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Mary MacKay
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Power Tool Drag Races debut at Emerald Junction Summerfest on July 28

Its a race that would send Tim the Tool Man Taylor into spasms of pure Oh, oh, oh grunts of joy.

On Saturday, July 28, power-tool-powered homemade racing cars will battle for speed supremacy at the Atlantic Turbines International Power Tool Drag Races at the Emerald festival grounds near the community centre, as part of the Emerald Junction Summerfest, July 27-28.

This quirky racing event is an adaptation of the ever-popular Junk Yard Wars competition held for the past six years in Emerald.

This is still sort of Junk Yard Wars. Its the same idea only instead of building something to drive on, theyre building something that races on a track, says co-organizer Kent Croken.

Teams of up to four people are challenged to creatively incorporate hand-held power tools into a lean, mean racing machine so they can soar down one of two side-by-side 85-foot wooden tracks.

Competitors have been busy for weeks preparing for the big race, including Kenny McCarville of Carpenters Inc. in Kensington and the three other members of the Orphan Annie team.

A top-of-the-line grinder graciously given to them by Kent Building Supplies powers their dragster-style machine.

We probably have close to 70 hours into it in lettering and painting and so on, McCarville says.

The hard part was actually making the chassis and the body, but the fun part was dressing it up and making it look like it will hopefully go fast.

Race co-organizer Kenny Murphy helped out with Orphan Annies chassis.

Underneath all this is a common everyday grinder. Thats whats used on this one. Other creations obviously have different types of hand tools (such as drills or belt sanders) but (the power) has got to originate from a hand tool, he explains.

The hand tool must remain in its original form. The only modification allowed is the addition of a sprocket that drives the chain, which drives the wheels of the racing machine.

The crowd is not so excited about them going fast, they want something that looks neat or has a theme to it, Murphy says. The teams sometimes dress up in matching uniforms. It all adds to the fun of it, for sure.

The Orphan Annie team invested a total of about $50 in its power tool dragster project, improvising such things as inline skate wheels and a welders visor for a windshield. And there are plenty of sponsor stickers to jazz the racing rig up like the real-size thing.

McCarville admits the parachute at the rear is just for show but the little Orphan Annie doll driver isnt about to fly into the crowd because shes firmly affixed with a steel rod posted through her posterior.

A power cord trails like a tail from the back of the car to plug into the onsite power source.

Orphan Annie has already been on a test run.

The other night we tested it. We had two or three heavy shipping blankets and we shut the power off at the 75-foot mark and it had another 25 feet to slow down but it punched a hole right through the shipping blankets, McCarville says.

So it has got a lot of power even though its coasting at the end of the track.

There will be safety measures during the race to ensure that all goes well.

Croken says the fun element of the previous Junk Yard Wars and the upcoming Power Tool Drags is the surprising array of machines that the competitors come up with.

You basically start from scratch, he says.

Its going to be amazing on Saturday, too, how many different versions of power tool (machines) you will see. Weve already seen a couple, ones a motorcycle, ones a dragster and who knows what else.

At a glance

What: Junkyard Wars new Power Tool Drag Races, presented by Atlantic Turbines International.

Where: Emerald Junction Summerfest grounds at 1929 Nodd Rd.

When: Saturday, July 28, starting at 1:30 p.m.

Details: Tickets are $5 for adults; children are free. This also includes the afternoons entertainment as well, which is the Palmer Girls, a multi-talented group of five Newfoundland teenage sisters who perform traditional and folk favourites.

This event is part of the summerfests two days of activities and entertainment that starts on Friday, July 27. Tickets can be purchased at the gate. All events will take place rain or shine. For more information, call 886-2400 or visit

Organizations: Atlantic Turbines, Power Tool Drags, Palmer Girls

Geographic location: Emerald, Kensington, Newfoundland

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