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The Lehigh Valley Stock Car Racing Association
Sixty years ago modified stock car racing on the 1/5 mile flat asphalt oval at Dorney Park Speedway in Allentown, PA was under the control of promoter, Sherman 'Red' Crise. For several years during the early 1950s the races were run under the NASCAR banner, but by 1956 many of the local racers had become disenchanted with many of the policies, rules, and regulations of the Daytona Beach based organization. NASCAR expected its members to race only at NASCAR sanctioned tracks and in eastern Pennsylvania it was becoming difficult to string together a full weekend of NASCAR racing within a reasonable towing distance. When car counts began to drop, 'Red' Crise was more than willing to cut the sanctioning body adrift and put himself in charge.
Most 1950s stock car racers were well aware of the value of a sanctioning body and weren't about to put their fate into the hands of a promoter. Racers of the day liked their freedom, definitely liked to have a say in how things were run, wanted to have input into car specifications, and, without a doubt, wanted a contract with the promoter as to what the purse would be and how it was to be distributed. Very few drivers and owners were willing to give 'Red' Crise (or any other promoter for that matter) control of these things.
So, the Lehigh Valley Stock Car Racing Association, LVSCRA, was formed to sanction the races at Dorney Park, Evergreen Speedway in St. Johns, PA on Friday nights and the Lehighton, PA Fairgrounds on Sunday afternoons. This gave LVSCRA members three shows per weekend, two on asphalt and a Sunday afternoon on dirt, and still provided the freedom to participate in the Sunday night events at Nazareth, PA if they chose.
The LVSCRA quickly took control over a substantial number of cars and drivers to the point 'Red' Crise was unwilling to buck the new group. Crise was content to collect the Dorney Park gate receipts, pay the new group their percentage, and be done with it. Besides, he was able to pocket the NASCAR sanctioning fees and other costs. The other promoters were glad to have LVSCRA run the show, since they guaranteed them a nice field of cars each week.
|Resume of 1956 Dorney Park LVSCRA Events
|May 12||6||Jack Rudy
|May 20||37L||Rocky Ewing
|May 26||8||Freddy Adam
|May 30||37L||Rocky Ewing
|June 8||82||Red Lesher
|June 15||96||Jim Ryan
|June 22||322||Dave Haldeman
|June 29||888||Dick Keen
|July 27, 50 L||3A||Dick Havens
|August 3||8||Freddy Adam
|August 10||6||Jack Rudy
|August 17||200 lap team race 6, 8||Jack Rudy & Freddy Adam
|August 24||505||Charlie Cregar
|August 31||71X||Harry Moore
|September 7||322||Dave Haldeman 1956
|Dorney Park LVSCRA Modified Points|
|1.||Rocky Ewing||797||6||Walt Siwak||818|
|2.||Jack Rudy||767||65||Clarence Rittenbaugh||712|
|3.||Dave Ely||682||37L||A. Lupjicina||686|
|4.||Freddy Adam||655||77||Dave Ely||682|
|5.||Marty Acker||632||8||Adam Bros.||619|
|6.||Warren Mutter||591||555||Roy Smith||545|
|7.||Red Rhodes||524||96||D. Lucas||535|
|8.||Willard Miller||506||888||Adam Bros.||507|
|9.||Red Lesher||503||10||Willard Miller||506|
|10.||Mose Moore||482||40||Wm Banghart||432|
LVSCRA officials for the 1956 season were: President, Jack Mann Vice President, Dick Keen Secretary, Bud Mohr Treasurer, Lou Heller Board of Govenors: Marty Acker, Smokey Dengler, Jack Rudy Technical Committee: Ramsey Stout, A.W. Grim, Walt Siwak, Clarence Rittenbaugh, Morris Hoffman Track Officials: Chief Steward, Gill Ebchels, Asst. Steward, Chas. Jamson, Scorers, Evelen Crise & Florence Crescenzo, Starter, Lou Heller, Track Physician, Dr. Chas. Zellner Promoter: Capt. Red Crise
On Saturday night, October 27, 1956, the LVSCRA held their first annual banquet at Castle Garden on the lake at Dorney Park. Castle Gardens was a popular Allentown 'spot' for everything from banquets to the Sportsman's Show, to teenage dances, to high school proms. It was considered a classy venue.
Master of Ceremonies, Bill Gregory, introduced club officers and guests and presided over the trophy and awards presentation. The evening's entertainment also included a floor show with Shirley Denson, the exotic dancer, The Three Cloe's performing a comedy routine, ventriloquist Kenny Van with his sidekick, Buddy Sir Cecil, and Jack Green performing his 'Well Dressed Hangover' routine. The floor show was followed by fellowship and dancing to the Art Muth big band.
Dinner featured celery-olives-pickles-carrots, endive with Dutch dressing, ham with pineapple ring, mashed potatoes, corn, hot rolls and butter, pie ala mode, and coffee -- all for the low price of $5 per head. Life was good sixty years ago!