- December 2004
12/20/04Everyone at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway thanks you for your continued support of our events and we wish you and your family a safe and joyful holiday season.
The track will operate on a limited schedule between Dec. 22 and Jan. 3. Hours of operation for the ticket office, gift shop and tours, The Speedway Club and administrative offices follow:
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
Closed: Dec. 24 and Dec. 31
Gift Shop and Tours
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday
1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Closes at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 24
Closes at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 31
Closed: Dec. 25 and Jan. 1
The Speedway Club
Private Functions Only: Dec. 22-30 and Jan. 1-3
Restaurant Open Friday, Dec. 31, 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Regular Hours Resume Jan. 4
Close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 21
Reopen at 9 a.m. on Jan. 3
12/13/04Lowe¿s Motor Speedway is once again offering those with race fans on their holiday lists a stress-free shopping alternative. By making one simple, toll-free call to 1-800-455-FANS, individuals can avoid the stress traditionally associated with holiday shopping by purchasing race tickets for family and friends.
¿Tickets to next May¿s Coca-Cola 600 and NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge are a quick and simple way to thrill the race fans on your holiday shopping list¿and you don¿t have to go shopping,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿Just give us a call, or purchase them online.¿
Good seats are available for each of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s May NASCAR events.
12/08/04The Lee College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is accepting applications for the 2005-2006 Alan Kulwicki Memorial Scholarship. Lee College annually awards the Alan Kulwicki Memorial Scholarship to an outstanding high school graduate who has an affiliation with NASCAR and who exemplifies the late Alan Kulwicki¿s commitment to education and love of auto racing.
With the financial support of R.J. Reynolds Company, UNC Charlotte established the Kulwicki Scholarship in 1994. The Kulwicki Scholarship is awarded to freshmen entering the motorsports engineering program at UNC Charlotte. It is given in memory of late NASCAR champion Alan Kulwicki, who lost his life in a plane crash in 1993.
Kulwicki was an engineer himself, and a strong supporter of engineering and science education. Kulwicki was the first college graduate to win the NASCAR Winston Cup championship, an honor he deeply cherished.
12/07/04More than 67,000 children in the Charlotte region will benefit from a distribution of $504,000 by Speedway Children¿s Charities.
O. Bruton Smith, founder of Speedway Children¿s Charities and chairman of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., awarded grants to nearly 70 local organizations today.
The money, raised through various activities along with individual and corporate donations throughout the year, aids the organizations in meeting the emotional, medical or educational needs of area children.
12/05/04Race fans will be able to fulfill their ¿need for speed¿ during the winter months as highlights of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s 11th annual Hardee¿s Summer Shootout will be televised by SPEED Channel on 10 Friday evenings beginning Dec. 3 and concluding Feb. 11.
The 10 one-hour programs, featuring action from each of the series¿ 10 weeks, will air at 8 p.m. (EST) and repeat at midnight. The telecasts will run on consecutive Friday nights from Dec. 3 through Jan. 21 with the final two rounds slated to air on Feb. 4 and 11.
Veteran broadcasters Brian Drebber and Dave Sadowksi will call the action with Doug Rice, the voice of Performance Racing Network, reporting from the pit area.
- November 2004
11/30/04Tracy Rich has been named Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s 2004 Salesperson of the Year.
Rich, of Charlotte, N.C., joined the Lowe¿s Motor Speedway sales and marketing staff in August of 2002. Now in his third year with the speedway, Rich secured over $1 million in new business during 2004. His accomplishments included signing RBC Centura as the track¿s Official Bank and securing naming rights for the new state-of-the-art Time Warner Media Center.
¿Our current economy requires a different approach when selling a corporation on the benefits of a motorsports sponsorship,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿Tracy has been very successful in adapting his sales techniques to today¿s economy."
11/21/04Holiday shoppers with NASCAR fans on their lists will find the ultimate gifts and stocking stuffers, some priced as low as $1, during Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s gigantic Souvenir Blow-Out Friday, Nov. 26.
The 12th annual day-after-Thanksgiving event, which runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., offers those spending $50 or more the opportunity to drive their personal vehicle two laps around the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway.
This yearly opportunity puts fans in the tire tracks of Jimmie Johnson who dominated NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing this season at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, winning May¿s Coca-Cola 600 and the UAW-GM Quality 500 in October.
11/20/04With the curtain dropping on the final NASCAR Winston Cup season, race fans will have an opportunity to purchase a piece of racing history during the annual Souvenir Blow-Out Friday, Nov. 28, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Numerous souvenirs adorned with the familiar red-and-white NASCAR Winston Cup Series logo will be available one last time before NEXTEL becomes the primary sponsor of NASCAR¿s premier racing series.
The annual day-after-Thanksgiving Souvenir Blow-Out allows shoppers with race fans on their holiday lists to find the ultimate gifts and stocking stuffers at prices as low as $1, while avoiding the traditional frenzy at the malls.
11/17/04Driving around Lowe¿s Motor Speedway during the 12th annual Souvenir Blow-Out on Friday, Nov. 26, is one element of a ¿high-speed honeymoon¿ planned for Salisbury, N.C., residents and longtime race fans Bill Gopsill and Yvonne Simko.
Gopsill and Simko, who relocated to Salisbury from Florida in September, will exchange wedding vows on Wednesday, Nov. 24. The newlyweds will celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends and then head to Lowe¿s Motor Speedway for the Souvenir Blow-Out on Friday, Nov. 26. They will also return to the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway the next day to participate in the Richard Petty Driving Experience¿s ride-along program, completing their ¿high-speed honeymoon.¿
The Souvenir Blow-Out, which runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., offers those spending a minimum of $50, or making a $25 donation to Speedway Children¿s Charities, the opportunity to drive their personal vehicle two laps around the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway.
11/10/04Bruton Smith, founder and chairman of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. is among four area sports legends selected for induction into the Greater Charlotte Sports Hall of Fame.
Smith joins basketball legends Bobby Jones and David Thompson along with the late Hoyt Wilhelm, an extremely durable and effective baseball relief pitcher, in the hall of fame¿s class of 2005.
Smith grew up on a modest farm near Oakboro, N.C., and parlayed his love for building things into a business empire, focusing on the motorsports and automotive industries.
After promoting stock car races at numerous area short tracks, Smith spearheaded the construction of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway and the inaugural Coca-Cola 600 was run in June of 1960.
11/06/04After having victory slip from his grasp in the closing laps of last year¿s event, Jason Petty of Creedmore, N.C., bounced back to post a convincing victory in the World Karting Association¿s 11th annual Briggs & Stratton 300 Saturday night on the frontstretch quarter-mile oval at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Petty, known in the karting community as ¿The Peoples¿ Champion,¿ started from the pole in the 40-kart field, played pit strategy to perfection and was more than a lap ahead of his closest challenger when the checkered flag was unfurled on go-kart racing¿s most prestigious oval track race.
¿I¿m speechless right now,¿ Petty said in victory circle. ¿We were just trying to stay out of harm¿s way. We kept our head on straight, kept our mind in the game and that¿s what it takes.¿
- October 2004
10/31/04Kerry Parnell of Kernersville, N.C., will be looking for back-to-back victories Saturday night, Nov. 6, when drivers from across the country converge on Lowe¿s Motor Speedway for the 11th running of the Briggs & Stratton 300, go-kart racing¿s most prestigious oval-track event.
The 300-lap race on Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s frontstretch quarter-mile oval is part of the World Karting Association¿s 11th annual North American Karting Championship. The three-day event begins Friday, Nov. 5, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 7. It also includes the 30th annual Horstman Gold Cup Series GT Machine Grand Nationals on the serpentine infield sprint track.
10/26/04From little deuce coupes to lead sled Mercury customs, the K&N Filters Goodguys Southeastern Nationals Oct. 29-31 at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway will be a literal automotive smorgasbord.
The 11th year of this wildly popular show will see the California-based Goodguys organization bring more than 3,000 pre-1972 hot rods, street rods, customs, classics, muscle cars and trucks to Lowe¿s Motor Speedway from across the country.
Also included in the weekend¿the fastest growing show on the Goodguys calendar¿is a manufacturer¿s midway, model car and pedal car show and a chance to ride around the famous 1.5-mile oval at 130-plus miles per hour in the passenger seat of an authentic NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race car.
10/18/04The K&N Filters Goodguys Southeastern Nationals Oct. 29-31 at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway will feature more than 3,000 pre-1972 hot rods, street rods, customs, classics, muscle cars and trucks. Radical vehicles from more than three dozen states will be on display.
The event¿the fastest growing show on the Goodguys calendar¿also includes a manufacturer¿s midway, swap meet, car corral area with vehicles for sale, model car and pedal car show and a chance to ride around the famous 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway oval at 130-plus miles per hour in the passenger seat of a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race car.
10/17/04Jimmie Johnson thought he needed a victory to jump back into contention for the Nextel Cup championship. He got it, and it still wasn't enough. Johnson won the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night -- leading teammate Jeff Gordon across the finish line for a 1-2 finish for Hendrick Motorsports -- but gained almost no ground in the Chase for the Championship. On a night in which almost all 10 of the championship contenders had some sort of trouble, Kurt Busch and Gordon rebounded the best. The two bounced back from a wreck in the first turn of the first lap to salvage stellar finishes and retain their hold on the top of the point standings. Busch finished fourth and now holds a 24-point lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished third. Gordon, who also had a second minor accident midway through the race, is 74 points back. Despite a series of bad break to most of the contenders, nine of the 10 finished 14th or better.
10/15/04Mike Bliss used a gutsy three-wide pass to take the lead, then held off a charging Matt Kenseth over the final few laps to get his first Busch Series victory Friday night. Bliss sat back and watched a side-by-side battle between Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson when The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 restarted with 19 laps to go at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As Kenseth and Johnson fought for the lead, Bliss pulled up next to them and coasted by in a three-wide pass coming out of Turn 4. He drove away to a sizable lead as Kenseth and Johnson continued to waste time racing each other.
10/14/04Ryan Newman knows he'll have to be flawless over the final six races to win the Nextel Cup title. Newman was just that Thursday night, shattering the track record at Charlotte Motor Speedway while winning the pole for the UAW-GM Quality 500. Newman turned a lap at 188.877 mph in his Dodge to win the top starting spot. It beat the track record of 187.052 that Jimmie Johnson set here in May -- a lap that erased the record Newman had held. "I told my wife I wanted it back," he said. But Newman knows the track record means nothing. He needs a win Saturday night to climb back into the Chase for the Championship. His 33rd-place finish in Kansas last weekend dropped him to eighth in the standings, 232 points behind leader Kurt Busch.
10/14/04Reed Sorenson seemed to have it all. He had won the 2003 ASA National Tour Rookie of the Year award. He had a contract with Chip Ganassi Racing. He had a ride in the NASCAR Busch Series next year. The one thing he didn¿t have was a win in the ASA. That changed with the running of the Aaron¿s 99 presented by Jani-King under the lights at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway as Sorenson took the checkered flag in his 38th career start. Sorenson took the lead on lap 51 of the 66-lap (99 mile) event. He dropped inside of Bryan Reffner on a restart and from there it was clear sailing in his No. 29 Target Dodge. ¿We got a good run on that restart and were able to get through (Turns) 1 and 2 without any trouble and made the pass on him (Reffner),¿ Sorenson said. ¿It¿s pretty neat to come back here under the lights and win this race.¿ It was this pass for the lead that gave him the Cool Shirt ¿Cool Move of the Race¿ award. Sorenson becomes the tenth different winner on the ASA National Tour this season, and the third driver to capture their first career victory.
10/14/04Casey Mears won the second Busch series pole of his career, earning the top starting position in qualifying Thursday night for the SpongeBob 300. Mears ran a lap at 183.014 mph around Charlotte Motor Speedway to put his Dodge on the front row. His only other pole was last month in California, and he had a career-best second-place finish in the race. Robby Gordon qualified second in a Chevrolet with a lap at 181.910 mph. Greg Biffle was third in a Ford and Jamie McMurray fourth in a Dodge, putting Nextel Cup regulars in the top four spots.
10/14/04Levi Jones drove around the outside of Troy Cline in the final corner to win the USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series portion of the Mopar Sprint Car Nationals Wednesday night at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The victory was the first of Jones¿ USAC sprint car career while Chris Madden, a regular visitor to victory lane at the four-tenths-mile clay oval, topped the 25-lap feature for the O¿Reilly Southern All Star late models.
¿That right there started a year ago when I spent every penny I had to build a car,¿ Jones explained. ¿We led last year¿s race here until the car broke and I wasn¿t going to let Troy win again. It was a handful out there tonight, and I¿m worn out.¿
The Olney, Ill., driver took home $5,000 for his evening¿s work.
10/12/04UAW-GM Quality 500 week hits high gear Wednesday with practice and qualifying for the Aaron¿s 99 American Speed Association race and the Mopar Sprint Car Nationals at The Dirt Track.
