Paul Pardo’s first trip to Eldora Speedway came about 20 years ago when he helped a friend test and tune a car.
Now he’s shaking down the competition.
Pardo held off defending track champion Rob Trent to win the season opener last weekend. It was the fast start Pardo wanted after finishing 15 points behind Trent in last year’s stock car standings.
“You’re just hoping the bolts and nuts are going to stay together because you’ve had everything apart in a zillion pieces all winter,” Pardo said.
Here are five things to know about local racing:
1. Take in a double feature: Eldora returns to action Saturday with a stock car double feature. The DIRTcar UMP modifieds and Vore’s compacts are also in action. Spectator gates open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 5 and racing at 6.
Pardo, whose two Eldora wins last season came in a double feature sweep, isn’t getting ahead of himself this time.
“That would be awesome. We always run good,” said Pardo, who lives in New Paris in Preble County. “If the thing stays underneath me we usually run up front. … This is a top-shelf track in the world. We’re fortunate to be in the area to race it.”
2. Final kickoff in Columbus: The car counts and crowd came out last Saturday to help Columbus Motor Speedway celebrate its final go-round. The feature fields saw 24 late models, 18 modifieds, 14 stocks and 24 compacts. That, along with the crowd, gave CMS one of its largest events of the past 20 years.
The track closes for good after this season, its 71st.
Springfield’s Shane Shirk captured the modified feature. He started seventh and used the outside groove to take the lead on lap 16 of the 30-lap feature. He won by a straightaway.
3. Burnouts back at Kil-Kare, Edgewater: Kil-Kare Dragway kicks off its season Saturday with the NHRA-sanctioned Summit ET bracket racing. It’s a chance for racers to shake down their rides for when the points start on April 30. Gates open at 9 a.m.
At Edgewater, the United Manual Transmission Racers (UMTR) help Edgewater Sports Park open the season Saturday. The NHRA-sanctioned Summit Racing Series also features the super pro, pro, sportsman, motorcycle and Jr. dragster divisions. Gates open at 2 p.m. with racing at 7.
4. Welcome back, Waynesfield: The dirt track in Auglaize County fires up the engines for its 13th season Saturday. It’s a full slate with the non-wing sprints, mini sprints, modifieds, trucks and compacts. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with hot laps at 6 and racing at 7.
5. Bench racing: The Dayton Auto Racing Fan Club (DARF) hosts USAC Night at its membership meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Rip Rap Roadhouse (the former Jack Flats).
Former USAC sprint car driver Greg Staab will be in attendance. Staab’s Speedway, Ind., house was engulfed by fire on Jan. 1. Staab was pulled out of the burning home by a police officer. His girlfriend died in the fire. Donations to help Staab will be accepted.
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