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Keystone Historical Time Line
1974: There were only two races in the Keystone area but in Lower Bucks rally racing changed forever as a random, 2 wheel swap was used for the first time. The other race was held in Cooperstown.
1976: The Keystone Rally Association was created by founding fathers Jim Adams, John Burns, Bob Ellenberger, Griff Jones, Don Nixon and John Stead. John Burns served as the first Chairman of the Association. The first Keystone champs were Jeff Evans in the senior division and a tie in the junior division between Tim Brown and Beth Ann Sullivan. There were four races run on \"Nixon wheels\", a wheel bank, and a random, 2 wheel swap. Keystone driver Karen Stead was the first female to win the All-American.
1977: Races were held in five cities. Participants grew the point that pre-registration was required. Rallies with over 100 cars were the norm. Becky Walters was crowned senior champ and Donna Manderacchi won in the junior division.
1978: A standard heat chart, improved lane calibration and the photo finish were introduced. Race sites were Allentown, Harrisburg, Phillipsburg and Lower Bucks. Emmaus had the largest race in the country with 152 cars. The race ended at 3:00 am. Alan Straiton won in juniors and Jeanine Myers was tops in the senior division.
1979: The circuit grew to six races, wiht flags restricting lanes and a photo finish standard at all races. Matt Wolfgang took top honors in the senior division and Mark Sheffer won the junior division.
1980: Three out of five races counted towards the Keystone points championship. The first photo, swap race was run in Allentown. For the first time, drivers swapped wheels and lanes before determining a winner. A buffet and an awards ceremony was held after the last race (in Kutztown). This was the beginning of the annual Keystone picnic. The Keystone champions were Matt Wolfgang in the junior division and Jeff Madison in the senior division.
1981: The NDR championship was held in Allentown, PA. The Keystone News was started by John Stead. For the first time, a lane swap with a photo was used to complete each heat. This meant drivers would race at least twice down the hill. Four of seven races counted towards the Keystone championship. The electronic timer system, designed and built by Bob Sheetz of Lower Bucks, was used at several of the rallies in conjunction with the photo swap system. It was proven that the electronic timer would give the results faster and was far more efficient. This would allow each rally to eliminate the costs of the photos, which had become very expensive. Chad Phillips won the junior division and Anne Louise Rodenbaugh took the senior division.
1982: Z-Glas wheels were used in Akron. Timer swap replaced photo swap. Matt Wolfgang won the All-American. The Keystone picnic moved to York. Keystone Championship plaques replaced trophies at the awards ceremony at the picnic. Dawn Fischer won the senior title and Ricky Walker won the junior title.
1983: The Keystone Rally Association became an official non-profit organization. The new Keystone logo, designed by Joseph Martinez from Aliquippa, PA, was introduced. Matt Wolfgang won the NDR senior race. Dennis Wilt produced the award plaques. Nick Fischer won the first Ellenberger Award. Matt Wolfgang was the senior champ and Chad Phillips was the junior champ.
1984: In a race held on an interstate ramp in State College, the finish line had to be moved up the hill as neither car in the first heat cleared the finish line. At the picnic held in Harrisburg, Wayne Sheffer received the Ellenberger Award, John Stead announced his retirement after serving four years as Keystone President. Chad Phillips won in seniors while Lori Phillips and Eric Wetzel tied in juniors.
1985: Matt Sheffer won the All-American senior championship. George Rodenbaugh became Keystone President. The family entry fee was instituted. York was developing a new track. The picnic moved to Macungie. Dennis Wilt became the third recipient of the Ellenberger Award. Dawn Fischer won in seniors and Darren Lenox and Greg Gibbon tied for first in the junior division.
1986: The Gibbons wer honored as NDR family of the year. Winston-Salem opened the fastest hill in the country. Lower Bucks raced for the last time on Route 1. The 49" wheelbase car was introduced. Al the picnic, John Stead received the Ellenberger Award. Dick Wetzel took home the Hindsight Award (ask him), retirement plaques were a new award and the first Keystone auction was held with Don Lenox serving as auctioneer. Darren Lenox won advanced seniors, Ben Cassel won juniors and Eric Wetzel was the classic senior champ.
1987: Two rallies per weekend became popular. The \"classic\" senior was on the way out and Keystone reverted to two divisions. Frank Groff retired with a record 10 year racing career. Mary Gibbon received the Ellenberger Award. After eleven races, the Keystone champs were Matt Behrendt in seniors and Alissa Fischer in juniors.
1988: Harrisburg introduced a two day championship. David Seitzinger received the \"Derby Tech\" award for winning the most races in the country. Jack Gibbon received the Ellenberger Award. Alissa Fischer repeats as junior champ and David Seitzinger won in seniors.
1989: The Maggic (talking) timer was introduced. The Class 1 concept was created. R.G. Canning donates 100 pylons to Keystone, replacing the old \"flags on a wood block\" method of marking lanes. The Ellenberger Award went to Don Nixon, while a new award for Sportsmanship is presented to Jonathan Koons. Leigh Achey in seniors and Kevin Fuller in juniors are the Keystone champs. Kevin Fuller also wins the \"Derby Tech\" award.
1990: World Derby Challenge is created. Keystone crowns Spring champions Darren Billet in seniors and Scott Brown in juniors. The Ellenberger Award is presented to Janice Wetzel. The second annual Sportsmanship Award goes to Kristen Turner. Keystone fall champs are Darren Billet in seniors and Mark Whitley in juniors.
1991: The Keystone News ceases publication. Congratulations to John Stead and especially Nick Fischer for a great run. George Rodenbaugh throws in the towel as the Keystone President but picks up the Ellenberger award. The Sportsmanship plaque goes to Craig Wetzel. Jaclyn Messersmith won in seniors and Jeff Rayle took juniors. Tom Weaver is elected Keystone President.
