Mercer Raceway Park announced an innovative approach to its traditional Saturday Night Live! racing events that have been the backbone of the schedule. The new program includes an earlier starting time, no hot laps, and a stable order of events. “Our goal was to balance the interests of our neighbors and local government officials who have voiced concerns about noise and dust from racing programs that extended into the night; to reward the loyal racers who have supported our programs over the years; to nurture the next generation of racers who will be the future of the sport; and to improve the fan experience for those who enjoy our racing,” said track owner Bill Altman. “We think we have hit upon a formula that will provide a complete and exciting program, under prime track conditions, and in a reasonable time,” he added. Altman clarified that the new format will not apply to special events, such as the March 19 Jack Frost Enduro or the March 26 Chiller Thriller. “Our staff will work closely with outside sanctions, like the the Arctic Cat All Stars Circuit of Champions, the BRP Modified Tour, the Mo Vaughn Transport Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series, and others, to develop and publish a timetable for those special programs so that our competitors and fans will know in advance when their favorite classes are expected to hit the track.”
Weather permitting, the speedway will implement the new format on Saturday, April 2, which is scheduled to be the first Saturday Night Live! program of 2016.
“We will open the pit gates at 4 p.m. and the front gates at 4:30 p.m., as usual,” Altman noted. So, fans who want to maximize their racing experience should turn out early to take in all of the action.
Racing–not practice–will start at 5:30 for three divisions, the Elder Tractors Junior Sprints, the Eperthener Auto Wrecking and Ray’s Racing Collectibles Mini Stocks, and the Rock Construction Modified Lites. These divisions will compete in heat races and feature events, which will be completed by 7 p.m.
“That will serve as an appetizer for the main course,” Altman explained.
At 7 p.m., the first heat race for the Precise Racing Products Stock Cars will roll onto the track, followed by preliminaries for the Bonnell’s Rod Shop Outlaw Sprint Warriors, the Approved Toilet Rentals 358 Modifieds, and the 4 Your Car Connection 410 Sprints. Main events will follow. “We will alternate the 358 Modifieds and the 410 Sprints each program to add a little variety,” Altman allowed.
“By structuring the program in this fashion, fans who want to enjoy a dinner at home with their families before coming to the track, or who have work or other personal commitments that could delay their arrival, will not miss any portion of the four premier classes that we offer. They can come out by seven and still see all of the action in their favorite divisions.”
“And, with four classes starting at seven, which was the starting time at the track when we raced six classes, we should have the fans and competitors heading home at an earlier hour.”
“The new format will also allow us to keep more moisture in the track, which means better racing conditions and less dust.” Altman explained, “the Junior Sprints, Mini Stocks, and Modified Lites have less horsepower and smaller tires than the other classes, so that will prevent the track from becoming too dry too soon.” He added, “the moisture rises to the top of the surface after the sun goes down, so the four premier divisions should benefit from a tacky surface.”
“We apologize for any confusion about this important announcement,” Altman said. “Our initial post to the track website was incomplete,” he added.
Remember that you can get alerts regarding the cancellation of any racing event at Mercer Raceway Park sent directly to your smartphone or other electronic device. To register, please go to the track’s website, www. mercerracewaypark.com, click on the icon for RainedOut.com, and follow the easy steps.