Pennzoil Motorsports 2000 Opens
Ken Plotkin - motorsport.com
Fort Washington, PA, January 14, 2000 - The racing season was pushed off today with the opening of the three day Pennzoil Motorsports 2000 auto racing trade show. The show, which runs through Sunday in the Fort Washington Expo Center, has something for everyone: racers, fans, collectors, tracks, publications, history buffs, manfacturers, sanctioning bodies, and autograph seekers.
A random walk through the exposition today yielded the following treats.
Bud Garvey's #11 modified, run in central Pennsylvania in 1967-1968 and restored by Bud in 1993, is on display by the Eastern Museum of Auto Racing. The "West Coast Modified" was built on a CAE chassis and powered by a 327 Chevy. The bodywork, a copy of Don Edmonds style cars, was built from fenders from old Chevrolet cars and Ford trucks. Fenders and panels were cut in half, centers discarded, then welded together to form the sleek racing form. Bud Garvey was on hand to talk about his car and his career. Bud is particularly proud of the two times that he won three feature races in a single day.
The Atlantic Coast Old Timers has three midgets on display, showing the evolution of race car technology.
A 1935 Willys powered midget, built by George Perluke in 1935 and now owned by Stan Lobitz represents the old "one-off" style. The #22 car, which ran mostly around Hazelton, PA, sported an in-out box originally intended for a big car and a unique set of 12 inch split wire wheels. Stan thinks that this car (one of the first in his collection) may have once been driven by Chris Economaki.
From the 1940s is the #17 "Debbie's Dream", a Ford V8-60 powered midget owned by Jim Dooley. Originally from Michigan but raced mostly in the Schenectady area of New York, V8-60s were a popular powerplant for midgets. A beautifully built and chromed V8-60 was on display in the ACOT area.
Bill Keimel's #82 ARDC midget rounded out the ACOT history lesson as an example of modern technology. The car, complete with wing, is nicknamed "Rice Burner" in honor of its Datsun engine. Even in today's world of factory built chassis and components, midget builders try an amazing variety of powerplants.
Among the numerous track owners/operators presenting their 2000 plans was Bill Coughlin, chairman of Airport Speedway, New Castle, Delaware. The 1/8 mile clay oval runs BMMRC Micro-Sprints on Saturday nights. Bill said that they will be repeating their "Crew Chief Night" when NASCAR runs at nearby Dover Downs, and let the wrench-turners show how good they are at turning wheels.
Central Pennsylvania sprint fans were stopping at the table in front of Shawn Keen's #53 sprint car, picking up schedules for Williams Grove, Lincoln and Silver Spring Speedways. That table saw lines of fans form when Brad Doty and Dave Argabright set up to autograph copies of Brad's autobiography "Still Wide Open." The duo will re-appear for autographs on Saturday and Sunday as well.
Pennsylvania sprint star Becca Anderson was on hand. She is planning a full season of 410 Super Sprint action at Williams Grove and Lincoln. She'll take to the road for big World of Outlaw shows, including Texas, Charlotte and (of course) the Knoxville Nationals. Late in the afternoon Becca was seen in the Indy Racing League booth, chatting with Sarah Fisher. Sarah, who has just graduated from sprints and midgets to Indy cars, will be running as a rookie in the Indy Racing league and cheerfully took care of a long line of autograph seekers at the Pennzoil show.
The race car show area was filled with displays of cars, teams, components, sanctioning bodies and race publications. Across the divider, the vendor area was filled with sellers of die-casts, clothing, photographs, artwork, and just about anything that a race fan with discerning taste might lust after. Special racing seminars will be held throughout the show, both in the stage area in the exhibit floor and in conference rooms. NASCAR star Terry Labonte and IRL star Jeff Ward are last minute additions to the long list of drivers who will appear for autograph sessions.
The show continues on Saturday and Sunday. The Expo Center is easy to reach from Exit 26 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. A full schedule of events is available at the show's web site http://www.aarn.com/motorsports.html