The cars and stars of the Indiana-based ASA National Tour will begin practice at 11 a.m. Qualifying is slated for 4 p.m. and a final practice session gets the green flag at 7:30 p.m.
The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway concludes its season Wednesday night with the traditional sprint cars of the United States Auto Club and the late models of the O¿Reilly Southern All Star Series.
NASCAR driver and last year¿s USAC sprint car champion J.J. Yeley will return to his racing roots in the No. 75 Mopar-powered sprint car while NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader will trade paint with the late model troops.
10/12/04To accommodate the expected demand for family-friendly seating at the Oct. 15 Lowe's Presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 NASCAR Busch Series race, speedway officials announced the creation of a non-alcoholic section priced to meet family budgets.
"Along with Lowe's, we want to make this race the most family friendly NASCAR event ever," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "We want families who have never experienced NASCAR to check out The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 and know they can do it in a comfortable and affordable environment."
10/08/04Seven-time X Games medalist Brian Deegan and his Metal Mulisha will lead an aerial assault of the ¿extreme¿ variety when Lowe¿s presents Extreme Freestyle Motocross as part of the pre-race spectacular for the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event Saturday night, Oct. 16, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The exhibition marks the first time Freestyle Motocross, the world¿s most popular extreme sport, has been part of a Lowe¿s Motor Speedway pre-race show and the breath-taking tricks will set the stage for an ¿extreme¿ battle of the four-wheel variety during round five of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
10/08/04J.J. Yeley, who drives in selected NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series events for Joe Gibbs Racing, will return to his racing roots Wednesday night, Oct. 13, when he competes in the USAC Valvoline Sprint Car portion of the Mopar Sprint Car Nationals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Yeley, the 2003 USAC Valvoline Sprint Car Series champion, is scheduled to drive the No. 75 sprint car owned by noted Mopar engine builder Gary Stanton.
Yeley, a second-generation racer from Phoenix, Ariz., became only the second driver to win the USAC Triple Crown, earning the Silver Crown, sprint car and midget titles in the same season. Driving for Tony Stewart Racing in 2003, Yeley won an unprecedented 24 USAC National Series events, breaking a record set in 1961 by A.J. Foyt
10/07/04Click below for details on the Oct. 16 UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 500-mile race is round five of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and tickets are still available in a variety of price ranges.
10/05/04Two race cars drivers at different ends of the experience spectrum shared the spotlight Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway as 38 American Speed Association teams prepared for the Aaron¿s 99 on Thursday night, Oct. 14.
The 99-lap race, which is part of Bojangles¿ Pole Night and follows NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualifying for the Oct. 16 UAW-GM Quality 500, will be the first Lowe¿s Motor Speedway appearance for the Indiana-based sanctioning body and its unique brand of late model stock car racing.
Reed Sorenson, an 18-year-old from Forest Park, Ga., was fastest on the unofficial stopwatches with a lap at 164.875 mph around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Sorenson is part of the Chip Ganassi Racing driver development program and drives the No. 29 Target-sponsored Dodge.
10/05/04Click below for details on the Lowe's presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 to be run Friday night, Oct. 15, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Adult tickets for the most family friendly race on the NASCAR Busch Series schedule start at just $17.
10/05/04The Mopar Sprint Car Nationals Wednesday night, Oct. 13, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway will be a high-speed version of the hit television series, ¿American Idol.¿
Fortunately, the competitors will not be required to sing, but their performances will be evaluated by NASCAR team owners as they make 800-horsepower sprint cars dance around the four-tenths-mile clay oval at more than 100 mph.
Ever since Jeff Gordon burst onto the NASCAR scene in 1992, NASCAR team owners have had an eye on the USAC open-wheel ranks and Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne are just a sampling of the talent they have discovered.
10/05/04Click below for full details of Bojangles' Pole Night on Thursday, Oct. 14. The schedule includes qualifying for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series along with the Aaron's 99 for the late model stock cars of the American Speed Association. Tickets are just $12 in advance.
10/05/04Team Lowe¿s NASCAR Busch Series crew chief Lance McGrew fully understands déjà vu.
Heading into the Lowe¿s presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 Friday night, Oct. 15, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, McGrew once again finds himself guiding a rookie driver¿s quest for the NASCAR Busch Series championship.
He meticulously directed tyro Brian Vickers to the Busch Series title last season and is hoping to do the same for 19-year-old Kyle Busch.
10/04/04In recognition of Richard Childress Racing¿s 35th anniversary, team owner Richard Childress and highlights from his remarkable career are featured on the collectible ticket for Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s Bojangles¿ Pole Night on Thursday, Oct. 14.
Childress first showed his entrepreneurial spirit selling peanuts at Bowman-Gray Stadium, a legendary short-track in his hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C. By the time he was 17, Childress had earned enough money to purchase a race car and he moved from the grandstand to the track.
Competing on both dirt and paved tracks throughout the Carolinas, Childress struggled to make ends meet while climbing the racing ladder. He finally made it to the big leagues on Sept. 14, 1969, at Talladega Superspeedway. His 23rd place finish that day drew little attention but it became the cornerstone for a team that would take the sport into the next century.
10/01/04Prior to battling such NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series stars as Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway on Saturday night, Oct. 16, veteran race car driver Ken Schrader will spend an evening ¿playing¿ in the dirt.
The Fenton, Mo., native will go fender-to-fender with the likes of late model drivers Mike Duvall and Chris Madden during the Mopar Sprint Car Nationals on Wednesday night, Oct. 13, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Schrader will drive the No. 99 Federated Auto Parts machine in the O¿Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series late model portion of the doubleheader.
- September 2004
09/30/04As part of the most family friendly race in NASCAR history, the Performance Racing Network will produce a live radio broadcast especially for children of the Lowe¿s presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 on Friday night, Oct. 15, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Veteran broadcasters Mike Joy of Fox Sports and Stephanie Durner of PRN¿s ¿Sunday Drive¿ will team with teenage race car drivers to deliver the NASCAR Busch Series race with unique features tailored for younger race fans.
Sixteen-year-old Legends Car racer Chrissy Wallace, daughter of NASCAR driver Mike Wallace, and 15-year-old Bandolero racer Jessie Johnson, brother of NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, will join Joy and Durner in the broadcast booth.
09/30/04Two familiar names in motorsports marketing, Aaron Rents, Inc. and Mopar, have joined the list of corporations sponsoring events during UAW-GM Quality 500 Week Oct. 13-16 at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Aaron¿s Rents, Inc. has signed as the title sponsor of the Lowe¿s Motor Speedway debut of the American Speed Association stock cars. To be run during Bojangles¿ Pole Night on Thursday, Oct. 14, the 99-lap race will be known as the Aaron¿s 99.
Based in Atlanta, Aaron Rents Inc. has over 975 company-operated and franchised stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada for the rental and sale of residential and office furniture, accessories, consumer electronics and household appliances.
09/30/04Fans attending the UAW-GM Quality 500 Week events at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway will be able to take their racing experience to a new level as the Richard Petty Driving Experience offers race car rides around the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway.
The Ride-Alongs will be conducted from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 17, the day after the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Saturday night, Oct. 16. Rides cost $149 each and reservations are required.
Each Ride-Along participant will receive three laps in a 600-horsepower NASCAR NEXTEL Cup-style stock car at speeds approaching 160 mph. The cars will be driven by professional Richard Petty Driving Experience instructors.
09/30/04Click below for full details on the inaugural nighttime running of the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday, Oct. 11. Tickets start at just $19.
09/29/04John Andretti and Jimmie Johnson led the unofficial speed parade at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway Wednesday night as 26 NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series teams wrapped up NASCAR testing for UAW-GM Quality 500 Week on Oct. 13-16.
The unofficial stopwatches caught Andretti¿s No. 14 ppc Racing Ford at 181.751 mph, just a tick faster than the lap he recorded to top the NEXTEL Cup speed chart during Tuesday night¿s testing session.
¿We thought we¿d come here and kind of fly under the radar, but obviously that hasn¿t happened,¿ said Andretti, who has been without a full-time ride this season. ¿I¿m really pleased. We are running one car in qualifying trim and the other in race trim, and they are both really good.¿
09/28/04John Andretti and Jimmie Johnson topped the unofficial speed charts Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway as 22 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series teams took to the 1.5-mile superspeedway in preparation for UAW-GM Quality 500 Week Oct. 13-16.
Making his maiden voyage in the No. 14 Ford fielded by ppc Racing, Andretti was caught on the unofficial watches at 180.222 mph to lead the six NEXTEL Cup teams participating in the five-hour session.
With the new team having no provisional starting spots at its disposal, crew chief and veteran engineer Dave Charpentier first focused on getting Andretti comfortable in the car; then searched for the required speed to make the 43-car starting field for the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 16.
09/28/04If the total prize money for Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s UAW-GM Quality 500 Week Oct. 13-16 was laid end-to-end in $1 bills, the money would circle the 1.5-mile superspeedway nearly 402 times, covering almost 603 miles.
The record purse of $6,236,982 represents an 11.6-percent increase over the prize money posted just one year ago and is $2.5 million greater than what was paid for the October races in 2000.
¿There¿s no place like ¿home sweet home¿,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿With October¿s purse exceeding $6.2 million, we¿ve paid competitors more than $20 million to race in their backyard this year.
09/28/04Since making his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway in 2001, Jimmie Johnson has taken to the 1.5-mile superspeedway like the proverbial duck to water.
Heading into the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 16, Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe¿s team have five top-10 finishes, including two victories, at their home track.
Now entrenched in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, a strong run at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿where Johnson dominated the Coca-Cola 600 in May¿could help the El Cajon, Calif., native take his seat at the head table during the year-end awards banquet.
09/27/04Heading into the Aaron¿s 99 on Thursday night, Oct. 14, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, seven drivers are separated by just 147 points in the chase for the American Speed Association¿s National Tour championship.
After 12 of 14 races, two-time champion Kevin Cywinski leads Mike Garvey by 52 points.
¿If we are able to get the third one, it would be huge,¿ said Cywinski, a native of Wausau, Wis., who captured ASA titles in 1997 and 2003. ¿More so than three, it would be back-to-back and it has been a while since anyone has done that.¿
09/27/04Tony Stewart Racing of Indianapolis, Ind., has filed the first three entries for the Oct. 13 Mopar Sprint Car Nationals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The team, owned by 2002 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, will field Mopar-sponsored sprint cars for a trio of California natives in round 32 of the 39-race USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series.
Series point leader Jay Drake of Val Verde, Calif., a four-time USAC sprint car feature winner this season, is slated to drive Stewart¿s No. 20. The 35-year-old Drake, who has finished runner-up in the championship chase three times, leads fellow Californian Bud Kaeding by 147 points in the title chase.
09/27/04Frank Plessinger, the longtime owner and promoter of Maryland¿s Hagerstown Speedway, will be honored as the Lowe¿s Motor Speedway Promoter of the Year during pre-race festivities for the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event on Saturday night, Oct. 16.
Under Plessinger¿s guidance, the half-mile dirt track annually hosts one of the country¿s most diversified schedules. With a season stretching from late February to the end of October, Hagerstown Speedway¿s weekly schedule features late model stock cars, but its array of special events ranges from flat-track motorcycles to Monster Trucks to World of Outlaws sprint cars.
¿Frank Plessinger¿s tireless efforts at Hagerstown Speedway have created one of this country¿s most unique motorsports destinations,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
09/24/04While several NASCAR Busch Series teams are headquartered near Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, the shop housing Jason Leffler¿s No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet is the only one from which crew members will be able to walk to the track for the Lowe¿s presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 on Friday night, Oct. 15.
¿I¿m always excited about getting to race at Charlotte,¿ said the 29-year-old Leffler. ¿Plus our shop is right across the street from the track on Hudspeth Road, so all the people that normally don¿t travel with us get to go. Everyone on our team is looking forward to this race.
¿We had a really good car here in May, led a lot of laps and had a chance to win until we got off on our pit strategy at the end. I¿m very excited about the race, and I really feel like we¿re going to be one of the cars to beat.¿
09/23/04While the late model stock cars of the American Speed Association will be making their first appearance at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway during Bojangles¿ Pole Night on Thursday, Oct. 14, the Aaron's 99 will be a homecoming for 18-year-old Reed Sorenson.
Now in his second season of ASA competition, Sorenson started competing in Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s Hardee¿s Summer Shootout at age 12. The Hardee¿s Summer Shootout is a 10-week series of Tuesday night races run each summer on the track¿s frontstretch quarter-mile oval where Sorenson claimed two Legends Car Pro division championships before advancing to the ASA circuit.
09/22/04The Mopar Sprint Car Nationals on Wednesday night, Oct. 13, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway has been expanded to a doubleheader with the late model stock cars of the O¿Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series joining the traditional sprint cars of the United States Auto Club.
