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Racing Xtravaganza draws big crowd
Racing fans and car enthusiasts came out in droves Saturday to check out the newly named 2016 Racing Xtravaganza, a race car show at the Utz Arena. The show, previously called the Central PA Dirt Trackin' show, moved from the previous year's Memorial Hall to the Utz Arena, allowing for more to see and do and bringing in some new features for attendees of all ages.
Revitalization: Last year's show featured about 25 cars, but now with the bigger space, organizers were able to fill the arena with more than 120 vehicles, according to Scott Gobrecht, owner of Susquehanna Speedway, 690 York Road. The number of vendors increased from 15 last year to more than 50 this year, as well.
Gobrecht was in charge of the event and said it was decided to make some changes to the show in order to revitalize it.
"We just thought it needed a change," he said.
Two hours into the show, he said the plan definitely paid off. Several show-goers leaving the venue thanked Gorbecht for the show.
This year more racers came out to showcase their vehicles because of the larger venue. In addition to the increase in the number of cars on display, the show boasted some new things for attendees, such as meet and greets with drivers and a "kid zone," where younger race fans could can sit in one of the cars and play games.
Racing fans were able to check out more than 120 vehicles during the two-day event. There were vendors selling driving suits, posters and even antique toy cars. Several vendors raffled off items as well.
Fans of all ages walked the showroom floor, with some taking pictures of the cars on display. For Vince Shifflett, of Baltimore, his lifelong love for the sport is not only his hobby but also something he does for a living. Shifflett, a race photographer, was walking around the showroom, camera in hand, capturing images of the cars on display.
Shifflett said he has been going to this show for more than 10 years, and for him, the change is a step in the right direction.
"It seems to be doing great," he said.
Focus on kids: Gobrecht said the increased focus on getting kids involved in the sport is good.
"Our sport needs all the young fans it can get," he said.
Bud Burton, of Elizabethtown, was there with his father and his two young children. Burton raced for 22 years but stopped after having kids. He was happy to see the event's emphasis on young fans. He said it was a great way to get the younger generation into the sport, and it is one of the few opportunities to see the cars up close.
"If you don't show them racing, they'll never know it's there," he said.
Cars on display: Gobrecht said a lot of the racers in the area were very willing to come out and display their vehicles. Brian Marriot, of Harrisburg, who has been racing for 15 years, was happy to have the opportunity to display his Microsprint car.
"It's great exposure for the team and sponsors," he said.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at email@example.com