Anyone can race at Super Nationals

By Don Shilling

Motorcycles, semitrucks and even snowmobiles pulled up to the starting line.

SALEM — The Super Nats aren’t just for watching anymore.

The big draw for the Steel Valley Super Nationals is racing, and it’s not just for souped-up cars.

Motorcycles, semitrucks, vans and even snowmobiles sped down the track to the delight of about 20,000 people who attended the three-day event that ended Sunday at the Quaker City Raceway just north of Salem.

Corey Ward, a promoter from Austintown, bought the event in 2005 and moved it from the Canfield Fairgrounds, where it was only a car show.

“Adding racing gives it a whole new dimension,” Ward said.

About 700 people signed up to race in addition to the people who brought cars to exhibit.

No elimination rounds took place. At random, vehicles lined up against vehicles of the same variety just so they could see how fast they could go.

The race between the semitrucks was a surprise, even to one of the drivers, Bill Burns.

Burns brought some friends and a Ford Mustang to race, but Ward persuaded him to put his truck on the line against an Air Force truck that had hauled a military display to the racetrack.

“It was just a little show for the people,” said Burns, who is from Connecticut but rents a house in Austintown because he does trucking work locally.

The Air Force truck got off the line quicker, but Burns nearly got him by the end of the quarter-mile. Burns finished in 22.69 seconds, less than a half-second behind the Air Force truck.

Others were prepared to race, such as the owners of snowmobiles who had them equipped with wheels on the front so they could speed down the track.

“I just do it for the excitement — speed,” said Karl Kridler, 49, of North Lima, as he made his way to the starting line.

He said he’s been running about 10.75 seconds on the shortened one-eighth-mile run for snowmobiles.

Mark Munyon, 50, of Columbiana said you never know what you are going to see on the track at the Super Nats.

“Young people will grab their mom or dad’s sedan or minivan and bring it out here. That’s pretty funny,” he said.

Munyon said the best quarter-mile time for his 1968 Plymouth GTX was 13.9 seconds.

He and his girlfriend, Trish Glover, 34, of Columbiana, have been racing at the Super Nats every year that it’s been in Salem.

It’s the only place they race because the Super Nats will allow people to pay $30 for the weekend and race as many times as they are able.

“We go to car shows, but it’s fun to come out and race, too,” Mun- yon said.

Glover races in her 2003 Mitsubishi GTS. She hasn’t done any modifications to the car to increase the speed; she just likes to get out on the track and go fast. She was running about 17 seconds.

Bill Young, 56, of Beloit, came out to race for the first time in 30 years. He was driving a 1979 Chevrolet Corvette that he and his son rebuilt. Billy Young, 30, was driving another car they restored — a 1979 Chevrolet Camaro.

The father said he finished in 13 seconds Saturday but was hoping to beat that Sunday.

“The problem is you get the bug, and you want to spend even more money to go faster,” he said.

One car stood out among the restored classic cars and street cars. Kevin Boring, 17, of Beaver, Pa., brought out his family’s 2006 Miller dragster.

The long, aerodynamic car’s best time of the day was 7.98 seconds with a speed of 171 mph.

Boring said his family bought the dragster earlier this year and came out to the track to get some test runs.

“We’ve been having some trouble with the engine. We just wanted to try to work the bugs out of it,” he said.

The goal is to get down to a time of 7.8 seconds. Boring, who started driving junior dragsters at age 8, races every weekend at tracks in Ohio and nearby states.

Ward, the promoter, said he was pleased with the attendance for the weekend even though it was lower than the record crowd of 32,000 in 2007 and 22,000 last year.

Rain Friday and Saturday kept both spectators and racers away, he said.