Yesterday’s Speedways will return to the Motorama Custom Car & Motorsports Expo presented by eBay Motors, as the regular feature will showcase historical photos and memorabilia from Ontario’s short track racing scene.

With a 40-foot booth in the Inside Track Racing Zone presented by Stoneridge Specialty Insurance, in Hall 1B, Yesterday’s Speedways will have a couple of race cars on display, including a 1972 AMC Javelin OSCAAR Hot Rod and a 1955 Plymouth Savoy Dirt Modified Nostalgia Tour car.

Nearly 400 photos will also be showcased, across 32 picture boards, with images from the 1930s and 1940s all the way up to the 2000s. The selection will cover a variety of tracks and types of cars, so that there’s something for everyone.

“If you go to the booth every year, it pretty much looks the same, but the pictures on the boards are different,” said Rick Sharples, racing historian and founder of Yesterday’s Speedways. “I’ve got different racing videos I play on a 32-inch screen, there’s sometimes trophies and scrapbooks, I’ll have binders with different photos from different tracks, just different displays of the history.”

Motorama will take place March 10, 11 & 12 at the International Centre, across from Toronto’s Pearson Airport. Sharples looks forward to Motorama each year as an opportunity to talk racing history with a large number of people.

“I see a lot of friends down there, who are there every year, I enjoy talking with them; I meet a lot of new people each year; it’s just a good time,” he said. “I spend three or four days, even the set-up day talking to all kinds of people throughout the day…Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there are thousands of people going through that place and you never stop talking.”

Sharples also noted that sometimes showgoers bring stuff to donate to Yesterday’s Speedways. He says it’s much appreciated and that he gives credit with anything he receives.

Yesterday’s Speedways was launched after Sharples noticed significant interest in his 2012 book about Ontario’s stock car racing history. He started by setting up displays on race days at local tracks and eventually created a website, where he estimates that anywhere from 2,500 to 2,800 photos have been uploaded.

While he says Yesterday’s Speedways keeps going because of the level of public interest, Sharples credits his own past as the reason why documenting racing history is important to him.

“I grew up with stock car racing, I started going to CNE and Pinecrest (speedways) when I was one year old, my dad worked on race cars all my life,” he explained. “I’m not knocking today, things change over the years and that’s fine, but I grew up with the old days and that’s what I’m trying to preserve.”

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