Racers come out for Luzerne County racing tradition

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LAUREL RUN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Drivers are ready and their cars are in gear.

Hundreds made their way into Luzerne County for a big weekend of road racing that dates back to 1906. Eyewitness News headed out to the racetrack to see what all of the commotion’s about.

On your marks, get set, go! These racers show no fear as they test their driving skills during the 113th Giants Despair Hillclimb in Laurel Run.

“I like watching them leave the start line and getting to that first corner,” start line official Toni Oswald said.

After buckling up, drivers start at the line, race up the hill for about one mile and then their time is captured and compared to others. At least 106 racers are up for the challenge this year.

“I love this hill because this hill requires a lot of horsepower and I have way more horsepower than I need,” driver Jim Crnkovic said.

For Crnkovic, this is his fifth season racing. He tells Eyewitness News it’s a dream to be able to drive up this hill.

“I was into cars when I was a kid and then you get busy with family and kids and whatever and I just decided it was time. When they started making the Camaros again in 2010 I said I’m getting one,” Crnkovic said.

Some community members say they would come out in this heat any day if it means keeping the tradition alive.

“Oh gosh, I’ve been coming here every year since I’m a kid. It’s just a fun day out. I’m a car guy,” Bob Sechevich of Sugar Loaf said.

“Since I was a kid, I’ve been coming you know and I used to bring my brother with me and then brought my sons with me for many years,” Robert Husty of Wilkes-Barre said.

Being at the Giants Despair Hillclimb takes many on a trip down memory lane.

“I co-drove a car with my mother,” Oswald said.

Oswald raced back in 1975, but then gave it up for family. Now, she works as the start line official to still be a part of the big event.

“I actually do this because my niece, my brother and my 83-year-old father still run it,” Oswald said.

“People. It’s a great group of people, both the drivers, the workers, and a lot of the spectators and fans, just a good combination,” Matt Rowe said.

And the fun has just begun. Saturday’s racing was just for practice. Sunday the actual time trials will take place. The Giants Despair Hillclimb wraps up Sunday around 5 p.m.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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