Re­turn of The King: Petty com­ing to Mo­tor­sports 2017

The Boyertown Area Times - - SPORTS - By Ernie Sax­ton

“The King” is re­turn­ing to the Mo­tor­sports Race Car and Trade Show. Af­ter a 30 year ab­sence Richard Petty, the win­ningest driver in the his­tory of NAS­CAR Sprint Cup rac­ing, will be ap­pear­ing at the hugely pop­u­lar Pi­o­neer Pole Build­ings Mo­tor­sports 2017 Race Car and Trade Show Fu­eled by Sunoco Dis­trib­uted By Insinger Per­for­mance which takes place at Greater Philadel­phia Expo Cen­ter in Oaks, PA Jan­uary 20-22, 2017.

Win­ner of 200 Cup races, the last one at the 1984 Fire­cracker 400 at Day­tona In­ter­na­tional Speed­way with then Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan in at­ten­dance, Petty con­tin­ues to be one of the most pop­u­lar fig­ures in mo­tor­sports.

Now a NAS­CAR Sprint Cup car owner, field­ing the Smith­field Foods Ford for Aric Almirola and Goody’s Pow­der Ford for Brian Scott, Petty is presently in­volved in a year­long cel­e­bra­tion of his 80th birth­day which will con­clude on his ac­tual birth­day, July 2, 2017.

Dur­ing the peak of his ca­reer Petty was able to do some­thing that most likely will never hap­pen again and that was in 1967 when he drove to vic­tory in 27 Cup races, 10 of them in a row. That car will be one of two of Petty’s fa­mous race cars on dis­play all three days of the show.

In­ter­est­ing to note that Petty, who had a brief fling with drag rac­ing is be­ing in­ducted into the North Carolina Drag Rac­ing Hall of Fame.

Petty will be do­ing an in­ter­view in front of the fans talk­ing about his long ca­reer in mo­tor­sports and will be sign­ing au­to­graphs, free of cost to tick­ethold­ers. Petty has one of the most art­ful au­to­graphs of any sports fig­ure and it is very much sought af­ter.

Petty’s fa­mous 1972 STP

Dodge Charger and the 1967 Ply­mouth Belvedere, both car­ry­ing the No. 43, will be on dis­play all week­end.

The “King” will be ap­pear­ing on Satur­day dur­ing the show.

Many other well-known rac­ers and per­son­al­i­ties will be ap­pear­ing at the show with de­tails to be an­nounced.

The 3-day show will again fill 250,000 square feet of the Greater Philadel­phia Expo Cen­ter with just about ev­ery­thing imag­in­able in mo­tor­sports avail­able for at­ten­dees. ******** The United States Auto Club and the Amer­i­can Rac­ing Driv­ers Club have an­nounced a part­ner­ship that be­gins in 2017 with a 19-race slate sched­uled at a bevy of tra­di­tional stops for mid­get rac­ing in the east.

The USAC Eastern Re­gional Mid­get Se­ries pre­sented by ARDC will en­sure that mid­get rac­ing re­mains a strong­hold in the east. The clubs are two of the most sto­ried in the his­tory of mid­get auto rac­ing with ARDC’s roots dat­ing back to 1940 and USAC’s to 1956.

The USAC Mid­gets’ re­newed pres­ence in the east over the last cou­ple of sea­sons has cre­ated new op­por­tu­ni­ties for the famed se­ries to add on to its long­stand­ing West­ern States Mid­get Cham­pi­onship with the Mid­west Mid­get Cham­pi­onship, which de­buted last year, and its new part­ner­ship with ARDC in the east.

“I am thrilled that we are part­ner­ing with an or­ga­ni­za­tion with the legacy of ARDC,” USAC Na­tional Se­ries Di­rec­tor Levi Jones said. “By part­ner­ing with ARDC, it so­lid­i­fies the pres­ence of USAC Mid­get rac­ing across the United States’ land­scape from the West Coast to the Mid­west to the East Coast, in ad­di­tion to the USAC Mid­get Na­tional Cham­pi­onship. I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to work­ing with (ARDC Pres­i­dent) Wayne Lesher, the driv­ers and teams of ARDC for the 2017 sea­son and be­yond.”

“Ev­ery­one in­volved with the ARDC is very ex­cited of our part­ner­ship with USAC,” Lesher stated. “USAC gives the ARDC a na­tional plat­form and ARDC gives USAC a re­gional pres­ence on the east coast. Both or­ga­ni­za­tions have a com­mon goal of pro­mot­ing mid­get rac­ing, so it wasn’t a hard de­ci­sion for ei­ther side to make.”

On June 15 and 16, the USAC/ARDC Mid­gets will race on back-to-back nights at the his­toric Wil­liams Grove Speed­way halfmile in Me­chan­ics­burg, PA. The first of the two events, which are both part of the 11th an­nual Eastern Storm, takes place on Thurs­day, June 15 with the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car Na­tional Cham­pi­onship. The fol­low­ing night, Fri­day, June 16, the mid­gets com­pete on a docket that also fea­tures the USAC Sil­ver Crown Cham­pi­onship’s “Horn-Schindler Me­mo­rial” 100-lap­per.

Amid the month of Au­gust, the third edi­tion of Penn­syl­va­nia Mid­get Week comes to the Keystone State for four races at four dif­fer­ent tracks in a span of five nights in a bat­tle for ter­ri­to­rial supremacy with the USAC Mid­get Na­tional Cham­pi­onship.

York Haven’s Susque­hanna Speed­way kicks the week off on Sun­day, Aug. 13 with races at Spring Run’s Path Val­ley Speed­way Park (Aug. 14) and Lanco’s Clyde Martin Me­mo­rial Speed­way in New­manstown on the two fol­low­ing nights. A one­day break for rest or a pos­si­ble rain date (if needed) is slated for Aug. 16 with the week con­clud­ing at a yetto-be-de­ter­mined venue in Penn­syl­va­nia on Aug. 17.

The re­main­der of the 2017 sched­ule will be show­cased at a va­ri­ety of fa­mil­iar stops, in­clud­ing four dates at Linda’s Speed­way in Jon­estown, PA on Mar. 31, May 5, June 30 and Sept. 29; three races on tap at Lanco on Apr. 1, Jul. 1, Aug. 15; four at Susque­hanna on Apr. 29, May 20, Jul. 29 and Aug. 13; and a pair at Big Di­a­mond Speed­way in Pottsville, PA on May 19 and Jul. 21. Ad­di­tion­ally, two TBA dates are slated for Sep. 8-9.

ARDC is the long­est, con­tin­u­ously-op­er­at­ing mid­get rac­ing se­ries in the United States, crown­ing its first cham­pion, Bill Schindler, af­ter the 1940 sea­son. In 2016, Alex Bright of Col­legeville, PA, a veteran of both ARDC and USAC for sev­eral sea­sons as well as the win­ner of a Chili Bowl Mid­get Na­tion­als pre­lim­i­nary fea­ture win, earned the ti­tle.

The lin­eage of ARDC cham­pi­ons in­cludes some of the most leg­endary and suc­cess­ful names in mid­get auto rac­ing his­tory in­clud­ing Henry Banks, Dutch Schae­fer, Mike Nazaruk, Jiggs Peters, Len Dun­can and Ray Bull. Plus, Nick Fornoro Jr. and Sr., Johnny and Joey Coy, Bob and Lou Cic­coni, Jr., Steve and Tim Buck­wal­ter as well as Bryan and Trevor Koby­larz and oth­ers.

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