"This article appeared in the
 February 2005 issue of Central PA magazine, 
(copyright ) 2005 WITF, Inc.
Reprinted with permission."
http://www.centralpa.org

 

 On a Roll

There wasn't a lot of research needed for the Stoner wedding.

"I made a phone call to Alan Kreitzer, who owns the racetrack," Mike says, adding that Kreitzer is good friends with Theresa's dad, who used to race at Silver Spring, has been part of the track for more than 40 years and co-owns two Sportsman racing cars.

According to Mike, Kreitzer "was great, and helped us out and gave us passes [for the race] for the wedding party and family members who didn't already have season passes." Kreitzer also surprised the Stoners with a video of the ceremony.

Theresa, who works as a claims administrator for Delta Dental, admits the idea of marrying at the track did not immediately appeal to her.

She and Mike, who is a landscaper, are reminiscing and sorting through photos of their September 2002 wedding in the New Cumberland mobile home they share with son Brett and cats named Reba McEntire and Shania Twain. Caps with racing logos line a shelf.

"Originally," she says, "it started out as a joke. He said, 'We'll just get married at the track,' and I said, 'No! I'm not getting married at the racetrack. There's no way!'" But the more they looked into the choices available and tried to juggle times, places and costs, the more attractive the idea became. Theresa says, "I called him one day, and said, 'You know what, let's do it at the track.'" Mike chuckles and says, "I was surprised that she actually went for it!"

Once the decision was made, friends and family jumped in to help. The Stoners got discounts on the food and the wedding dress, and a friend, John Stover, lent them his mobile home to use at the track for the wedding party after the ceremony.

On the day of the 100-lap race, "the biggest race at Silver Spring," Mike says, they had about 10 minutes on the track between the end of the time trials and the start of the race. Luckily, he says, their minister, Marquart, came up with the idea of splitting the ceremony so that they had half the wedding in the back pit, "prayers and things like that, and on the track is where we did our vows."

No one in the stands knew they were going to have a wedding until it was announced. "Once people saw what was going on, they were all for it," Mike says. Theresa laughs, "Of course, we heard a couple of people call out, 'Please don't do it!' We had 15,000 invited to our wedding!"

"We came out on rollbacks," Mike explains, "My father-in-law has Strawser's Towing, so he has a rollback [flatbed truck]. My other buddy, Pete, lent us his rollback. Two of my good friends drove and put down carpeting on the beds." As a surprise, another friend, Mark Snell, built a 20-foot bench "to keep the girls steady." Theresa in her wedding dress and the bridesmaids in their gowns rode on one rollback, the guys in tuxes on the other. Marquart remembers saying to the women, "Wow, ladies! Haven't you always wanted to do this? Give them a wave!" Mike says, "I think the hardest part of this wedding was cleaning those trucks!"

After the ceremony, Marquart says, Mike and Theresa got onto one of the flatbeds and "did a lap," around the track, much to the delight of the crowd. Back in the pit, the couple enjoyed their first dance and some wedding cake. Mike says, "We did it all, except it was outdoors and at a racetrack." They even managed to watch the final lap of the race.

Mike says with a grin, "Everything was fantastic. I got a great wife out of it, so everything turned out great!"