AUTO RACING: Vintage Duels brings dwarf car racing to Nevada County Fairgrounds
It’ll be one-on-one. It’ll be exciting. And, it’ll be historic.
It is the return of dirt track racing to the Nevada County Fairgrounds after a more than 20 year absence.
“Fans should expect some good, hard, real tight racing,” said event promoter Patrick Weger. “It’ll be real easy to follow and exciting to watch.”
The fairgrounds arena will play host to Vintage Duels, an oval track racing event put on by Patrick Weger Racing which promises to feature some of the best dwarf car drivers in the nation facing off in a head-to-head elimination format Friday night.
“I knew it was something the community wanted back at the fairgrounds. It was something it never wanted to see go away,” said Weger, 36, who added some of his earliest memories are of watching races at the fairgrounds. “Knowing that the community was open to it and the fair board was open to it, it was just about coming up with an idea that would work for all the parties involved.”
For Weger, a veteran dwarf car driver himself, it is his first foray into promoting races, and while it has come with its stresses, he said the local and dwarf car racing communities has been very supportive of the venture.
“The entire community has been great. We have like 40 sponsors that have stepped up to make the event happen, and the dwarf car community is definitely excited about it,” said Weger. “It’s been a journey. Luckily my wife (Kathryn Weger) has been a big help. She’s been pretty much the backbone of it … It’s been a team effort between the both of us and it’s definitely had its stressful moments.”
Weger said he expects between 15 and 25 drivers to compete at the event, including some big names in the sport as well as some local drivers.
The format calls for drivers to go head-to-head for 10 laps with the winner moving on and the loser being eliminated.
“What we will do is qualify everybody and start with the two slowest cars and do an elimination race,” Weger said. “So after one race we will take one car off and put another car on that had a faster time and we will continue to do that. It will probably be double elimination, so we’ll cycle that car that lost back on and try to keep a consistent program.”
Weger, a third generation racer who won a pair of dwarf car championships in 2010, said he has been enamored with dwarf cars since he was a kid.
“Me and my dad went and checked them out and I think my dad was interested in them because they have the vintage hot rod look, like a 30s hard top style car,” he said. “And, they’re fast. On any track around here, they’re within 3 seconds of 410 sprint cars. They’re a real race car. It’s a pretty professional series.”
He added the key to success with dwarf cars is hard driving and determination.
“With dwarf cars it’s always about knowing how to set your car up, and being a smooth, consistent and aggressive driver,” the 2001 Bear River grad said. “They are a real squirrely car. They have a small tire size and open wheels so you can’t run into each other a whole lot, and they have plenty of horsepower for the tires, so it’s really learning to get into the gas and keeping the car straight.”
The event has been quite the undertaking for Weger to pull together, from getting insurance for the event to erecting the proper walls and fencing for the safety of drivers and spectators.
“You just kind of have to be persistent,” he said. “You run into a problem and you don’t know how to solve it, but you keep it on your mind and keep working at it and eventually a solution comes to you. As long as you don’t give up, you’ll figure it out.”
Tickets are still available for the event. The cost to attend is $15 for adults and $8 for kids 12 and under. Adult pit passes can also be purchased for $5 more. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.vintageduels.com as well as at the event. The arena gates and public pit area opens at 4:30 p.m. Friday with hot laps starting at 5:30 p.m. and qualifying set to go at 6:30 p.m. Races are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
“Lots of appreciation to the sponsors and community that has stepped up,” said Weger. “And, a big thanks to my wife.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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