Reading, Pennsylvania group offers gravity racing to new generation of kids

The cars are built out of wood and there's no engine, just steering and brakes.

Thursday, July 28, 2022
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"My goal is to get the kids out from behind the video games," says Kevin Albrecht.

READING, Pennsylvania -- Every other Sunday, it's race day on High Street's hill in the Antietam Valley, with cars vying for position before they cross the finish line.

The group holding the races is called Tri County G-Force Gravity Racing and it was started three years ago, according to the group's Vice President Kevin Albrecht.

He says the group usually has about 10 cars racing with nine adults helping the kids who drive the cars.

Albrecht says he was happy the group of many former racers could revive gravity racing for this next generation of kids.

"I loved racing when I was a kid," says Albrecht.

He says they used to race in the city of Reading, putting together cars made of orange crates and baby coach wheels or "whatever we could get together."

Albrecht says his dad helped him build cars when he was young and now his grandson, Jackson Albrecht, drives a car he built.

Jackson says the car he drives is called "The Grape Ape."

Cars are personalized for drivers, with boys and girls of varying ages racing each other.

"I like all the kids to learn," says Albrecht.

He says it's important to teach the kids how to work on their cars with a hands-on approach, so eventually drivers can work on the cars they drive themselves.

The cars are built out of wood and there's no engine, just steering and brakes.

"My goal is to get the kids out from behind the video games," says Albrecht.

"It's very fun," says Jackson Albrecht.

Albrecht's grandson also says it's nice to get out of the house and be with family for the day.

Since the cars are motorless, they are attached with chains to a truck and pulled up the hill where they're turned around and lined up for the next lap.

"We usually do eight laps," explains Albrecht. "The last lap is the lap that counts."

Albrecht's brother, Brian Albrecht, works the top of the hill, lining up cars and doing the final safety check. All the drivers wear seatbelts and helmets.

Brian Albrecht's grandson, Denny Castro, drives the 24, while Cody Clevenger is in the 78.

"They'll blow that air horn and they're off," says Albrecht.

Clevenger says when he's driving, it's "all about aerodynamics and speed, weight distribution."

"When you gain that speed when you go down the hill, it's the best part," says Jackson Albrecht.

And this season, the girls are picking up speed and winning many races.

"As long as they're enjoying themselves, I'm enjoying myself," says Albrecht. "We love doing it."