By Larry Boos
ROSSBURG, OH (March 30) – They tried it and it worked, so it’s going to be repeated.
One of the unique things that separates auto racing from other major league sports is the willingness of the players, in this case, the drivers, to mix with the fans. Traditionally this occurs at the end of the evening when fans are permitted into the restricted pit area to get up close. The only down side of this is if the event ran late into the evening, or perhaps their favored driver had a bad race and didn’t want to stick around.
To overcome this, the Eldora Speedway and USAC (United States Auto Club) officials teamed up to host a pre-race pit party/autograph session prior to last year’s initial race meet at the famed one-half mile clay speed plant. So overwhelming was the result that the concept will be repeated when the Indianapolis based sanctioning body returns to Eldora on Saturday, April 9.
Anyone with a general admission ticket will be granted access into the infield pit area from 4:00 until 5:00 to get up close and personal with the drivers and check out the new team colors and graphics for the 2011 season.
This setting has proven to be more relaxing for the teams and actually gets them pumped up for the evening, with renewed vigor as a result of the fan excitement.
Saturday’s USAC contest will actually be day number two of the annual Coca Cola Spring Classic that will feature the history rich non-winged Sprint Car division of USAC in consecutive nights of doubleheader racing (April 8 & 9). Joining the Sprints on Friday evening will be Eldora’s Stock Car division, while the UMP (United Midwestern Promoters) Modifieds will complete the twin bill on Saturday – each with a 7:30 PM race time. Advance tickets may be ordered online at www.eldoraspeedway.com, where fans can also find complete event information and updates.