Nesquehoning Grand Prix takes place today; Governor Tom Corbett to flag dignitaries race

Date: 4/24/2014 12:51:03 AM

Nesquehoning Grand Prix takes place today; Governor Tom Corbett to flag dignitaries race

By DINO OBERTO …. “Keeping Track”


(4-23-14) The inaugural running of the Nesquehoning Grand Prix presented by Kovatch Motorsports and Pencor Services takes Sunday, April 27 on a temporary road course laid out behind the Kovatch Ford dealership in Nesquehoning. The race will feature Tobias Slingshots and a performance from Formula Drift cars. The activities get underway at noon. Admission is free to the public.

There is a field of 30 cars registered with a number of top name aces competing. Aside from the professional drivers, there will be a special race between local Mayors, Legislators, Police Chiefs and Fire Chiefs that will be flagged by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett. Big Wheel races for kids will also be held.

With a mission of a better future through education, all proceeds from the event go directly to the Sonny Kovatch Scholarship Foundation which provides a beneficial educational scholarship to selected students who must display good family values, play a role in community service and have the will to better themselves. Individuals can be currently enrolled in college or a trade school as well as be a high school senior or junior.

Started in 2011, up until this year the scholarship had been given to families of Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corporation only. This year, however, it has been opened up to the public. Students from California, Colorado, Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania have been awarded the scholarship.

So far the Nesquehoning Grand Prix has raised nearly $60,000 that will be divided among the recipients.

“We’re using the Grand Prix as a fundraiser for the event to raise money for the Sonny Kovatch Scholarship Foundation. Sonny wasn’t really a fan of anyone in his family racing but it all nicely ties in because the whole Kovatch organization was built on being a motor head and having a passion for cars,” said John Kovatch IV, grandson of Sonny.

“His corporation actually started with a two car repair shop in 1946 and it grew from there. A small repair shop turned into a dealership that turned into a truck franchise and then we began doing refurbish work for the government and that went into truck manufacturing.”

The company is now a worldwide organization.

           The course measures just under a ˝ mile in length. The day will start with one hour of practice which will be used as timed warm-ups. Multiple sessions will be held during that span so drivers can make adjustments if need be to better improve on their lap times.

Afterwards the lap times will be posted from 1-30 that will then set the selection for a pair of races. The top six from each race will advance to the main event with the winner earning $500, $300 for second and $100 for third. The feature winner will also receive five hot pit passes for the Pocono ARCA 200 on June 7 and five terrace club passes as well as other items. A pit stop challenge is also on the agenda.

“It’s a preregistered event and the response has been great. We cut the signup off at 30 cars,” said Kovatch.

Some of the drivers slated to race include dirt Modified stars Richie Tobias, Billy Pauch, Jr., Craig Van Doren and Randy Smith plus Slingshot stars Kurt Bettler, Scott Miller, Tom Arntz and Pocono Raceway’s Nick Igdalsky to name a few.

            Kovatch stressed that the event is 100% free and the companies that are involved are doing so to help fund the scholarship.

“It has already been a financial success. I hope it will be a repeatable success where people will want to do it again. I also hope the town sees it as a benefit and I would eventually like to roll it into something with the borough of Nesquehoning and make it a community event.”

Kovatch Ford is located at 1 Industrial Complex, Nesquehoning at the intersections of routes 54 and 209.

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