Spectators lined the raceway set up in Brandon Park Saturday for the start of the two-day American Red Cross 16th Susquehanna 500 Mini-Indy Race.
They included people such as Lee Saar, of Nisbet, and his son, Kurtis, who could be found intently watching the cars race past them at the south end of the park.
Saar said it marked his first time watching the event.
A racer for the WASD/Student Transportation of American team competes in a heat during the American Red Cross Susquehanna 500 Mini-Indy at Brandon Park Saturday. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com.
"I always wanted to go to it, but I always found out about it too late," he said.
His son agreed the racing was "pretty cool."
The two used to enjoy going to the go-kart track that operated along Route 87 north of Montoursville.
As the cars sped around the sharp turn past him, Saar remarked, "I think what really fuels race fans is wrecks."
Joe Hutchinson, co-chairman of the event, appeared pleased with the first day of activities.
"Things are going great," he said around mid-afternoon. "The weather gave us a break."
He said it appeared that the fan turnout was bigger than usual.
Four modified cars and 19 stock cars, representing different area companies and community groups, are competing this weekend, he said.
The event kicked off early Saturday afternoon with qualifying heats. Competition concludes today with championship races.
Hutchinson gave volunteers credit for helping get the event ready.
"We had an awful lot of help in getting up this track," he said.
Roads winding through the park lined with temporary fencing to keep back onlookers comprise the track.
Hundreds of tires at various track turns help cushion collisions. The tires were donated by the Lycoming County and Wayne Township landfills.
Jim Wilbur, of Millerton, is among a number of volunteers serving as flaggers, who station themselves at different spots of the raceway to warn other vehicles of sudden accidents.
He reported a number of wrecks Saturday including one involving a driver from the Blaise Alexander team.
Brandon Burkholder reportedly sustained a minor injury in the crash and was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.
Wilbur, who works as a flagger at Watkins Glen raceway, said it was his first time helping out with the Mini-Indy.
"It is neat," he said. "I enjoy watching it. It's a lot different from the big cars."
Hutchinson said he had to tip his hat to the volunteer flaggers, some of whom are members of the Sports Car Club of America.
"They love coming here," he said.
Some $17,000 was raised from organizations sponsoring cars with the money coming from entry fees.
There is no admission for spectators.
Ninety-two cents of every dollar raised stays in Lycoming County to help the Red Cross with disasters or other needs.
The event resumes at 9 a.m. today.