Auto racing isn't exactly cut and dry when it comes to what and where you race.
There are many options, maybe too many when it comes down to picking a car, a series and even a surface on which to race.
One thing for sure, Justin Bolton, 17, from Greensburg, chose the path least traveled when it comes to auto racing.
After racing Karts since 12, Bolton and his parents decided to race Legend Series cars, and the best place to learn was at the birthplace of the Legend Cars, Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C.
The Legend Cars got their start in 1992 when Lowe's president and general manager, H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler and famed road racer Elliott Forbes-Robinson designed affordable, 5/8-scale, fiberglass, full-fendered versions of cars driven by legendary NASCAR drivers. The first Legend Cars were built by the Allison family.
"The purpose was to fill a void," said Todd Fisher, who wrote the first rule book for the Legend Cars. "To get people involved in racing, [Wheeler] wanted to go after older people who sent their kids off to college and now had disposable income."
Fisher, who along with his wife, Rhonda, own and promote Susquehanna Speedway Park, a dirt track near Harrisburg, explained how the Legend Cars caught on with younger racers.
"Creating the Summer Shootout which was on live TV also helped promote the cars and all the young kids from the NASCAR teams got involved in it, and that's where the younger kids kind of took over," Fisher said.
The tradition of the Summer Shootout continues at Lowe's. Bolton makes the eight-hour trip [each direction] each week to practice to race with a team from Moorseville, N.C., that fields a car for him and several other drivers that Bolton refers to as "teammates."
While Bolton loves racing Legend Cars, he holds a 3.85 grade point average at Latrobe Area High School has a Plan "B," should driving a race car not work out.
"I am going to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. They have a mechanical engineering for Motorsports-specific program," Bolton said.
Bolton has three division wins; 12 top five and 4 top 10s so far in 2012.
Ed Lynch Jr., of Apollo, led the smallest contingent of Western Pennsylvania sprint car racers in years to the 52nd Annual Knoxville Nationals in Knoxville, Iowa, 35 miles southeast of Des Moines.
Only Lynch and Danny Holtgraver from Pittsburgh competed Wednesday, the first night of qualifications for the most prestigious trophy in sprint car racing.
Lynch, known as the "Apollo Rocket," won his heat race while Holtgraver just missed out on qualifying for the feature event.
In the feature, Lynch finished 15th and Holtgraver finished 15th in the consolation event.
Aliquippa native and 2010 Knoxville Nationals champion Tim Shaffer was scheduled to qualify Thursday night.
The World Racing Group, owners of the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, announced Thursday that STP Brands has signed on as the title sponsor for the series beginning in 2013. ... Lernerville Speedway returns to action tonight with four divisions in action on Pittsburgh Circle Track Club Night. ... Neil Brown of Acme won for the seventh time this season at Motordrome. Brown dominated qualifying but started 12th after the top 12 cars were inverted for the start of the TBRA 100-lap feature. It was Brown's second TBRA feature win in '12. Today, Motordrome features Half Price Fireworks and five divisions of racing. ...Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway races 7 p.m. Saturday with five divisions and the Wacky Wheels Figure Eight in action. ... Mercer Raceway Park is playing host to the ARDC Midgets Saturday for American Cancer Society Night along with six divisions of racing.
DJ Johnson: DJ1360rpm@aol.com.