Local auto racing: Nitro Jam beckons jet drag teams

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Elaine Larsen, 47, of Daytona Beach, Fla., is more than just a racer. Larsen along with her husband, Chris, also 47, own and operate Larsen Motorsports, a multiple jet car team along with aviation related businesses.

Larsen Motorsports is just one of the many attractions at the International Hot Rod Association Nitro Jam today and Saturday at Pittsburgh Raceway Park in New Alexandria.

Chris Larsen oversees the operation of the teams and builds the cars and jet engines. The Larsen’s son, Andrew, 17, is the crew chief on his mom’s jet dragster.

Elaine Larsen’s duties include the marketing and public relations of her three other drivers and driving the Miller Welding Jet Dragster. She also speaks at Women in Aviation seminars representing Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, another of the team’s many sponsors.

The Jet Technology Center is a one-of-a-kind exhibit at Nitro Jam where fans can watch as a jet dragster is built. From welding to the use of Matrix Systems Automotive Finishes fans get an up-close and personal look at how these machines get ready for the raceway.

Elaine Larsen (current IHRA Jet Car point leader) has been racing for more than 20 years. The team’s other three drivers are: Marisha Falk, 27, of Kenosha, Wis., Kat Moller, 20, from Sarasota, Fla., winner of the most recent Nitro Jam, and Allison West, also 20, from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

While Larsen has a comfortable point lead in the jets, Cary Goforth leads John DeFlorian by 32 points in Pro Stock and in Nitro Altereds, Ron Maroney has a healthy lead over Don Blackshear, the driver of the “Bullet Bob” entry. The closest point battle is in the Nitro Harley motorcycle class where Canadian Mike Scott leads Randal Andras by only 15 markers with three races remaining.

With only two races remaining in Nitro Funny Car, Jason Rupert can wrap up his first IHRA Funny Car title at Pittsburgh.

Nitro Jam kicks off today with qualifying passes for the professional categories at 7:30 p.m.. On Saturday, the first round of eliminations is at 6 p.m. Gates and the FanFest pit area open at 4 p.m. today, and open at 2 p.m. Saturday. A full racing program for sportsmen racers will be held both days.

Go to www.nitrojam.com or www.pittsburghracewaypark.com for more information on the Pittsburgh Nitro Jam.

Lugnuts

Lernerville Speedway turns back the clock today with Nostalgia Night at 7:30 p.m. Race cars from past years will be on display along with drivers signing autographs. … Motordrome Speedway, the NASCAR weekly racing series oval in Smithton, Westmoreland County, presents Pack the Track Night sponsored by WDVE with general admission tickets only $1.02, available either online or at the track. All five divisions will be in action. … Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway has the Herb Scott Memorial for the Super Late Models at 7 p.m. Saturday. All divisions will be in action for this $3,000 to-win feature event … NASCAR driver Dave Blaney held off brother and teammate, Dale Blaney to win the Lou Blaney Memorial sprint car race at the Sharon Speedway on Wednesday.


DJ Johnson can be reached at DJ 1360rpm@aol.com

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