SALEM - Quaker City Motorsports Park officially launches its new era under the Fox family as the entire country comes alive with a big auto racing weekend.
Norm Fox, the new owner and president of QCMP, said with the weather looking like four-by-four with sun and heat, the famed quarter-mile drag strip, three miles north of Salem, is ready to go.
Tonight opens with a test and tune and a gamblers race.
Gates open at 6 p.m., racing starts at 7 p.m.
Test and tune entry is $25, and entry for the gamblers race is $35. Spectators are $8 during a test and tune, children under 12 are free and seniors are $5 for regular race days.
Saturday will be the first day of points. Spectators are $10, children under 12 are free and seniors are $5 and students between 12 and 18 are $5. Check the website for prices variations for special events. Gates open at 11 a.m.
Sunday will be the QCMP's Nostalgia Classic. Gates open at 8 a.m. with time trials for Stock/Super Stock, Grasses, and UMBER (United Manual Transmission Racers) starting at 10 a.m.
Southern slingshot and nostalgia Funny Cars will be part of the show, and car cruisers can make an eighth-mile fun runs for $25.
The track opened last Saturday under International Hot Rod Association sanctioning with about 170 participant cars, Fox said Thursday.
The track is run by Fox and his two sons, Duke, the vice president of operations, and Alan, the grounds administrator.
Spectators can look for Pro Mod cars to reach 175-180 mph while turning times in the 7- to mid-7-second bracket along with Super Pro cars.
With all the rain, Fox said it's been a struggle.
"It's hard getting the facility fixed let alone all the other things," Fox said.
There is a new front gate a couple of hundred feet east of the old gate and fans will see close to 4,000 feet of shiny, new chain-link fence once inside.
Two major upgrades include a new maintenance building and a kid's playground, both on the pit side of the track. The concession stand has all new equipment, including stoves, a huge new ice-making machine, a giant-sized freezer and a giant-sized refrigerator to support a menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries and Tao chips.
Fox said he was working on the Quaker City's famous soft-swirl ice cream and expects to sell "smoked pizza" later. The concession stand and prep
area has all new lights and there are new picnic tables outside the stand.
On the track, which carries Stratton Chevrolet sponsorship on the pit-side lane, there is an additional 800 feet of concrete retaining wall on each side almost to the end of the tracks 2,000-foot runoff area.
Part of the grandstand have been moved back for safety. The track has seating for about 5,000 people. There is also a new, covered starter's box.
"We've been cleaning, cleaning and cleaning and there's a whole new timing system," Fox said.
Years ago racers would come to the track and say it was like going to a country club and part of that feeling is back.
With all the commotion, Fox said he will be happy to get things "down to a dull roar."
He expects to employ between 22 to 25 people when everything is "down to a dull roar."
The track was founded in 1957 under the ownership of Dick and Viva Mosey.
For more information, visit: hp://www.quakercitymotorsportspark.cm/index.hp.
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org