Seamus Curley Taking the Reins at The Dirt Track
This week Seamus Curley, short-track manager at Charlotte Motor Speedway, will be on point for his first major races at The Dirt Track @ Charlotte Motor Speedway, including the Armour Foods Vienna Sausage Showdown presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers on Wednesday and the VAULT World Finals, scheduled to run Thursday through Saturday.
Curley, the 2005 recipient of the Ken Squier Award, recognizing excellence in commitment and service to the racing community, joined the Charlotte Motor Speedway staff in April with more than a dozen years of experience in short-track racing operations under his belt.
The Essex Junction, Vt., native started learning the ropes at an early age at the heels of his father, Tom Curley. The elder Curley is a legendary motorsports promoter and former recipient of the Racing Promotion Monthly Promoter of the Year award.
Curley spent years working with his father at Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vt., Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and on the American-Canadian Tour. He did a little bit of everything, from serving as property manager to working as an official.
"Being involved in racing from the get-go ingrained a deep passion for short-track racing in me," said the younger Curley. "I can remember watching my dad when I was four or five years old. He was always very hands on and paid attention to the details. I learned a lot from working with him over the years.
"I started out during high school as seasonal help and worked on different projects. I got really involved in my mid-20s and worked as the property manager. I also served as a race official and worked my way up to eventually directing races at Thunder Road in 2005. In all my years working at the track I always had a headset on, so I'd absorbed a lot from listening to my dad over the years and was able to apply a lot of that knowledge."
In addition to his experience with track operations, Curley has also taken a turn as a competitor. He previously raced in the street stock division and was the 2003 Junk Yard Warriors track champion at Thunder Road Speedbowl.
"I had a short racing career," Curley said. "I think that gives me a better understanding of the competitor's perspective when I'm up in the tower calling races."
This week all of that experience will serve him well as he takes the lead for Charlotte Motor Speedway as the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series and World of Outlaws Late Model Series come to town for four nights of racing.
The Armour Foods Vienna Sausage Showdown will kick off the racing action on Wednesday with the World of Outlaws Late Models in a special "topless"
event. Thursday through Saturday the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car drivers will join the late model competitors to end their seasons in The Dirt Track's biggest event of the year, the VAULT World Finals.
"I'll manage things from the track's side this week," Curley said. "The World of Outlaws has their own race director that travels to their events, so I'll be the liaison between the series and our track officials. The fans want to see great racing, so it'll be our responsibility to make sure we stay on schedule and provide a terrific show."
Thursday night includes practice and qualifying for the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and Late Models, plus "Breaking the VAULT" dash races for each division. The two series will each have twin time trial sessions with the first round determining lineups for Friday and the second round setting the Saturday card. A pit crew challenge will conclude the first night of the VAULT World Finals. Full racing programs are on tap for both divisions Friday and Saturday with each night highlighted by $10,000-to-win main events for both the sprint cars and late models.
"I'm really looking forward to giving all the fans that come out a great show," Curley said. "We've got people coming from 46 states, five Canadian provinces and four other countries for the VAULT World Finals. It's a great event to end the season and we've got a number of high-caliber competitors coming out to end their season at The Dirt Track."
The Sprint Car Series entry list features Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws point leader Donny Schatz, title contender Jason Meyers and 20-time series champion Steve Kinser. Other open-wheel stars expected to compete include Danny Lasoski, Daryn Pittman, Jac Haudenschild and Fred Rahmer.
World of Outlaws Late Model Series points leader Darrell Lanigan and series regulars Steve Francis, Chub Frank, Shane Clanton, Josh Richards, Tim McCreadie and Rick Eckert are among the more than 50 late model drivers scheduled to race.
"Each race weekend kind of develops its own story," Curley said. "Each night has its own little story line. There are always things that pop up. I'm interested to see the competitive drama, triumphs and the challenges the drivers overcome. I can't wait to see how it turns out."
Three-day tickets are just $59 for adults and $19 for children ages 12 and under. Individual tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children on Thursday night and $35 for adults and $10 for children on Friday and Saturday nights.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or online.