FULTON, NY – Although the dirt won’t be flying Saturday night for Fulton Speedway’s 2014 points opener due to excessive rain, the track – home for mods, sportsman and the Outlaw 200 – is also a starting line for kids who love all things racing.
Once racing season gets underway, each week as the drivers and crews ready their machines for track action you’ll find a whole slew of kids at picnic tables behind the bleachers as Fulton Speedway Junior Fan Club members wait in the wings to be part of the muddy fun. “On each race night one lucky Junior Fan Club member is named the junior fan of the week,” organizer Laurie Mortimer said. “The lucky youngster receives a pit tour with their favorite driver. If we get there at just the right time and the drivers aren’t too busy getting ready, they’ll let the kids help change a tire and even help scrape mud off the back of the car,” Mortimer said. For race fans ages 4 – 14, in order to be a member first time applicants just need to find the picnic table behind the bleachers where they can fill out a Junior Fan Club form and an authorization form for the speedway. With permission from a guardian this allows Mortimer to bring the kids into the pits and
some of the other places that might be a little bit dangerous. “They actually get to go out and be with the race cars,” the club coordinator said. “Best of all, there is no cost to join the Fulton Speedway Junior Fan Club.” In addition to getting up close and personal with their favorite driver, the Junior Fan of the Week also receives an embroidered hat and T-shirt courtesy of Syracuse Haulers and he or she is pictured that week on the club’s Facebook page. Along with the weekly racing action, pit tour and chance to be Junior Fan of the Week, Mortimer said there are many fun activities and prizes planned for the 2014 season due to the generosity of the Fulton Speedway as well as other generous individuals and groups that have made donations and have helped the group connect with sponsors. The group also holds an annual cookout and kickball game. “If you want to join you will be able to do that any race night,” she explained. “If you are already a member, all you have to do is stop by the Junior Fan Club table and sign in to be eligible for drawings that will take place that night.”
The club organizer noted that the Junior Fan Club is the oldest group of its kind in the Central New York region. Asked how long has the club been in existence Mortimer said, “Well, forever.” “I’ve been doing it three years, Susan Carpenter did it before and the McDonald family did it before that … there’s been many people over the years who’ve volunteered to organize this for the kids.” She estimated going in to this race season the group is currently about 75 – 80 members strong.
The club can be found on Facebook at Fulton & Brewerton Speedway Jr. Fan Club. “We’re looking forward to a terrific season of fun and excitement – don’t forget, it happens every Saturday,” Mortimer said. “Hopefully it stops raining!” While the May 3 opener is rained out, the Junior Fan Club hopes to see everyone next Saturday (May 10) for the Tracey Road Equipment/Girl Scouts night. The speedway is giving free carnations for the first 200 moms. Gates open at 5 p.m., general admission is $12 and kids under 18 get in free. All photos courtesy of Fulton Speedway Junior Fan Club.