Mini-wedge racers ready for Homecoming

Several mini-wedge racers gear up to compete behind the Point Park Marketplace. Races are 2 p.m. Saturday behind the Point Park Market Place. (Photo by Jenna Pierson)

PARKERSBURG – Mini-wedge racing, a new event in this year’s Parkersburg Homecoming, brings families and communities together while encouraging children to be involved on the race track.

Mini wedges are small race cars complete with bumpers, kick rails and mounts. The cars are designed for children as young as 5 and as old as 15, equipped with steel cages for safety and are powered by a 12-14 horsepower engine.

Races are 2 p.m. Saturday behind the Point Park Market Place.

According to the Mini Wedge Association, this type of racing is designed to be safe for children and provide an outlet that promotes fairness and sportsmanship. Many professional sports car racers, including Vienna native Cale Conley, got their start and fell in love with the racetrack through their mini wedge experiences.

In the Mid-Ohio Valley, a community of race lovers fosters and promotes the sport.

“Mini wedge racing came to the area years ago when a group of guys decided to build the cars at the local dirt tracks,” said Lee Wigal, the designer of the track for Homecoming and the father of a semi-professional local racer. “My son has raced mini wedges and quarter wedges, which are designed for the pavement.”

This year is the first year for mini wedge racing as an event for the Parkersburg Homecoming. Homecoming will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Planning began last fall after local leaders expressed interest to bring the racing from the dirt tracks in Mineral Wells to downtown.

The race will be held in the parking lot behind Point Park Marketplace, 113 Ann St., and the track was accordingly designed, an oval of 120-by-75 feet.

“Mini wedge racing is a good family sport with lots of mechanical learning of moving parts and maintenance,” Wigal said. “Lots of these kids that have done mini wedge racing are now racing other forms of motorsports.”

Parkersburg City Councilman Eric Barber, who advocated bringing mini wedge racing to Homecoming, believes it will be a new aspect of the festivities that brings people together.

“It really reiterates our message that we want Parkersburg to be an area of arts, culture and entertainment,” Barber said.

Wyatt Cale, a 13-year-old from Parkersburg who has been mini-wedge racing for four years, is looking forward to the Homecoming race.

“I have a passion for racing and I love to do it and I strive to do it,” Cale said. “You always got to work hard and this has to be my best year.”