'Dizzy Dean' shows off racing at the Motorama in Harrisburg

MOTOR SPORTS

February 11, 1996|By Stanley Dillon | Stanley Dillon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Dean Renfro of Westminster, better known as "Dizzy Dean," has been involved in auto racing all of his life. He raced at Daytona in a Hudson Hornet in the '50s when they raced on the beach. Renfro celebrated his 40th year in racing by winning the ** street stock championship at Trail-Way Speedway.

Even though he retired from weekly racing after his title in 1989, Renfro has continued to be very active on the local race scene. He worked at Trail-Way Speedway in different capacities and became very active in its Motorama Show that it promotes each February in Harrisburg.

When Renfro first started helping with Motorama, the show was basically for the racer. The show was successful, but Renfro believed that Motorama had potential to be a much larger event.

"I saw that many of the rooms at the farm complex were empty and felt that I could help them expand the show," said Renfro. "We started adding things and each year there was a gradual increase until now we have the entire building. The show covers 15 acres, all under one roof, and there is something at the show for everyone."

Since he started co-promoting the show, Motorama has grown into the biggest indoor motor sports event on the East Coast. In the six years that Renfro has been a part of Motorama, the attendance has grown from 8,000 to 30,000 for the three-day event. This year will be the 18th year for the show at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa.

While the show was started primarily for the moto-cross divisions that race at Trail-Way Speedway, the show now covers all motor sports. More than 400 race and show vehicles will be on display in the 150,000-square-foot main exhibition hall along with parts vendors, memorabilia stands, local speedway displays, simulators and race apparel.

More than 40 types of racing divisions will be represented, including all types of race cars, motorcycles, pulling tractors, boats, dragsters, monster trucks, go-carts, Corvettes, antique cars, street rods and a stunt plane.

There is racing every day with the micro-sprints and two- and four-wheel cycles trying to tame the dirt oval on Friday. A celebrity race in the micro-sprints round out the first day's activity with drivers including Westminster's Gary Stuhler and Dale Blaney, the Club All-Star Circuit of Champions sprint-car champion.

After the action is completed on Friday night, race director Brad Hostetter spends all night turning the flat oval into a demanding supercross track. While the motorcross is taking place on Saturday and Sunday, go-karts will be racing on the concrete oval in the northeast building.

Other events will include quad racing, observed trails and a jump styling contest where riders make high jumps with their motorcycles doing tricks while in the air.

The racing isn't just for adults, there will be remote control racing, bike races and battery-powered vehicle racing as well.

The highlight of the show and Renfro's favorite is the charity auction Saturday night. With the help of the Lancaster (Pa.) Corvette Club, Renfro auctions racing-related items with all the proceeds going to fight birth defects. Last year, Renfro raised more than $8,000.

The show attracted participants from 18 states last year and fans attend from all over the Northeast.

"I have always dreamed of putting together a show where everyone in motor sports could come together under one roof," Renfro said.

The 65-year-old Renfro works hard to make the show a great weekend for everyone. Renfro, who raced with Junior Johnson and Lee Petty and more, is one person who keeps on giving his time for motor sports and others.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.