Summer Shootout Attracts Racers from 21 States
If a driver completes every lap during the 10 rounds of Lowe's Motor Speedway's Summer Shootout Series, he or she will travel less than 100 miles.
However, many of the more than 220 Summer Shootout competitors are traveling far greater distances each week in order to compete in the series of Tuesday night Legends Car, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster races.
Drivers from 21 states, including Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado and Oklahoma, are competing in the eight divisions as 35 percent of the registered participants reside outside the Carolinas. Some of the long-distance travelers drive to Lowe's Motor Speedway each week while others commute by air and some have packed their bags and relocated to the Charlotte area for the summer.
The Carey brothers, Nick and Rowan, are the farthest from home. The Snohomish, Wash., residents drove nearly 3,000 miles in order to compete in Summer Shootout.
"We are here for the whole summer, renting a house in Kernersville near Winston-Salem," said 20-year-old Rowan Carey. "We can learn more about racing just by being out here."
"I love it down here. Everyone is in to racing. You go to a gas station and they are even talking racing," said 18-year-old Nick Carey.
"Back home they will draw about 30 cars on a really good night, and that's a big event. Out here there are over 200 cars racing, so it is a big deal."
Tyler Chrisinger, 16, commutes back and forth between his Littleton, Colo., home and North Carolina in order to compete in the Verdict Ridge Golf & Country Club Legends Car Pro division.
"I fly every week with my mom and dad. We fly out on Sundays or Mondays and we fly back home on the weekends so we can race in Colorado," Chrisinger explained. "Summer Shootout is where most of the competition is. Trying to build a racing career, we thought we ought to come out here and try to get noticed."
Another driver who will have an interesting story to tell when he returns to school in the fall is 12-year-old Zach Zimmerly, of Portland, Ore. Zimmerly is living with his mechanics in Davidson, N.C., while competing in the Pull-A-Parts Legends Car Semi-Pro division.
"Racing in the Summer Shootout is very competitive. There are a lot of cars, and I like going places where there is a lot of competition," said Zimmerly. "We used to fly back and forth, but this year I decided to move to Davidson and live with my mechanics, Donovan and Brian. I will go back to Oregon in the fall for school, but I'll fly back out here for some races later in the year."
Several residents of the Lone Star state invade Lowe's Motor Speedway each Tuesday night, including Southlake, Texas, driver Garrett Lancaster.
"The Summer Shootout is where the best of the best gather for Legends Car racing. If you want to test your skills, you have to come to North Carolina," said the 16-year-old Lancaster. "Every two weeks, I go back to Texas because they race at Texas Motor Speedway twice a month on Friday and Saturday nights.
"I am staying with my uncle in Pineville while I am in North Carolina. We tried driving last year and 16 hours was too long, so this year we are flying. I have been traveling by myself as of late, but sometimes my dad travels with me," Lancaster concluded.
Lowe's Motor Speedway's 14th annual Summer Shootout, which runs each Tuesday night through Aug. 7, features three classes of Bandolero racing, four divisions of Legends Cars and the Thunder Roadsters.
Admission is just $7 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are free. Tickets are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Parking is free.
Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:30 p.m. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. For information, call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.