He Really, Really Liked It: Impressions Of A First-Time Firecracker 100 Attendee
New Jersey Fan Among Thousands Awaiting Fifth Annual World of Outlaws Late Model Series Event On June 23-25 At Lernerville Speedway
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
SARVER, PA – May 26, 2011 – The fan from New Jersey heard great things about the Firecracker 100 presented by GottaRace.com at Lernerville Speedway, so last year he trekked to western Pennsylvania to check it out for himself.
What did he think of the event? Well, let’s just say he can’t wait to return for the fifth annual edition of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series spectacular, which will bring three nights of action-packed racing to the four-tenths-mile oval on June 23-25.
“I’m going all three days this year,” said 53-year-old Joey Palazzo, a life-long dirt-track racing fan from Raritan, N.J. “Last year I just went on Friday and Saturday, but I’m doing the whole deal this time. It’s a great show and definitely one of the best deals you’ll find anywhere.”
Three-day reserved seat ticket packages are currently on sale for the Firecracker 100, which features preliminary programs topped by 30-lap, $6,000-to-win A-Mains on Thurs., June 23, and Fri., June 24, and the 100-lap finale boasting a $30,000 winner’s prize on Sat., June 25. Value-priced at $59 for adults and $19 for children 10-and-under, each package includes a free fan pit pass for the Thursday and Friday events and priority access to Saturday’s pre-race driver autograph session when purchased in advance on-line at www.lernerville.com and www.dirtcar.com/tickets or by calling 724-353-1511.
Palazzo believes fans should run to their computers or telephones to lock in their seats for the Firecracker 100, an event that became one of his personal favorites as soon as he experienced it in 2010. He said it was a dirt-track special that definitely lived up to its hype.
“I’d recommend the Firecracker to anyone,” said Palazzo. “It doesn’t matter if you like Late Models, Sprint Cars or Modifieds – if you want to go somewhere different and see a real fun and exciting event with a great atmosphere, the Firecracker is the race for you. I don’t think anybody can be disappointed with what they’ll see.”
Palazzo speaks about the blockbuster event from a position of authority. While he grew up watching Big-Block Modified races at the old Flemington (N.J.) Speedway near his home and has visited virtually every track in the Northeast that runs the open-wheel division, he has expanded his personal schedule over the past two decades to include some of the country’s biggest Sprint Car and dirt Late Model events. His extensive travels have taken him to such nationally-recognized races as Super DIRT Week at the Syracuse (N.Y.) Mile, Iowa’s Knoxville Sprint Car Nationals (every year but two since 1993), the DIRTcar Nationals at Florida’s Volusia Speedway Park, the Kings Royal and World 100 at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, the World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte and even the Belleville (Kans.) Midget Nationals.
A bachelor who works as the manager of a McDonald’s restaurant in Clinton, N.J., Palazzo feels that the Firecracker 100 offers everything a fan could ask for in a special show. He raves about the format (full programs each night and no support divisions), the facility (“Lernerville is one of the best tracks in the country”), the racing (“It’s just awesome seeing so many great drivers run three-wide in the turns”) and the auxiliary pre- and post-race activities, which this year will include the Ms. Firecracker pageant and a cornhole tournament on Thursday night; fireworks and a concert by the group NoMAD on Friday night; and the traditional fan/driver horseshoes tourney, wienie roast and driver autograph session prior to Saturday’s action.
“There’s always something going on,” said Palazzo, who had seen two World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series events at Lernerville prior to attending the 2010 Firecracker 100. “It really feels like you’re at a big race. When you go to a race like that, there’s no doubt it gets you more excited as a fan.”
How excited about the Firecracker 100 is Palazzo? It’s one of three dirt-track events this year that he’s using multiple vacation days from his job to attend, joining the Knoxville Nationals and the World Finals.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Palazzo, who already has a hotel room booked for the Firecracker 100. “After going last year, there’s no way I’d miss it this year.”
Palazzo and his fellow legion of fans are certain to witness a star-studded field of drivers chase the Firecracker 100 trophy. Former winners Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga. (the only 2011 WoO LMS regular to capture the event), Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, and Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., will lead the way, but they will be challenged by a hungry group of World of Outlaws travelers that includes two-time defending tour champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va. (a preliminary A-Main winner in ’10), Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky. (three straight runner-up finishes in the Firecracker 100), Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y. (a preliminary race victor last year), current points leader Rick Eckert of York, Pa., and Lernerville master Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa.
Additional info on the Firecracker 100 can be obtained by logging on to www.lernerville.com.
Lernerville officials have opened up nearly two-dozen additional reserved camping spaces for purchase, but the remaining spots are going fast. Call the track office at 724-353-1511 for details.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award), McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award), Chizmark Larson Insurance, Factory Value Parts and RacingJunk.com; in addition to contingency sponsors Comp Cams, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filters and Wrisco Aluminum.