If you live in Central Pennsylvania and have even a passing interest in motorsports, exciting times are here. Over the next month there are multiple opportunities to take in a variety of different automobile racing events being staged within a reasonable drive from the Central Susquehanna Valley.
The Bloomsburg Fairground’s new 3/8th-mile dirt oval is expected to be inaugurated Sunday with a race by the ARDC midget series.
That event will serve as a bit of a precursor to the USAC Sprint Car series debut at the track, scheduled for Sunday, June 20. The event is the finale of the series Eastern Storm, which kicks off Tuesday, June 15, and includes stops Thursday, June 17, at the Selinsgrove Speedway, Friday, June 18, at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, and Saturday, June 19, at Port Royal.
Brady Bacon currently holds a 35-point lead over Justin Grant in the series national standings.
Chris Windom won the series most recent race, contested May 26 at the Terre Haute Action Track in Indiana. Other USAC Sprint Car winners thus far this season include Kevin Thomas, Tanner Thorson, CJ Leary, and Tyler Courtney.
One week after USAC’s Eastern Storm wraps up, NASCAR’s top divisions invade Pocono Raceway for a weekend jam packed with racing action. ARCA races at the track Friday, June 25, with the NASCAR Truck and Cup series racing at Pocono the following day. On Sunday, June 27, a NASCAR Xfinity race will be contested at Pocono, followed by the track’s second Cup race.
It will be a much different feeling at Pocono this year than last as Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin won races contested in front of no fans. The raceway will be open to fans at full capacity this year.
Race fans may have a difficult decision to make Sunday, June 27. Do you make the one-hour drive to Pocono Raceway, or a two-hour drive to Watkins Glen International in New York?
As the NASCAR Cup series will be contesting its second race of the weekend at “The Tricky Triangle” that Sunday, IMSA will be holding its annual six-hour race on the Watkins Glen course. Jimmie Johnson is among the drivers entered in the six-hour race.
IMSA returns to Watkins Glen Friday, July 2, for another event. That race is being held in place of a race which had been scheduled for Sunday, July 4, at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Canada. That race was canceled due to travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson will not be in action July 2 at Watkins Glen as he’ll be back behind the wheel of an IndyCar that weekend.
If you’re up to a nearly six-hour drive, the IndyCar series will compete Sunday, July 4, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Given the series no longer races at Pocono or Watkins Glen, the Ohio IndyCar race will be the closest contested to the Central Susquehanna Valley in 2021.
Although he’ll likely finish near the rear of the field, I’m hoping to make the drive to Ohio just to see Johnson compete in an IndyCar.
Other opportunities exist to take in motorsports events, within a reasonable drive from Central Pennsylvania, in the following weeks. Formula e is scheduled to contest a doubleheader event July 10-11 in New York City. I took in that event in 2019 and found the best part to be the podium celebration, which fans at that time got an up-close look at the celebration.
IMSA, minus the headline Daytona Prototype International class, competes Saturday, July 17, at the Lime Rock Park road course in Connecticut.
After most major motor racing series take a break in late July and early August due to the Olympics, the USAC midget series swings through Pennsylvania in early August, with a headline race scheduled for Friday, Aug. 6, in Bloomsburg. That same weekend, NASCAR’s top three divisions return to Watkins Glen after not competing at the track in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.