The Steel Valley Super Nationals began much like the 2011 race season: wet and gray.
Hot rods and dragsters sat in trailers next to a quiet 1/4-mile asphalt drag strip at Quaker City Motorsports Park.
Promoter Corey Ward said they tried to focus on the drag-racing aspect of the event, now in its sixth year in the Salem location. He said pre-registration for the event is up over past years, and he anticipates 25,000 participants over the weekend.
The Steel Valley Super Nationals, he said, are experiencing a resurgence with the new ownership.
Derrick “Duke” Fox is the son of new owner Norm Fox and has been working as the vice president of operations since the facility was purchased last fall at auction.
“Unfortunately, the weather didn’t turn out today,” he said.
That aspect, he noted, had been true for the start of the 2011 season.
“We’ve only got two points days in to completion,” Fox said. “But the racers have been phenomenal.”
On Friday nights, Quaker City Motorsports Park has test-and-tune events while the points events are on Saturday nights. On July 2, the facility will host a special event, Carnage of Chaos.
As the sun set, New Castle’s Gear Busters car club members sat together in a race trailer.
Member Denny Pevan, an admitted Pontiac fanatic, brought his 1967 GTO.
“Today’s been a slow day,” he said.
Pevan said Gear Busters members were using the quiet Friday to prepare cars for racing, including tuning and getting them inspected by track officials for racing.
Next weekend, Gear Busters members will attend the car show and festival Back to the 50s at Cascade Park in New Castle, Pa.
As the rain moved out the area, Salem’s downtown area came to life as streets filled with imports, hot rods and muscle cars, and the sidewalks filled with admiring pedestrians.
The Steel Valley Super Nationals continue from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.