Promoters Alan Kreitzer and Don Leiby knew, at some point, there would have to be a succession plan put in place at Lincoln Speedway.
Both Kreitzer and Leiby have been at the successful speedway for over two decades. They still enjoy the promoting game and have the experience to carry on for years to come, but neither is getting any younger.
So, when the opportunity presented itself to form an exit strategy and sell the speedway to new partners, it was a no brainer. It guaranteed the future of Lincoln Speedway is in good hands.
Kreitzer will remain involved at Lincoln. He will be partnered with the management team of Scott Gobrecht, Jerry Parrish, and Mike Heffner. Leiby has sold all of his shares at the speedway.
“Well, we’ve done it for 26 years, and I think it’s likely in the next five years that we would be doing something,” Kreitzer said. “This opportunity presented itself, so it seemed like a good fit for all concerned.
“I still plan to be involved, but I’m 65 and Don is 75. For me, I can see a succession plan, and I can see what it’s going to be. It’s a good group, and I think it bodes well, not only for Lincoln, but central Pennsylvania.”
This deal morphed out of a simple phone call from Parrish, who owns the Sprint Car driven by Brian Montieth, to Leiby. It got the ball rolling on what turned out to be a long offseason process.
Gobrecht, owner of BAPS Motor Speedway and part owner of a Sprint Car team, entered the mix a short time later. Like Parrish, he is well respected in racing and as a businessman in the Hanover, Pa., area.
Not only are Gobrecht and Parrish successful businessman, they are friends. So, it only made sense that they would partner with each other in this venture.
“One day I was thinking about it, and I knew Don was getting a little older,” Parrish said. “I figured he wasn’t going to do it until he was 90 years old, so I called him and said, ‘Hey, if you ever think about selling it, I would be interested.’ He said, ‘You know, let me think about that.’
“At that point, I knew I had his attention. I was looking into it myself, and Scott had mentioned that he would be interested in doing it with me.”
Continued Parrish, “There is no better person to do it with me than him. The name Gobrecht in this area, in general, they just go hand and hand. Besides that, we are best friends, so it was a perfect fit.”
Parrish and Gobrecht put an offer in to Leiby and Kreitzer, but there was another interested buyer in the mix.
Heffner, who is part of the management team with Kreitzer at Selinsgrove Speedway and also owns a team, entered the picture late in the game. So instead of going one direction or the other, the parties met and decided to make it four-person group of heavy hitters in the central Pennsylvania area.
Parrish will run the day-to-day operations at the speedway. Kreitzer will also be in the mix, with Gobrecht and Heffner also having input.
“It’s not like there is anyone in there who doesn’t know racing,” Kreitzer said. “I’ve worked with Mike the last three years at Selinsgrove, so I have a pretty good understanding of what he’s all about and his philosophy.
“He really has the best interest of racing at heart with the decisions he’s made. I think he will be a welcomed edition to the team and be a real asset.
“On paper, it looks like it should work. It’s a good group and mix, so I think it will be fine. I think we will get some fresh ideas and have good discussions about what we are doing. I think it will be fun.”
For Gobrecht and Parrish, being a part of Lincoln Speedway, a track close to their hearts, is a dream come true.
Gobrecht remembers growing up at the speedway. His parents worked in the refreshment stand, and he, along with his brothers, used to drive their big wheels and go-karts at the speedway.
“It goes back to Lincoln Speedway renaming its Speed Week date the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial,” Gobrecht said. “We are coming up on the 20th anniversary of that in 2019, and one of the most special things for me was when the Legend cars were added to the event, and I was able to win it.
“That was a very, very emotional night for me. I have a collage of pictures hanging on my office wall, and one of those pictures is Jerry and I standing in Victory Lane.
“Lincoln is truly a special place. I grew up there as a kid. My uncle Hilly Rife Jr. took care of the track, and I had a relationship with Hilly Rife Sr., who built the speedway. There is just a lot of history.”
The relationship with Parrish only adds to this moment for Gobrecht. The two forged a friendship when their businesses were in their infancy stage, and there is a deep mutual respect that has withstood time.
Now, Gobrecht and Parrish get to work with each other at Lincoln. And they get to do it with two partners who know the racing game inside and out.
“Being involved at Lincoln will not take away from what I do at BAPS,” Gobrecht said. “The team I have at BAPS and the success of that speedway is also very important to me moving forward.
“Jerry is one of my oldest and best friends. I’ve always had lot of respect for the way he does business, and more important, how he works with people and understands different personalities.
“This is somewhat different for me. Other than working with my brother at Golf Cart Services, I pretty much have done things myself as far as different ventures. So, I’m really looking forward to this collective pool of experience.”
Continued Gobrecht, “If you get the four of us in the room and look across the table, you see the amount of experience and the amount of passion in the group. It’s really exciting to me.”