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Three Penn College Teams Prepared for Mini-Indy Event

Mexican visitors mingle with their Pennsylvania College of Technology hosts during a cookout near the Field House on Monday night.Weeks of preparation and tireless teamwork will culminate in this weekend’s 11th annual Susquehanna 500 Mini-Indy competition, in which Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty/staff and students and a group of visitors from Mexico will continue their historic participation on behalf of the American Red Cross.

“It should be an exciting weekend again this year, but different from last year in that the weather is supposed to agree with us. Our goal is to have a fun weekend and to build a good team spirit among our ranks,” said Steven Wallace, assistant dean of transportation technology. “But make no bones about it: Penn College drivers want to go there to bring home a trophy and do the college proud.”

There will be about 35 go-karts in this year’s three-day event, which is held in Williamsport’s Brandon Park: approximately 30 in the Stock division and about five in the Modified category. Two entries from the college, including visitors from The Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, will be in the former group; a third Penn College entry will compete in the latter.

“The focus of the preparations has been on getting karts overhauled and in shape to run, and teaching new drivers the race rules and how to drive the karts,” Wallace said.

Alfred M. Thomas, associate professor of collision repair, and others from that department repaired and repainted all three college karts. John J. Macko, assistant professor of automotive technology, and collision repair instructor Roy H. Klinger have been getting the carts up to Sports Car Club of America standards for the race.

“The Mexican team arrived this week and they had their first driving practice (Monday) night and there are some very promising drivers!” Wallace said. Most of the drivers of the American karts are from the collision repair department, and one returning driver Shaun M. McQuay, an aviation maintenance technology student from Watsontown is in his third year of Mini-Indy racing.

Penn College teams again will have thebenefit of several students from the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies, who also support any other teams in the racethat have emergency welding needs.

A Nascar-style go-kart - painted Wildcat blue and teeming with Penn College personality - will be on display at this weekend's Susquehanna 500.“New for this year is the introduction of a NASCAR go-kart that Colin (W. Williamson, dean of transportation technology) bought in hopes that we can initiate some excitement about having a new category for next year’s race,” Wallace said. “We will have this on display at Brandon Park during the weekend and available for any and all teams to test-drive at their convenience.”

There will have to be some transition in categories, he explained, because neither the specific kart frame nor the Briggs & Stratton 3.5 horsepower engine are being produced any longer.

Penn College also is the trophy sponsor for this year’s Red Cross fund-raiser, so representatives will assist in Sunday’s post-race awards ceremony. In addition, Wallace appeared Monday with Don Gordner, technical steward for the race, to promote the race on WRAK’s “Ken Sawyer Show.”

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