The event will mark the nomadic late model tour¿s fourth appearance of the season at the state-of-the-art, four-tenths-mile dirt track and a $5,000 first-prize will be on the line.
¿The Southern All Star drivers have done a tremendous job here this season and they will be a perfect compliment to the thrilling USAC sprint cars,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
09/19/04Hurricane Ivan forced Rachel Marion to take a few detours in her drive from Knoxville, Tenn., but she¿ll return across the Appalachians with some extra hardware after capturing Best of Show honors for her 2001 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra as the four-day Food Lion AutoFair concluded Sunday at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The 26-year-old nursing student and mother of three was not about to let Hurricane Ivan ruin her first trip to the Food Lion AutoFair.
¿At 7 o¿clock yesterday morning, my husband started talking about doing something else this weekend because of the weather,¿ Marion explained. ¿I said, ¿no way, we¿re going to Charlotte!¿¿
09/19/04Chris Madden of Garycourt, S.C., fought off a case of ¿yellow fever¿ to claim the $10,000 first-place prize in the 40-lap finale of the Golden Corral Dirt Late Model Championship Saturday night at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Madden started sixth in the 30-car field of O¿Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series late models, took the lead on lap nine and held on through six restarts to claim his fourth series victory of the season.
¿We had a good car all night,¿ Madden said in victory lane. ¿I took the lead on the top, but then we were able to go back to the bottom. I want to thank all the guys who helped me tonight because I couldn¿t have done it without them.¿
Jimmy Owens started 12th and steadily worked to the front. He took second on lap 35 and held off a charging Ricky Weeks to claim second.
09/19/04From the ground-pounding force of the 1960-70¿s muscle-car era to the wild-and-crazy vehicles handcrafted by Jesse James and crew on Discovery Channel¿s hit TV series ¿Monster Garage,¿ raw power will be the theme of the Sept. 16-19 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Totaling nearly 26,000 horsepower, feature displays in the massive Food Lion Pavilion will include: The History of the American Muscle Car; a tribute to the 35th Anniversary of Richard Childress Racing featuring several No. 3 race cars driven by the legendary Dale Earnhardt; a collection of Modern and Exotic Muscle Cars; plus outrageous ¿Monster Garage¿ creations as seen on TV¿s Discovery Channel.
Now in its third season, ¿Monster Garage¿ debuted on the Discovery Channel with one goal¿turn ordinary cars into extraordinary machines. Food Lion AutoFair will showcase four such creature features including the Cop Car Donut Shop, a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser converted into a mobile donut shop complete with coffeemaker and pastry display case.
09/15/04If you build it, they will come.
That seems to be the case as thousands of curious onlookers turn out whenever one of the outrageous cars from Discovery Channel¿s hit TV series ¿Monster Garage¿ is publicly displayed.
The crowds should be even bigger when not one, but four ¿Monster Garage¿ creations are on display during the Sept. 16-19 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Leading the way, like any good public servant, will be the Cop Car Donut Shop, a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser converted into a mobile donut shop complete with coffeemaker and pastry display case.
Crafted by master car builder Jesse James and a team of skilled and creative crewmembers mostly made up of actual policemen, the Cop Car Donut Shop is a real crime buster that is set off by a gleaming jet black paint job and a set of huge 20-inch Toyo tires and Enzo gold spinning wire wheels.
09/15/04Traditionally, there is no more effective cure for a mid-life crisis than buying a sports car, but what explanation can 89-year-old Walter Ahrens offer about his recent purchase of a 1982 Chevrolet Corvette with T-tops?
The high-octane octogenarian from Charlotte instead kicked off his second childhood with a search for his dream Corvette, one he plans to show during the Sept. 16-19 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
In the fall of 2002, Ahrens and his son-in-law logged many hours surfing the Internet for an older, low-mileage sports car before finally finding his dream machine on eBay. After outbidding a car collector, Ahrens and his son-in-law drove to Tennessee to pick up the two-tone metallic silver and dark claret red Corvette. It was love at first sight.
¿It had all the power, mirrored-glass tops, aluminum wheels and extra-sized tires,¿ said Ahrens proudly.
09/15/04Walt Hollifield¿s collection of muscle cars includes a pair of 1964 Pontiac GTO ¿bookends¿ that will be displayed as part of a special History of the American Muscle Car display at Charlotte Motor Speedway's Sept. 16-19 Food Lion AutoFair.
In 1963, Hollifield was a car-crazy teenager living in Mint Hill, N.C., when he read in the November issue of Motor Trend magazine that Pontiac was preparing to debut one of its mid-size models¿either a Tempest or LeMans¿with a powerful engine designed for one of the company¿s much larger and heavier cars. Although the term ¿muscle car¿ had not yet been coined, Hollifield, whose drag racing experience included a series of modified 1955 and ¿56 Chevrolets, knew he was witnessing the birth of something spectacular.
09/13/04With its beak-like nose and in-the-sky winged rear, Ronnie Putnam¿s 1970 Plymouth Superbird represents a period in America¿s automotive history when being competitive in NASCAR meant building a limited run of ultra-performance cars for the public. The crazy years when amazing muscle cars proliferated are the subject of a special display at Charlotte Motor Speedway's Food Lion AutoFair, Sept. 16-19.
Back in the days when NASCAR drivers raced ¿stock¿ cars with factory chassis and engines, Ford, GM, AMC and Chrysler spent millions of development dollars turning out a thousand or so special models annually in order to homologate an aerodynamic body or brutally powerful engine that ordinarily would not be sold to the average citizen.
For example, a limited run of Ford¿s 1969 Mustangs was turned into monsters when the company¿s racing 429-cid V-8 was squeezed under the hood, creating the Boss 429.
09/09/04Click below for full details on the Golden Corral Dirt Late Model Championship Saturday night, Sept. 18, at The Dirt Track @ Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 40-lap late model feature pays $10,000 to win and Transaurus, the world's only jet-powered dinosaur, will wreak its unique brand of car-crunching havoc.
09/08/04Several of the No. 3 Chevrolets driven by the late Dale Earnhardt will be part of a special display celebrating the 35th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing during the Sept. 16-19 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Richard Childress first showed his entrepreneurial spirit while selling peanuts at Bowman-Gray Stadium, a legendary race track in his hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C. By the time he was 17, Childress had earned enough money to purchase a race car, a 1947 Plymouth, and he moved from the grandstand to the track.
Competing on both dirt and paved tracks throughout the Carolinas, Childress struggled to make ends meet while climbing the racing ladder.
He finally made it to the big leagues on Sept. 14, 1969, at Talladega Superspeedway. His 23rd-place finish attracted little attention that day, but it became the cornerstone for a team that would take NASCAR racing into the next century.
09/08/04Transaurus, the world¿s only jet-powered dinosaur, will wreak its unique brand of car-crunching havoc Saturday night, Sept. 18, when the fire-breathing mechanical monster invades the Golden Corral Dirt Late Model Championship at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Mounted on the chassis of an M-4 Military Personnel Carrier and driven by a 600-horsepower big-block Chevrolet engine, Transaurus is 35 feet tall, measures 51 feet from head to tail and obliterates the scales at 18½ tons. It is capable of speeds approaching 50 mph.
Transaurus has nearly 1,000 feet of veins and arteries that feed its mechanical heart. Pumping at 50 gallons per minute, Transaurus¿ blood pressure exceeds 2,500 pounds per square inch, giving its mammoth claws more than five tons of metal-crunching power.
Transaurus also battles a constant case of heartburn, causing it to belch flames that destroy virtually everything in its path.
09/08/04¿Humpy, you¿re fired!¿
It sounds like something straight out of NBC¿s popular reality television series ¿The Apprentice,¿ featuring Donald Trump.
It¿s hard to believe now, but H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, the newly elected National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame promoter, was ¿fired¿ from his first job at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
¿I certainly know how folks feel when they lose their job,¿ said Wheeler, now president and general manager of the 1.5-mile superspeedway. ¿I¿ve lost at least three.
¿The first time, believe it or not, was in 1963 when the track was known as Charlotte Motor Speedway. The track was in bankruptcy protection and times were tough,¿ Wheeler continued.
09/05/04With the goal of a packed house for its race in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Lowe¿s Motor Speedway has reduced ticket prices in various seating areas for the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 16.
The fall race has not sold out since the speedway expanded its permanent seating capacity to nearly 167,000 to accommodate crowds for the Memorial Day Weekend Coca-Cola 600. Speedway officials have now reduced ticket prices in areas of typically unsold inventory for the October event.
¿The UAW-GM Quality 500 is smack dab in the middle of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and we want to pack this place,¿ stated H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
09/03/04From the ground-pounding force of the 1970¿s Muscle Car era to the wild-and-crazy vehicles handcrafted by Jesse James and crew on Discovery Channel¿s hit TV series ¿Monster Garage,¿ raw power will be the theme of the Sept. 16-19 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Displays in the massive Food Lion Pavilion will include: The History of the American Muscle Car; a tribute to the 35th Anniversary of Richard Childress Racing featuring several of the NASCAR team¿s No. 3 Chevrolets driven by the late Dale Earnhardt; a sampling of modern high-tech Muscle Cars and a collection of ¿Monster Garage¿ vehicles including the Hot Dog Cart Dragster and the Cop Car Donut Shop.
Food Lion AutoFair is the nation¿s largest show of its kind. In addition to the attractions in the Food Lion Pavilion, the event includes a car show featuring various makes and models from some 50 clubs, thousands of parts and memorabilia vendors and a collector car auction. A car corral, located on the 1.5-mile superspeedway, features nearly 2,000 vehicles of all makes and models that are available for sale or trade.
09/01/04Dirt late model racing veteran Freddy Smith will be inducted into The Dirt Track Walk of Fame prior to the Golden Corral Dirt Late Model Championship Saturday night, Sept. 18, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Known to racing fans as the ¿Southern Gentleman,¿ Smith, who was born and raised in Kings Mountain, N.C., and now lives in Knoxville, Tenn., began racing in 1966.
He moved from limited late models to late models in 1970, quit his job and became a full-time racer in 1979 and today, at age 57, continues to drive his familiar No. 00 in nearly 60 races a year.
Smith¿s resume includes over 780 feature victories.
- August 2004
08/31/04The NASCAR Playoffs are coming to Charlotte on Saturday night, Oct. 16, for the UAW-GM Quality 500 and H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, loves the new playoff format. The veteran promoter¿s thoughts about hosting round five of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup follow:
On the New Format
¿Our playoffs¿and that¿s what I call them¿will shock the world. While we don¿t have 300-pound linemen or 100-mph pitchers, we do have 10 wild-eyed drivers loaded with 800 horsepower chasing $5 million at 10 diverse speedways.
¿This is the real ¿Survivor¿ show with the participants running almost a football field a second. Boiling the championship down to 10 races will result in great drama and that¿s the essence of sport.
08/23/04Longtime motorsports publicist, track promoter and NASCAR executive Jim Hunter will receive the 2004 Smokey Yunick Award recognizing lifetime achievement in auto racing during pre-race ceremonies for the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event Saturday night, Oct. 16, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The award, instituted several years ago by legendary car owner and mechanic Smokey Yunick who passed away May 11, 2001, annually recognizes an individual whose lifelong efforts have had a major impact on the motorsports industry.
¿Fortunately, Jim Hunter found a way to combine his flair for promotion with his love for the sport,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿From his days as a journalist in the Darlington press box to the guidance he is now giving our sport¿s next generation of leaders, Jim¿s tireless dedication has played a very important role in creating the tremendous popularity NASCAR racing enjoys on today¿s world stage.¿
08/22/04Jeff Queen of Pauline, S.C., topped the 20-lap Dirt Crate Model feature and Gene Loden of China Grove, N.C., was the class of the field in the 10-lap Road Hawg finale Saturday night during the Pit Pass Cabarrus Monster Truck Bash presented by Quaker Steak & Lube at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Queen started second in the 27-car Dirt Crate Model feature, took the lead on the opening lap and held off Marty Reid to win the division¿s debut at The Dirt Track. The victory was the first of Queen¿s stock car racing career.
Reid settled for second with Pat Lindsay next under the checkered flag.
08/18/04The American Heritage College dictionary says Bigfoot is ¿a large, hairy, humanlike creature purported to inhabit the Pacific Northwest and Canada.¿
But the Bigfoot that will thrill fans during the Pit Pass Cabarrus Monster Truck Bash presented by Quaker Steak & Lube Saturday night, Aug. 21, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway is a totally different animal.
This Bigfoot has a 572-cubic-inch fire-breathing Hemi engine, rides on giant 66-inch tires and tips the scales at a car-crushing 10,000 pounds. It features a 2004 Ford Super Duty F-Series fiberglass pick-up truck body and shakes the ground with more than twice the horsepower of a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup stock car.
