JENNERSTOWN, Pa. — After five years of cutting his teeth in the USAC Speed2 Eastern Midget Ass’n, Nolan Allison step up the short-track ladder on Saturday at Jennerstown Speedway.
Allison, 20, will take the biggest leap of his racing career by strapping into a 410ci asphalt sprint car and making his debut with the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series presented by Engine Pro at the half-mile Pennsylvania short track.
The American Racer David D. Mateer Tribute Race will mark Allison’s debut in a national touring series, with Saturday’s race set to be broadcast live to a worldwide audience via pay-per-view on SPEED SPORT Network affiliate Must See Racing TV.
Pay-per-view tickets are $18 for the entire Saturday program, including support divisions.
Though his maiden voyage with Must See Racing has been more than a year in the making, it’s something that Allison is eager to finally get going with come Saturday afternoon.
“Honestly, I’m really, really excited,” said Allison. “I mean, we ran the Eastern midgets for like five years … and we got pretty dominant there at the end, so we decided to just move up and see what we could make of it. We got a Diablo chassis over a year ago, about 13 or 14 months ago, and we’ve just been slowly working on it and slowly building it. We got a motor, a 410 (cubic inch engine) from Charlie Schultz, who’s also a Must See competitor, but has really helped us a lot. It’s just been a slow process.
“We’ve been testing, and I think everything’s building up for a good race. I’m 10 out of 10 excited.”
Allison’s chassis was purchased from another Must See veteran, Florida’s Joe Liguori, and was a car formerly driven by Kyle Edwards. The powerplant underneath the hood is a former backup engine utilized by Schultz in Must See competition — making for a potent combination for the rookie driver.
That’s a good thing, too, considering Jennerstown will easily be the largest track the Greensboro, N.C., young gun has raced on in his career.
“It is by far going to be the biggest place I’ve been,” said Allison of Jennerstown. “Other than Dominion (Raceway in Virginia), which I think is a pretty big four tenths, I’ve never been on a half mile or anything like that. So Jennerstown will be a superspeedway compared to what I’m used to.”
Allison has tested his sprint car a handful of times at North Carolina’s Ace Speedway, a track he has many laps on in the midgets. He noted there are plenty of driving differences between the two machines.
“Really my right foot is the thing I’ve had to get used to in these cars. They’re not near as twitchy as the midgets and you can drive them a lot deeper into the corners, but that’s just because of the downforce on the wing. I think it’s like 2,500 pounds,” said Allison. “So getting my right foot trained to how hard I can drive the sprint car has honestly been the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make.
“With the midget, you drive it in and it gets loose, but these cars … the harder you drive it in or the harder you send it in there, the better it sticks, because it just gets winged over more,” Allison noted. “So it’s just a whole new game. It’s something different to get used to, for sure.”
With all that in mind, what are Allison’s goals for Saturday’s race at Jennerstown?
“One of my big goals is not to go a lap down,” Allison said. “But looking at the speed we had at Ace (in testing), we were pretty good compared to where the guys were when they were there last fall. So honestly, I’d be really, really happy with a top 10 (finish). We know the equipment is capable.
“We’ll just see what happens and how the day shakes out.”
The American Racer David D. Mateer Tribute Race will serve as the fourth points-paying event of the Must See Racing season and it will be the third straight year the tour has visited the half-mile paved oval.
This year’s third running of the event honors Mateer, the late director of racing for Specialty Tires of America, which manufactures the American Racer tires used on all Must See Racing entries.
Saturday’s 30-lap feature will award a $4,000 payout to the winner and $700 to start the main event. There will also be a $500 bonus available to the driver setting the fastest time during qualifying.
Pit gates open Saturday at 10 a.m., with Must See sprint car practice from 12:45-1:45 p.m. and qualifying kicking off at 3 p.m. Racing begins promptly at 6 p.m., following opening ceremonies.
To purchase a pay-per-view ticket for Saturday’s broadcast, visit www.mustseeracing.tv.