1992: The stock car is introduced as the new entry-level division. Roanoke, VA is part of the fall schedule. Don Lenox is the Ellenberger award recipient, while Tom Weaver III receives the Sportsmanship award. Jaclyn Messersmith repeats as champ in seniors, Vanessa Racich rolls in juniors and Ryan Brown is the first stock champion.
1993: Owen Yuda is the World Champ in the stock division. \"Pottsville\" Joe Culley receives the Ellenberger award. Kristen Donovan collects the Sportsmanship award and the junior crown. Billy Senft dominates in the seniors and Bobby Schuller wins stock.
1994: Newport is added to the schedule for a total of twelve Fall races. The Sportsmanship award goes to Tim Berkheimer. Tom Weaver III wins in seniors with consistent driving, little Drew Wetzel is first in stock and Joe Loschiavo brings home the final Keystone clock in the junior cars.
1995: The Fall schedule is down to ten races, even with Emmaus adding a second date. The super stock car becomes a Keystone division. Jeff Hashagen Jr. is awarded the Sportsmanship plaque. Anthony Jenks bests the seniors, Jeff Hashagen wins the first super stock title and Suzanne Atwill wins all six races she enters to nip Sara Evans by a single point to win the stock division. Tom Weaver steps down as Keystone President.
1996: This marks the 20th anniversary of Keystone. Back up to twelve Fall races. Bonus points are given at the Keystone rally weekend. Jeff Hashagen is the new Keystone President. The Fall rallies have the largest turnout in years. The Ellenberger award is back and is presented to Kenny Krause. The Sportsmanship award is taken home by Ryan Deardorf. George Weissgerber Jr dominates the seniors, Jeff Hashagen Jr repeats in super stock and Tara Tomasello wins in stock.
1997: Keystone Champions were Diana Tomasello, Jeff Hashagen and George Weissgerber in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
1998: Keystone Champions were Ryan Donovan, Joe Tomasello and Colby Schaffner in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
1999: Russell Philip started the very first Keystone website. Keystone Champions were Brent Finkbeiner, Travis Miller and Matt Isherwood in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
2000: Keystone Champions were Courtney Donovan, Brent Finkbeiner and Ryan Donovan in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
2001: After serving 10 consecutive years on the Keystone Board, Janice Wetzel steps down. Keystone Champions were Austin Benner, Brent Finkbeiner and Ryan Harrigan in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
2002: Keystone Champions were Andrew Rentzel, James Kehr and Tara Tomasello in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
2003: Keystone Champions were Andrew Rentzel, Josh Garloff and Austin Benner in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
2004: Todd Garloff took over as President of the Organization. Keystone Champions were Tyler Silfies, Brooke Finkbeiner and Josh Garloff in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
2005: Keystone Champions were Evie Rentzel, Greg Royer and Kacie Rader in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
2006: Keystone Champions were Josh Phillips, Doug Vogel and Kacie Rader in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
2007: Keystone Champions were Allyson Pike, Nicole Kreiger and Brooke Finkbeiner in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
2008: Keystone Champions were Tyler Fleck, Nicole Kreiger and Brooke Finkbeiner in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
2009: Tyler Fleck, Stock Rally Champ, and Megan Hydutsky, Masters Rally Champ, take first place at Akron in their respective divisions. Akron requires all stock and super stock cars be fitted with their new plastic airfoils. It is announced that the 2010 Nationals will be run in Akron the week after the All American. 2009 Keystone Champs are Lauren Burkert, Brian Carpenter and Linda Stevenson in stock, super stock and masters, respectively.
2010: In February 2010, in a warehouse in Oaks, PA, the very first Keystone Winter Classic indoor rally was held. The Keystone competition featured a progressive wheel swap and new four point scales (2 sets - Bert and Ernie). Danbury, CT was added as a race city. The NDR Nationals were held in Akron, OH on the All-American hill. Keystone Champions were Paige Fleck, Michelle Strand and Linda Stevenson in stock, super stock and masters, respectively. Joe Motto was given the Bob Ellenberger Award for his efforts in designing, overseeing the fabrication and setting up of the scale ramps at every Keystone race. Kevin Casey was presented the Nixon-Stead Sportsmanship Award.
2011: The All-American allowed drivers to return as a rally champion a second time. The Keystone Champions were AJ Ecker, Nick Ricciutti (his mother, Donna Manderacchi, was our 1977 Juniors Keystone Champion) and Peyton Strand, in stock, super stock and masters, respectively. The Ellenberger Award was presented to the Carpenter Family (Lisa, Glenn and Brian) and the Nixon-Stead Sportsmanship Award was presented to Zach Marion.
2012: To promote soap box derby, the first annual Keystone Summer Classic, featuring no entrance fees, was held in Emmaus, PA. The event was held during the Keystone season in the hope of attracting participants to other Keystone races. In addition, Keystone offered six free races for families who never participated in a Keystone race. The Keystone Champions were Amber Kulesa, Meredith Miller and Brian Carpenter, in stock, super stock and masters, respectively. The Ellenberger Award was presented to Glenn Carpenter and the Nixon-Stead Sportsmanship Award was presented to Sean Stead. Six drivers retired from Keystone: Paige Garloff, Esker McConnell III, Chase McKain, Allyson Pike, Jenny Pliszka and Sean Stead.
2013: Lisa Carpenter became Keystone\'s first woman President. Once again, the Keystone Summer Classic was held in Emmaus, PA, featuring no entrance fees. Free racing to new families was also offered.