08/17/04Tyler Green, the 15-year-old son of NASCAR Busch Series veteran Mark Green, was among the eight drivers claiming championships as the curtain fell on the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Green entered the 20-lap feature for the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns with a 28-point advantage over Jake Crum and cruised to a third-place finish to capture the division title after Crum suffered engine problems.
While the Concord, N.C., resident put the icing on his championship cake, Bret Hylton, son of NASCAR Busch Series crew chief Butch Hylton, recorded his second feature victory of the season. Brandon McReynolds, son of FOX commentator and former NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds, made it a clean sweep for the ¿NASCAR Kids¿ with his runner-up finish.
08/16/04Champions will be crowned in each of the seven racing divisions and FOX Charlotte¿s wild-and-wacky weatherman Mark Mathis will attempt to end WRFX radio personality Mr. Bill¿s School Bus Racing supremacy when the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout concludes Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
NAPA Championship Night includes a 10-lap School Bus slobberknocker featuring local media personalities and motorsports celebrities. The rivalry between Mr. Bill and Mathis has festered all season and will end with a winner-take-all finale. The highest finisher of the two will be crowned the 2004 Media World Champion of School Bus Racing.
Only 29 points separate the top four drivers in the chase for the Tom Johnson Camping Center Legends Car Pro division championship. Josh Waring is just four points in front of Thomas Van Wingerden with David Ragan and Michael Van Wingerden close behind.
08/11/04Gov. Mike Easley today signed into law Senate Bills 3 and 754, which provide funding for the N.C. Motorsports Testing and Research Complex and allow for stock car racing theme special license plates to be issued. Easley signed the bills at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway in Concord.
¿The motorsports industry is an important economic engine for the state of North Carolina, bringing in more than $1.5 billion each year and employing more than 10,000 hardworking North Carolinians,¿ said Easley. ¿These two bills send a strong signal that North Carolina is committed to this industry and its future here in our state.¿
Senate Bill 3 amends House Bill 1414 (Appropriations Bill) to increase the appropriation from the General Fund from $2 million to $4 million for the N.C. Motorsports Testing and Research Complex. This facility will be owned and operated in conjunction with UNC Charlotte¿s automotive and engineering program.
08/10/04Chris Rogers celebrated his first victory of the season while seven other racers made return visits to the top of the podium during the penultimate round of the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Rogers of Kannapolis, N.C., scored his first win of the season in the Raceape.com Legends Car Semi-Pro feature. Rogers started sixth in the 28-car field and took the lead on lap seven in the 20-lap run. Scooter Hillis made a late dash to the top spot but settled for second at the stripe with Andrew Rogers third. Scott Knox, who finished sixth, has a comfortable 52-point lead over Andrew Rogers in the championship chase.
Having been shut out of victory lane since the opening week, Michael Van Wingerden stormed to victory in the 20-lap feature for the Tom Johnson Camping Center Legends Car Pro division. The Huntersville, N.C., driver started third, took the lead on lap six and never looked back.
08/10/04Bigfoot, the legendary Monster Truck that launched one of the world¿s most popular forms of motorsports entertainment, headlines the list of car-crushing machines scheduled to compete in the Pit Pass Cabarrus Monster Truck Bash presented by Quaker Steak & Lube Saturday night, Aug. 21, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The most unique vehicles in motorsports, Monster Trucks are typically 11-feet tall and tip the scales at nearly five tons. Their custom-built, fuel-injected engines produce between 1,500 and 2,000 horsepower and the gargantuan machines can jump 110 to 115 feet¿a distance greater than 14 cars side by side¿and up to 25 feet in the air.
08/10/04Click below for complete details on participting in the Sept. 16-19 Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
08/09/04While purely coincidental, it is fitting that just days after speed cameras debuted on Charlotte city streets, One-on-One Spectator Races return to the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Charlotte drivers are being encouraged to proceed with caution because if a speed camera catches them exceeding the posted limit, they will receive a $50 ticket.
There will be no such worries Tuesday night as drivers participating in the One-on-One Spectator Races presented by Critter Control will be encouraged to put the pedal to the metal in order to take home the four-foot-tall winner¿s trophy.
08/03/04A roll of the dice paid dividends for Thomas Van Wingerden while Clay Hair brushed off a fierce challenge during round eight of the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
With a gamble that would have scored big in Las Vegas, Van Wingerden chose the outside lane on a lap 13 restart; quickly moved to the point ahead of Ben Stancill and cruised to victory in the Tom Johnson Camping Center Legends Car Pro division.
The Huntersville, N.C., racer was running 10th when a five-car accident on lap 13 brought out the red flag and forced a green-white-checkered finish. Stancill settled for second while Beau Slocumb scored a third-place finish in the top division of Legends Car competition.
In a battle reminiscent of the Petty-Pearson era, Hair and John Sossoman waged war in the 20-lap feature for the Holiday Inn University Legends Car Masters division.
- July 2004
07/30/04Rising stock car star Reed Sorenson, the 2003 American Speed Association rookie of the year and a winner this season in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, captured two Hardee¿s Summer Shootout championships at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway during his formative years in the sport.
Andrew Rogers, an 18-year-old Charlotte resident, is attempting to follow in Sorenson¿s tire tracks, but Rogers is gunning for his two championships in the same season.
Rogers has won races in the Quaker Steak & Lube Thunder Roadster and Raceape.com Legends Car Semi-Pro divisions this season and is in contention for both championships as the 10-week series of Tuesday night races heads into the homestretch.
07/29/04Two young members of the NASCAR family¿15-year-old Tyler Green and 13-year-old Brandon McReynolds¿will continue their ¿Chase for the Championship¿ during round eight of the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Green, son of veteran NASCAR Busch Series driver Mark Green, and McReynolds, son of former NASCAR crew chief and FOX television commentator Larry McReynolds, are separated by just 38 points after six races in the battle for the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns title.
Consistency has been the key for Green who leads the standings on the strength of six top-five finishes, including a victory in round two. McReynolds has won twice, but a mechanical problem and an accident resulted in two finishes outside the top 15.
07/28/04On a night more suited for ducks than drivers, Cliff Daniels made the biggest splash in the rain with a photo-finish victory during round seven of the 10-week Hardee's Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Smithfield, Va., driver took the lead for the first time at the finish line on the way to his first feature win in the Tom Johnson Camping Center Legends Car Pro division. Daniels nipped division point leader Josh Waring by approximately six inches at the stripe in one of the closest finishes in Hardee's Summer Shootout history. Fairfax, Iowa's Landon Cassill claimed show honors in the top division for Legends Car competitors.
07/24/04Rachel Bolan, bass player for the hard rock group Skid Row, is making music on and off the track this summer as a Legends Car racing rookie in the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Skid Row was formed in 1986 and has produced six albums featuring such hits as ¿Youth Gone Wild,¿ ¿18 and Life¿ and ¿I Remember You.¿
While music is Bolan¿s livelihood, his passion is driving race cars and the 40-year-old rocker is making steady progress despite missing the first three rounds of the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout due to Skid Row¿s concert schedule.
¿So far so good,¿ Bolan said about his performance. ¿I have been qualifying and keeping my car in one piece, and that¿s always good.¿
07/22/04The high-flying stunts riders will perform during the Ricky Hendrick¿s Performance Suzuki FMX Championship presented by City Chevrolet Saturday night, July 24, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway carry such names as Can Can, Cliff Hanger, Superman and Hart Attack.
As the world¿s most popular Extreme Sport, Freestyle Motocross has literally developed its own vocabulary. Those breathtaking aerobatic stunts are known as tricks and are often described with such adjectives as ¿awesome dude,¿ ¿stoked,¿ ¿sweeeet¿ and ¿sick.¿
Over the last decade, not only have the tricks been cleverly named, but they have also spawned variations. For example, the No Footer, a trick where both feet are removed from the motorcycle¿s foot pegs, led to the Nothing, a trick where both the hands and feet are removed from the bike in mid-air.
07/21/04Often referred to as a fishtailing ballet of burning rubber, Drifting will make its Lowe¿s Motor Speedway debut Tuesday night during round seven of the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout.
Drifting is the art of controlling a car while it is sliding sideways. This new motorsports craze began on the mountain roads of Japan and is spreading across the United States.
¿Drifting is simply dirt-track racing on asphalt. But instead of allowing the car to slide, the driver has to make it slide,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿It¿s also a tire salesman¿s dream come true.¿
Tuesday night¿s Drifting competition begins with single-car freestyle runs during which each driver will have free reign of the quarter-mile oval. Then, all cars will perform simultaneously and the competition will conclude with each driver making a final pass in front of the grandstand. Crowd applause will determine the winner.
07/20/04Second-generation racers John Freeman and Brandon McReynolds were among those enjoying the spoils of victory during round six of the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Freeman, a second-generation Hardee¿s Summer Shootout competitor from Huntersville, N.C., emerged from a torrid four-car battle that was truly a ¿wing ding¿ to win the 20-lap Quaker Steak & Lube Thunder Roadster feature.
Freeman battled with Steve Zacharias and Michael Van Wingerden for much of the five-mile race before Ryan Zeck, who started last in the 20-car field, joined the fray. Van Wingerden was leading when the white flag was unfurled, but Freeman moved to the inside and took command in turn three. Freeman beat Van Wingerden to the stripe by less than a car length with Zeck settling for third.
07/19/04The dictionary defines road hog as one whose vehicle overlaps the traffic lane used by another motorist.
It is also a fitting description of the slam-bam Road Hawg racing division that roars back into action Tuesday night during round six of the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Introduced to put the stock back into stock car racing, the Road Hawgs are production automobiles that have had only safety modifications. Chevrolet Monte Carlos, Pontiac Bonnevilles and Buick LeSabres are among the Detroit-built creations that bang fenders and trade paint in the wild Road Hawg races.
07/15/04Summer is the time for family reunions and Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s Hardee¿s Summer Shootout resembles a 10-week family reunion for at least 10 members of the NASCAR community.
Each Tuesday night through Aug. 17, famous racing names such as McReynolds, Blaney, Lajoie, Johnson, Nelson and Wallace take to the frontstretch quarter-mile oval at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway not only with hopes of winning, but also of carrying on a family tradition.
Brandon McReynolds, 13, is the son of FOX and SPEED Channel commentator and former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crew chief Larry McReynolds. The younger McReynolds is in his fourth season of Hardee¿s Summer Shootout competition, driving in the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns division. And according to his father; Brandon was destined to be a race car driver.
07/15/04Hardee¿s Summer Shootout competitor John Collins is a living paradox.
The 39-year-old Charlotte resident works as a patrolman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department where citing people for speeding is a big part of his job.
Then, during the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout on Tuesday nights at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, Collins climbs into his Thunder Roadster race car where speeding around a paved quarter-mile oval is the objective.
A native of Vienna, Ga., Collins has been involved in law enforcement for nearly 20 years, including an 11-year stint undercover with Charlotte¿s Vice Narcotics Bureau. He says the thrills of working undercover are similar to those he experiences on the race track.
07/13/04NASCAR veteran Mike Wallace saw victory slip from his grasp for the second time in four days while second-generation racer David Ragan of Kannapolis, N.C., recorded his first Legends Car Pro division victory during round five of the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
After running out of gas while leading Saturday¿s NASCAR Busch Series race near Chicago, Wallace was involved in a torrid three-bus battle during the closing stages of the 10-lap School Bus slobberknocker presented by The Window Pro¿s.
Often wheeling the behemoth creations three wide through the corners of the tight quarter-mile oval, Wallace battled with Jeff Marshall representing the U.S. Air Force Reserves and veteran SCCA sports car racer Dave Berry.
07/12/04The behemoth school buses that will compete in round five of the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway defy every principle of motorsports engineering.
They are too long (nearly 30 feet); they are too heavy (tipping the scales at 13 tons); their roof height is too high (112 inches); their tires are too narrow (only seven inches); and their wind tunnel numbers resemble those of a brick wall.
¿But that¿s exactly why their races are so outstanding,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿Racing school buses defies all logic, but watching the massive creations being manhandled around a quarter-mile oval is very entertaining.¿
07/08/04The gravity-defying aerobatics of Freestyle Motocross will return to The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway Saturday night, July 24, during the Ricky Hendrick¿s Performance Suzuki Freestyle Motocross Championship presented by City Chevrolet.
Gravity Games silver medalist and X Games 10 qualifier Ronnie Renner, X Games veteran Trevor Vines and rising stars Derek Burlew and Adam Jones are among the 10 riders scheduled to participate in one of the world¿s most popular Extreme Sports.
Performing such radical high-flying tricks as the Can Can, the Heel Clicker, the Nac Nac, the Superman and perhaps even a back flip, riders will be scored on a series of radical aerobatic performances during the freestyle competition. A motorcycle high-jump contest and a big-air showdown are also on the card.
