Grand­view own­ers to be in­ducted into EMPA Hall of Fame

Late Bruce Rogers, wife Theresa be­ing hon­ored on Jan. 13

The Hamburg Area Item - - Sports - By Ernie Sax­ton

Two of the most re­spected peo­ple in the short track auto rac­ing busi­ness will be hon­ored by the Eastern Mo­tor­sport Press As­so­ci­a­tion on Jan­uary 13th. Theresa Rogers along with her late hus­band Bruce will be in­ducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame join­ing other ma­jor fig­ures in the sport.

The EMPA is made up of mem­bers of the me­dia ( print, broad­cast, pho­tog­ra­phers) that cover mo­tor­sports through­out the na­tion. I am proud to say that I was one of the founders of EMPA back in 1969.

Bruce helped his fa­ther, For­rest, build the one- third- mile, banked Grand­view Speed­way which opened in 1963. The pop­u­lar track will be kick­ing off its 56th con­sec­u­tive sea­son of stock car rac­ing with the run­ning of the first an­nual Bruce Rogers Me­mo­rial on Satur­day, April 7th. That event, a 50 lap­per for Big and Small Block rac­ers, will pay $ 7500 to win and is ex­pected to at­tract a huge field of top Mod­i­fied tal­ents want­ing to sup­port the mem­ory of the late track op­er­a­tor.

The track has come to be rec­og­nized as one of the most suc­cess­ful short track rac­ing fa­cil­i­ties in the na­tion and con­tin­ues their re­la­tion­ship with NASCAR that goes back to 1992.

“I can re­mem­ber when I was first hired to han­dle pub­lic­ity for the track,” said track mar­ket­ing direc­tor Ernie Sax­ton. “The first visit to the track caught me by sur­prise. Bruce’s mom was sell­ing tick­ets off a kitchen ta­ble for $ 2 each. It has been a fan­tas­tic jour­ney for me. It is over 50 years that I have been with the Rogers fam­ily. It is so great to see them be­ing hon­ored by a press or­ga­ni­za­tion that I helped start many years ago.”

The Bech­telsville rac­ing fa­cil­ity is op­er­ated by Tina and Ken Rogers with Tina’s son Brad, who is quickly learn­ing the ropes. Theresa backed off the day- to- day in­volve­ment but can still be found in the track of­fice on race nights.

“I know Bruce would be as thrilled by this honor as I am,” said Theresa Rogers. “It has al­ways been our goal to present the best pos­si­ble rac­ing and keep the cost of rac­ing and the cost for fans at­tend­ing un­der con­trol.” Un­for­tu­nately Theresa will not be able to at­tend to ac­cept the award as she will be re- cov­er­ing from an op­er­a­tion. Tina Rogers will be in at­ten­dance to ac­cept the award.

Also be­ing in­ducted into the Hall of Fame at the EMPA Con­ven­tion taking place at the Crowne Plaza Ho­tel in King of Prus­sia, PA will be Indy­Car owner and former driver Michael An­dretti, drag racer Shirley Mul­downey, NASCAR standout Randy LaJoie and re­tired Sprint car racer Fred Rah­mer who was also a standout Mod­i­fied rac­ing tal­ent at Grand­view Speed­way.

The track is in good hands and the fu­ture looks bright at the pop­u­lar speed­way with NASCAR sanc­tioned stock car rac­ing be­ing pre­sented each Satur­day night. In ad­di­tion there at a num­ber of spe­cial events pre­sented as Thun­der on the Hill pro­mo­tions in part­ner­ship with Bob Miller.

First on the Thun­der on the Hill sched­ule is a Sun­day, May 27th 21st An­nual Traf­fic Jam Big Block/ 358 Mod­i­fied show car­ry­ing NASCAR points along with Sports­man and Mid- At­lantic Sprint Se­ries 305 Sprints. That show gets the green at 7: 30 p. m.

Over the years the well- re­spected track has seen the likes of A. J. Foyt, Richard Petty, Kyle Petty, Michael Wal­trip, Ken Schrader, Rusty Wal­lace, Ge­off Bo­dine, Harry Gant, Jimmy Spencer, and a few other well­known names in the sport per­form.

Kick­ing off the sea­son at Grand­view of­fi­cially will be a March 24th dou­ble­header fea­tur­ing the al­ways ex­cit­ing En­duro rac­ers along with the Blast From the Past Vin­tage Rac­ers. Ac­tion starts at 1 p. m. The Vin­tage cars give fans the op­por­tu­nity to see what rac­ing was all about some years back.

***

When leg­endary Sprint car racer Steve Kinser an­nounced his re­tire­ment last sea­son af­ter rac­ing in an Arc­tic Cat All Star Cir­cuit of Cham­pi­ons event at Le­banon Val­ley, New York Speed­way it caught most by sur­prise. Kinser, win­ner of 876 Sprint car fea­ture races dur­ing this ca­reer, will be talk­ing about his re­tire­ment and more when he ap­pears at the Pi­o­neer Pole Build­ings Mo­tor­sports 2018 Race­car and Trade Show Fu­eled by Sunoco and Dis­trib­uted by Insinger Per­for­mance at the Greater Philadel­phia Expo Cen­ter in Oaks on Satur­day, Jan­uary 20. The pop­u­lar show runs Jan­uary 19 through 21st.

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