Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do we find The Park?
A: We are located in Mercer, Pa. conveniently just minutes off of Interstates 79 & 80 where Routes 19 & 62 split on Fairground Road. For detailed directions, check out our directions link on our Info page.
Q: We have never been to The Park and want to know what time we should arrive?
A: The grandstand gates open 2 hours and 30 minutes prior to racing. Racing generally begins at 7 p.m. We suggest you arrive between 6-6:30 p.m. to find good seating.
Q: I hear a lot about your Family Pass. What is it and what does it consist of?
A: Our signature Family Pass was started in 1999 when Vicki Emig purchased The Park. Our Family Pass is an affordable option that admits mom, dad, and up to four children (ages 6-15) for just $25 on a regular “Saturday Night Live” event. The children can be neighbors, friends, etc. Children five and under are always free. Special race event Family Passes range are generally $35. We also offer five $10 Family Nights for Mom, Dad, and AS MANY ACCOMPANYING KIDS 15 and under.
Q: How is parking conducted at The Park?
A: There is no charge for event parking. You can park behind the grandstands with entrances from Home Street and Fairground Road at the side gate in Lots B and C. You can park off of Fairground Road to the right of the pit entrance in Lot D and if the lots fill you may park in Lot E off of Fairground Road across from the pit entrance. Camping is permitted outside the grounds at no charge, but there are no hook-ups.
Q: Can you accommodate the handicap?
A: Yes. If you call the office during the week at 724-964-9300 we can reserve you a spot where you can actually watch from your car. The earlier you call the better. If you call on race day, we will do the best we can to accommodate your needs. Restrooms are also handicap accessible.
Q: Where can we enter the speedway and are there more than one gate?
A: There are three gates to enter The Park. The Side Gate is located behind the grandstand area with access off of Home Street and Fairground Road. The Main Gate and Pit Area are accessible off of Fairground Road at the same entrance. The Main Gate ticket booth is to the left and those entering the Pit Area can follow the drive to the brown pit building.
Q: Are we allowed to bring coolers and food into The Park?
A: Yes. Although Mercer Raceway Park offers full concessions in both the grandstand and pit areas, you are permitted to bring food and beverages into The Park. However, no glass bottles are permitted and coolers must be kept off seats and aisles. We recommend keeping coolers to 14″ and under.
Q: Is alcohol permitted to be brought into The Park?
A: Yes. However, no glass bottles are permitted and you cannot sit in the two non-alcoholic sections. Please respect this privilege as disorderly behavior is not tolerated.
Q: It’s raining at my house. Are you going to race?
A: We do everything in our power to complete a show. We never cancel if it’s “supposed to rain” or it’s raining down the road. We always try to go on with our program. Call the track at 724-662-1310 or watch our banner on our website home page. See our rain policy on the Info page for more details.
Q: What time does everything begin?
A: On a regular “Saturday Night Live” event, the pit gates open at 3:30 p.m. and the grandstand gates open at 4:30 p.m. Warm-ups begin around 6:15 p.m. and the first official race begins at 7 p.m. Special events and fall shows may have different starting times. See the schedule of events for details.
Q: I have never been to the races. How loud are the cars?
A: For the majority of adults, the noise is acceptable once you get used to the sounds of the cars. Mufflers are required on the majority of our divisions. However, for those that are noise sensitive and especially young children, we recommend ear plugs. These can be purchased at the novelty stands.
Q: Because you are a dirt track will we get dusty?
A: Our track crews work diligently to prepare the track throughout the week and begin early in the morning on race day. On most occasions, you can sit comfortably in the grandstands and watch the races without irritation. Every effort is made to control the dust, but a dirt track is dirt and occasionally dust may carry into the grandstands. Sprint cars and modifieds tend to create more dust at times due to their high horsepower engines and big tires. Factors such as the sun, wind direction, low humidity, earlier starting times, and summer-time in general are all factors that can make track preparation more difficult and may lead to increased dust. Also, on nights that dust may occur, it is more prone to reach the grandstands off of the turn areas of the track. We suggest that you find a seat closer to the middle of the track near the flag stand. Glasses or goggles are recommended to those sensitive to dust and especially children. Goggles can be purchased at the novelty stands.
Q: What does a regular night of racing consist of?
