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HOUSEHOLDER: Local race fans must choose between Racing Xtravaganza or Gambler's Classic

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
717-505-5403/@ydsports
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  • The 2020 Racing Xtravaganza show is Friday and Saturday at the York Expo Center.
  • The Gambler's Classic is Friday and Saturday at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.
  • Racing Xtravaganza's hours at 3-10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday.

Local race fans will have a tough decision to make this weekend.

Two of the winter’s biggest local race events fall at the same time.

The Racing Xtravaganza show is set for the York Expo Center, while just a few hours away, the Gambler’s Classic indoor auto races will go off in Atlantic City. Both are Friday and Saturday.

The show now known as the Racing Xtravaganza started life in the 1980s as the Dirt Trackin’ show. For all those years, it has been a gathering spot over the winter months for local race fans and participants. This year is sure to be a great one for the show, which got new life when Scott Gobrecht took over as promoter several years ago.

This year's hours are 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Saturday.

Lots of race cars will be on hand, as well as booths for racing parts manufacturers, speedways and racing novelties. There are plenty of extra activities to make this a really big event in the Northeast.

While there are a whole host of things going on during its two-day run on Friday and Saturday, some things to mark on the calendar include the BAPS Cornhole Challenge, which goes on pretty much all weekend, and includes several local drivers. Of course, many of those drivers will stick around for autographs as well. 

Brian Montieth

Lincoln Speedway champion Brian Montieth will be at Lincoln’s booth Saturday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. for just that purpose.

Just after the show starts on Friday, there will be a promoters' round table featuring Steve O’Neil from Port Royal, Joey Padula from Bedford and Justin Loh from Williams Grove. That starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday. That will be followed by a Wicked Cushion Sponsorship Seminar presented by Matthew Hannister and Kolten Gouse.

The Ms. RX contest is Friday at 8 p.m.

A very informative seminar for racers, one that has become a “must-attend" event, is the presentation by PennDOT on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

Other Saturday events include an announcers' round table at 2 p.m. with Dave Hare, Earl Hoon and Mike Donald. Racer Alan Sagi will moderate. At 5 p.m., the PASS 305 sprint group will have a seminar, and at 6 p.m. there's a 410 sprint round table.

Yes, there is plenty to see and do this weekend at the York Expo Center for the Racing Xtravaganza.

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Gambler's Classic: Then there is the other big option — racing inside Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.

The Gambler’s Classic started in 2003 when racing returned to the boardwalk after about two decades. It has been going strong ever since.

The three-quarter midgets headline the Gambler’s Classic and the race offers their biggest payoff of the year. The slingshots and champ karts also compete over the weekend.

All classes qualify on Friday evening, with a number of semi features for the TQs as the main attraction. Saturday is reserved for the last-chance races and the main events.

Before Saturday’s racing, the fans get a chance to venture down to the track to see the cars and meet the racers. Just a note for those have never done so. Wear old shoes. The cola syrup they use to get traction gets so sticky that it will literally pull the shoes right off your feet.

This isn’t the first time that these two events have been held on the same weekend, but it doesn’t happen often. Usually just during leap years, and not even all the time then. It just happens when the availability of the venues falls on the same weekend.

News and notes: A few left-over news items from the past several weeks.

BAPS Motor Speedway has announced that three of its division sponsors have returned for 2020, and one new sponsor is on board as well. BAPS will continue to sponsor the super-sportsman division, with Creekside Auto Sales on board with the limited-late models. Superior Homes returns with the Xtreme stock cars. New for this year is Frankie’s Used Auto Parts and Mike’s Towing for the street-stock class.

In a related note, the Central Pennsylvania Legends series has a new title sponsor for the new year as well. Gene Latta Ford in Hanover will take over as the title sponsor for the Legends. Last year, Latta came on as the 410 sprint sponsor at Lincoln, and now it will have the Legends as well.

The PASS 305 Series announced its schedule and it will spend a lot of time at our local tracks. There are nine races at Port Royal, seven at Selinsgrove and BAPS, six at Path Valley and two each at Williams Grove, Lincoln and Trailway.

Williams Grove will have some new lighting in place for the new season as well as some extra strength in its catch fences.

Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdispatch.com.