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PA resident remembers the Nazareth Speedway in new book - abc27 WHTM

PA resident remembers the Nazareth Speedway in new book

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The Nazareth fairgrounds were at the center of town in the late 1880s. The track ran along Broad Street between East Park and South Streets to the Bangor & Portland Railway station. (Courtesy of Darrell Mengel.) The Nazareth fairgrounds were at the center of town in the late 1880s. The track ran along Broad Street between East Park and South Streets to the Bangor & Portland Railway station. (Courtesy of Darrell Mengel.)
Here, the track looks a little rough, dusty, and overgrown, but that is how it was in the 1950s during Sprint Car races. (Courtesy of Jack Kromer.) Here, the track looks a little rough, dusty, and overgrown, but that is how it was in the 1950s during Sprint Car races. (Courtesy of Jack Kromer.)
Here, drivers at the Indy 225 race at Nazareth hang out on pit road with their fellow drivers, teammates, and significant others as they wait to have their pictures taken. (Courtesy of Tracy L. Berger-Carmen.) Here, drivers at the Indy 225 race at Nazareth hang out on pit road with their fellow drivers, teammates, and significant others as they wait to have their pictures taken. (Courtesy of Tracy L. Berger-Carmen.)
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Tracy Berger-Carmen grew up just minutes from Nazareth Speedway and recalled her father often telling tales of his time there.

"My dad was always telling me [about] demolition derbies, his days of helping people out it in the pits," Berger-Carmen told abc27's Good Day PA.

In 2004, she had the chance to serve as a freelance photographer and capture images of the track's final race.

"I literally took hundreds of pictures, not really knowing what would happen to these pictures eventually and it kind of went from there."

Now many of her photos, along with others, are part of Arcadia Publishing's "Nazareth Speedway," part of the company's Images of Sports series. The pages feature hundreds of historical photos of the famous dirt track, cars, actual races and racers.

One racer was Mario Andretti who, according to Berger-Carmen, made a name for Nazareth Speedway after moving to Nazareth and being surprised to find a racetrack in the small town.

In the book, Berger-Carmen explained how asphalt was brought in to cover the dirt track in the late 1980's. When the IRC merged with Roger Penske in 2004, the track closed.

While many racing enthusiasts are rallying for the racetrack to experience the revving of engines again, Berger-Carmen cannot speculate on whether that will happen.

"It's really hard to say. I know in the past that the track was closed for 10 years and it did reopen but that was the big track. It's hard to say at this point what will happen. A lot of people would like to see it go back."

"Nazareth Speedway" was released on November 11.

If you are a Pennsylvania author or an author who has written about PA, please contact Good Day PA to be part of our regular "Author Spotlight" series.

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