Travelling companion Mark Miller (in the second Motorhome) bought a handbook called the National Speedway Directory – United States & Canada. You can get them at any good Speedway merchandise shop. It contains information for all classes of Speedway (Plus Drags) including the venue locations, and other info like track specifications, website, phone number, Owner/Promoters details, what day of the week they race and what classes they race. There is also a compressive race schedule for each racing category, and neat maps by state of where the tracks sit geographically. There are 57 tracks alone in Pennsylvania !
Using this guide we discovered that a local Pennsylvania Sprintcar show was on only 30mins from Gettysburg – that’s where we planned staying on Sunday night 24th July. The track was Lincoln Speedway and a Sprintcar show was programmed.
The track is a 3/8th mile semi-banked clay oval. A nice little country setting, large pits and a bargain at only $14 to get in.
410’s were running as well as a class that I didn’t really know too much about – 358 Sprinters. In addition to the obvious motor capacity difference, 358’s run a different top wing. The side boards look to be the same as a 410 but the left one is offset forward and the right side is offset to the rear – “crabbed” if you will. The centre airfoil/wing section is also considerably shorter. They run a cast iron block and heads and are allowed fuel injection and a dry sump from what I can recall.
The racing in the 358 class was really competitive, and I would probably go so far as to say more interesting to watch than the beloved 410 class because they changed positions and challenged one another far more regularly. They weren’t anywhere near the speed of the 410’s, but they certainly weren’t disgraced. Let me tell you how competitive the class is……they have run 12 A Mains so far this season and produced 12 separate winners. That’s something !
Shortly after arriving at the track we caught the tail end of a PA announcement that indicated there was a young Australian Driver racing in the 410 class. We missed his name but we soon tracked him down. It was young aspiring South Australian Sprintcar pilot Luke Bowey. The family had made the bold decision to buy a Sprintcar, full sized Motorhome (Coach) and a large enclosed racecar trailer and Go Racin’.
26 year old Luke is supported by Dad Ken, Mum Gay and other local crew members that I didn’t get a chance to meet. The Bowey Family was also in the company of two other people heavily involved in racing Sprintcars – Pam & Garry Dillon (Parents of South Australian Sprintcar hotshoe Luke Dillon). It was a small world !
Luke Bowey said to me when I asked what the deal was all about “We have come here for a learning curve and a life experience.” He was interesting to talk to and really had his head screwed on. Luke is only in his 3rd year of Sprintcar racing, having come out of Formula 500’s. The team have a definite plan and I reckon the Stateside experience will stand them in great stead for a successful summer season in Australia. The Team have been taking in as much racing as they can in the Pennsylvania area over the last few weeks. They return to Australia early September. Good luck guys !