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Mountain Speedway is a 1/3 mile asphalt oval located in the beautiful mountains of northeast Pennsylvania. The speedway hosts exciting stock car racing every weekend from April to October, making it one of NEPA's premier entertainment attractions.
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Mountain Speedway
Mill Mountain Road
St Johns, PA 18701
full directions & map

(570) 788-7544

Mountain Speedway is available to rent
to any team interested in
testing their cars. To schedule a
date and time please call
the track office at (570) 788-7544.

 


The speedway from the air

Mountain Speedway Track Facts

LOCATION: St Johns, PA.
SURFACE: Asphalt OVAL
LENGTH: 1/3 Mile
BANKING: Semi-Banked

About The Speedway

Formally known as Evergreen Raceway and then Mountain Speedway, Mountain Speedway opened it's doors in the year 2000 to a highly successful debut season. The Speedway has quickly become a favorite of race fans throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond.

Racing at Sundance Vactions Speedway begins in early April, and is open every weekend thru October. Competing during a typical weekly event are the Asphalt Modifieds, Late Models, Street Stocks, and the entry level Factory Stock, INEX Legends and 4 Cyl. FWD Divisions. A host of special events also help fill the jam packed schedule, with frequent visits from the Mini Cups and many others.

Mountain Speedway has undergone significant improvements since the 2000 season, including widening of the backstretch, new grandstand seating, paving of the entire pit area, improved concessions, transponder scoring, foam safety walls, and much more. While many race facilities continue to close their doors, Mountain Speedway has emerged as one of the premier short tracks in the Northeast United States.

After 50 Years, Mountain Speedway Still Going Strong*

Since taking over as promoter of Mountain Speedway in St. Johns, Joe Callavini has done an excellent job with upgrades and improvements to the storied 50-plus year old 1/3-mile speedway.

The owner and operator of D & B Towing in Humboldt, Callavini, now in his third season of conducting weekly races, took over promoting the track after the ill-fated attempt by New Yorker Ron Hills nearly closed the track for good at the start of the 1999 season. After just four events of that year, the track sat dormant with it's future hanging in the balance of courtroom litigation.

But, by the following year, race cars where again making laps thanks to the perseverance of Callavini along with a workforce of dedicated drivers and fans who put forth the effort to keep racing alive at the St. Johns oval.

It was by no means an easy task, especially in terms of the legal battles that Callavini had to endure. But his determination paid off and today he has successfully brought the track back to glory.

A Little History*

Mountain Speedway has been a part of the Hazleton area landscape for over fifty years now. C.G. Williams built Evergreen Park in the 1930's. It was basically an amusement park, not unlike many others popular in the area at the time. Kiddie rides, picnic areas and musical shows such as "The Opry" comprised some of the activities that took place in those early years.

Pete Solutko then tried his hand at ownership before he sold out to Frank Mazzo before World War II.

After the war, stock car racing at tracks such as Bone Stadium in Pittston, Dorney Park Speedway in Allentown, Hatfield Speedway in Hatfield, prompted Mazzo to add a speedway to the grounds. Tom Luchi, Sr., and his business, Luchi Construction, helped to create the new raceway.

The track is still in the exact same location and configuration today, as when it was constructed some 50 years ago.

One of the unique features of the track was the large uke tires that lined the backstretch wall and remained there until the 1988 re-opening when much safer Armco barriers where put in place all around the 1/3-mile.

Contraire to what some people may have thought, the track was always asphalt and never dirt. Asphalt was chosen simply because there was no dirt tracks at the time.

The track always drew a strong local following and even had NASCAR sanctioning for some races in the 1950's. The NASCAR sanctioned events where Sportsman races which today is the Busch Grand National Series.

Some of the more prominent drivers in competition during those fledgling days were Wilbur Reese, Marty Acker, John Crawford, Sr., John Kumernitsky, Woody Kaiser, John "Peepers" Yerger and Ed Spencer, Sr.

Hard times fell on the track during the early 1960's and the track went bankrupt and all operations ceased.

An ensuing Sheriff's sale found William Dipple the new owner of Evergreen, but it wasn't until Sam Minitsky and family bought it that things began to return to their perspective state. After 15 years of waiting, racing again returned to Evergreen in 1978.

Charlie Spencer who built the existing buildings and did many other projects to upgrade the grounds leased "New Evergreen Speedway". Friday and Sunday night racing programs were with limited success and promotional differences both on and off the track eventually led to the track closing again in 1982.

Sportsman Modifieds and Late Models were the two weekly racing divisions during the Spencer era. Some of the top names during that era included Tony Siscone, Gus Lewis, Richie Jensen, Pete Comstock and Tony Siscone.

Also during that time emerged two current day NASCAR stars. Tony Hirschman of Northampton cut his eyeteeth while racing at Evergreen. He was a track champion who had gone on to win three NASCAR Nation Modified titles. His son Matt is now a headline there.

Perhaps the most prominent name to come out of the speedway was Berwick native Jimmy Spencer. Many of his early career wins came there. Like Hirschman, Spencer also was a National Modified champion before reaching his current success in Winston Cup.

