The roar of engines will take over the new PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Saturday, January 2, 2016 when the first annual Allentown Indoor Auto Race will be held.
The event, promoted by Len Sammons Motorsports Productions (LSMP), will be part of a three race indoor series that includes the wildly popular annual event in Atlantic City, NJ on January 29 & 30 at Boardwalk Hall and in Trenton, NJ on February 27 & 28 at the Sun National Bank Center.
“The Lehigh Valley has a rich racing tradition with the Allentown Fairgrounds, Dorney Park Speedway and the Nazareth half mile and mile tracks,” said LSMP’s Len Sammons. “Those events drew thousands of people. We want our event to capitalize on the rich Lehigh Valley racing heritage, and begin to write our own chapter in the region’s racing history.”
Tentative plans call for two divisions of racing for the inaugural event with a maximum of 70 TQ Midget entries to be accepted in the headline division. A field of 30 Slingshot registrants will also compete in the one-day event, with racing action beginning at 7:00 PM.
Auto Racing history in the area spans a century. The first race at the half mile dirt Allentown Fairgrounds was in 1915, the last Sprint car race was held in 1968 and the last race, an SMRC Midget event, in 1976. Six Indianapolis 500 winners won at the Allentown Fair: Ray Keech, Fred Frame, Floyd Davis, Bill Holland, Johnny Parsons and Parnelli Jones.
Dorney Park, a fifth mile asphalt oval, ran its first races in 1938, its last Modified race in 1959 and its last race in 1986. NASCAR great Joe Weatherly was among the track’s big winners in the fifties. Dorney Park Alumni from the seventies and eighties include NASCAR Modified Touring Series multi-time champion Tony Hirschman and multi-time NASCAR Sprint Cup and IndyCar winner John Andretti.
Indoor racing took place inside the Agricultural Hall building on the Allentown Fairgrounds in 1962 with Micros and in 1966 with TQ Midgets. Bobby Albert, Len Duncan and Larry Michaels were the winners of the three TQ races run on consecutive Saturday nights in March, 1966.
Nazareth, Pa. was a hotbed of auto racing for well over ninety years at two different adjacent sites, a half-mile dirt oval and a larger track that had three different configurations: a mile-and-an-eighth dirt track, a mile dirt course and a mile paved speedway. The last race at Nazareth – and in the Lehigh Valley – took place in 2004.
Professional race car driver from ten states and Canada are expected to compete in the TQ Midget division. Many of the drivers have ties to the greater Lehigh Valley region including Earl Paules of Palmerton, Pat Van Varick of Bangor, Zane Zeiner of Bath, Brandon Azzalina of Saylorsburg, Pat Bealer of Slatington, and Matt Janisch of Nazareth.
The addition of a third Indoor race is expected to energize the now three-race series point fund. Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y., won the 2015 LSMP championship on a feature win tiebreaker with Ryan Flores of Mooresville, N.C.
Tickets for the 1st Annual Allentown Indoor Race, will be available in advance, online at www.PPLCenter.com and at the PPL Center located at 701 Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA 18101. An on sale date for tickets will be announced in the near future.
Len Sammons Motorsports is currently seeking marketing partners for this exciting first time event, including title sponsorship of the event.