07/06/04Three drivers enjoyed the spoils of victory for the first time while five others were repeat winners as Ricky Hendrick¿s Performance Honda-Suzuki-Aprilia presented round four of the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Michael Wirth proved his worth in the Tom Johnson Camping Center Legends Car Pro division feature, dominating the 20-lap run around the quarter-mile frontstretch oval. Wirth started outside the front row in the 23-car field and went wire-to-wire to record his first victory of the season. Jesse Smith of Wildwood, Mo., chased Wirth the entire distance and settled for runner-up money with seventh-starting Josh Waring the final podium finisher.
Andrew Rogers of Charlotte, N.C., extended his point lead in the Quaker Steak & Lube Thunder Roadsters, recording his second feature victory.
07/05/04Bar the windows, lock the doors and hide the pets because the Road Hawgs will be unleashed Tuesday night during round four of the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway
¿People are still talking about the Road Hawgs¿ first Hardee¿s Summer Shootout appearance,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿Fans told us the Road Hawg race was one of the wildest and most entertaining they had seen in years, and I fully expect a repeat performance.¿
Ken Deese of Monroe, N.C., charged from ninth starting spot to win the Road Hawgs¿ first race on Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s quarter-mile frontstretch oval during round two of the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout. That race resembled a demolition derby as nary a fender remained unscathed after 15 laps.
07/02/04Family has always been a key component of the motorsports community. In stock car racing, the sport has been passed from generation to generation by such legendary families as the Pettys, the Jarretts and the Frances.
When it comes to Legends Car racing and the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, the Freeman family takes the pole position as the result of 11 years of participation across two generations.
For 10 Tuesday nights each summer, John and Jane Freeman of Charlotte, N.C., make racing a family affair, fielding three cars for their children¿17-year-old son John S. and 14-year-old daughter Bailey.
07/01/04Scott Morgan, Roger Moser and Jonathan Brown celebrated Independence Day a little early Thursday night, posting victories in the Domino¿s Pizza Grassroots Nationals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Morgan started from the pole in the 20-lap feature for the Stock 4-Cylinder stock cars and was never seriously challenged en route to the $1,000 victory.
¿I love this race track,¿ said the Easley, S.C., driver. ¿We had back luck here last year, but we made up for it tonight. We had a really good car.¿
Shannon Barnhill started sixth in the 24-car field and was up to second by the third trip around the four-tenths mile clay oval. But the Shelby, N.C., driver was no match for Morgan and settled for runner-up honors in a race slowed by only one caution flag.
Timothy Smith charged from the 12th starting spot to take third with Stacy Brock and Joey Wiley rounding out the top five.
- June 2004
06/30/04There will be fireworks on and off the track Thursday night, July 1, when The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway hosts the Domino¿s Pizza Grassroots Nationals featuring a Demolition Derby and a colossal fireworks show.
¿The Domino¿s Pizza Grassroots Nationals offers weekly racers from across the Southeast the opportunity to compete at our state-of-the-art dirt track,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿Every driver wants to be able to go back to his local track and say he won at Charlotte. Winning at this event carries a full years¿ worth of bragging rights and there are sure to be plenty of fireworks.¿
The Domino¿s Pizza Grassroots Nationals will be highlighted by a 20-lap feature for IMCA Modifieds, a 20-lap finale for Stock Four-Cylinders and a $1,000-to-win Demolition Derby. A full slate of heat and last chance races are also on tap for the modifieds and four-cylinders.
06/29/04There were fireworks on and off the track Tuesday night during round three of the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway as Brandon McReynolds and Donald Bond were the big winners.
McReynolds, the 13-year-old son of former NASCAR crew chief and FOX television analyst Larry McReynolds, added his name to the list of feature winners in the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns division while Bond drove his GMC Syclone to victory in the One-on-One Spectator Races.
McReynolds of Mooresville, N.C., started sixth, took the lead on lap 11 and cruised to his first checkered flag in the 20-lap run. Jake Crum, who lined up 22nd, claimed runner-up honors, edging Jordan Penninger at the stripe.
Lowe¿s Motor Speedway will host a double dose of fireworks this week, lighting up the sky both Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Tuesday night¿s Hardee¿s Summer Shootout will conclude with a gigantic fireworks display presented by Bayer Environmental Science. The fireworks will follow a full slate of Legends Car, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing on the frontstretch quarter-mile oval. One-on-One Spectator Races are also on the card.
Adult tickets for the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout are just $5. Children 6 to 12 are admitted for $3 with kids under 6 free.
Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7:30 p.m. The fireworks extravaganza will take place at approximately 10:15 p.m.
06/29/04Operating hours for the Lowe¿s Motor Speedway ticket office have been extended with agents now manning the phones from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. The ticket office is also open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
The extended ticket office hours will continue through the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event on Saturday night, Oct. 16.
Starting at just $19, tickets for the UAW-GM Quality 500 are available in a wide variety of price ranges. Tickets are also on sale for the Lowe¿s presents The SpongeBob SquarePants The Movie 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday night, Oct. 15, and the Mopar Sprint Car Nationals on Wednesday night, Oct. 13, at The Dirt Track.
For tickets or information, call 1-800-455-FANS.
06/29/04NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title contender Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to answer race fans¿ questions during an appearance at the SpeedZone Pavilion prior to the UAW-GM Quality 500 Saturday night, Oct. 16, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt Jr. will participate in a 15-minute question-and-answer session before competing in the only nighttime event in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
Located behind the Diamond Tower grandstand in turn two, the SpeedZone Pavilion is a hospitality area featuring driver appearances, catered meals, cash bar, pre-race pit access and musical entertainment.
06/23/04Charlotte area commuters fed up with endless construction delays on I-85, I-77 and Independence Blvd. will have the opportunity to vent their frustrations Tuesday night as One-on-One Spectator Races return during round three of the 11th annual Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Series at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
There will be no orange barrels; no temporary concrete barriers; and speed cameras are definitely out of the question as motorists hustle their personal passenger cars in a series of one-on-one single-elimination races on the frontstretch quarter-mile oval.
Taking advantage of the additional traction provided by the all-wheel-drive of his Eagle Talon, John Shepherd of Concord, N.C., drove to victory on a rain-soaked track in last season¿s final spectator event. Shepherd is expected to be on hand Tuesday night to defend his title.
06/22/04Georgia¿s Beau Slocumb notched his first Legends Car Pro division victory while Tyler Green, son of veteran NASCAR driver Mark Green, celebrated his inaugural triumph in the Bandolero Young Guns finale during Stock Car Steel and Aluminum night of the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Tuesday at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Even with a camouflaged car, the crowd could see Beau Slocumb was dialed in as he romped to victory in the 20-lap run for the Tom Johnson Camping Center Legends Car Pro division. The Juliette, Ga., driver traded the lead numerous times with Cliff Daniels before taking control four laps from the checkered flag. Daniels settled for second followed by pole-sitter Jason Reisman in a caution-free race.
Green, whose uncles David and Jeff have both won the NASCAR Busch Series title, started from the pole in the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns event and was never seriously challenged.
06/21/04Jim Fluharty¿s auto racing career is ¿clicking¿ on both sides of the camera.
Fluharty, a 39-year-old resident of Concord, N.C., competes in the Thunder Roadster division of the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout on Tuesday nights at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Driving race cars is Fluharty¿s hobby, but photographing them is his occupation. The soft-spoken native of Fairmont, Va., has worked as the photo editor for NASCAR Scene and NASCAR Illustrated, two of motorsports¿ most widely circulated publications, for more than 10 years.
Fluharty transitioned from taking pictures of race cars to driving them in 1996 when he began competing in the street stock division at Concord Motorsports Park.
06/21/04Lowe¿s Motor Speedway will partner with the Charlotte Regional Resource Center for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing during the June 22 Hardee¿s Summer Shootout to demonstrate how fans can enjoy race events and protect their hearing.
¿Our goal is to educate people about the dangers of hearing loss while attending a race. We want fans to have fun, just do it safely and wear the proper hearing protection,¿ said Susan Wilson, a Charlotte Regional Resource Center specialist. ¿Attending a race, a concert or mowing the grass without adequate hearing protection can cause permanent hearing loss.¿
A group of volunteers will tour the garage area Tuesday afternoon and hand out educational materials and free earplugs to the drivers and crew members.
06/17/04Road Hawgs, a new entry-level racing division for strictly stock production automobiles, will take to the track during round two of the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Designed to put the ¿stock¿ back into stock car racing, the Road Hawg division is open to domestic or import vehicles with a 100-inch wheelbase. The car must remain stock with only safety modifications, such as the addition of a roll cage, fuel cell and racing seat, allowed.
Lowe¿s Motor Speedway reserves the right to claim any vehicle in the Road Hawg division for $750 less the fire extinguisher, fuel cell, seat, seat belts and window net.
06/15/04NASCAR veteran Mike Wallace inherited the victory in a wild School Bus race while Michael Van Wingerden topped both the Legends Car Pro division and Thunder Roadster features as the 11th annual Hardee¿s Summer Shootout opened its 10-week run Tuesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Wallace, driving the all-American red, white and blue bus, battled side-by-side with Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s Jeff Marshall during the closing stages of the eight-lap school bus battle around the quarter-mile frontstretch oval. The two took the checkered flag in a near dead heat with officials deciding Marshall had won by inches.
However, Marshall was disqualified shortly after the checkered flag when an illegal fuel additive was found in the gas tank of his bright pink bus. Wallace inherited the victory with radio personality Mr. Bill of 99.7 The Fox claiming second place. Wild-and-wacky TV weatherman Mark Mathis of Fox Charlotte finished third.
06/15/04According to the School Bus Information Council, school buses are the largest mass transit program in the United States with some 440,000 yellow buses transporting more than 24 million children to and from schools and related activities on every school day.
However, with school out for the summer, the finish line will be the destination when school bus racing returns to Lowe¿s Motor Speedway Tuesday during opening night of the 10-week Hardee¿s Summer Shootout.
Tipping the scales at nearly 13 tons each, the behemoth school buses will battle window-to-window and bumper-to-bumper, often entering the turns three abreast, on the tight frontstretch quarter-mile oval. The buses will be driven by an array of local media personalities and motorsports celebrities.
06/03/04A new entry level street stock division, three nights of School Bus Racing and a drifting competition are among the highlights of the 11th annual Hardee¿s Summer Shootout which kicks off June 15 and runs each Tuesday night through Aug. 17 on the frontstretch quarter-mile oval at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
With tickets priced at just $5 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 12 and free for kids under 6, each of the 10 Tuesday night programs includes a full slate of RACEceiver Legends Car, Quaker Steak & Lube Thunder Roadster and Bandolero racing along with an entertaining special attraction.
The Road Hawgs, Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s new inexpensive division for stock production cars, will make four appearances during the 10-week series.
06/02/04Lowe¿s will turn the Oct. 15 NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway into the most ¿family-friendly race¿ in NASCAR history.
The first component of the plan is the announcement that ¿The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie¿ will be the title sponsor for the 300-mile race nationally televised on TNT Friday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m.
¿Lowe¿s Presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300¿ will be the first race of its kind where children at the track will be able to listen to a special radio broadcast of the event. The broadcast, with announcers to be named later, will give children the opportunity to enjoy listening to live action just like their parents, but in a ¿kid friendly¿ manner.
¿This sounds so cool,¿ said NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Jimmie Johnson who will join Kyle Busch in driving special ¿The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie¿ paint schemes during the race.
- May 2004
05/30/04Dirt late model veteran Mike Balzano of Parkersburg, W.Va., used lapped traffic to perfection Saturday night and posted a $17,000 victory in the 50-lap finale of the Jani-King Southern Showdown at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Balzano chased Jeremy Miller during the closing laps of the O¿Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series event and it appeared as if he would have to settle for second. But going into turn three on lap 49, Balzano trapped Miller behind a lapped car and went on to score one of the biggest victories of his career.
¿I probably couldn¿t have gotten around Jeremy if we hadn¿t gotten into traffic,¿ Balzano said. ¿He had the line and we were fortunate to get in the right spot.
¿That was a heck of a show,¿ Balzano continued. ¿This is a beautiful place to race and it¿s definitely one of my best wins.¿
05/29/04Earl Pearson Jr. ¿cleaned up¿ Friday night as the Jacksonville, Fla., resident stormed to victory in the 40-lap late model stock car feature that kicked off the two-day Jani-King Southern Showdown at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Pearson Jr. lined up sixth in the 26-car field of O¿Reilly Southern All Star Series late models and needed only three trips around the four-tenths-mile oval to take command for the first time. He persevered through eight caution flags for inconsequential incidents and held off three-time series champion Clint Smith to claim the $10,000 first prize.
¿This track was in great shape and I hope all these fans enjoyed that,¿ Pearson Jr. said after climbing from his No. 1 late model. ¿We got to the front early and were able to stay there."
