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The time is right for Season Opener

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:53 PM

Timing is everything.

And it appears the timing couldn't be any better as Donald Graham & Associates presents the Ohio Lottery/Norwalk Reflector Season Opener at 7 p.m. Saturday at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, formerly known as Norwalk Raceway Park.

Two weekends ago the Cleveland Indians' home-opening series against Seattle was snowed out. Last weekend local racers faced bone-chilling weather for their annual "warm-up" session at the track.

The only thing warm was the coffee and hot chocolate.

But things are much different this time around. Highs in the upper 60s are predicted for Saturday with sunny skies.

And as a treat to racing fans, fee admission coupons are available in today's Norwalk Reflector.

Festivities kick off Saturday with special opening ceremonies.

"Weather is everything," track president Bill Bader Jr. said. "When you have got a nice forecast it makes all of the difference in the world."

The Bader family has put on season openers for years, but this one has some special meaning.

"This one is absolutely special." Bader said. "Along with being a year of firsts with the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) and name change, for me to see the transformation from 1974 when my dad bought the place to today is something special.

"My motto this year is 'think big but act small." The sky is the limit ... let your mind race ... at the same time remember where you came from."

"Tradition is important."

This has been quite a year for the Baders. It all started last August with the announcement the track was jumping from the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) to the NHRA. Then came the name change and all of the improvements.

"This is something the world felt would never happen. For the Bader family to get the NHRA there is a sense of validation," Bader said.

"Of the 20 projects going, we are either on or ahead of schedule. Our set finish date is May 17 and we are right on target. All of the detail work remains. We have to finish the paving and suites, media center and office expansion. Those are the major chores."

With the track improvements well on their way, Bader said there are many people to thank.

"Everybody did more than their fair share to make sure we succeeded. We are going to have a year-long celebration and to kick it off with a big backyard party it couldn't get any better. Throughout the last six months the cooperation from the county, city and airport has been A +++++++. We bit off way more than we probably should have, but everybody stepped up for us.

"A number of local businesses were there for us. It was a hell of a team effort."

Bader said the key has always been entertainment, and he expects Saturday to be much of the same.

"They just want to come out and have some fun," he said. "This is an opportunity to show off our facility. Even those people who aren't racing fans have fun."

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