IF YOU GO
What: Deerfield Raceway
Where: Quarter-mile east of Deerfield Circle on U.S. Route 224.
Events: Racing every Saturday night through October at 7 p.m.
Phone numbers: Race day info, 330-584-2300; business, 330-823-7239.
Source: Deerfield Raceway
BY ROBERT K. YOSAY
There may be nearly 500 miles — mostly uphill — separating NASCAR’s Darlington Raceway in South Carolina from Deerfield Raceway, but you won’t find more enthusiasm, dedication, electrifying races and just plain family fun in Darlington than you do at Deerfield Raceway on a Saturday night.
Most competitors find that Deerfield’s quarter-mile dirt — and sometimes dusty — track gets in their blood, and they just love it.
Todd Rhoads of Leetonia, 2009 Sportsman Division Champion, says the racing at Deerfield, a quarter-mile east of Deerfield Circle on U.S. Route 224, is exhilarating as you slide around the turns, trying to keep your car going forward but sometimes going straight toward a guardrail at close to 70 mph.
He’s not alone in that opinion.
“It’s the most fun you can have, and I get to do it every Saturday night,” said racer Maranda Myers of Minerva.
A big part of the love affair with flying dirt is the friendly atmosphere in the pits, where some 85 drivers jockey for a place to make last-minute adjustments to their cars on race night.
Although the racing is competitive, the atmosphere in the pits is cooperative, with everyone pitching in to help one another by providing a needed tool, free advice or even a push to start an engine.
Most drivers double as pit crew, chief mechanic or spotters.
But in the end, it’s the dirt track that plays a big part in the outcome of the races.
“It’s the magic of the mud, determining who wins each race,” says Paul Miller, Deerfield Raceway owner and operator.
Racing runs with eight divisions every Saturday night through October.