05/26/04Rayn Hemphill earned the pole position for Thursday night's Quaker Steak & Lube 100 ARCA RE/MAX Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Driving the No. 64 Braun Racing Dodge, Hemphill circled the 1.5-mile superspeedway at 180.517 mph to earn his second pole of the season.
Brent Sherman was second fastest at 179.778 mph in the No. 44 Dodge with former Charlotte Motor Speedway Legends Car champion Reed Sorenson, making his first ARCA start, third at 179.772 in the No. 77 Dodge.
The Quaker Steak & Lube 100 is part of CTC Pole Night which also includes NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600. Tickets are available at the gate or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.
The better of two laps will determine a driver's official qualifying speed for the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event. The 38 fastest cars will earn starting positions 1-38. Positions 39-43 will be determined by NASCAR NEXTEL Cup provisional starting procedures. There is only one round of qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600.
05/24/04When the Coca-Cola 600 takes the green flag Sunday evening, May 30, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, it will mark the 20th time NASCAR¿s longest race has carried sponsorship from one of the world¿s most familiar consumer products.
To some 1985 seems like only yesterday, while others consider it ancient history.
That year compact discs were introduced to U.S. consumers, eggs sold for 66 cents a dozen and ¿Cheers¿ was the No. 1 television show. Michael Jordan earned NBA rookie-of-the-year honors, the average cost of a movie ticket had yet to break $3 and a group of recording artists known as USA for Africa introduced the blockbuster hit ¿We Are the World.¿
In racing, a 29-year-old Bill Elliott was the hottest thing on four wheels and a 13-year-old prodigy named Jeff Gordon was racing winged sprint cars on Midwestern dirt tracks.
05/21/04"American Idol" Stars to Perform at Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend.
05/20/04H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, today predicted Jeff Gordon will win Saturday night's 20th running of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
05/18/04Click below for full details on the May 22 running of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Tickets start at just $21.
05/16/04The May 22 running of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway will mark the 20th time NASCAR¿s top drivers have traded paint in an all-star race.
The event started as a simple concept with a goal of bringing added attention to a sport that was struggling to expand from its Southeastern roots.
Plans for a NASCAR all-star race were announced in December 1984 at the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Ceremony in New York City. The race, introduced as The Winston, would run the day before the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May and would feature only the sport¿s top stars. The winner would take home $200,000, an unprecedented amount at the time.
Those in attendance at the New York banquet had no idea they were being introduced to a race that would evolve into the largest all-star event in professional sports.
A limited number of $29 tickets are still available for the May 30 Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
¿When they turn those lights on in Charlotte, it¿s just electric,¿ said Jeff Burton, who won NASCAR¿s longest race in 1999 and 2001. ¿It¿s one of the biggest events. A lot of things go into winning the 600, so because of that the Coca-Cola 600 is really, really special.¿
¿It¿s a race I¿ve watched since I was kid,¿ said 1996 Coca-Cola 600 winner Dale Jarrett. ¿Obviously, you want to win everywhere, but we have the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Coca-Cola 600. Those are three races I have been fortunate to win and the Coke 600 trophy goes right at the top of the list.¿
05/14/04NASCAR officials announced today that the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, the largest all-star event in professional sports, will return to Lowe¿s Motor Speedway in 2005.
The event, which features NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race winners and former series champions, is scheduled for Saturday night, May 21, 2005. The 2005 edition of the special event will mark the 20th time in 21 years the race has been run at the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
¿We¿re delighted NASCAR has done this,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿We¿ve worked very hard to establish the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge as one of the most popular events in sports.
05/13/04Monday through Thursday Randle Chupp works as the director of competition for Team Rensi Motorsports which fields the No. 25 NASCAR Busch Series car driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr. During the remaining three days, the 38-year-old Troutman, N.C., resident dons his own racing helmet and hits the track as one of the nation¿s top dirt late model racers.
Chupp¿s two racing occupations are normally worlds apart but they will converge when he participates in the May 28-29 Jani-King Southern Showdown at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. The Saturday night portion of the two-day late model spectacular follows the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, giving Chupp the potential to enjoy two victory celebrations in one day.
¿That would really be something,¿ Chupp said about the possibility of both he and Hamilton Jr. winning on the same day at the same facility.
05/12/04Brent Sherman led the speed parade Wednesday night at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway as 24 ARCA RE/MAX Series teams made final preparations for the Quaker Steak & Lube 100 on Thursday evening, May 27.
Driving the No. 44 Serta Mattress/Hickory Farms Ford, Sherman recorded a best lap of 176.702 mph around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. The 29-year-old North Barrington, Ill., native is in his second full season of ARCA competition and is still searching for his first victory.
Reed Sorenson, a former Hardee¿s Summer Shootout Legends Car champion at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway and now a regular on the ASA circuit, was second fastest on the unofficial stopwatches at 176.528 mph.
05/12/04MINIKISS, one of the most unique musical acts to ever perform at a motorsports venue, will entertain race fans prior to the Jani-King Southern Showdown Friday night, May 28, and Saturday night, May 29, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
MINIKISS¿ performance is part of the two-day racing spectacular that will be highlighted by the late model stock cars of the O¿Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series.
The brainchild of Joey Fatale, a veteran of the ¿little person¿ entertainment industry who is now known as Mini-Gene, MINIKISS was launched five years ago for a Halloween party in New York City. The group, dressed in full KISS attire and make-up, has developed into a high-energy, karaoke-style stage show with fancy faux instruments celebrating ¿little people¿ and the music of rock legend KISS.
05/12/04Jeff Green led the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series speed parade while NASCAR Busch Series drivers Paul Menard and Tim Sauter tested Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s new SAFER Barriers Tuesday as testing continued at the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
It¿s been 38 years since a Petty Enterprises No. 43 has started from the pole for the Coca-Cola 600, but Green showed the team will once again be a contender during CTC Pole Night qualifying on Thursday, May 27.
Shortly after sunset, the unofficial stopwatches caught Green with a lap of 29.602 seconds, 182.420 mph, to top the 16 NEXTEL Cup Series drivers making final preparations for the May 30 Coca-Cola 600.
05/12/04Miller Brewing Company announced today that it has reached an agreement to become the Official Beer of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway marking the 25th consecutive year of their relationship. The new contract comes as Miller completes its plans for several activities for NASCAR Nextel Cup¿s upcoming All-Star Challenge and Coca-Cola 600 both hosted by Lowe¿s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C.
As part of the new agreement, Miller will host the ¿Miller Lite Party Deck¿ where 100 lucky consumers over the age of 21 will enjoy the race from the backstretch of the track. Consumers will have the opportunity to win tickets through various on-air radio promotions and promotions at their local bars and taverns.
¿Lowe¿s Motor Speedway has been a great partner for Miller over the last 25 years,¿ said Steve Lauletta, director of sports and event marketing at Miller.
05/11/04As the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge prepares for the celebration of its 20th anniversary, the previous 19 editions have evoked everlasting memories of many of the sport¿s greatest stars providing the fans with brilliant racing, stunning finishes and occasionally a touch of controversy.
It is these types of memories that have built the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, formerly known as The Winston, into the most thrilling and unpredictable all-star event found in any sport. And what better time than the eve of the event¿s 20th anniversary than to have members of an expert panel vote for their favorite moments in the history of the race.
The panel consisted of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte, who have participated in 18 of the 19 all-star races; drivers Rusty Wallace and Ricky Rudd, who have competed in 17 of the events; Lowe¿s Motor Speedway President H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, who has hosted and promoted 18 of the races; NASCAR President Mike Helton, who hosted and promoted the only all-star race not held at Charlotte (Atlanta, 1986); and former Charlotte Observer motorsports writer Tom Higgins, who has witnessed every one either in person or on television.
05/11/04Infineon Technologies, the world¿s second-largest manufacturer of semiconductors used in vehicle electronics, has signed to sponsor the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Friday night, May 21, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway as part of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star weekend.
Sponsorship of the Infineon 200 is part of the company¿s long motorsports involvement. Through event and team sponsorships and its partnership with Infineon Raceway in Northern California, the company is successfully increasing name recognition and awareness among race fans and the general public.
Infineon¿s sponsorship also provides an opportunity to reinforce its commitment to support the community. Infineon is donating 1,000 Infineon 200 tickets to the YMCA of Greater Charlotte and the YMCA of the Triangle to provide a night of racing excitement for the constituents of these vital organizations.
05/11/04Click below for full details on the May 30 Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event. Tickets for NASCAR's longest race start at just $29 and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS.
05/10/04NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series veteran Mark Martin showed the ¿young guns¿ he will be a contender during the May 22 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the May 30 Coca-Cola 600 as open testing began Monday at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Martin, the 2002 Coca-Cola 600 winner, ran numerous laps at just over 180 mph in Jack Roush¿s No. 6 Pfizer/Viagra Ford. According to the unofficial stopwatches, the 45-year-old Martin led the search for speed with a best lap of 181.733 mph around the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
Dave Blaney, driving Bill Davis¿ unsponsored No. 23 Dodge, was second fastest, just a tick of the watch behind Martin at 181.147 mph, while Casey Mears was third on the speed chart at 179.087 in the No. 41 Target Dodge.
05/10/04NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, ARCA RE/MAX Series and IPOWER DASH Series teams will be testing at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on May 22, the May 30 Coca-Cola 600 and the other stock car events scheduled this month at the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
Busch Series cars will be on the track Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with NEXTEL Cup Series teams running from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. both days.
IPOWER DASH Series teams take to the track Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with ARCA RE/MAX Series teams testing from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Fans will be admitted free to the main grandstand throughout the testing sessions. Please enter through Gate 5, located next the ticket office on the second floor of Smith Tower.
05/10/04Click below for full details on the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series event on Saturday afternoon, May 29. Tickets start at just $17 and include the final two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series practices prior to the Coca-Cola 600.
05/10/04Jani-King, the world¿s largest commercial cleaning franchisor, is the new title sponsor of the Jani-King Southern Showdown slated for Friday night, May 28, and Saturday night, May 29, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The two-night racing spectacular features the late model stock cars of the O¿Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series along with a 45-minute concert each night by miniKISS, one of the most unique musical groups to ever perform at a motorsports venue.
Founded in 1969 and based near Dallas, Texas, Jani-King has over 10,300 franchise owners worldwide. Through 100 regional offices in 17 countries, Jani-King contracts commercial cleaning services for a variety of facilities including office, hotel/resort, manufacturing, restaurant, retail and sporting venues.
05/07/04Jay Adamczyk, owner and webmaster of Jayski¿s Silly Season Site, has been named grand marshal for the May 27 Quaker Steak & Lube 100 ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Started by Adamczyk on a whim, the site has grown into a full-time business. It features NASCAR news, rumors, statistics and paint scheme images. Adamczyk pools information from sources inside the industry and the World Wide Web, making it easy for NASCAR fans to find mainstream and obscure information about the sport.
Located at www.jayski.com, the web site was launched on Aug. 26, 1996, and today attracts 100,000 daily visitors with 250,000 daily page views.
05/07/04Click below for full details on the May 27 Quaker Steak & Lube 100 ARCA RE/MAX Series event. The 100-mile race is part of CTC Pole Night which also includes NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600. Tickets start at just $12.
05/06/04Quaker Steak & Lube, the award-winning automotive-themed restaurant chain, has signed to sponsor the ARCA RE/MAX Series stock car race Thursday night, May 27, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The Quaker Steak & Lube 100 will be the 20th ARCA race at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway since the series first visited the 1.5-mile facility in 1964.
In addition, the restaurant chain¿s award-winning chicken wings have been selected as the ¿Official Chicken Wings of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.¿
¿Quaker Steak & Lube is all about family fun in an automotive-themed environment,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿That sounds pretty familiar, doesn¿t it? We definitely know race fans like to have fun and they love chicken wings.¿
05/05/04Mike Duvall, a 37-year dirt-track racing veteran, is expected to be among the challengers when the late model stock cars of the O¿Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series invade The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway Friday and Saturday, May 28-29, for the Jani-King Southern Showdown.
Duvall, 54, races his famous Flintstone Flyer weekly at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, N.C., and Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C., in addition to making occasional starts on the Xtreme, Southern All-Star and Carolina Clash series circuits.
The Cowpens, S.C., resident also operates one of the most prestigious dirt-track driving schools in the country, training drivers and crews from a 24-page book that for many has become the bible of dirt-track late model racing.
05/04/04In recognition of Hendrick Motorsports¿ 20th anniversary, team owner Rick Hendrick and six of the drivers who have contributed to the team¿s amazing success are featured on the collectible ticket for Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s CTC Pole Night on Thursday, May 27.
