Saratoga Speedway is instituting a few changes as it heads into the 2013 auto and motorcycle racing season.
“We are making some changes to reflect the need in motorsports activities, with car manufactures producing near race-ready machines with great handling and power,” said speedway owner Paul Hargraves.
“The car building rules are more for added safety, as opposed to car suspension systems and engine modifications. This in turn is creating some dynamics, as every car brand is now being represented,” Hargraves added.
“So new for this season is car drifting competitions. We have scheduled five events, starting with the first on May 25.”
Hargraves said this event, like all drifting competitions this season, goes rain or shine. Each car will receive points for every run that is made, once the practice session is done.
The scoring is similar to that of figure skating: drivers will create as much angle, with spinning out, then there is the amount of smoke created, so choosing the correct tires is important. The third criteria for the judges is the amount of risk each competitor is willing to accept. “We have fixed objects, like concrete walls, and barriers, how close the edge of the track, then the degree of difficulty, utilizing al areas of the paved speedway surface,” Hargraves said.
Each round will see two cars starting on the back stretch, and one on the front. Drivers will have two or three laps to out-perform the other, and just like drag racing the winner of that round will proceed, and the loser will be eliminated. This pairing will continue until the driver that eliminates the field is the winner.
Race machines are all rear wheel drive, and must have locked rear gears, so both tires will spin. There are no engine rules or limitations other than safety.
Each car must pass minimum safety inspection, ensuring that the braking system, steering and other components are in great working order. All drivers must have a driver’s licence.
“Saratoga Speedway has a strictly enforced rule, if a competitor breaks the law getting his or her car to the track, they will not be allowed to compete, as most competitors drive these cars to and from the speedway,” Hargraves noted.
Also new for 2013 is motorcycle racing. “Our track is just too small for production motorcycles. Most competitors do not get past second gear. With a six-speed gear box, these bikes have become road rockets,” said Hargraves.
“Saratoga Speedway is not alone with this dilemma. We will be changing the sport bike class to a Super-Motard division, a bike that is lighter with smaller engines and built for on-and off-road applications. “Motocross bikes are also perfect, as the course will have paved sections as well as jumps, and dirt sections,” Hargraves said. “Tires will be designed for pavement style of tread pattern, as the off-road sections will be compact material.”
The paved sections of the course will include chicanes utilizing hay bales and other soft-impact devices.
The Speedway Road Racing Association is inviting any interested participants to attend a practice session on Sunday, April 7 at Saratoga Speedway. A pre-safety inspection will begin at 3 p.m. in the parking lot, and the track will be opened up right after the go-kart rentals finish at 4 p.m. This is a free event and will include an opportunity to create the right course.
– Saratoga Speedway