The race is on

May 25, 2008

MANSFIELD - Many race fans will gather in front of their television to watch the Indy 500 but why just watch great racing on TV when visitors can experience the thrill of racing so close to home

With Father's Day just around the corner, tickets to the Mansfield Motorsports Park or Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course would make a great gift and one the whole family could enjoy.

"You can gear-up for a fast summer of racing at Mansfield Motorsports Park and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course," said Jodi Puster, group tour director for Mansfield & Richland County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Both raceways offer visitors a full schedule this summer. NASCAR, vintage bikes, NSAR and USAR racing, will help create family fun memories. Visitors wanting more than a sit-and-watch experience can purchase a Paddock Pass or a Pit Access Passes to certain races.

Imagine sitting in the pit, listening to the roaring engines as the cars race by at breakneck speeds. Visitors will be so close to the action they can feel the heat from the engine as the cars race in for a pit stop. At Mid-Ohio, now in its 47th year, the paddock pass allows visitors to the paddock area while the pit pass allows visitors to the paddock and pit lanes. A dress code is required, long pants and closed toe shoes must be worn to be in the pit area.

The IndyCar Series came to Mid-Ohio for the first time in 2007 and with its popularity has returned this summer. The track features many quick turns and often surprises drivers because they do not expect a turn at the top of a rise, according to Rebecca Ackford, media and communications coordinator for Mid-Ohio.

"Visitors can camp, either in a tent or motor home, on the site for a fee," she said. "It's popular with the weekend events."

Visitors wanting to do more than watch a race should head to the Mansfield Motorsports Park where they can participate in BADFAST, the Ride Along Program and enjoy a thrilling ride on the asphalt track with stock car driver, Dan Major.

The 400 horsepower NASCAR-style Chevrolet Monte Carlo reaches top speeds of 100 mph, as it zooms around the "fastest half-mile track." Visitors will experience the thrill of being inches away from the concrete wall that surrounds the racing surface as the car flies off the turn and heads into the straightaway.

The perfect gift for Father's Day, the Ultimate Ride Along Package is $50 and includes warm up and cool down laps plus five full speed racing laps.

"We've had a lot of women buying this for their husband's birthdays and anniversaries," Major said. "It's been real popular."

In additional to the traditional speedway track, the Motorsport Park features the Mansfield Drag Strip.

A special Defensive Driving for Women workshop will be held at the Mid-Ohio School, based at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, on June 7. Space is limited so participants will want to reserve a place early.

Women will learn defensive driving skills through classroom instructions and drill repetition. Honda Odyssey minivans are used for the emergency land change drill. Other instructions include collision avoidance, vehicle control, wet braking, driving in inclement weather and more.

"We've occasionally found at The Mid-Ohio School that women are less comfortable with our programs, mainly because they occur at a racing facility where men tend to dominate the landscape," said David Roush, general manager of The Mid-Ohio School.

Visitors will find both facilities offer plenty of family fun at a low admission cost but are packed with exciting entertainment.

For additional information about the Mansfield Motorsports Park visit mansfieldmotorsportsonline.com

For additional information about the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course visit www.midohio.com

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