Monday, April 6, 2009

An afternoon on the strip

NEW ALEXANDRIA, Pa. - Engines revved and tires squealed this weekend at Pittsburgh Raceway Park for the opening test session at the drag strip in Westmoreland County.

A photographer and I went to the quarter-mile track Sunday afternoon for a profile on what makes these drivers and mechanics tick. There is a clear distinction between those who take this sport seriously and the amateurs who come with their factory-built cars for a joyride down the quarter-mile. Either way, it looks like a lot of fun.

The stands attract a small crowd, but the majority of the audience is in the garage paddock on a hill overlooking the track. It’s these crewmen and drivers that eagerly watch to see who can run the fastest and most consistent times. They line up against the chain-link fence and peer over the track.

It’s a certain breed that makes the weekly trip to these tracks and invests money into an expensive hobby. The story is scheduled to run in the Observer-Reporter on May 17.

(Photo by O-R photographer Jim McNutt)

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