MOTORSPORTS 2009 IN A.C. WAS
ANOTHER SUCCESS STORY
Judging from the number of people roaming the aisles of the Motorsports 2009
Race Car & Trade Show at Atlantic City’s Convention Center this past weekend
the sluggish economy is not impacting motorsports in this area.
A huge crowd turned out for the 24th edition of the Northeast’s
largest mid-winter motorsports event.
Jim Hunter, Vice President of Corporate Communications with NASCAR,
kicked off the show with an upbeat question and answer session regarding
NASCAR. Hunter responded to all questions with straight forward answers and
addressed the economy and its impact on NASCAR and racing in general.
Despite all the doom and gloom forecasts from some media
Hunter feels that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will have full fields of cars
and the season ahead will be a good one.
“Most of the show participants I spoke with seemed to be
upbeat about the motorsports business,” said show promoter Len Sammons.
“Most of the racers, the fans, the promoters in attendance are excited about
the season ahead.”
Long lines of fans waited to collect autographs from NASCAR
Sprint Cup racers Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, James Hylton and Dave Blaney
along with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Benson. And
fans were patient as they waited to meet and collect autographs from drag
racing stars Antron Brown, Kenny Koretsky and Matt Smith. Former NASCAR
Sprint Cup crew chief Ray Evernham, now a TV personality and track owner,
was signing autographs as was former IndyCar great Wally Dallenbach Sr.
Dozens of local and regional racing stars were on hand to meet
The first annual Joe Pratt Award of Excellence, named in honor of
the highly respect show manager who passed away in 2008, went to Bob Hilbert
Sportswear. The company has been a long time participant in the show and a
Art Leidl took home the award for “Best Appearing Open Cockpit Race
Car” with his “LaYogurt” sprint car.
The No. 21 J of Jason Dunn earned the “Best Appearing Stock Car
Race Car” award.
A 1934 Willys Coupe displayed in the Avanti Performance booth was
the pick of judges at “Best Appearing Drag Car.”
The “Best Appearing Vintage Stock Car” award went to the Ray
Hendrick #11 Coupe.
Tops in the “Vintage Stock Car” category was the beautifully
restored Ray Brady Indianapolis Roadster #43.
New Jersey Motorsports Park, located in Millville, NJ, earned the
“Best Speedway or Club Display” award.
RaceSeng Designs got the judge’s nod for having the “Best
Commercial Booth Display.”
NHRA Pro Stock racer Kenny Koretsky took home top honors for the “Best Race
Car Display” with his display of Nitro Fish Wear sponsored race cars.
The “Best Appearing Quarter-Midget or Kart Display” was earned by
the Blackbird Quarter Midget Association.
The Reading Fairgrounds Racing Historical Association was the top
Vintage Car Club Display.
Alyssa Sharman, a two time runner-up, finally had her dreams come true as
she was named Ms. Motorsports 2009 in the U.S. Tobacco Ms. Motorsports
Pageant topping an impressive list of entries.
Sharman was Ms. Area Auto Racing News 2008 in addition to Ms. Dirt
The Sinking Spring, PA beauty comes from a racing family and will
represent the Motorsports show at a number of events during 2009.
Sharman also earned the Sportswear award.
The first runner-up honors went to Melissa Hassell and second
runner-up was Andrea Pyles. Ms. Hassell has agreed to serve as Ms. Area Auto
Racing News for 2009 attending races and other events representing the
weekly trade publication.
Most photogenic honors went to Heather Thompson and Melissa Hassell
took the Swimsuit honors.
In Saturday afternoon Big Wheel competition Anthony Deluito won the
3-4 year old feature while Peter Tripoli was tops in the 5-6 year feature.
And it was Richie Rice getting the win in the 7-9 year old feature.
More than 300 exhibit areas and over 250 race cars filled more than
250,000 square feet of the plush Atlantic City, NJ Convention Center.
Also a part of the show as a two day Promoter’s Summit that
attracted speedway promoters and organization officials who had the
opportunity to hear from industry experts on a variety of business related
“Overall those attending the Summit felt that 2009 could very well
be a very good year for the sport,” said Summit organizer Ernie Saxton.
“Some promoters are making changes in the way they will be doing business
during the new season but all were optimistic that it would be a good year
if everyone does their homework and gets back to the basics of good
“It was great to see the enthusiasm for the business being
generated by attendees and I know a lot of businesses in Atlantic City
appreciated the influx of people we brought to help their economy,” said
Sammons. “It was great to see the excitement and so many having so much fun.
I think the sport will be OK in 2009.”
Plans for the 2010 edition of the Motorsports 2010 Race Car & Trade
Show, the 25th anniversary show, will be announced in the near future.
Saxton Communications / Motorsports 2009