Thousands come for music, races at 9th Salem Supernats


Bob Stowe knows his teen-aged daughter, Katie, has a lead foot when she gets behind the wheel, and he’s okay with it. In fact, he encourages it. The faster, the better.

But only when she’s on the drag strip.

Katie, 16, drives a junior dragster and has been racing since she was 8.

Her current car, called the Viperizer, was among 1,000 or so cars, motorcycles, and even snowmobiles, that tore up the strip over the weekend during the Steel Valley Super Nationals at Quaker City Motorsports Park on West South Range Road, just north of Salem, about midway between state Routes 45 and 62.

Katie said that although drag racing is often perceived as a male-dominated sport, there are actually more girls than guys who drive the junior dragsters.

The Supernats kicked off Friday and continues through today. Promoter Corey Ward said some 50,000 people from 14 states were expected to visit the event over its three-day run. More than 1,000 drivers had registered to race their cars over the weekend.

This is the ninth year the event has been in Salem.

Ward said nearly 4,200 people turned out Friday night for a concert by Vince Neil, former frontman for the band Motley Crue. A similar crowd was expected for a concert Saturday night by former Poison lead singer Bret Michaels.

Mike Poinski, 57, of Austintown, said he took Saturday off from both of his full-time jobs so he could come out and watch some of his colleagues from Exal Corp. race.

Read more about the event in Sunday's Vindicator or on

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