...a Winning Family Tradition
Leinbach Motorsports actually began in October of 1954. At that time, 44-year-old Russ (Pappy) Leinbach decided to build a jalopy stock car for his 18-year-old son Russ to drive at Sanatoga and Hatfield Speedways located in Eastern Pennsylvania. Before their career ever began a change was made when the R.S.C.A.scheduled racing at the Reading Fairgrounds for the 1955 season. The original cars were numbered 13 and 131, & 131 jr.
Opening day 1955 was at the Circle M Speedway located in Auburn, Pa. Young Russ was a victim of a violent flip which ended his driving career. The Russ and Russ show along with a very young Ronnie continued to field cars for such early legends as Charley Baily, Harvey Richards, Red Lesher, Jack Rudy, Curt Sherman, Chris Skias, and Eddie Haldeman just to name a few. At the end of the 1959 season Pappy decided it was time to bid the owning ranks good-bye. The 1960 season brought a new alliance, Russ teamed up with Ralph Blankenbiller, a local restaurant owner to form a new team. A young Dave Marburger was named to fill the driver's seat. The car carried the #9. Fifty-eight years have passed and the number remains the same. Much success came to the Leinbach, Blankenbiller, and Marburger team.
At the end of the 1967 season, Blankie wanted to end his racing career and told Russ it would be great if he could find a buyer for his half of the team or Russ could buy it himself. After a search, Russ came up with the perfect partner. His 17-year-old brother, Ronnie purchased the Blankenbiller half and the Leinbach Brothers Racing Team was born. They struggled through their rookie season with Mose Moore and Blaine Sadler at the controls. A new car was built for Blaine in 1969. Halfway through the 1969 season, the Brothers decided to put their old friend Davey Marburger back in the car. By 1970 Davey had given Russ and Ronnie their only Reading feature win. From 1971 to 1976 the Brothers provided rides for many great drivers, The Fitzcharles Brothers (Paul and Glenn), Shorty Kershner, Tony Matta from Australia, Bruce Young, Billy Ellis, Hal Browning, Butch Green, Dizzy Dean, Russ Delp, Lee Taylor, and Ronnie Dunstan to name a few.
From 1976 to 1983 the driving chores were taken over by Ronnie. Ronnie just lost the Rookie of the Year honors to former Cup Driver Jimmy Horton in 1976. Even Russ returned to the seat for a brief stint in a team car to Ronnie. From 1983 to 1986 Ronnie continued to compete at various tracks in both the 9 and for other owners.
For the 1987 season, Russ' health began to fail forcing him into an advisor role with the team. With Russ stepping back, Ronnie's wife Gayle took over the manager role and Leinbach Motorsports, as it is known today began. A crushing crash in June forced the team out early in 1987.
For 1988 a late model was purchased for Silver Spring Speedway. After ten races Ronnie retired and the seat was turned over to Craig Shover of Etters, Pa. After Craig, numerous drivers filled the seat of the NINE cars. Jeff Leiphart, Kenny Riland, Carl Billet, Carl Graves, Randy Stoudt, Ron Kline, Alan Sagi and third generation drivers Russ Leinbach Jr. and Ross Leinbach
In 2012 Ross Leinbach took over the Crew Chief position and has taken over many of the day-to-day operations of the team. Ross also served as a driver for the 2002 and 2003 seasons, finishing 12th in points at Linda Speedway in 2002 and winning rookie of the year honors.
The Leinbach name has been synonymous with racing through seven decades. The Leinbach team was the only team to race all 25 years under the R.S.C.A banner at the Reading Fairgrounds. 2005 marked the 19th season the team raced at Silver Springs. We finished our career at the “Springs” with 8 feature wins and an amazing record from 1994 until 2005 with 10 of 12 seasons with top ten point finishes including 7 top 5’s. This marked the second time the Leinbach team raced the final event at a historic racetrack.
2006 brought the “NINE” to Susquehanna Speedway. We ran there until the 2009 season with driver Carl Graves and finished every year in the top 5 in points and a second narrow miss for the championship in 2006.The team won 4 features during our tenure at SSP. Leinbach Motorsports expanded to a 2 car team from 2007 until 2009. The first 2 seasons saw street stock driver Sam Leonard pilot the second “NINE” to consecutive top 10 point finishes and 2009 saw Maryland driver Travis McClelland and veteran Carl Billet combine to put the 2nd Leinbach mount in the top five in the final point tally and allow us to have 2 cars in the top 5 in our final full season at SSP.
2010 the “NINE” with driver Carl Graves took on the tough Super Late Model division, qualified for every event entered as well posting numerous top 10’s along with a top 15 point finish. After 2011 Carl called it a career and was replaced by Randy Stoudt. Between 2012 and 2015 the team won 11 times and posted a 2nd place point finish at the Grove in 2012.The seasons of 2014 and 2015 were split between drivers Ron Kline and Cam Zeigler. After a year and a half hiatus, Randy returned to pilot the “NINE” in 2016 with much success. Randy went on to win over 50% of the races we entered. Early 2017, Randy suffered a career ending injury. Popular and successful driver Alan Sagi took over the reins in 2018 along with Ross Leinbach. Ross, as it appears, is completing the cycle of driving started by Big Russ, continued by Ronnie, and now passed on to him.
2019 marks the 65th consecutive season the Leinbach family will field a race car. Few teams have competed for this length of time. From Father, to son, to brother, and now to grandson, the Leinbach name has been associated with loyalty, hard work, dedication, and sportsmanship, a legacy we are proud to continue.