With threatening skies and a dismal forecast for what is supposed to be a Saturday filled with racing what is one to do???!!! Well, for me and my family the answer was clear…go racing anyway!
Last Saturday (August 13th) may not have gone exactly as planned, but a few rumbles of thunder and torrential rains didn’t keep us from having a good time; especially with so many things to do in South-West Michigan.
As part of Coopersville, Michigan’s SummerFest and the Del Shannon Car Show; event sponsor Keyser’s Port City Racing opened their doors for tours of their facility.
Although weather put a damper on the amazing car show; it was nice and dry inside the huge building that houses Port City. The Keyser and Port City names have always signified excellence and a tour of the facility proved why. I was simply amazed at the technology and machinery that is on-site. From the shock room where Integra Racing Shocks are developed, built, and re-valved to the main machining floor I was in awe. Keyser Manufacturing Co. works in conjunction with many chassis manufactures including Victory Circle, Rocket, and MB2 building suspension and assembly parts which are customized. Their assortment of CNC machines, laser cutters, and water-jet cutters make full parts in just seconds and robotic welders assist in building their customized spindles.
In addition to their skills in developing new technology on the track, the company is also a distributor for many major brands and can provide competitors with almost everything needed to stay on-track. The Keyser development doesn’t end in the pits, they can make many custom made-to-order parts and their OMI ATV Products division is a leader in bolt-on ATV accessories. For more information on Port City Racing and the entire Keyser group you can find them on the web at http://www.portcityracing.com/
The tour was fun and educational, and with a car show featuring hundreds of classics it was a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.
From Coopersville we ventured south a little further to Kalamazoo Speedway and saw some incredible racing action on the high-banked 1/20-mile oval. That’s right a 1/20th mile high-banked concrete oval…Little Kalamazoo Speedway is located just off of turn three of the big track and is home to USAC sanctioned .25 Midget racing. .25 Midget racing has long been a great way for kids ranging in age from 5-15 years to test their skills against some serious competition. The racing is as intense as any Saturday night super speedway and it’s often hard to believe that after a race these competitors will be breaking out hot-wheels and Barbie dolls.
The years I spent behind the wheel of a Quarter Midget are still looked back on with fondness. And although I cringe to think that it was nearly 20-years ago when I was buckling in, there are still some aspects of the sport that have not changed; Quarter Midget racing is as competitive as it was when Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, and Ed Carpenter were making laps, and of course there is a camaraderie that can never be matched between the young drivers who do battle week-in and week-out.
The emergence of USAC as a sanctioning body in 2009 helped further develop the world of .25 Midget racing, opening up even more opportunities for growth and exposure for young drivers. JR Motorsports is one of many involved in reaching out to the youthful open-wheelers and incorporating them in development programs. With several different divisions utilizing most of the same equipment there is a niche for anyone on almost every budget.
Quarter Midget racing is the perfect outlet for the youngest of aspiring drivers; while enjoying a great hobby kids learn sportsmanship, dedication, and mechanics. And from a fan perspective it is amazing to watch the future of our great sport unfold before our eyes.
To learn a bit more about Little Kalamazoo be sure to check them out on the web at http://www.littlekalamazoospeedway.com/
Located next to Kalamazoo Speedway it’s quite easy to double-dip and with several Saturday’s on both schedules there is plenty of time remaining in 2011 to catch some action.
My attempt to double dip wasn’t completely successful as severe weather put an end to the Pre-Klash Super Late Model show after just a few hot-lap sessions, and even though I wasn’t able to see any racing at Kalamazoo Speedway it sure was nice to hear the hiss of engines hitting the high-banked 3/8-mile and I am already looking forward to my next visit on a sunny Saturday night.