Are you a fan of dirt-track racing? If you are, chances are that you already know about the iconic Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg. If not, read on to find the top three reasons you should visit this summer.
Williams Grove Speedway is a Unique Experience
Built in 1939, Williams Grove Speedway is one of the oldest tracks in the country. Measuring in at a 1/2 mile, this clay track has one of the longest straightaways in the country, allowing drivers to navigate through the turns at high speeds. How fast do the sprint cars go at Williams Grove? During the races, you'll see speeds of 150 mph or more. Now famous for sprint car racing, they were one of the first tracks to open to this class.
The track is also unique as it has remained true to its heritage, maintaining many of the historic buildings and a unique steel bridge taking bystanders over the track to the infield. Being so close to these roaring vehicles is truly an experience! For an even closer and personal experience, pit passes can be purchased at any event.
Races occur on Friday nights, beginning at 7:30 pm, from mid-March through early October. Warm-ups take place 30 minutes before the starting time. Can't make it to the race but are interested in the results? Discover the winner at Williams Grove Speedway.
Watch Seasoned Professionals and Famous Faces
Higher than-average payouts to the winners mean that the track is full of talent. During the largest and highest-paid race of the season, the National Open at the beginning of October, the winner takes home $75,000. For the 2023 season, sprint car purses remain the same or boast an even larger payout than last year. With this type of incentive, it's no wonder Williams Grove hosts such talented drivers!
Perhaps the biggest rivalry at The Grove each summer is the World of Outlaws. Known as the best sprint car drivers in the country, this traveling group typically wins wherever they race, that is, except for in Pennsylvania. Locals, known as the PA Posse, show great talent and often beat the Outlaws.
During the 1940s to the 1960s, the Indy Tour came to Williams Grove, including famous drivers like AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti. Although there are no longer Indy car races at The Grove, NASCAR drivers such as Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson, Dave Blaney, and Tony Stewart have been stopped for surprise visits in the past.
Racing is Fun for the Whole Family
You don't have to be a race fan to enjoy a night of dirt track racing. in 2024, 10 shows throughout the season include a fireworks display that the kids are sure to love. Going to the races is also an affordable family activity, as children 12 and under are free, and discounted youth tickets are available for teens and young adults ages 13-20. General admission tickets for Williams Grove Speedway can only be purchased at the gates around the speedway on the day of the race. Parking is free. While concession stands are available, fans are welcome to bring small coolers. TIP: Williams Grove is a cash-only facility. There is an ATM on site.
2024 Season at Williams Grove Speedway
Each night is different at Williams Grove Speedway. A glance at the track schedule shows a variety of classes, including 358 and 410 Sprint Cars, Super Sportsman, Late Models, and Street Stock. The 2024 season includes 30 dates for 410 sprint cars and 13 events for 358 sprints, including World of Outlaws events on May 10 and 11, the Summer Nationals on July 26 and 27, and the 62nd annual National Open on October 4 and 5.
The 2024 season opener for the 410 sprints, along with Wingless Sportsman, is slated for Sunday, March 17, at 2 pm. A few new events have been added to the itinerary for the new season. New for 358 sprints in 2024 will be the Dirty Deeds 25’s, coming up on May 31 and August 30. Both races will be 25 laps and pay a hefty $2,500 to win for the limited class.
Two Fan Appreciation Nights will be hosted in 2024 -- June 7 for the 410 sprints and August 2 for 358 sprint cars. Mamma’s Pizza will present the June 7 event with free giveaways for fans from Mamma’s Pizza, Martins Potato Chips, and Hoseheads.com, while giveaways from Martins and Hosehead's will be part of the August 2 program.
J.F. Kiely Construction Kids Night is on the schedule for June 21.
For a unique experience, general camping at Williams Grove Speedway is located on the right side of the lot off Williams Grove Road and outside turn 3 off Speedway Drive. Only dry camping is available. The site opens at 12:00 PM on the day of the race and will close the day after the race at 1:00 PM. Small, contained campfires are allowed.
If you want a few more amenities, Cumberland Valley's hotels are the perfect fit. Hotels near Williams Grove Speedway include the Wingate Mechanicsburg/Harrisburg West, Country Inn & Suites Harrisburg West, Courtyard by Marriott Harrisburg West/Mechanicsburg, and Homewood Suites by Hilton Harrisburg West. Check out rates and make your hotel reservation today!