To some, Ralph
Shellhammer is only a name. To others, he was a father, a
husband, a co-worker, a friend. Who was Ralph Shellhammer? Not
much is known about Ralph and that was the way he wanted it.
Ralph was a private person.
Ralph Shellhammer was a member of the Berks Micro Midgets Association.
The track in which these cars ran was located at the Leesport
Farmers Market, just a short distance from his home. When the
association was “thrown out” of the track, Ralph and his son,
Ronnie built Shellhammer’s Speedway. After the track was
completed in 1956, Ralph invited the Berks Micro Midgets to
compete. The association stayed together for another two years
before breaking up.
Shellhammer’s Speedway remained stagnant from racing action
for nearly two decades. Hurricane Agnes was very detrimental
to the environment. All the electrical poles were broken off,
large boulders and rocks were imbedded into the racing surface
and the concession stand was in the middle of the infield on
Dave Cordier Sr. and Richard Adams approached Ralph Shellhammer with
intentions of resurrecting the speedway. They were looking for
a place for their sons to race with their friends.
After three years of hard work remolding the speedway, the curtain opened
in 1975 on the new Shellhammers Speedway. This time it was the
sound and thrill of go-karts circling the 1/8 mile clay oval.
The start of the second season of racing found Cordier
promoting the track by himself as Adams suddenly took ill and
had to withdraw from his duties. This was the same year Ralph
Shellhammer took his own life. The pain and suffering of a
brain tumor was too much to bear.
Shellhammers Speedway has come a long way over the years. Many
changes and many people have helped create the success we
enjoy today. Thank you for being part of our success.
THE CORDIER FAMILY