Patrick Reynolds watched his first auto race on June 5, 1976 at the age of seven, and instantly fell in love with the sport. His life has been deeply rooted in racing ever since.
Reynoldsâ€™ father took him to the Danbury Racearena in Connecticut for Saturday night stock car races. It was a one-third mile paved fairgrounds oval that featured modifieds sanctioned by the Southern New York Racing Association. This group was a private club that held a strong connection to the local community. A common weekly grandstand crowd was in the six-to-seven thousand range.
The first NASCAR race Reynolds attended was in September of that same year. The Thompson 300 for modifieds was becoming very prestigious and also held in Connecticut. The five-eighths of a mile high-banked oval looked massive compared to the Danbury bullring. The event also gave him a good idea of auto racingâ€™s competition level. Big winners and track champions from the Racearena often gridded in the non-qualifierâ€™s race just to make the back of the 300â€™s field. Geoff Bodine dominated and won that day driving for Dick Armstrong.
Occasional trips to other New England and New York short tracks ensued, but Danbury remained Reynoldsâ€™ home track. The Racearena sadly closed in 1981 to make way for a shopping mall. A mall he boycotts in support of auto racing.
Trips to Stafford Springs, Riverside Park, Lebanon Valley and other area speedways for his racing fix now increased. He witnessed some of the best drivers from the Northeast. Richie Evans, Brett Hearn, Dave Dion, Bentley Warren, Maynard Troyer, Billy Pauch, Dick McCabe and so many others that several pages could be filled here.
Reynoldsâ€™ first NASCAR Grand National (now Cup) race in person was in July of 1984 at Pocono, Pennsylvania. Harry Gant won a late-race battle with Cale Yarborough and Bill Elliott to win on this day. Quite a few of stock car racingâ€™s best were in the field.
State law allowed him into the Stafford pit area when he turned 16. His racing mechanic apprenticeship began with helping drivers Jimmy Broderick and Ed Flemke Jr. in the late 1980s. His dedication stretched to the point where he never attended any of his high school proms. They were held on race nights and race nights were not skipped.
Reynolds went dirt racing in 1989 on Bobby Knipeâ€™s pit crew with a sportsman car at Lebanon Valley Speedway in New York. Asphalt racing was his first love but a new-found respect and appreciation for dirt racing developed.
Reynolds drove his own street stock at the Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, NY during the early 1990s and raced a Northeast pavement late model in the later 90s.
In 2001 he relocated to â€œRace City U.S.A.â€ Mooresville North Carolina, planning to use his racing experience to launch a professional NASCAR career.
Over the next seven seasons he worked for multiple NASCAR teams. Mechanic, fabricator, tire specialist, and over-the-wall pit crew member became new job titles. Among the drivers he worked with were Michael Waltrip, Kenny Wallace, Brian Vickers, and A.J. Allmendinger.
Germain Racing and their Nationwide Series program with Mike Wallace in 2008 was the last race team job for Reynolds. The countryâ€™s economic recession set in and many of his fellow Charlotte-area NASCAR professionals were downsized right out of their careers. This is what led him to the media side of the industry.
The broadcasting and writing world of motorsports was always something Reynolds thought about for the future. Similar to when an ex-football player steps behind a microphone during a telecast, however his timetable was suddenly sped up.
He began freelance writing for websites that covered auto racing. His radio career began with networking an opportunity onto a motorsports talk show with a local radio station.
One step led to another and Speedway Report is now home. The program airs Mondays at 7pm ET on RacersReunion Radio for the Zeus Radio Network. The show and www.speedwayreport.com aim to keep racers and fans informed of the latest racing news while remembering and respecting the wonderful history of the sport.
Since his media career began, Reynolds has won 20 awards from the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. Their annual breakfast presents the honors at the Brickyard Crossing golf club on the morning prior to the Indianapolis 500. He is also holds the Associationâ€™s secretary position and is chairman of the AARWBA annual All-America Team award committee.
His new home and place in the auto racing world is embraced. Relaying experiences from nearly a lifetime on both sides of the fence is thoroughly enjoyed by Reynolds.
Gone are crew chief and sponsorship politics that bounce personnel from team to team. Now he takes it upon himself to express and discuss opinions, instead of hiding them for the sake of keeping a paycheck. The familyâ€™s stress from NASCAR team instability is not missed.
So, welcome to Speedway Report. The written or spoken word about anything in the auto racing world has a place there. Tune in to the weekly broadcasts, listen to the archives, and read Patrickâ€™s columns. The show and accompanying website are a place for his thoughts and yours.
He is glad you are along for the ride!