By Mike Steely

Want to do something different that the kids might love too?

How about going to the First Annual Firecracker 250 on Saturday, July 2 at the Smokey Mountain RC Raceway?

RC (or Radio Controlled) race cars aren’t like our childhood Hot Wheels or Slot Cars but are those toys’ bigger brothers. An RC car is a larger, battery-powered car and people can spend $250 and up for each vehicle. Each vehicle is customized by the owner and there are different classes of racers, much like NASCAR.

The new Smokey Mountain RC Raceway opened recently at 4924 Strawberry Plains Pike after two years of preparation by Chuck Frazier and Tim McNutt. The pair work with the local Masonic order and have an understanding that if they keep up the lot there and the Masons run the concessions, then the dirt track operates there as a non-profit, Christian-based organization.

RC Racing has become so popular that, aside from the new Smokey Mountain track and ROCCK Racing in Knoxville, there are tracks in Greeneville, Johnson City, Newport, White Pine and other Tennessee locations.

The winner of each race is the car that completes the most laps in a given time. Frazier told The Focus that it has taken a couple of years to get the sizable track ready, which includes a pit section and a control stand where operators (or drivers) overlook the track and control their cars.

Saturday’s Firecracker 250 will feature SC Late Models and Mudboss cars competing for cash prizes. Frazier said that if more than 20 cars enter those races that 2nd and 3rd places could also win paybacks of the entrance fee, which is only $15.

Other classes of RC cars will also race during the Firecracker 250 and the event will also feature a bounce house, fireworks at dusk, and free food supplied by the Masons. Practice starts at 2 p.m. and the track will be lit for the main heat following the fireworks.

Frazier got into RC racing through his father, Jack Frazier, in 1982 when the family became racing fans. He wants to get youth involved.

“That’s what we’re all about,” he said.

Businesses and individuals can help fund cars for children with a $250 or larger contribution that goes to purchasing the car frame. The children would then complete the customized body and wheels. Sponsors would get a banner at the track and a mention on the Smokey Mountain R/C Raceway website.

The child’s car would remain with the track and be available when the child comes to race.

You can get more information by calling Chuck Frazier at 755-7453 or Google “Smokey Mountain RC Raceway” and you’ll also find them on Facebook.

“If we can get a few more businesses on board, these kids will be able to run a full race right alongside with us, free of charge, and have a car provided for them each time they come,” McNutt said in an email.

Admission to the Firecracker 250 is free except for the $15 racing fee.

“I really would like to see a good crowd,” McNutt said.