Super Nats a family affair

SALEM – Each year, families have participated in many auto shows and competitions like this weekend’s Steel Valley Super Nationals, and many families are back this year for the excitement and the good time.

“The party’s all here,” said Matthew Gilbert of Salem.

Matthew and his brother, Lonnie, returned to the Super Nationals this year and are not only excited to post good times, they also look forward to representing the family business well.

“It’s actually for Gilbert’s Auto Service,” Matthew said. “My father owns and operates an auto repair shop here in town, so it’s a nice way to promote that.”

Gilbert proudly displays the business’ decal on the back window of his street vehicle, a 1981 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, which he can drive the quarter-mile in 14 to 15 seconds.

“It’s a nice every day driver, but I run mid-14s with it,” Matthew said. “This is my baby. This is the only one I’ve had so far.”

Like Matthew, Lonnie has also raced Monte Carlos, but nowadays, he prefers a smaller vehicle: a snowboard.

“It’s fast,” Lonnie said. “I actually had the same year Monte Carlo he (Matthew) did, and was going 12.40s in it, and I saw my buddy who owned this, and he was doing 10.90s in them.”

Lonnie’s competition consists of motorcycles and can post fast times, but this weekend he has already experienced some problems.

“I’ve had some belt problems,” Lonnie said. “Hopefully tonight I can get in the 10.90s. I’ve ran 11.09, I had a little belt slippage at the line.”

The brothers have also enjoyed the Salem Super Cruise, held in downtown Salem in conjunction with the Super Nationals, but Matthew has been partial towards the racing aspect.

“I was out in town cruising around yesterday,” Matthew said. “Everything went smooth, the cars were nice, but I would rather be out here at Quaker City racing.”

Another pair of brothers, Cody and Jake Rozeski of New Waterford, also continue their love of racing as well.

“I enjoy being here,” Cody said. “It gets me a chance to come out and meet new people every year.”

Cody’s vehicle of choice is a Kawasaki ZRX 1100, and has been able to post good times and speed with his motorcycle.

“I’ve been able to hit 11.47 going 114,” Cody said.

Cody’s experience goes back before he became a teenager.

“I started racing since I was 12,” Cody said. “Now I’m 23 and I race motorcycles, and I’ve been doing this for about 11 years.”

Cody will continue to race in the same manner Jake did for several years.

“I’ve raced here for a few years, and it’s really fun,” Jake said.

Cody, however, will be the only of the two Rozeski brothers racing this weekend as an accident forced Jake to sit out of this year’s festivities.

“I ended up with a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament),” Jake said. “I had an accident with my dirt bike, and so I ended up missing out this year.”

Regardless, Cody will carry on as he races today, along with the Gilbert brothers and many more families at Quaker City Motorsports Park, where racing will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.