By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
WINFIELD -- In keeping with the family tradition, Mike Trevitz is still winning races on dirt tracks around the Central Susquehanna Valley.
The 35-year-old, 1996 graduate of Selinsgrove High School, is the all-time leader at Selinsgrove Raceway Park with seven go-kart titles.
His uncle, Selinsgrove Speedway late model racer Kenny Trevitz along with his father, Jim Jr., and grandfather, Jim Sr., have won numerous go-kart races at the former Sunbury go-kart track.
In 12 races this year in the extra heavies division at SRP, Trevitz has won five times.
He works fulltime as a field operator in the oil industry.
His first memory of going to the races was to watch his grandfather, dad and uncle race go-karts in Sunbury.
He started working on his uncle's car in the early '90s and still works on the car when he is at home to this day.
"My dad and I do a lot of the set-up work on the car," he said. "Back in the early days, I used to scrape the mud off the car and I would hang out with the family at the garage."
Trevitz got the bug to get into racing in the winter of 1998. His first season was 1999.
He won the very first track championship in the Heavies division in 2001 at SRP. He went on to win the title again in 2002 and 2003.
In 2004, he moved to the extra heavies division and won the title the next four consecutive years.
The 2007 season was his last one of racing for a title.
"It wasn't getting to be fun anymore," he said. "You have to be there every week and as I was getting a little bit older, I started racing a little less."
His work schedule keeps him on the road for three weeks out of the month in north-central and northeast Pennsylvania.
"I never had an offer for a ride on the big track, but I did race some other go-karts to help out guys," he said. "The sport is expensive. I don't want to go down to Selinsgrove if I don't have a chance to win. I don't want to be on the track just to run laps. I want to have the equipment to be able to win the race."
The idea of racing on the half-mile is something Trevitz would like to do.
"I would love to do it sometime if I could afford it and have the time to do it," he said. "I would love to try a late model some day."
Even in go-karts, the cost of maintaining a kart has become expensive.
"The counts are lower and lower as the expenses are getting out of hand," he said. "The cost for four wheels and tires is in the $450-$500 range. The tires, if they are softer tires, you can get a season out of them. The harder tires wear out a lot quicker. You might burn them off in one day or two of races."
Trevitz said he'll go through eight to 10 sets of tires this year.
He also noted that a new, race-ready go-kart without any spare parts is about $5,000 and the chassis is about $2,800 without the engine and an engine can cost $1,200 to $1,500.
In winning last week's feature, he made $25. On Sunday in the money race, a third-place finish earned him $50.
In all, Trevitz estimates he has between 140 and 150 career wins and 10 track titles, including titles at Penns Creek and Little Greenwood.
Trevitz, who spends a half-day on getting the kart ready for race day, spends a lot of time getting the tires prepped for a race.
"Go-kart racing is more about tires and I usually spend an hour or two on tires each day that I am home," he said.
He said he's been lucky over the years to have minor bruises and no major injuries while racing go-karts.
"I'd still like to win a state title," he said. "Chasing the points is pretty much over for me. I see myself (racing) for a few years yet."
He and his wife, Justine, have been married since last November and are big, yet opposite, race and sports fans.
"She likes Doug Esh and I like Fred Rahmer," he said. "I root for Michigan and she roots for Ohio State in college football."
If they are not racing on Friday nights or working on the car on Saturdays, they head off and watch the races at Williams Grove, Port Royal or Lincoln speedways.
The couple would like to have a baby in the next couple of years and Trevitz said his wife is OK with the idea of the kid getting into go-kart racing.
If that happens, it could keep the Trevitz name in racing for years to come.