Sunday, July 29, 2001

Auto Racing Insider


Runways turn to raceways for SCCA event

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        They're going racing at Lunken Airport next month, with an event that will be the first of its kind in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Region of the Sports Car Club of America will hold two days of racing (Aug.18-19) on a temporary 2.28-mile road course at Lunken, in what is billed as the “Lunken Runway Enduro.”

        The airport's runways and taxiways will give way to souped-up sports cars that weekend, although one runway will remain open for air traffic.

        Bruce Wolff, race chairman, said the event has several big sponsors and also is relying on numerous volunteer workers. The presenting sponsor is the The Beechmont Automile.

        “The big runway, the 6,000-footer, will remain open that weekend,” Wolff said. “The two smaller, older runways, the ones that cross like a scissors ... those will be closed.”

        There will be three races:

        • The Budweiser/Main Street three-hour endurance race.

        • The Pepsi Formula Challenge.

        • The Broadwing/Cincinnati Bell Wireless Pro Spec Racer Dash.

        The idea for an airport event came from the annual CART race at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport.

        “Our success with it could encourage other (SCCA) regions to undertake an event such as this,” Wolff said.

        The star driving attraction will be B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati, a former SCCA national champion who has competed internationally.

        “B.J. is the biggest star we've got in town,” Wolff said. “He'll probably be driving in at least two of the three races.”

        For tickets and other information, visit the event's Web site at racelunken.com. Or call 1-888-295-7222 or 513-321-4700.

        KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY: Mark Cassis, Kentucky speedway general manager, said about 35,000 seats have been sold for the track's Indy Racing League event Aug.12.

        Cassis said the track's 2002 schedule should look about the same as 2001, with a NASCAR Busch race, Craftsman Truck race and an IRL race the main events. As for Winston Cup, the speedway believes 2003 is its earliest, best hope.

        “All we can do is keep performing,” Cassis said.

        KROGER SHOW: Greg Robbe's annual “NASCAR Day” at the Tylersville Kroger store is today from 11 a.m.to 5 p.m., but it also will have an IRL touch. IRL driver Sarah Fisher, a fan favorite, will sign autographs from noon-2 p.m.

        Robbe, grocery manager at the store (7855 Tylersville Rd., West Chester), is in his ninth year of staging this event. This year he has about 20 show cars, mostly from NASCAR.

        Included is Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s No.3 Coca-Cola car, the one he drove on NASCAR's exhibition trip to Japan a few years ago. Also, one of Kevin Harvick's No.29 Goodwrench cars will be on hand.

        EDGEWATER EVENT: The NHRA Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series makes its annual stop at Edgewater Sports Park (Cleves) next weekend.

        The series, which used to be known as “Sportsman” drag racing, has been a feeder for the big-league NHRA Winston circuit. Stars such as Joe Amato, Jeg Coughlin Jr., Warren Johnson, Gary Scelzi and Tony Schumacher all drove in the Federal-Mogul series.

        The Edgewater event is Friday through Sunday. For information, visit edgewaterrace.com or call (513) 353-4666.

        DRAG BIKES: The International Drag Bike Association has three Cincinnatians among the leaders in its Super Gas points race. Bill Hendricks of Reading stands first, with Dave Page (second) and Billy Poe (fifth) also from Greater Cincinnati. The series races mostly in the Southeast and Midwest.

        E-mail tgroeschen@enquirer.com.

       



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