Written by John Straitiff | Header photo by Penny Kay shows Charles Powell Jr. at Thunder Mountain Speedway

The grandstands packed with excited racing fans anticipating the start of the action. The drivers’ hearts pounding from adrenaline coursing through their veins. The race cars on the parade lap bunched closely, sometimes tapping bumpers, as the field rolls into the final turn before the battle begins. Over the loud speaker the announcer barks, “Here we go! Out of turn number four…SUPER LATE MODELS GOING GREEN!” From his perch in front of the crowd, the flagman waves the green flag. In unison, drivers mash their throttles to the floor, dumping a mix of fuel and air into monstrous powerful engines, launching rockets on wheels down the track with a thunderous roar.

If this sounds like your kind of fun, come experience the high-speed thrills and spills of dirt track racing in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region. Every weekend from May through September, you can feed your need for speed at two local dirt tracks. Thunder Mountain Speedway, in the town of Knoxdale between Brookville and Punxsutawney, races Friday nights, and Hummingbird Speedway, between Reynoldsville and Falls Creek, is in action on Saturday evenings.

Thunder Mountain Speedway features wide sweeping turns that require drivers to maintain momentum to find victory lane. Super Late Model, Semi-Late, Street Stock, and Front Wheel Drive make up the weekly racing program. Specials for 410 sprints, and tour groups like the BRP Modifieds, UMLS Super Late Models, and Penn/Ohio Street Stock series highlight the 2018 schedule.

Driver Paul Kot slides around a turn at Hummingbird Speedway. Photo credit: Penny Kay.

Hummingbird Speedway is more of a bull ring with tighter turns and shorter straights. This track provides close door-to-door racing where slicing through traffic is the needed skill to win. The track is owned and operated by legendary promoter Louie Caltagarone. Each week, Super Late Model, Semi-Late, Street Stock, Pure Stock, and Front Wheel Drive divisions provide the racing excitement. Fan Appreciation Night in July and the annual September Late Model Special are noteworthy events in this season.

Find more fun things to do the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region online at or call (814) 849-5197.

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