Combining the business principles Hendrick utilized in the automobile industry with the experience of veteran racing mechanic and crew chief Harry Hyde, All-Star Racing was formed and modified champion Geoffrey Bodine was selected to drive the No. 5 Chevrolet. Despite starting the 1984 NASCAR season without a sponsor, the fledgling team soon found success, winning three times in 30 starts, and¿as they say¿the rest is history.
¿Located just down the road from the speedway, Hendrick Motorsports is kind of like the neighborhood kid we watched grow up and become a phenomenal success,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿When Rick and Harry started that team, no one dreamed it would grow into the operation it is today and we are honored to celebrate its 20th anniversary with this collectible CTC Pole Night ticket.¿
05/04/04Click below for full details on the May 22 running of the NASCAR NEXTEL Open. The winner of the 45-mile event advances to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.
05/03/04Click below for full details on the Infineon 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Friday night, May 21, at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
05/03/04Click below for full details on the IPOWER DASH Series 75 to be run Saturday night, May 22, prior to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.
05/03/04A record $14,055,805 in posted awards awaits competitors in eight divisions during Coca-Cola 600 Month of May racing activities at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The total is $1,069,987 more than was posted for the track¿s May races last year and represents an increase of nearly $8 million over what competitors raced for just five years ago.
¿There are some small countries that operate annually on less than $14 million,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿We¿ve seen an incredible amount of growth in the Coca-Cola 600 Month activities during the past 20 years. The number of races has increased, the purses have soared and there are many more off-track attractions, all of which contributes to the economy of the Charlotte/Concord region.¿
05/02/04Dale Earnhardt Jr. believes owning a NASCAR Busch Series team is making him a better driver in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
Earnhardt, who co-owns Chance 2 Motorsports with his stepmother Teresa Earnhardt, will be on top of the pit box Saturday afternoon, May 29, when his 23-year-old driver, Martin Truex Jr., competes in the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
¿I¿m learning a lot,¿ Earnhardt Jr. said about his ownership role in the No. 8 Kraft Chevrolet. ¿One of the things that has been really beneficial is the respect I¿ve gained for the (crew) guys on Sunday. Being in the pits, I¿ve learned about what is going on in there.
¿I thought they just ate ice cream in between stops¿that they didn¿t really care about what was going on. It¿s opened my eyes to a whole other side of the sport that I didn¿t really understand. It¿s been awesome for me.
05/01/04Fans attending the May NASCAR events at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway will be able to take their racing experience to a new level as the Richard Petty Driving Experience offers race car rides around the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway.
Each Ride-Along participant will receive three laps in a 600-horsepower NASCAR NEXTEL Cup-style stock car at speeds approaching 160 mph. The cars will be driven by professional Richard Petty Driving Experience instructors.
The Ride-Alongs will be conducted from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 23; 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 29; and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, May 31. Rides cost $149 each and reservations are required.
- April 2004
04/28/04In light of the controversial yellow-flag finish Sunday at Talladega, there is one race on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule that guarantees a green-flag finish. It¿s the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on Saturday night, May 22, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
NASCAR¿s annual all-star event features a special, non-points race format of 90 laps run in three segments: 40 laps, 30 laps and 20 laps. Caution flags will not count in the final 20-lap shootout, guaranteeing a green flag-finish for participants and fans.
Celebrating its 20th year, this exciting event has seen its share of controversy through the years, but not because of a yellow-flag finish.
¿With its unique format, the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge allows NASCAR officials a little more latitude from normal race procedures,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿It¿s a race designed to entertain the fans. That¿s what all-star events are supposed to do.
04/27/04Inclusion is the byword. Competition is the beneficiary.
Therein lay the immediate implications of the significant changes announced today for the 20th annual NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, set for Saturday evening, May 22, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
NASCAR¿s always-anticipated all-star event ¿ formerly known as The Winston ¿ is primarily for race winners from the previous and current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series seasons. It also includes the winner of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Open, a preliminary event for teams that have not qualified for the showcase event.
One of the changes instituted this year involves eligibility of past all-star champions. This year, two other past champions ¿ who are also still active drivers ¿ are eligible; previously, there was a five-year retroactive cut-off for past champions. This change makes 1998 event champion Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford) and 1994 champion Geoffrey Bodine eligible.
04/27/04Each race fan who purchases a two-day ticket to the May 28-29 Jani-King Southern Showdown at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway prior to May 12 will receive a free Month of May-Hem T-shirt.
In addition to the free extra-large shirt, fans will save 20 percent on tickets for this two-day racing spectacular. If purchased before May 12, adult reserved seats for both nights of the Jani-King Southern Showdown can be purchased for just $16 per night. That¿s $8 off day-of-event pricing and guarantees fans the same seats for both races.
The front of the white T-shirt features The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway logo with the words ¿Gave me this shirt!¿ underneath. The back features a dynamic full-size graphic that includes a sideways dirt late model along with the complete Month of May-Hem racing schedule for both The Dirt Track and Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
04/27/04Brian Vickers has a chance to make history during the May 30 Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The 20-year-old Thomasville, N.C., native has the opportunity to dethrone his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jeff Gordon, as the youngest driver to win NASCAR¿s longest race. Vickers will be 20 years, 7 months and 6 days when he competes in the Coca-Cola 600 for the first time. Gordon was 22 years, 9 months and 25 days when he captured his first 600 victory on May 29, 1994.
Just 19 years old when he was hired by Ricky Hendrick to drive in the NASCAR Busch Series last season, Vickers took full advantage of the opportunity, winning three races, a pole and the series championship.
By the end of the year, Vickers had earned a promotion and was introduced as the new driver of Hendrick Motorsports¿ No. 25 GMAC Chevrolet in the NEXTEL Cup Series.
04/24/04Installation of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barriers, known in the motorsports industry as SAFER barriers, is underway at Charlotte Motor Speedway and work will be completed in time for the track's May NASCAR events.
The SAFER barriers, which utilize foam blocks positioned behind rolled steel tubing for a total thickness of 30 inches, will cover approximately 6,150-linear feet of concrete walls around the 1.5-mile, high-banked superspeedway.
As the most extensive installation of the SAFER barriers to date at any speedway, the Lowe¿s Motor Speedway project will include placing the energy-absorbing barriers in front of approximately 4,000 feet of outside retaining walls in the turns; 1,351 feet along the frontstretch quad-oval; and 796 feet on the insides of Turns 2 and 4.
04/23/04ARCA RE/MAX Series competitor Christi Passmore will celebrate her 22nd birthday by competing in the Quaker Steak & Lube 100 Thursday night, May 27, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
She hopes the party begins in victory lane.
¿It would be pretty special to get a victory on my birthday,¿ Passmore said. ¿Charlotte has always been something of a tricky race track for me, so just to get a top-five finish would be a great accomplishment. Our entire race team has been working so hard to make these race cars competitive and we know we will have some good runs this season. But our primary focus is consistency, and with that will come success and wins.¿
04/21/04The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway will launch a new Memorial Day weekend tradition when the late model stock cars of the O¿Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series compete in the Jani-King Southern Showdown Friday night, May 28, and Saturday night, May 29.
And, for a limited time, race fans can save 20 percent on tickets for this two-day racing spectacular. As part of an Early Bird Special that runs through May 12, adult reserved seats for both nights of the Jani-King Southern Showdown can be purchased for just $16 per night. That¿s $8 off day-of-event pricing and guarantees fans the same seats for both races.
Run in conjunction with the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series weekend at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, the Jani-King Southern Showdown promises to be one of the most entertaining short-track events of the season.
04/21/04In a move designed to bring wheel-to-wheel racing experiences to corporations, small groups and charitable organizations, officials of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway and EnduranceKarting.com have formed The Karting Experience at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The Karting Experience will offer complete racing programs with an emphasis on team building. Run on the serpentine karting circuit in the infield of the 1.5-mile superspeedway, The Karting Experience has the capability to provide full-service, turn-key corporate outings.
04/14/04As an aspiring 17-year-old race car driver, Carl Edwards would stop at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway after work. He¿d watch the driving school cars circle the legendary 1.5-mile track and dream of one day being a NASCAR star.
When Edwards, now 24, returns to Lowe¿s Motor Speedway Friday night, May 21, for the Infineon 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, the Columbia, Mo., native will be well on his way to living that dream.
¿I came down to Concord that summer and worked for Ken Schrader in his shop,¿ said Edwards. ¿I¿d bug him by trying to talk him into letting me drive one of his cars. I did everything from sweeping floors to trimming weeds. I was like a lot of young racers, I was doing everything I could to chase my dream.
04/11/04Elliott Sadler is back in the starting field for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.
The Emporia, Va., driver earned a starting spot in the May 22 All-Star event at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway by winning the April 4 Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Sadler has been in the last three NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenges, but has finished no better than 18th.
With the addition of Sadler, 22 drivers are now eligible to compete in the 90-lap race that will see the winner take home $1 million.
04/09/04One of the most famous and photographed race cars of all time, Jeff Gordon's No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes "Rainbow Car," will be in competition once again for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Saturday night, May 22, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
As a little-known driver in the NASCAR ranks at the time, Gordon took the sport by storm as he went outside tradition to achieve huge success both on and off the track, making the Rainbow Car one of the most recognizable symbols for NASCAR racing in the 1990s.
With the colorful paint scheme, Gordon won 52 races, 33 poles, three championships, The Winston Million and tied or broke numerous records starting with his rookie-of-the-year season in 1993 through the 2000 millennium season. Having contributed greatly to the success of the organization, the rainbow car will also commemorate Hendrick Motorsports' 20th Anniversary in NASCAR.
04/04/04David Burke may be surrounded by fighter jets at work, but his 1999 Chevrolet Blazer was the ¿top gun¿ Sunday, capturing Best of Show honors during the Food Lion AutoFair Awards Ceremony at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The highly customized, white-and-chrome sport-utility vehicle was judged best-of-the-best from among some 1,800 show cars present during the four-day automotive extravaganza.
"This is pretty awesome. It's my first time here and winning makes it really worthwhile," said Burke, a 29-year-old staff sergeant who paints fighter jets at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, S.C.
04/04/04Ricky Elliott mowed down the competition Saturday night as the Seaford, Del., driver scored a convincing victory in the Ferris 100 presented by DynoMax at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Elliott has been competing in the big-block DIRT modifieds for nearly 15 years, but the $10,000 triumph was his first victory in an Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series event.
¿This is a brand new team and we¿ve only been out four times this year,¿ Elliott said. ¿The motor was just flawless, but we lost a cylinder with two to go and I¿m like, oh my God, it¿s going to get away from us.
¿This is just great¿here in Charlotte in front of all these fans,¿ an emotional Elliott continued. ¿I¿m tickled to death.¿
04/04/04To ensure marital bliss, tradition calls for brides to wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Following that formula, the April 1-4 Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway is a marriage of unique attractions guaranteed to spark affection from young and old alike.
Something Old ¿ "Twentieth Century Dinosaurs," the creation of New Jersey artist Jim Gary, is the ultimate expression of automotive art. Twelve nearly life-size dinosaur skeletons made from old car parts will transform Charlotte Motor Speedway into a dinosaur drive-in. A 44-foot Brontosaurus, towering Tyrannosaurus Rex, vicious Velociraptors and a Pterodactyl with an eight-foot wingspan will be among the brightly colored prehistoric creatures roaming the speedway grounds.
To create these metallic masterpieces, the artist turns oil pans into heads, leaf springs into ribs, drive shafts into backbones and brake shoes into feet. Gary uses parts from as many as eight cars to create one large four-legged dinosaur.
04/02/04Brett ¿The Jet¿ Hearn zoomed through the field from the 12th-starting spot and recorded a convincing victory Friday night in the Charlotte Small-Block Championship portion of the Ferris 100 presented by DynoMax Weekend at The Dirt Track at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The 45-year-old Sussex, N.J., veteran collected $3,000 for winning the season opener for DIRT Motorsports¿ Turning Stone Casino 358-Modified Super DIRT Series. The victory was Hearn¿s 444th in nearly 25 years of DIRT-sanctioned racing.
¿We had a good enough car to come from the back,¿ was Hearn¿s summation of his charge. ¿I got the lead from Matt (Sheppard), but I got a little lazy and let him get back in front of me. Then, he got tangled up with a lapped car, and we got lucky and got back in front."
04/02/04Forty years ago, a gallon of gas sold for 30 cents, the minimum wage was $1.15 an hour and the Ford Motor Company introduced the Mustang, a small, sporty car that forever changed the automotive industry.
During its extraordinary lifetime, the Mustang has been available in thousands of combinations, several of which will be part of a special display when Lowe¿s Motor Speedway celebrates the Mustang¿s 40th birthday during the April 1-4 Food Lion Auto Fair.