After sitting idle for the next six years, the lease was taken over by Evergreen Raceway Inc., made up of Tom Luchi, Sr., and his son Tom Jr., who had raced Late Models throughout the area. Paul Weisel, Jr., northeast distributor of Firestone Tires and a former ARDC and USAC midget driver. Al Bauer, a competitor at Evergreen in the 50's and a car-owner during the Spencer era. Also Janet Kupsho who served as secretary and concessions manager. One year later Buddy Faux took over Bauer's share.

Since then many a rising star has seen action at the track including such notables as Eric Beers, Russ Frantz, Chuck Schartzer, Steve Clark, Mike Rodriguez and Don Wagner to name but a few.

A New Era: Joe Callavini Brings Speedway Back To Prominence*

It wasn't all that long ago that Mountain Speedway seemed doomed to become a dormant facility. The 50-plus year asphalt track situated in scenic St. Johns was very close to becoming inactive not soon after the start of the 1999 season.

That year started out under the outlook of a new promotional era when New Yorker Ron Hills made an ill-fated attempt to run the track. As it turned out the only thing Hills was running was himself away from bill collectors and racers looking to be paid. His money supply, or lack of, had run dry in a hurry and the track was forced to cease operations within a month after getting started.

Things looked bleak from that point, however, enter 64-year old Joe Callavini, a local Hazleton area businessman who had a strong liking for the track and could not see fit to let the place fall.

Through a mutual relationship with the owner of the property Callavini was able to strike up a deal to run the track and by October of that same year he was the new promoter.

"In 1999 some fella took the track over for about four weeks and he wound up going out of business if you want to call it that. All of the racers had nowhere to race at that point. I was friends with the owner of the land and I contacted him and he told me if I wanted it I could have it. There were several other people who wanted it but we were friends so we made a deal," said Callavini who owns and operates D & B Towing of Humboldt.

Callavini immediately went to work on desperately needed renovations. Since then what he's been able to do has been nothing short of noteworthy. The track has taken on a remarkable facelift and has come up to the standards by which many leading short tracks around the nation are measured by.
The first thing Callavini and company did was to tear down the hill-side seating and install stadium style bleachers which where placed as close as possible to the front stretch giving fans a whole new viewing perspective.


The view from the bleachers is as close to
the action as possible

Nearly the whole pit area has been paved. New guard railing replaced the war-torn old ones and a long list of other amenities had been dealt with. The general appearance of the grounds is very appealing.

Computer technology is also playing a big roll. A high-tech scoring system was brought in to help with timing and scoring. With the use of computerized transponders every car is now monitored accurately after running each lap. A modern scoring/announcing and V.I.P. tower sits just above the start/finish line now, as well.

"After we got the go-ahead to come in we started renovating the place. We did a lot of work trying to get it to what it is now and even more than what it is," noted Callavini.

All the hard work has been worth it. He's always been a fan of the track and is doing a high-quality job in making it prosper.

"It's a good little track. There are a lot of people who like coming here. It's something we're trying to make for everyone to have a place to go around here," he explained.

"We enjoy racing. My son Barry raced here for several years before we took it over. We like racing and we want to see the track be a success. The drivers who race here are all good people and very supportive of the track. This is very family oriented. These people love to race and we love to have them here. So we need to make it as nice as we can for them and the whole community as well."

Callavini also touched on how the track plays into the local economy. Not quite like the scale that nearby Pocono Raceway does for a Sprint Cup event but much in the same manner only smaller.
"We know that when we have guests coming from all over they support this whole area. You'll see them at local restaurants, gas stations and hotels. It brings revenue into the area. We also pay an amusement tax to Butler Township every month. We do a lot to support the Butler Township Ambulance and Fire squad too.


Race fans gather for an autograph and
camera session

"We want to make the track appealing to everyone in the area and there is a lot more we hope to do as things go on."

His work has been paying off. Not only is there a strong local base that competes but also regionally racers from all over Pennsylvania as well as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut make the haul to the 1/3-mile oval.

Over the years many drivers have been able to use the track as springboard to higher levels of racing and proof of that comes from Berwick's' Jimmy Spencer and Tony Hirschman of Northampton. Both went on to capture multiple NASCAR Modified titles after spending several years at the Mountain, then known as Evergreen Raceway.

"The track is getting the reputation of being one of the best tracks around for short track racing and we're proud of that. We feel we're very fair to the drivers and our officials do an excellent job of regulating the rules.

"We're not just racing here. We're also providing the area with entertainment. The more we work at this, the bigger we're going to get. The support of our fans means support for the whole area. People come here to watch the races and see their favorite cars win and do well and that's what it's all about."

Twelve Years and Counting...

Entering its 12th season of competition, Mountain Speedway has teamed up with Sundance Vacations and renamed the track to Sundance Vacations Speedway.  The combined effort for the next two seasons was established not only for the benefit of two business owners, but also for to help benefit the racers themselves through multiple contingency programs. The track name switched back to Mountain Speedway for the 2011 season.

Info compiled By Dino Oberto & Gene Ostrowski

 

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