A: On a regular “Saturday Night Live” program drivers will get their first chance on the speedway for warm-ups. Various sessions are held for each division and drivers are given only one chance for a couple laps of practice generally between 6:15 and 7 p.m. Following the invocation and national anthem, official racing begins at 7 p.m. with heat races for our four regular divisions, which include Sprint Cars, Modifieds, Stock Cars, and Mini Stocks. The cars are split up in each division and generally run between two to four heat races per class. These races determine the starting lineup for the feature. If there are more than 24 cars, a B mains/last chance events will be contested to help fill the end of the feature lineup. The features on a regular night are 20 laps for the Sprint Cars and Modifieds, 15 laps for the Stock Cars, and 12 laps for the Mini Stocks. These races are the most anticipated events of the night as drivers earn money and a higher amount of points toward their divisional championships.
Q: How long do the races last?
A: Typically a race night lasts between three to five hours. On a regular event racing is generally finished between 10:00-11:00 p.m. However, many factors contribute to the length of a program of which many can be out of our control. The amount of cars, excessive accidents, weather, track conditions, etc. can delay and/or prolong a night of racing. Even medical emergencies that could occur in the grandstands or on the speedway can delay the program. It is our goal to be done by 11:30 p.m. to be as community and fan-friendly as possible.
Q: Who can enter the pit area and how old must one be?
A: Any person is permitted to enter the pit area providing they sign the waiver and release. Minors that are under the age of 17 years of age must be accompanied by their parent(s) or legal guardians at all times and complete the Parental Consent, Release & Waiver of Liability, Assumption of Risk, & Indemnity Agreement per event. When in the pit area, please be aware at all times of your surroundings as they can be extremely dangerous. All are welcome to enter the pit area after the racing program is completed in its entirety.
Q: What are the requirements to be able to compete?
A: You must be 14 years of age for the Mod Lites and Mini Stocks and 16 years of age in the remainder of the classes and cars must meet all safety and rule requirements to compete in a respected division. Rookie drivers are required to start at the tail of each event for a minimum of three weeks or longer at officials discretion.
Q: We were at the races for the first time last Saturday and we a little confused on some signals and flags that flagman made. Can you explain?
A: The green flag signals the official start of an event. If that flagman does not wave the green flag and the green light does not come on, he feels someone gained an advantage and the start will be nullified. When the yellow flag is displayed it signals for the drivers to slow down and hold their line. Someone is either stopped on the race track or conditions are not safe to continue such as debris, fluids, or rain on the speedway. The red flag alters drivers to come to a complete stop as quickly and safety as possible. A more serious accident has occurred that may necessitate a longer delay for clean-up and/or medical treatment. The blue flag with a yellow stripe is given to car(s) at the back of the pack instructing him/her to hold his/her line when the leaders are approaching. When a driver receives the black flag, he/she is to report immediately to the pit area as something is either unsafe on his/her car, has caused an infraction of the rules, or has done an action that is detrimental. In essence, the car has been disqualified from the event. When the flagman crosses two flags together, this signals that the event is halfway completed. When you see the flagman hold out his hand with five fingers displayed means there are five laps to go. The white and checkered flag held straight up means there are two laps to go. When the white flag is giving, just one lap remains in the event. The checkered flag is displayed when the leader is in sight and means that the race is considered complete when he crosses under the flag stand.
Q: How can my kids meet their favorite drivers and see the cars up close?
A. During the season, we have two “Meet Your Heroes” Nights. The cars are brought onto the speedway during intermission and everyone is permitted to go onto the track for pictures and autographs of their favorite drivers. Some of the drivers are also accessible after the races at their individual pit areas once the final event has completed or you may be able to catch a driver walking through the grandstand area.
Q: I really enjoyed the races. Is there a way I can purchase photos from the night?
A: Yes. Mercer Raceway Park’s official photographers, Paul Oyler or Toni Carbone, take photos at each event. Oyler Photos and More has a photo stand which is located under the grandstands by the concession area on race night. You may also order photos through their web site at OylerPhotography.com
Q: How does your fireworks night work?
A: Our annual fireworks display is typically held the Saturday night before July 4th. American Patriot Night allows all veterans of war into the races at no charge with valid ID. There is no additional charge for the fireworks, just a regular admission cost of $11 for adults, $25 Family Pass, $5 students, and children five and under are free. Many people often ask what time will the display be set off. The rule of thumb is after sunset upon completion of at least one of our feature events.
Q: We were at the races and the event was officially canceled. You announced that rain checks would be honored, but cannot return on those designated dates. Can we get our money back?
A: Like other facilities, we cannot offer cash refunds. However, if you cannot return for the scheduled make-up event(s), simply call our office at 724-662-1310 during the week and we will try to accommodate you with tickets to another event. Tickets may not be comparable in value to the event you attended.