¿To say the Mustang is an American institution is not an overstatement,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿Generations have grown up riding in, driving and fantasizing about these cars. You can¿t really say that about any other affordable, mass-produced automobile and we are honored to celebrate the Mustang¿s 40th birthday during Food Lion AutoFair.¿
04/01/04A 1964 Dodge, considered by drag racing historians to be one of the sport¿s original Funny Cars, will make its first public appearance in nearly 40 years during the April 1-4 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
The car, one of three originally commissioned by Dodge to showcase the company¿s performance capabilities, is owned by Frank Spittle of Cornelius who has spent six years meticulously restoring it.
During the winter of 1963, Jim Nelson¿s Dragmaster Co. in Carlsbad, Calif., transformed a trio of Dodge 330 sedans into the most radical street machines the world had ever seen. Nelson¿s modifications followed his successful formula for building Top Gas Dragsters and each car featured a 426-wedge engine that was increased to 480 cubic inches and fitted with a GMC supercharger. Horsepower was estimated to be between 850 and 900.
- March 2004
03/30/04A museum-quality 1949 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 limousine and an extremely rare 1937 Chrysler Airflow sedan are among the automobiles scheduled to cross the auction block April 2-3 at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway when Tom Mack Classics presents Auction @ AutoFair.
The two-day auction is part of Food Lion AutoFair, the nation¿s largest automotive extravaganza. In addition to the auction, Food Lion AutoFair, which runs April 1-4 at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, includes a car show featuring various makes and models from more than 50 clubs; 10,000 vendor spaces that offer a plethora of automotive parts and memorabilia; and a car corral that features nearly 2,000 vehicles available for sale or trade.
The Cadillac limousine, which features a window divider, has only 59,000 miles on the odometer and was recently updated with power steering, front and rear air conditioning, wire wheels, modern brakes and radial tires. It was originally owned by a newspaper executive
03/25/04Dinosaurs last roamed the Earth 65 million years ago, but an appearance by ¿Twentieth Century Dinosaurs¿ will transform Lowe¿s Motor Speedway into a dinosaur drive-in during the April 1-4 Food Lion AutoFair.
Created by New Jersey artist and sculptor Jim Gary, "Twentieth Century Dinosaurs" is the ultimate expression of automotive art¿a collection of nearly life-size dinosaur skeletons comprised of used car parts in a rainbow of brilliant colors.
Twelve of Gary's gentle giants, including a 44-foot Brontosaurus, a 27-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex, bright yellow Velociraptors and a Pterodactyl with an eight-foot wingspan, will stalk the speedway grounds throughout the four-day Food Lion AutoFair.
03/24/04A $7.5 million infield renovation project is underway at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, featuring just over 64,000 square feet of new construction that will be ready for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on Saturday night, May 22, and the 45th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 30.
In addition to better servicing its NASCAR events, this massive construction project will allow the speedway to grow its track rental program and offers the region a viable site for conventions and tourism-related business.
¿This project demonstrates our continuing commitment to growing and improving our facilities for our spectators, participants and track rental customers,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
03/24/04NASCAR¿s race trucks will be 180-mph blurs during the May 21 Charlotte Tailgate 200, but four of the Craftsman Truck Series machines will be at a literal standstill during the track¿s April 1-4 Food Lion AutoFair.
The Charlotte Tailgate 200 display will offer a bumper-to-bumper look at a representative truck from each participating series manufacturer along with the opportunity to get autographs from four of the top series drivers.
Defending series champion Travis Kvapil¿s new Toyota Tundra, Andy Houston¿s Dodge Ram 1500, Rick Crawford¿s Ford F-150 and a Chevrolet Silverado race truck will be on display.
03/23/04All emergency services personnel are invited to participate in the Accident Care Team training session Saturday and Sunday in the infield at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Conducted by the track¿s emergency services department, the two-day course teaches proper techniques for responding to motorsports emergencies. The course covers basic to advanced medical, fire and rescue scenarios involving a variety of racing vehicles ranging from go-karts to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series stock cars.
Participants will receive hands-on training in fire control, medical scenarios and extrication from experienced rescue personnel, including members of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s highly regarded safety crew.
03/15/04Glenn Donnelly, founder and longtime president of DIRT Motorsports, will be inducted into The Dirt Track Walk of Fame Saturday evening, April 3, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. The induction ceremony will take place prior to the Ferris 100 presented by DynoMax, one of the premier events on the 28-race Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series schedule.
¿Starting with the idea of bringing rules uniformity and increased sponsorship to modified stock car racing at a trio of Upstate New York dirt tracks, Glenn Donnelly built one of the most successful sanctioning bodies in the motorsports industry,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿It is only fitting that he is the first sanctioning body official to be inducted into our Walk of Fame.¿
03/10/04One fan¿s unique tribute to hometown racing legend Dale Earnhardt will be among the cars featured in a special display celebrating the 40th birthday of the Ford Mustang during the April 1-4 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Kannapolis resident and former short-track stock car racer Ron Wetzler¿s highly customized 2001 Roush Mustang, known as The Blue Intimidator, will be among the automobiles chronicling the original pony car¿s 40-year history.
¿The reason I named the car The Blue Intimidator is because I know several people around Kannapolis who grew up with Dale Earnhardt and I thought it would be a great way to honor his memory,¿ Wetzler said about his brilliant blue Roush Mustang.
03/10/04Having made off-season headlines with his surprise decision to switch teams, four-time and defending Mr. DIRT big-block modified champion Alan Johnson will be looking to make headlines on the track when the New York-based series invades The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway April 1-3 for the fourth annual Ferris 100 presented by DynoMax.
Even though he has finished outside the top-10 only once in the six DIRT big-block modified features run at The Dirt Track, Johnson is taking a conservative approach as he becomes acclimated to his new role as driver of the No. 14j Troyer entry fielded by H&H Motorsports of Cheshire, Conn.
¿Our race cars are good enough to be in victory lane,¿ said the 46-year-old resident of Phelps, N.Y. ¿But, realistically, I think if we can finish in the top-10, or more importantly in the top-five, we would all head home pretty happy.¿
03/03/04The total race distance is still 40 miles, but a new 100-lap format will replace the previous twin 50 lappers when DIRT¿s big-block modifieds return to The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway Saturday night, April 3, for the fourth annual Ferris 100 presented by DynoMax.
The change brings the Ferris 100 in line with the 27 other extra-distance races that comprise the Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series.
¿The twin 50-lap format was different from what we normally run and it gave you two chances to get the car right,¿ said Brett Hearn, who took advantage of the unique format and won the second 50 lapper during DIRT¿s inaugural visit to The Dirt Track in 2001. ¿Now, you better get it right the first time.¿
03/03/04Just five days after a foot of snow blanketed Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, several of Chevrolet¿s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams hit the 1.5-mile superspeedway Tuesday for two days of testing in preparation for the May 21 Charlotte Tailgate 200.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regular and truck team owner Kevin Harvick was among those in action, testing a pair of No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolets alongside his full-time truck series driver Matt Crafton. Harvick, who finished fifth in the inaugural truck race at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway last May, is expected to be among the entrants for this year¿s event.
Other drivers testing included Dennis Setzer, Jack Sprague, David Starr, Ken Weaver and Shane Sieg.
Teams will be back on track today at 3 p.m.
03/01/04Four-time and defending Mr. DIRT modified champion Alan Johnson will lead the southern invasion when the New York-based DIRT organization returns to The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway April 1-3 for a tripleheader that includes the fourth annual Ferris 100 presented by DynoMax.
Previously a twin 50-lap event, this year¿s big-block modified spectacular will conclude with a 100-lap feature that is part of the prestigious Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series. The second annual Charlotte Small-Block Championship is the opener for the Turning Stone Casino 358-Modified Super DIRT Series while the DIRT Pro Stock Challenge will feature 20 laps of action for the full-bodied stock cars.
- February 2004
02/24/04Since its inception in 1985, NASCAR¿s version of an ¿all-star game¿ has evolved from a novelty to a showcase, a spring ritual of speed and daring resulting in yearly additions to the book of NASCAR lore.
This year, the event (formerly known as The Winston) has a new name for its 20th running: The ¿NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.¿ On May 22, it returns to Lowe¿s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. for the 18th consecutive year, once again featuring an exclusive field of 2003-04 race winners and past champions of the event, which will be televised live on FX (7 p.m. ET). The NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge events will have a total purse of $4,095,000, an increase of $225,000 from the previous year. The winner will receive $1 million.
02/18/04Putting the ¿stock¿ back into stock car racing, Lowe¿s Motor Speedway has introduced the Road Hawgs, a new entry-level racing division for strictly stock production automobiles that will compete in approximately 10 events this season on both dirt and asphalt ovals.
¿The idea of rescuing a car from a junkyard, making a few safety modifications and racing it at a local short track has virtually disappeared,¿ said H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. ¿That concept is the very foundation upon which major league stock car racing was built. The Road Hawgs allow us to maintain a low-cost entry point into the sport while providing fans with what we believe will be one of the most entertaining divisions in short-track racing.¿
To ensure cost containment, the Road Hawg division, which is open to front- or rear-wheel-drive domestic or import vehicles with six- or eight-cylinder engines, features a $750 claim rule.
02/09/04With season-ticket renewals completed, all remaining seats for the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event on Saturday night, Oct. 16, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway went on sale at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 9.
Running under the lights for only the second time in its 45-year history, sparks will fly during this 500-mile fall classic which is expected to play a pivotal role in NASCAR¿s new Chase for the Championship.
A wide variety of tickets are still available, ranging from the $19 reserved seats in the South Grandstand between turns one and two to the $119 reserved seats in the upper rows of the General Motors, Ford and Chrysler Grandstands.
The extremely popular SUPER Ticket also returns for Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s October events, offering four nights of racing for the low price of just $99.
02/03/04Four men from South Carolina and three from North Carolina, all known for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the sport of boxing, comprise the Carolinas Boxing Hall of Fame¿s 2004 class of inductees.
The class was announced today during a press conference at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. The formal induction and dinner honoring these men will be April 2 in The Speedway Club¿s Grand Ballroom.
Located on the second floor of Smith Tower at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, the Carolinas Boxing Hall of Fame recognizes individual achievements and contributions to the rich boxing history of the Carolinas and features a 33-foot display case of boxing memorabilia. With the addition of these seven men, the Carolinas Boxing Hall of Fame has honored 124 individuals since its inception in 1984.
- January 2004
01/30/04From the traditional sprint cars of the United States Auto Club to the high-flying aerobatics of Freestyle Motocross, The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s fifth season features a smorgasbord of motorsports entertainment.
The inaugural Southern Showdown Championship is among the highlights of the track¿s 10-event schedule that starts in April and runs through October.
Featuring the late model stock cars of the O¿Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series, the Southern Showdown Championship is set for May 28-29. The winner of the Friday night preliminary feature earns $10,000 with a possible $28,000-first-place prize awaiting the winner of the Saturday night main.
01/28/04With the national media spotlight shining on Charlotte this week, city officials and public relations practitioners are scrambling to portray the area as more than a ¿grits-eating, NASCAR-loving town.¿
But H.A. ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway, believes describing Charlotte as a ¿grits-eating, NASCAR-loving town,¿ is equivalent to donning your favorite pair of shoes¿they may not have the perfect shine, but they are comfortable and fit like a glove.
¿What¿s wrong with grits and NASCAR?¿ Wheeler asked from his office which overlooks the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway that annually hosts three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. ¿If it weren¿t for grits, our ancestors would have starved and we wouldn¿t even be here. Frankly, is there anything better than properly peppered and salted grits with red-eye gravy and a little country butter?
01/20/04Tuesday Pit Notes
01/07/04Rocky Mount-based RBC Centura Banks has signed a multi-year sponsorship agreement to be "The Official Bank of Charlotte Motor Speedway." Financial terms were not disclosed.
The deal grants RBC Centura exclusive rights to incorporate Lowe¿s Motor Speedway in its marketing efforts and to participate in promotional events at the track. In addition to the year-round brand exposure afforded through on-site signage at the famed 1.5-mile superspeedway, the bank will be the exclusive presenting sponsor of the "RBC Centura Drivers Compound," an on-site concierge service that offers a broad variety of amenities to race car drivers, team owners and their families. In addition, an RBC Centura ATM machine will be permanently installed at the speedway, with 10 additional ones brought in on the days of racing events.
01/05/04Expanding a relationship that began in 1996, CARQUEST Auto Parts has been named ¿The Official Auto Parts Store of Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.¿
¿We are proud Lowe¿s Motor Speedway has chosen CARQUEST Auto Parts as its official auto parts store,¿ said CARQUEST President Art Lottes III. ¿Bruton Smith and ¿Humpy¿ Wheeler have built Lowe¿s Motor Speedway into one of the premier racing facilities in the world and it is exciting for CARQUEST to be associated with it.¿
CARQUEST and Lowe¿s Motor Speedway have enjoyed a long history that began with the inaugural running of the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on May 24, 1997. The seven-year run of this event makes it one of the longest continuously sponsored races on the NASCAR Busch Series schedule.