Grandview Speedway owner Bruce Rogers dies at 82

DFM file
Grandview Speedway owner Bruce Rogers, right, pictured in a 2014 photo alongside wife Theresa, died on March 29. He was 82.
DFM file Grandview Speedway owner Bruce Rogers, right, pictured in a 2014 photo alongside wife Theresa, died on March 29. He was 82.
(Submitted photo - Rick Kepner)
Nine-time Modified champion Craig Von Dohren, left, holds the track champion banner alongside track owner Bruce Rogers after capturing the season title on Sept. 3, 2016, at Grandview Speedway. Rogers died on March 29. He was 82.
(Submitted photo - Rick Kepner) Nine-time Modified champion Craig Von Dohren, left, holds the track champion banner alongside track owner Bruce Rogers after capturing the season title on Sept. 3, 2016, at Grandview Speedway. Rogers died on March 29. He was 82.

Bruce Rogers, owner of Grandview Speedway, died Wednesday, March 29. He was 82.

Rogers, of Bechtelsville, was hospitalized in January due to complications following a Jan. 2016 accident involving Rogers and wife Theresa in Daytona Beach, Fla. Rogers lengthy road to recovery experienced a setback at the start of 2017 with continued infections that led to his passing at the Lehigh Valley Hospital earlier this week.

“We are relieved that our father’s passing was peaceful and pain free. He loved his family, and his race track more than life,” the Rogers family wrote in a post on the Grandview Speedway website. “Thank you all for continuing to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”

Rogers, who was born in Pottstown to the late Forrest and Mary (Kauffman) Rogers, owned and operated Grandview Speedway since the 1960s, a fixture of the local auto racing scene for five decades.

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Grandview Speedway opened up for the first time in 1963. Property owner Forrest Rogers, Bruce’s father, was first approached by the Pottstown All-Stars, a local racing club, with the thought of building a quarter-mile asphalt track on his 103-acre property in Berks County, near Bechtelsville.

While, that deal never materialized, Forrest Rogers moved forward and began building his track in the fall of 1962. He worked hard at building the dirt track, but a sudden heart attack ended his life just four years after Grandview’s opening. Bruce Rogers then assumed the role of developing the future of the fledgling facility.

The Bechtelsville dirt-track oval, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, has long been a destination for auto racing enthusiasts due largely to the efforts of Bruce and the Rogers family. Bruce and Theresa Rogers have been named Eastern Region Auto Racing Promoters of the Year five times by Racing Promotion Monthly.

Along with his love of auto racing, Rogers was also an avid animal lover, especially for his dogs.

Surviving along with his wife is one son, Kenneth L. Rogers, husband of Colleen; one daughter, Tina M. Rogers, wife of Don Schaeffer; five grandchildren: Bradley Missimer, Justin Rogers, Brittany Rogers, Kasey Missimer, and Taylor Rogers; one great-grandchild, Hunter Missimer; and one sister, Edna Shaw.

Visitation will be held Wednesday, April 5, from 6-9 p.m., at Catagnus Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Inc., 1020 E. Philadelphia Ave., Gilbertsville. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Bruce’s memory to Checkered Flag Fan Club, at P.O. Box 79 Kutztown, PA 19530 to support injured drivers.