Grandview fixtures grateful for late owner ahead of inaugural Bruce Rogers Memorial
If you look in the dictionary or thesaurus for the meaning of nice guy, good guy, good friend, you just might find a photo of Bruce Rogers. Racers that have been in competition at Grandview Speedway all have warm feelings for the late track owner who passed away in March of last year.
He will be remembered on Saturday, April 7th with the inaugural VP Racing Fuels Bruce Rogers Memorial Money Maker is presented at the track he and his dad built back in the early sixties and presented their first race in 1963. The onethird mile, banked clay track, designed in part of the Hatfield (Pa.) Speedway, has been in continuous operation since then with this being the 56th year that the Rogers family name has been involved.
The remembrance, which will be an annual event on the schedule, will feature a 50-lap Big Block vs. Small Block Modified feature race that will reward the winner with at least $7,500 to win with each starter in the event going home with at least $1,000. The feature field will be made up of the top performers in the qualifying heat races. Also on the card will be a full show of Sportsman stock car racing. Racing will get the green flag at 7 p.m.
This race will be nonsanctioned meaning that there will be no NASCAR or track license required and for racers there is no entry fee.
Ten-time track champion Jeff Strunk feels that he owes Bruce Rogers a great deal of credit for his success in auto racing.
“I thought the world of him,” said the veteran racer. “I have been very happy to race for him. I am grateful for what he did for me and for the sport. There are quite a few racers that owe Bruce a big thank you.”
Strunk feels that there will be a huge amount of prestige in just making the starting field and so much prestige for winning.
“I would be honored to earn the trophy. It would mean more to me than the sizeable amount of money that goes to the winner,” said the 50-year-old professional racer. “It would mean so much to win this race run in memory of my late friend. I owe so much to him. Winning this one would mean more to me than my wins in the Freedom 76 Classic.”
Strunk will be driving the Glenn Hyneman owned All Fab Metal Fabrication entry as he tries for the big win.
Another Grandview champion that had many kind words about Rogers is Duane Howard. Both drivers feel that Rogers felt all the racers were special.
“Bruce was a promoter that was responsible for so many great things happening at Grandview, a lot of big events,” said Howard who will be a regular at Grandview this season as well as doing some traveling to special events. “He treated racers like kings. Bruce was responsible for so many great things in my life and my racing career.
“He made it possible to win NASCAR honors and that allowed me to participate in some great events in Charlotte that gave me the chance to sit with NASCAR exec Mike Helton at the awards banquet, talk with NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and meet so many great people. And certainly being able to race for Bruce and the great prize money certainly helped me financially and gave me a great lifestyle. I even got to speak at a NASCAR banquet. To win this race would mean more to me than money. I would love to be able to take the trophy home with me.”
Again this year the 54-year-old racer, who works full time for Oley Township, will be driving the Norm Hansell owned Norm’s Save Station No. 357 entry. The team has had quite a few successes the last couple of years.
Howard and Strunk had the opportunity to participate in the Champion’s cruises that were, for more than 20 years, part of the bounty for winning the track title.
They both were quick to point out that because of Bruce and his wife, Theresa, they were able to travel to places that they would have never imagined going to. “I became a world traveler,” said Strunk. “And we have so many great memories of the trips.”
Many drivers have chimed in that Bruce was very steadfast in how he operated the track. Though he was distant and quiet, he often showed that he cared about the racers who appeared at Grandview on a regular basis. He respected the drivers.
And there was those who were quick to point out that he kept his promises. Rogers was known as a man that stuck to his guns and racers were always given the rewards they were promised.
So on April 7th a man who did so much for the sport and for those who were involved will be honored and remembered.
With quite a few outsiders expected to show up and of course the talents of 10-time champion Craig VonDohren, Doug Manmiller, Brett Kressley, Ray Swinehart, and host of other regulars, it should prove to be quite a night of entertainment.
And don’t forget, the very popular Sportsman stock cars, led by defending champion Brian Hirthler, will see action.
The doubleheader show has a $28 price for adult tickets, youngsters 6 through 11 are admitted for $5 and under 6 are admitted for free. Pit admission is $35.
If Saturday, April 14th is not needed as a weather date for the Rogers Memorial, that will be the start of the NASCAR and track point battle with a tripleheader show that will feature the TP Trailers Modifieds, Late Models and Sportsman stock cars with a 7 p.m. starting time. The regular Saturday night show will carry a $15 adult ticket price, the same that it has been for quite a few years.
And on Sunday, April 15th, the Enduro and Vintage Stock Cars will perform in a doubleheader for the first time this season with a 1 p.m. starting time.