A Survey of the Region’s Small-Town Racing Tracks

A Survey of the Region’s Small-Town Racing Tracks

The big tracks, like Charlotte Motor Speedway and Daytona Intercontinental Speedway, get most of the

The big tracks, like Charlotte Motor Speedway and Daytona Intercontinental Speedway, get most of the focus. But the heart and soul of automobile racing lie in community tracks, which run on weekends right before a pair of thousand, or even just a couple hundred, enthusiasts in the most personal fossil-fueled venues.

Kyle Petty calls these functions the Friday Evening Lights of racing, on compact tracks that build the most personalized relationship amid racing, racers, and supporters. “You watch two guys operate 30 laps doorway-to-door at Hickory. They defeat, they bang. They do it each and every Saturday night time mainly because they’re the two finest drivers there. Chances are they get mad at each other. Likelihood are their crews scream at just about every other at times. But a large amount of occasions, an hour or two just after the race, you’ll see them sitting down on the hoods of their pickups drinking beer.

“And you know why you will see them there? Simply because you are a fan. You occur down out of the grandstand. You can wander throughout the racetrack. You can go contact the car or truck, see the car, see the driver, touch the driver, talk to the driver, and you practical experience anything about what the sport is.”

Petty, who raced in NASCAR’s Cup Collection for three many years, is the grandson, son, and father of storied stock auto racers, so he’s invested a good deal of time at all sorts of racetracks, regardless of whether in the car or the stands. He likens the encounter of viewing up-and-coming drivers at small tracks to catching Bob Dylan in a dive bar just before he became famed: “That’s in which you saw Dale Earnhardt Sr. for the extremely first time, but you didn’t know it when you saw him. You just preferred the way he drove you just preferred what he did. He was a pleasant person. Excellent man. You talked to him. And eventually, he turned Dale Earnhardt.”

They’re all about the region, in compact cities where crews from ESPN and Fox Sports activities really don’t typically show up. Listed here are 5, in an hour’s push or so from Charlotte, that present more intimate encounters than you’d get at a Cup race.


Contestants in the Brief Track Super Sequence modified race at Cherokee Speedway in May 2020. Adam Fenwick Images.

Cherokee Speedway

153 Speedway Highway, Gaffney, S.C.

The motion at this 3/8-mile dust keep track of is intense more than enough to gain it the nickname “The Area Your Mama Warned You About.” It’s just off I-85 (Exit 96), about 50 miles west of Charlotte, and due to the fact 1957, it’s hosted numerous Late Product, Dash Auto, DIRTcar, Road Shares, and Monster Truck occasions every calendar year from February to late November. General admission is $15, but $30 receives you into the pits, and young children 12 and beneath get in free of charge (prices could differ for other events).


Hickorythrowback2021

Motorists lined up their equipment for the Honeywell House Throwback 276 at Hickory Motor Speedway on July 31, 2021. Adam Fenwick Images.

Hickory Motor Speedway

3130 Freeway 70 SE, Newton

NASCAR was founded in 1949. Hickory Motor Speedway, off Exit 128 on Interstate 40, opened two many years later on as a 50 percent-mile dust monitor. Two yrs just after that, in 1953, the NASCAR Grand Countrywide Series—now the Cup Series—raced there Hickory hosted the collection for 19 several years until eventually new sponsor Winston dropped all races of less than 250 miles following the 1971 year. It nonetheless held what’s now the Xfinity Collection right up until 1998.

It’s been nicknamed “the birthplace of NASCAR stars” for a rationale. “There is no sport,” Petty states, “without Hickory.” Hickory winners incorporate Corridor of Famers Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, Jack Ingram, and other people who should really be Corridor of Famers, like Ralph Earnhardt. NASCAR doesn’t continue to keep documents this in-depth, but it is most likely that just about every driver who’s hoisted a Cup race trophy in the final 7 decades raced at Hickory at some place.

The dust was paved in 1967, and the observe is now .363 miles, which retains the motion limited and intense for as numerous as 13,000 supporters. While its varsity times are long long gone, Hickory is nonetheless utilised as a venue for NASCAR’s club racing division the Progress Auto Areas Weekly Series (formerly the Whelen All-American Collection) Professional All Stars Series South Tremendous Late Types and the Automobiles Tour, with late model and tremendous-late model touring sequence vehicles.


Roval 2021 4 Legends

A younger enthusiast climbs out of a Bandolero auto produced by U.S. Legend Cars Worldwide, a subsidiary of Charlotte-centered Speedway Motorsports Inc. These entry-amount racers are built for drivers as young as 8. Image by Logan Cyrus.

U.S. Legend Automobiles

5555 Harmony Parkway S., Harmony

Okay, this is a lot more little-monitor racing than racing at a small track—it’s held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. But these summer season races are worth checking out. Drivers race additional affordable roadster-design and style cars and trucks to retain expenses down and open up the industry to extra competition. Current Cup stars Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, William Byron, Bubba Wallace, and other folks have used Legend racing as a springboard to the bigger, pricier series.


Millbridge Karac 3

Outlaw karts at Millbridge Speedway in March 2021. Kara C Photography.

Millbridge Speedway

6670 Mooresville Road, Salisbury

This minor 1/6-mile dust track in Salisbury has been about for a lot more than 25 many years and attained traction as a proving floor for young racers. The progeny of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Kyle Larson have competed there, and there’s usually a possibility you could see Cup drivers Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, or Chase Elliott on a busman’s holiday break, sliding their midget automobiles all over the purple clay oval in 30-lap feature races when they are not gunning for NASCAR glory.


Gopro Motorplex

The keep track of at GoPro Motorplex. Courtesy, GoPro Motorsports.

GoPro Motorplex

130 Motorplex Generate, Mooresville

This karting venue is considerably less a spectator venue than an experiential “get-guiding-the-wheel-and-set-the-pedal-to-the-metal” issue. Continue to, close friends and family members arrive to observe competition amongst young ones who might nevertheless have schooling wheels on their bikes.