We had our first visit to Marion Center Speedway, a dirt oval track located in Western PA July 6, 2013. We were impressed with the overall layout of the facility and the beauty of the surrounding area. The roads leading to the dirt track racing complex were in good condition compared to others we have been on. Most are paved up to the main entrance and then you will hit the dirt and a few minor pot holes. There is ample parking area right beneath the stadium area. The down side is that you will have to walk up a steep hill so if you have medical problems, we did see a few people stopping along the way up to take a breather. The path to the dirt track entrance is paved also so you won't have to worry about stepping into ruts. It can be a hike for older folks and there really is no way of getting around that so be prepared.
The entrance fee for adults was $12 for that night. Kids under 5 were free. The ones in between were $5 or $7.00. This isn't bad for five average hours of racing. Unfortunately on this night, we only got through some of the heat races and then it stormed so we had to leave. Rain checks supposedly are not being offered because most of the heat races were finished. I'm not sure I agree with that but they have to pay their bills too and with dirt track auto racing become so much more expensive, every entrance fee helps to maintain the track and set the winnings for the night. The entertainment, even though short, was good so I will go with leaning toward no complaints about the rain checks.
Once inside, the stadium seating is rough. It's a bit difficult if you have bad knees to step down to get a seat. Make sure you are early if you want to sit near the top. Bring a padded seat or blankets to cover the wood benches because they are old and weathered. You can see more about this and other speedways on our blog http://dirttrackautoracing.blogspot.com
There is a large snack bar with cold drinks and a variety of fast food type of items. The water is great because it is nice and cold and the dirt track races can get very hot. The items are reasonably priced too.
The downside is that if you don't smoke, smokers are scattered throughout the crowds. This isn't so great when you have a breathing problem so you may have to sit farther away from the crowds. If you sit closer to the front, when the super late models race, you WILL get covered in dirt or mud. You may even be pelted with rocks or hard clay. It isn't a good idea to put children or babies in the bottom rows although we did see a few when we were there. We were sitting in about the 4th row up and we were covered in dirt in the first hour after the super late models finished their heat races. They are great to watch but make sure you bring glasses or sunglasses and ear protection for your little ones. The roar is deafening at times, but that adds to the thrill of the dirt track races.
Don't sit near the curve parts of the race track unless you are sure you want to get hit with the most dirt and possibly other flying debris from the track. The higher up you sit, the better chance you have of staying away from flying objects, however, the wind can shift at anytime so be prepared to shower when you get home.
The races can go all the way through midnight depending on a number of factors, so depending on the time of the year, if the temperature is going to drop, you may want to bring a change of clothes and or blankets to cover your little ones.
We really enjoy dirt track racing because we have family members who race. I would recommend this to anyone who likes the thrill of car racing. Nascar is good but dirt track auto racing is even more fun because of the variables the dirt tracks provide. You never know what is going to happen because it isn't boring. It is definitely more challenging then racing on asphalt in many ways, but to each his or her own.
Marion Center is a good place to go and watch a dirt track race. Just be advised, if you hear thunder or see lightning, clear out quickly because it is a hike to get back to your vehicle.
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