May 26th, 2008 at 06:05:08 (racing)
My friend Walter and I went down to North Carolina the first weekend of May to see the re-opening of Rockingham Speedway. The track has been closed since NASCAR allowed the Winston Cup series date to be moved to another track. Late last year Andy Hillenberg bought the track at auction and announced that he would re-open it. As soon as I heard the news I knew I was going to go and I paid close attention to the track to see when tickets would go on sale. It paid off as I am now account #19 and I got a pair of great tickets for the ARCA race and the Hooter’s Pro Cup race in November.
On the way down to Rockingham we decided to stop at Bowman-Gray Stadium. This was the first time for me at the track. The track is basically a 1/4 mile running track like you would see around a high school football field that has been paved. This makes for some tight racing. The reason why the track is called a stadium is because it is a stadium. Currently the Winston-Salem State University football team plays their games at the stadium, which is right next door to their campus. Previously, Wake Forest played there. The stadium holds about 17,000 fans and it was at least half full for the races. They probably had almost 10,000 fans in attendance. Not bad for a short track! We happened upon a 200 lapper for the modifieds that was rescheduled from the previous week. While the winner lead the whole race, it was still interesting the strategy he used. The first 80 laps he went rather slowly but no one was trying to pass him. You could tell how slow he was going because the whole field was in line. After that, he sped up slightly and you can see some cars towards the tail of the field drop off. Once he was about to catch the lapped cars he slowed down a little as to not catch them and lose the led in traffic. Then finally he ran as hard as he could for the last 50 laps. It was definitely a chess match on four wheels. I really enjoyed the track despite the tight conditions and hope to get back some time – maybe for a Southern Modified tour event.
On Sunday it was off to Rockingham. I never seen a race on the one mile oval, but I did see a SCCA race on the road course previously. As mentioned earlier we had great seats. The weather was also great. There were 50 cars starting the event and one that just dominated the other 49. Joey Logano just crushed the field in his Joe Gibbs Chevy. In fact, while I think four or five cars finished on the lead lap that was only because of the Lucky Dog award. He actually lapped every car in the field. The only car to show a little competition was Ken Schrader when he had new tires, but that only lasted about 15 laps. And fan favorite Schrader had to settle for second.
My yearly racing stats after Rockingham:
Tracks: 6 (2 new)
States: 4 (0 new)