By admin | August 26, 2008
By Richard Allen
Living in east Tennessee during the week of the Bristol NASCAR event means there is plenty of racing action to go around. This last few days served to remind me why I love racing.
On Thursday of this past week I attended the World of Outlaws Late Model race at the Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tennessee. For whatever reason I had let myself get away from the local racing scene. I had not been to a dirt track race in several years.
Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my dad and I going to the numerous local short tracks around the Knoxville area.
The race, which was part of a two night series called “The Scorcher”, provided some great action. Also, a number of celebrities from the racing community were on hand. Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman raced in the main event. Richard Childress was there to watch his grandsons, Ty and Austin Dillon, compete against some of the best dirt late model drivers in the country. Clint Bowyer was also there to keep an eye on his driver, Shannon Babb.
While it was “pretty cool” as one patron put it to have those big personalities on hand, the real attraction was those who race these fast, unique machines on a regular basis.
This type of racing is reminiscent of what NASCAR used to be. While strolling through the pit area prior to the competition, I saw real ‘car guys’ working on the machines they loved and they were doing it because they love the feel of preparing a car with their own hands and using their own wits to try and outrun the competition with the cars they have created.
Shane Clanton won the Thursday night version of “The Scorcher” by leading the final 41 laps of the A-Main 60 lapper. Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tennessee had won the previous night’s feature race. Each race paid $10,000 plus additional bonus money to win.
I had been away from this type of racing for too long. I do not plan to let nearly so much time pass before I make my next visit to a local track.
On Saturday, I experienced a second reminder of why I love racing. For all the faults modern day NASCAR may have, it is still quite a spectacle.
My brother-in-law went to the Sharpie 500 with me. It was the first time he had ever attended a car race of any kind. There is something enjoyable about being with someone who for the first time is experiencing the sights and sounds of NASCAR.
It is truly unique in the world of sports to see competitors out signing autographs and mingling with the fans just a couple of hours before the event is to take place. It would be highly unlikely that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Kobe Bryant would do the same thing.
And best of all are the actual sights and sounds of the cars on the track. My brother-in-law remarked as the cars were circulating around the track on the pace laps, “This is pretty cool and there not even going full speed yet.”
There may be some things I would change about NASCAR if I could. However, whether it be on a local short track like the Volunteer Speedway or the Bristol Motor Speedway racing is still “pretty cool”.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
Topics: ET Racing |