Rick’s Racing Roundup: A Closer Look at Clarion’s Michael Bauer
(Photo: Michael Bauer in action at Port Royal Speedway for the first time. Photo by Rick Rarer)
Like so many weekends this summer, the majority of the local racing scheduled was washed out due to rain and flooding across the area. But for one local driver, it was a chance to mark a track off of his bucket list and gain some valuable experience.
This past Saturday Michael Bauer of Clarion decided to tow east to the “Speed Palace” Port Royal Speedway located in Central Pennsylvania.
After visiting Port Royal to watch the prestigious Tuscarora 50 a few years ago, Bauer knew this was a track he wanted to compete at. Over the past decade, the historic oval located at the Juniata Fairgrounds has undergone countless improvements making it one of the top facilities in the country. The track is also known for some of the toughest weekly competition and some of the biggest races anywhere for both sprint cars and late models.
Bauer started his racing career at a young age, competing in motocross and then moving to karts at age eight before making the jump to 305 sprint cars about nine years ago. After four very successful seasons in the 305 division where he was one of the top winners in the area, Bauer made the jump to the 410 sprint cars. The faster and more expensive division hasn’t always been easy for Bauer, who like many of our local drivers, races on a limited budget.
Despite this, he has still been able to find victory lane several times in 410 competition at his favorite track, Mercer Raceway. With the unfortunate closing of the track last year and the modifieds taking the top billing spot this year Bauer has forced to travel to new tracks. The Clarion driver isn’t complaining though as he knows racing on different tracks and surfaces will only make his team better.
For Bauer, he is always learning and a trip to Port Royal was a chance to get some laps on a big half-mile track, something he has little experience on here in Western Pennsylvania.
His first career start at Port Royal was going well where he finished 6th in his heat and was running mid-pack and gaining experience until a flat tire ended his night in the feature event. The team was able to load the car up in one piece and Bauer looks forward to returning to Port Royal later this season.
In the future, Michael Bauer would love to run with the All-Star Circuit of Champions, but for now, the goal is to learn as much as he can and get his RRR Roadhouse, Slike Services #46 sprint car back to victory lane. A few of the bigger shows Bauer plans to enter in the upcoming months include the All-Star shows at Lernerville Speedway and Sharon Speedway next month.
Bauer is also looking to get back to his favorite track Mercer Raceway for the Summer Nationals on July 13. The team also plans to take on the World of Outlaws at Lernerville Speedway on July 23 at for the $25,000 to win “Silver Cup” Don Martin Memorial.
It will be the World of Outlaw late models taking center stage this weekend at Lernerville Speedway where the Firecracker 100 takes place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday highlighted by the $30,000 to win 100-lap feature. Thunder Mountain Speedway will not be in action this Friday giving their drivers and fans the chance to attend the Firecracker.
After another Saturday rainout, Hummingbird Speedway will try again this Saturday with another five-division program on tap. Hummingbird will also be celebrating its 55th anniversary this Saturday with a 70’s themed night of action. Racing is slated to get underway at 7:00 p.m.
The All-Star sanctioned Ohio Sprint Speedweek is in full swing where NASCAR star Kyle Larson scored the opening night honors at Attica Raceway. Rain washed out the action at Eldora Speedway on Saturday while Dale Blaney returned to victory lane Sunday at Muskingum Speedway in Zanesville. Blaney currently leads the Speedweek points and is now tied with defending champion Aaron Reutzel for the season points lead.
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Rick Rarer, a Franklin resident, is the owner of Racestud.com and SprintCarNews.com. He has been covering racing for 19 years, taking racing photos for 14 years, and has covered races at over 100 tracks in 15 states. Most recently, Rick won the Bill Steinbach Media Award at the Lernerville Speedway Annual Awards Banquet.
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