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Legend Car Drivers Travel Extreme Distances to Compete in the Legends Million
Legend Car drivers from near and far will converge on the Mecca of Motorsports, Charlotte Motor Speedway, July 15-17, to compete in the the Legends Million.
More than 250 drivers from 35 states and two foreign countries have registered for the one-of-a-kind grassroots race featuring a total purse of $1 million. The A-Feature winner is guaranteed to take home an unprecedented $250,000, while the final spot in the feature is assured $10,000.
They come from as far west as Snohomish, Wash., as far north as Alberta, Canada, and two drivers will even be making a journey across the Atlantic Ocean from the Netherlands, trying to find glory on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s frontstretch quarter-mile oval.
Some racers will travel by air, others will drive and some have even packed their bags and relocated to Charlotte, N.C., for the summer. Whatever mode of transportation they use, they all come with dreams of competing against some of the best Legend Car drivers in the world, in hopes of bringing home the top prize.
Cees Visser, Bert De Heus, George “Spike” Schultze, Grant McDonald, Chris Reid and Nick Carey are among those who will travel great distances, all journeying more than 2,000 miles to compete in the Legends Million.
The two drivers who will be making the longest trip are Dutchmen Visser and De Heus of the Netherlands. Both men currently race Legend Cars in their home country, but because of shipping costs they plan to purchase new cars upon arrival in the States and then send them back to the Netherlands after the race.
Visser, 48, of Bevershoerstraat, Netherlands, thinks driving in the Legends Million will be quite an experience and at the same time test his ability as a Legend Car racer.
“This is very challenging,” explained Visser. “This will be an adventure for us as we don’t have experience with oval racing, only road racing. There will be more drivers than I am used to, but maybe the money will wake up the devil in some of them. I am just going to try and get a part of it.”
De Heus, of Brabersweg, Netherlands, is also excited about the opportunity to race in the United States. Despite the different style of racing, the 39-year-old believes his experience in a Legend Car will help him secure a share of the $1 million purse.
“It is the most amazing race I ever heard of,” exclaimed De Heus. “As a Legend Car racer you must drive in this race! I have always wanted to drive in a big race in the United States and this is a 100 percent guarantee for spectacular racing.”
Schultze, 62, of Missoula, Mont., made the four-day drive to Concord early in the summer and has been competing in the Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series in preparation for the big race. The 10-week, Tuesday night series features some of the best Legend Car drivers in the country and Schultze hopes the extra track time and tough competition will aid in his pursuit of a victory in the Legends Million.
“Since I had never raced at Charlotte Motor Speedway we decided that to have any chance at the Legends Million we needed to run in the Summer Shootout,” said Schultze.
Schultze, who competes in the Legend Car Masters division for drivers 40 and older, couldn’t pass up an event of this caliber.
“I traveled all this way because this is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” explained Schultze. “I wanted the opportunity to race with the biggest names in the sport, a chance to be on national TV and maybe a chance to win some money.”
Both McDonald and Reid are traveling from Alberta, Canada. While McDonald plans to fly, Reid will make the 2,168 mile trip with his car in tow.
McDonald, of Didsbury, Canada, wrecked his primary car in a race three weeks ago and is having a new Legend Car built in Huntersville, N.C., for the Legends Million. He plans to pick up his new machine upon arrival.
The 51-year-old and his wife are excited about their trip to North Carolina and even have plans to someday retire in the area.
“We really want to see North Carolina,” explained McDonald. “It’s one place we might decide to stay in the winter months. We are treating this trip like an adventure and a week away from everyday responsibility. My goal is to have fun and enjoy being a part of the big show.”
Reid, 29, of Fort McMurray, Canada, started racing a Legend Car in 2006. He travels week to week, racing in Canada, but he never imagined he would be driving to Charlotte to compete in such a large event.
“I have always wanted to go to Charlotte to see the shops and NASCAR-related attractions,” said Reid. “I never imagined that I would be able to compete on such a huge stage, then this race was announced, so now I have the best of both worlds.”
Carey, of Snohomish, Wash., packed up his car and trailer last week and headed east on a 54-hour trip with two of his friends in a quest for his share of the $1 million purse.
The 21-year-old will stay in the Charlotte area for three weeks and plans to practice in the Summer Shootout Series prior to the big event.
Carey, who stated racing go-karts at age nine, feels like he may have an advantage over some of the other drivers that are traveling extreme distances. Unlike many of them, he has had an opportunity to race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the past.
“I raced in the Summer Shootout in 2007 and 2008,” said Carey. “My crew chief for the Legends Million is the same crew chief I had in the Shootout and we finished top-five overall in 2008, so I feel that gives us an excellent chance to compete. This race is just awesome and it’s a chance of a lifetime. It’s just something I can’t pass up.”
Competitors who register for the Legends Million must register in one of three divisions: Young Lions/Semi-Pro, Masters or The Legends Million, which is open to all drivers.
Each division will run heat races and an A-Main race, with the Legends Million A-Feature serving as the grand finale of the three-day event. The winners of the Masters and Semi-Pro/Young Lions division A-Main races will earn an unprecedented $30,000 and $25,000, respectively.
For additional information on competitor registration for the Legends Million, go online or call the Charlotte Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205.