Bloomsburg Fair Raceway’s Getting New Clay In Place For Start Of 2023 Season
Story By: DINO OBERTO / BLOOMSBURG FAIR RACEWAY – BLOOMSBURG, PA – In just about a month’s time racing will get underway at the Bloomsburg Fair Raceway which begins the third season at the 3/8-mile dirt oval located inside the historic Bloomsburg Fairgrounds in Bloomsburg.
And as the anticipation mounts there has been a flurry of groundwork taking place both on and off the track in preparation for the Thursday, April 20 season opener.
Under the direction of Rich Tobias – who is part of the promotional team that includes Steve O’Neal and Dino Oberto – the track surface has been the focus of attention with most of the emphasis in turns three and four.
It was no mystery that drivers had noted those two corners should have more banking and that’s exactly what Tobias went to work on, adding his magic touch of keen track prep that has been very successful at Action Track USA in Kutztown where he co-manages on Wednesday nights with Doug Rose.
This past week the third and fourth turns where scraped. Once that was done Tobias completely re-contoured the banking with new dirt and limestone clay. The result is close to four feet of added banking.
“For years I lived around limestone quarries and I looked at them making roads and I always said that limestone clay would make for a great track and that’s what we always used at Action Track USA and it’s also the same clay they use at Port Royal Speedway,” said Tobias.
“We were just very fortunate that some farmer in a field dug down and said, ‘Hey I think I got something that you may want,’ and we went and looked at it just two miles down the road from the race track and it was an awesome vein of great limestone clay which we’ll be covering the race track with.”
The first and second turns had similar work done last season and Tobias felt there was not as much effort needed on that end of the surface. In all there are plans to have close to 100 truckloads of clay brought in. The clay was sent out to be tested and was approved, showing low sand content.
“They already did a great job reshaping (turns) one and two which I did do a little more contouring change to that. Three and four we’re basically doing what they did to one and two which is to make it for sure sixty-five feet of multi-groove racing,” he said.
Tobias was also working out the design of a new inner oval which will be used for the Slingshot race cars that will be running as part of the night’s regular program.
The Slingshot mimics a scaled down dirt Modified and is powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine. They give drivers the opportunity to race without the large investment of motorsports and these purpose built race cars are designed for 1/8 to 1/3 mile dirt and pavement speedways.
“It’s going to be a challenging race track and it will be very close to the same size as what the Trenton indoor race was. Everyone knows how exciting the race there was for the 600 Micros and hopefully the Slingshots will be looking forward to some great new challenging aspect here at Bloomsburg,” noted Tobias.
“The biggest thing with the Slingshots they’re going to be running in front of this awesome grandstands. And with this type facility along with Action Track and some of the other tracks we have, it’s great that the Slingshots have the opportunity to compete at a facility like Bloomsburg.”
Additionally there will be 100 arborvitaes planted around the outside wall starting in turn one and along the back straight into turns three and four.
“It’s all good especially for the first time being able to work on the track. They have great equipment and great people that give me what I need to do the job right and I’m looking forward to the big change we’re going to have with the whole surface and the type of racing and atmosphere,” said Tobias.
“It’s very exciting looking forward to the start of the 2023 season here. They did a great job building it and we’re just refining it. Fairgrounds are what made auto racing in central Pennsylvania and most of all your key race tracks were fairgrounds and to be able to work at one like I do at Kutztown and now here at Bloomsburg, I feel the racers should be ultimately excited to be able to race at a fairgrounds type of atmosphere,” offered Tobias.
“Certainly come September getting to race at one of the biggest fairs in the country is going to be incredible. The opportunities for the racers to showcase on a great race track is just endless.”
The Bloomsburg Fair Raceway will continue to keep up its goal of presenting action packed family entertainment at a good value. This year will also be a bit of a different feel as the track will run more standard divisions and for the first time there will be class champions crowned when all is said and done.
The season begins April 20 and continues through September 28 during the 168th Bloomsburg Fair. The regular line-up will be the headlined by the USAC All-Pro SpeedSTRs along with the 602 Crate Modifieds, the 4-Cylinder Stocks that will be run under the SCDRA rules and the Slingshots.
Weekly driver meeting will take place at 6:00 pm followed by warm-ups at 6:15. Heats and qualifying will get underway starting at 7:00. Pits will open at 5:00 and grandstands at 6:00. Pits are $30 per person and grandstands are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, active military and students. Kids 6-12 are $5 under 6 are free.