All Revved Up - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

All Revved Up

July 7, 2006

Albany -- The Albany Motor speedway is hosting its first major race of the year Saturday with eleven different classifications of car.

The track has under gone a lot of changes with new ownership, including adding the same timing system used at tracks like Atlanta and Lowe's.

"It's basically a radio transmitter that's mounted to the bottom of the car," says track owner Robert Witte. "There's a loop in the track with a receiver that picks up the signal. So when the car goes over the receiver it registers on the computer system and tells us how fast they're going."

Drivers of all ages have big expectations for tomorrow race.

Eleven year-old Thomas Warnick says, "The car is fast, so hopefully we'll win."

Francois Pelletier, of Vera Beach, Florida adds, "We've been tooling around the track, learning a bit about it. We had a little car trouble, but we made some adjustments, and it worked out."

Both Warnick and Pelletier are points champions in their age brackets, but the Speedway wanted a real expert for one last test of the track.

There wasn't one available, so the let me drive.

Of course, even the 8 years olds have a lot more experience behind the wheel of a race car than I do.

Once we got the car fired up, I was off.

I thought I was doing pretty well, but Witte suggested I may have been a little off the pace.

"He comes Mighty Mike Shiers, down the back stretch at about 40 miles per hour."

But the real question is, do I have what it takes to be a race car driver?

"You did really good Mike," says Witte.  "You did really good. We've got hope for you, yet."

Look out, Jeff Gordon.

The gates open at two o'clock Saturday, with the main event starting at six.

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