Event Coverage

Pennzoil Motorsports Show
is a Huge Success

 by Doug Belliveau & Frank Ryan
photos by Mike Marue

January 17, 2001

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This past weekend, AutoRacing1 staff attended the Pennzoil Motorsports 2001 in Fort Washington, PA. We were hoping to find something to help relieve the withdrawal symptoms most race fans get during the off-season. What we found was exactly what the doctor ordered - 270,000 square feet of racing buffet from which fans could feast.

Nearly every form of racing was represented at Pennzoil Motorsports, and it didn't matter if you were a driver at a local short track or just a fan, because the show definitely had something for everyone. More than 600 vendors showcased everything from race teams and their cars, to how you can build them and what you can haul them with to the track. Add in the race tracks, driving schools and NASCAR collectible vendors that were also at the show and this easily became the one of the largest on the east coast. 

Len Sammons, the show organizer, summed it up the success of the show best: "Saturday was a huge day. It may have been our best ever. Vendors are telling us that they were busy each day but Saturday was the strongest. Many are saying it was the best trade show they have ever participated in".

Autograph sessions were held for a number of drivers and racing celebrities. Among those who participated in autograph signing during the three-day show were NASCAR Winston Cup racers Jimmy Spencer, Geoffrey Bodine, Jeremy Mayfield, Steve Park, Jerry Nadeau, Matt Kenseth, David Green and Chad Little. Also signing autographs were drag racing legend Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, NASCAR ace Ted Christopher, sprint car phenom Fred Rahmer, and dirt track modified star Brett Hearn. TNN announcer Ralph Sheheen signed autographs and hosted Friday Night Live at the expo.

Affectionately known as The Chili Bowl, another huge attraction was the live simulcast of the O'Reilly Auto Parts Nationals from Tulsa, Oklahoma that ran Saturday night into Sunday morning. 

Almost two-dozen seminars were presented during the weekend, and there were many live demonstrations at the MotorMax Garage. Racing seminars covered everything from Racing Lubricants (Pennzoil) to Safety (Simpson Safety Products) and everything in between.

The primary sponsor of the show presented "Pennzoil Land" in which fans could view an array of racing vehicles, participate in pit stop competition, and get their photo taken inside the cockpit of a drag racer. At the center of the exhibit was the #1 Winston Cup car of Steve Park.

The show was jam-packed full of vendors, selling everything from die-cast models, automobiles, trucks, recreational vehicles, performance parts, and everything in between. Several driving schools for racing were also represented from all over the country. It seems that every type of racing vehicle known to mankind was presented at the show. Stock car, open-wheel car, sprint car, midget, modified, tractor, and even a racing boat were shown in bright colorful paint schemes.

The show manager, Joe Pratt, pointed out that at least 14 states were represented in an informal check of license plates in the parking lots. The show attracted attendees from New Hampshire to South Carolina. And there were many compliments from attendees regarding how well the show was organized and the cleanliness of the show site for all three days.

Looking forward to next year, the 17th annual Pennzoil Motorsports Auto Racing Trade Show will be presented at the Fort Washington, PA Expo Center, January 11-13, 2002. For information on being an exhibitor telephone Joe Pratt at 609.888.3618.

The author can be contacted at dougb@autoracing1.com

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