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  • Tobias Speed Equipment

    The famous Tobias Speed Equipment shop in Lebanon, PA closed its' doors for the last time today.
    "In memory of #17 Ronnie & Dick "Toby" Tobias."

  • #2
    "It was actually fun, because you're back fully driving again in these trucks. Ninety percent of the tracks we go to in the IRL, you're flat-out. I was having to lift off the corners some here." - Buddy Rice

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    • #3
      Anyone know why?
      Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

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      • #4
        Reason

        Carl,

        There are a number of reasons why Tobias Speed has closed its' doors after 42 years, namely a number of family setbacks and the changing business environment in the racing parts business.

        After Dick "Toby" Tobias was tragically killed in a USAC Sprint Car accident in 1978, his children took over the speed shop. His daughters, Debbie & Tina, took care of the daily business responsibilities. Toby's three sons (Ronnie, Scott, and Rich Jr.) and his son-in-law, Paul Lotier designed and built the fabricated the chassis.

        Scott received massive head injuries in a sprint car accident at Port Royal Speedway (PA) in the mid-1980's. He was the only Tobias racing sprint cars at the time and the speed shop stopped fabricating their own sprint car chassis when Scott stopped racing. They became a Gambler Sprint Car Chassis dealer.

        Paul Lotier ran the Tobias/Gambler house car, as well as racing Walt Dyer's famous #461 "Brick Mobile", winning the 1987 Port Royal Track Championship. Paul was the 1991 Knoxville Nationals "Rookie of the Race" and suffered paralizing injuries at Sharon Speedway later that year.

        Ronnie and Rich Jr. continued to design and fabricate winning Tobias dirt modified chassis until Ronnie suffered a fatal heart attack in 1998. The jigs for the last Tobias modified chassis were sold to Billy Pauch. Pauch won several track championships at New Egypt Speedway (NJ) with the design.

        Ronnie and Rich Jr. developed the Slingshot by Tobias spec racer before Ronnie passed away. The Slingshots are now manufactured by Speedway Entertainment, a subsidiary of Rotondo Weirich (RW). RW makes preformed concrete prison cells. Rich Jr. is now an RW employee, overseeing the shop for the prison cells and running Speedway Entertainment. RW is the primary sponsor of Rich's USAC racing team.

        The speed shop stayed open, even after Rich's departure. Debbie and her husband, Paul sold parts to local modified and sprint car teams. They no longer sold sprint car or modified chassis. There is very little profit margin in racing parts and chassis, so the family opted to sell the property to a developer. This closes a chapter in the Tobias Family's lives, however they will all stay connected to racing.
        "In memory of #17 Ronnie & Dick "Toby" Tobias."

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        • #5
          Somewhere in the back of the closet I still have an old Tobias Speed Equipment T-shirt. At least I think it's still there. It dates back to the 1970s and has a "Snoopy" dog zooming along on a skateboard printed on it.

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          • #6
            "Super Dog"

            Snoopy was the "Super Dog" that Dick had on his #17 Tobias Speed Equipment modifieds and Rich Jr. also displayed on his early modifieds.

            Contact me if you want to sell that shirt!
            "In memory of #17 Ronnie & Dick "Toby" Tobias."

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            • #7
              Thanks 17
              Things continue to change
              Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

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              • #8
                Thanks 17, for the info. I was at Flemington that sad night, hard to believe it was twenty-five years ago.
                "A lot of information on the Internet quickly occupies niche spaces, for specialized audiences, which use it for their own purposes."

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                • #9
                  That is one less HONEST speed shop that exists...and there are not too many more left, where the racer gets a square deal. Good luck to all in the furure.

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