Q: We received a complimentary pass. What do we do?
A: Your pass can be used for any non-special race event that has a $11 admission price. Simply take the pass to one of our ticket booths and they will accept your pass and grant you admission. You may also use the complimentary pass for pit access and pay $11. Promoter’s Choice passes are accepted at any event on our schedule for general admission, but can also be upgraded for a pit pass at the difference between pit pass price and adult grandstand admission.
Q: I would like to get my father some tickets for the races for his birthday. Can I get him tickets that are good for any night?
A: Yes, you have a choice of purchasing complimentary passes for $11 each, which will admit your father to any non-special $11 race event or Promoter’s Choice passes, which are good for any event (including special race events), but can be more than $11 depending on the special event(s) you choose.
Q: How can I get in contact with someone from The Park?
A: We are easily accessible through our business office and internet. Our phone number is 724-662-1310. We have three lines ringing into the office to serve you. If we are not in the office, we are usually out on an appointment or promoting the speedway; feel free to leave a message and we will respond as soon as possible. E-mail can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and responses are made on a daily basis. Our mailing address is PO Box 577, Mercer, PA 16137.
Q: I noticed that people drive their vehicles in and watch from the cars. How can I do this?
A: There are approximately 46 reserved season viewing parking spots. Those that currently occupy the spot have the right of first refusal for the new season. If they do not renew, those currently on the waiting list have the first chance to purchase the spot. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list please call our office at 724-662-1310.
Q: I work Saturdays and come all the time, but don’t arrive until just before starting time. Can I purchase a parking spot so I’m not parking across the street and hurrying to make it into the gates in time?
A: Yes we do have reserved non-viewing parking spots available. If you are interested, please call our office at 724-662-1310.
Q: I see you have VIP suites. Can I get one or rent one for a night?
A: The suites can be rented on a nightly basis or for the season. They comfortably accommodate 10 with central air/heat and can be catered. A nightly rental is $150. If you’re interested, please call our office at 724-662-1310.
Q: I have a business and am interested in participating at The Park as a sponsor. What can I do?
A: There are many programs available to exposure your company to our captive audience. These include event sponsorships, divisional sponsorships, corporate nights, billboards, schedule ads, and much more. We can put a great marketing package together to meet your goals and reach your clientele with your message. For more information, call our office at 724-662-1310.
Q: I would like to have a night at the races for my business and employees. How can I do this?
A: We can put a corporate night together for your business, which offers your employees and important customers a great night of fellowship and exciting entertainment. At the same time, your company can receive a tremendous amount of exposure at a reasonable cost. For more information, call our office at 724-662-1310.
Q: People always ask me for schedules at work. Can I get some to hand out or display?
A: Yes we’d be glad to give you schedules so people can pick them at your place of employment. Thousands of brochures are distribute each year all over western PA and eastern Ohio so we’d be happy to have you display them for us. We can deliver them right to where you work.
Q: If there is a medical emergency or a serious accident are you prepared?
A: We have an Advanced Life Support (ALS) unit on the grounds each night for medical emergencies both on the track and in the grandstands. Whether it’s a simple bee sting or cut or as serious as a heart attack, Life Force Ambulance is prepared. The direct longitude and latitude of the speedway are available for life-flight in and out of the speedway. Mercer Raceway Park was recognized as the first dirt track in the state of Pennsylvania to be certified for Motorsports Safety. If you are in need of medical attention, please find security or track officials in yellow shirts or go to the office, which is located under Scoring/Announcer Tower directly behind the flag stand.
Q: My son’s band at school is interested in ways to raise funds. Do you have any programs available?
A: We have fund-raising programs available that can help raise funds for various organizations. Please call our office for more information at 724-662-1310.
Q: What is the history behind Mercer Raceway Park?
A: Mercer Raceway dates back to the late 1800s as the site of the former Mercer County Fair when horse racing dominated the track. The track itself is considered to be one of the oldest in the country. The first official auto race was not held until July 26, 1951. Mercer Raceway celebrated its 50th anniversary on July 21, 2001. The speedway has a storied history. The most recent span of operation saw Howard Michaels reopen the speedway in 1994 after sitting quiet for five years. Michaels operated the track through the 1996 season. Gary and Cindy Butch took over in 1997 and renamed the track to Mercer Raceway Park. After the 1998 season, Vicki Emig took over as owner/promoter through the early part of 2010 until the track was sold to Bill Altman. For a more detailed history, check out the History page.