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Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix gears up for historic year on racetrack

| Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 9:07 p.m.
Cars racing at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex as part of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
Bill Stoler
Cars racing at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex as part of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

This is a historic weekend in more ways than one at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Beaver County.

It will be the racing site July 10 through 12 of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, the 10-day event that benefits the Autism Society and the Allegheny Valley School.

The grand prix will culminate July 18 and 19 at Schenley Park in Oakland.

But the event known as PVGP Historics at the Pitt-Race Complex will be one of the first races at the newly expanded course, which has nearly doubled to 2.8 miles. Dominic Cincotta, the site's marketing director, hopes there will be more racing to come.

He says the purpose of the expansion is to make the site more usable to all sorts of racing. The grand prix is a great test, with its throaty Mustangs and Corvettes, LeMans-type races and open-wheel speedsters.

Cincotta says the raceway already has been chosen for the Aug. 15 to 17 majors tour of the Sports Car Club of America, so he's feeling optimistic about the expansion.

“We don't have any grandstands yet, but we do have our Spectator Hill, where fans can relax and get a good look at the racing,” he says.

Admission ranges from $15 for spectators to $880 for competitors racing July 11 and 12. Noontime charity rides and karting on a special course also are available. Gates will open at 9 a.m., and the racing will continue until 4:45 p.m.

The grand prix has raised $3.95 million since 1983 for the Autism Society and includes a stretch of events around the two weekends of racing.

• Black Tie & Tailpipes Gala: Beginning at 7 p.m. July 10 at the South Hills Country Club. This black-tie event includes cocktails, appetizers, dinner, a silent auction, dinner and music. Admission: $250

• Walnut Street Car Show: 5 to 9 p.m. July 13. Car owners line Walnut Street in Shadyside to raise donations. It is by-invitation-only to show a car, but free for visitors.

• Car Cruise at the Waterfront: 5 to 9 p.m. July 14 in Homestead. Classic cars of all sorts will fill the parking lot near First Commonwealth Bank. $5 entry for cars; free for spectators

• Downtown Parade and Car Show: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 15. Cars will begin gathering at Station Square on the South Side before parading into Downtown about 9 a.m. They will then be displayed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Point State Park, the U.S. Steel Plaza, Market Square and the PPG Plaza. Free

• Tune-Up Party at Atria's: 6 to 9 p.m. July 15. The event will heat up with a dinner on the North Shore. $40 for dinner and $25 if you want to show off your car on the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

• The Countryside Tour of the Laurel Highlands July 16 is sold out.

• Cars & Guitars: Doors will open at 7 p.m. and music will begin 8:30 p.m. July 16 at the Hard Rock Cafe on the South Side. This year's events features The Hawkeyes and André Costello and the Cool Minors. Admission: $20

Details: 412-559-3500 or pvgp.org

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.

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