Green Flags wave for the month of May
For race fans, there is nothing like the Month of May. And the Carolina will host many big time events over the next three weeks.
This weekend, both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series will be looking to avoid the Darlington Stripe, as both will be competing at the famed, 1.33 mile Darlington International Raceway.
Public Relations Director Jake Harris has pulled out all the stops to help give fans a better experience at the track.
“We have some seats on the backstretch for the Southern 500 priced at $35. With just a few remaining, folks need to act fast to make sure they can witness the 60th Anniversary of NASCAR racing at Darlington,” Harris said on Droppin’ the Hammer.
Harris had crews painting the walls just a few weeks ago to resemble how those walls last looked back during the 1982 season. The red and white walls will give fans a look back at the history of the raceway.
The Sprint Cup cars will qualify on Friday afternoon, while the Nationwide cars will both qualify and race Friday night. Last season, Joe Gibbs saw two of his cars pick up wins as Tony Stewart (Nationwide) and Kyle Busch (Sprint) drove to victory.
May 15th, the NASCAR action will move up to Charlotte as both the Camping World Trucks and Sprint Cup Series will be in action. The Sprint Cup teams will qualify for both the All Star race and the last chance, or Sprint Challenge race on Friday. The Camping World Trucks will the run a 200 mile race Friday night. Then Saturday night, as race director Ric Flair would say, the Sprint Cup stars and cars will be looking as only they can look for the All Star race. With a winner’s purse of $1,000,000, no holds will be barred in this main event feature.
Some teams will us the All Star weekend as a test session in preparation for the longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend. The Sprint Cup qualifying will be on Thursday, May 21st, with the 600 being contested on May 24th. The Nationwide Series will be in action on May 23rd in a 300 mile event as well. And don’t forget, the Indianapolis 500 takes the green flag on May 24th as well.
Also on May 22nd, The Dirt Track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway will host the Fastrack Crate Late Models. There could be over 100 cars battling for a spot in the feature, with many drivers from local tracks planning to compete.
The Speedway Motorsports Inc group, which owns the Lowe’s Motor Speedway, will be looking at the attendance numbers closely at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the other tracks they own. With the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway in the fold now, without a Sprint Cup date, this group may look to move a date from one of their current tracks. If I had to pick a track to pull a date from, and the main point was fan attendance, the two tracks I would look the closest to would be the Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
If Atlanta has trouble selling seats this Labor Day, or Lowe’s has trouble with the October race, one of these tracks may lose a date to the rabid fans in Kentucky. These fans have being selling out the track for Nationwide races, and a cup date in the bluegrass state would be the fastest thing since Secretariat.
As for local action, if you want to see some great Kart races, give the Southern Pride Speedway in Blacksburg a try.
Last Friday night, over 120 karts showed up and the racing was furious with many laps being ran with karts stacked three wide. You will see kids as young at six competing in the beginner class on up to the adults competing in advanced classes. Just plan to arrive early (around 6:00pm) to make sure you have a spot in the bleachers. The races start at 7:30pm.
The Month of May concludes with the O’Reilly Southern All Stars East Division competing May 29th and 30th. On May 29th this tour will make their first visit to the Union County Speedway, with the Cherokee Speedway hosting on May 30th.
Be sure to check with your favorite local tracks over the next month, to make sure they have not changed their schedule due to some of the NASCAR events taking place in Darlington and Charlotte. Among the changes will be the Greenville Pickens Speedway. Normally a Saturday night track, this week’s action will take place Friday night, to allow both fans and competitors a chance to attend the Southern 500. Most tracks have a web-page, or you can check www.trackforums.com for more information.
There are a lot of national racing events to choose from this month, but don’t forget the local tracks, where you may be watching the next national star on the rise in the world of motorsports.