Vendors are telling us that they were busy each day but Saturday was the strongest. Many are saying it was the best trade show they have ever participated in," said show organizer Len Sammons.
NASCAR Winston Cup racers Jimmy Spencer, Geoffrey Bodine, Steve Park, Jerry Nadeau, Matt Kenseth, David Green and Chad Little attracted huge crowds for their autograph sessions. There were long lines for other autograph sessions that included drag racing legend Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, NASCAR ace Ted Christopher, sprint car ace Fred Rahmer, dirt track modified great Brett Hearn, many of the top 25 asphalt modified racers of the 20th century, and a long list of local and regional racing talents.
Former drag racer and Indianapolis racer Bill Simpson, now a leading manufacturer of safety apparel for racers, attracted a great deal of attention signing copies of his new book, "Racing Safely, Driving Dangerously."
Pennzoil Land proved to be a very popular attraction at the show with just about every type of major motorsports represented in the display.
And the live simulcast of the hugely popular O'Reilly Auto Parts Nationals from Tulsa, Oklahoma kept show attendees at the Expo Center until late Saturday night, into Sunday morning, to catch every lap of action.
Mandy Fenstermacher. a lovely 20 year old from Telford, PA, representing DIRT Motorsports, earned $1,500 as the winner of the U.S. Tobacco Ms Motorsports Pageant. The skin care and nail technician was a popular winner as she also claimed first place in the swimwear final.
Mandy will now have the opportunity to make special appearances throughout the year at various speedways and events representing the Pennzoil Motorsports Show.
The first runner-up was Jennifer Weaver a 29-year-old from OceanView, Delaware representing Walt Dyer Racing. She also earned the top prize in Sportswear as part of the finals.
Cara Foss, 20 years old from Cherry Hill, NJ, a Drexel University student, earned the second runner-up.
The top three finishers earned cash awards, watches courtesy of Golden Pleasures Jewelry in Bordentown, NJ, plus beautiful trophies.
Teresa Stroup earned the Most Photogenic Award.
In the afternoon preliminaries Tara Thornton was tops in the Swimwear division and Cristina Gower earned top honors in Sportswear. Miss Congeniality was Heather Loeb.
The sister team of Angelina and Joeleen Connuli, from Barrington, NJ and representing Atco Raceway, took the top honors in the Li'l Miss Motorsports Contest. Joeleen. just 5 years old, finished as first runner-up while seven year old Angelina earned the title as Li'l Miss Motorsports 2001.
In Kid's Big Wheel competition Jesse McFarlan of Allentown, NJ won in the 3-4 year old division, Shawn McCollum of Warminster, PA was tops in 5-6 year olds and Michael Weinhold Jr. of Robesonia, PA was first in the 7-9 division. Weinhold also took first in the Cash Dash which pitted the feature winners against each other. The winner took home $40.00 and 4 tickets to the Pocono 500 Winston Cup race in June at Pocono Raceway.
Close to two dozen seminars were presented during the weekend covering everything from sponsorship (with Ernie Saxton Communications, Inc.) to driving a race car with Mike Loescher. And there were continuing live demonstrations throughout the show hours, free to attendees, at the MotorMax Garage.
"Interesting to note that at least 14 states were represented in an informal check of license plates in the parking lots. The show attracted attendees from New Hampshire to South Carolina. And there were many compliments from attendees regarding how well the show was organized and the cleanliness of the show site for all three days," said show manager Joe Pratt. "And we are already planning the 2002 show and some changes and improvements we would like to make."
Special show awards were presented to:
* Shawn Keen for best appearing open cockpit race car
* Port Royal Speedway for best appearing speedway or club display. Much attention given to the artist creating a sprint car with butter.
* Oaklane Quarter Midget Club for best quarter midget display
* The Williams Grove Old Timers/Eastern Museum of Motor Racing earned a first for best restored vintage open cockpit race car, the Johnny Mantz 1/4 midget
* Garden State Antique Club earned the best vintage car club display award.
* Kenny Roth earned the best appearing stock car
* Cheetah Chassis was tops in the best commercial booth display category.
* Hooter's and Dave Adams Motorsports earned first in the best race car display competition.
* Frank Drogan's Jim Hoffman Modified earned the best restored vintage stock car award
The 17th annual Pennzoil Motorsports Auto Racing Trade Show will be presented at the Fort Washington, PA Expo Center, January 11-13, 2002. For information on being an exhibitor telephone Joe Pratt at 609.888.3618.