The Oct. 8 Charlotte Dirt Doubleheader Nationals at The Dirt Track at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway will be the United States Auto Club¿s first sprint car race in the Tar Heel state since Oct. 17, 1982.

Founded in 1956 and based just down the street from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, USAC has long been one of the nation¿s premier open-wheel sanctioning bodies, but has made only sporadic visits to North Carolina.

The state¿s first USAC-sanctioned race was a stock car event at Concord Speedway. The event was organized and promoted by Lowe¿s Motor Speedway Chairman Bruton Smith, who owned and operated the half-mile dirt oval at the time. Don White drove a Ford to victory in that 100-mile event on April 2, 1961.

The USAC stock cars then returned to Concord Speedway on March 3, 1963, with Bill Cheesbourg claiming the trophy.

The USAC midget series visited Asheville Speedway in 1968 and the sprint cars made their first and only appearance for a tripleheader at 311 Speedway, a dirt track in Madison, on Oct. 16-17, 1982. Ken Schrader, who would eventually move to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, won the first 20-lap feature that weekend with the late Sheldon Kinser claiming the final two 20-lappers.

While the USAC sprint cars have not returned to the state since that race, the sanctioning body¿s Formula 2000 and midget series have visited during recent years.

The USAC midget series ran an indoor event at the old Charlotte Coliseum in 1990 and the Formula 2000 cars did double duty at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway in conjunction with an Indy Racing League event in 1997.

NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart won the state¿s most recent USAC event, topping a 50-lap midget event on the frontstretch quarter-mile oval at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway on July 24, 1998.

Once considered a stepping stone to Indy car racing, the United States Auto Club now serves as training ground for NASCAR Winston Cup stars. Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman are among those who first rose to national prominence driving USAC sprint cars and midgets.

The Charlotte Dirt Doubleheader Nationals, which also includes the late model stock cars of the O¿Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series, is part of UAW-GM Quality 500 Week that culminates with the inaugural nighttime running of the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR Winston Cup event on Saturday night, Oct. 11, at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.

Tickets for the Charlotte Dirt Doubleheader Nationals on Wednesday night, Oct. 8, start at just $15 and can be obtained online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.

USAC Racing in North Carolina

 

Date Track/Location Series/Track Type Winner
4/2/61 Concord Speedway
Concord, N.C.
Stock Cars
1/2 -  Mile Dirt
Don White
3/3/63 Concord Speedway
Concord, N.C.
Stock Cars
1/2 -  Mile Dirt
Bill Cheesbourg
4/27/68 Asheville Speedway
Asheville, N.C.
Midgets
3/8 - Mile Paved
Mel Kenyon
10/16/82 311 Speedway
Madison, N.C.
Sprint Cars
1/2-Mile Dirt
Ken Schrader
10/16/82 311 Speedway
Madison, N.C.
Sprint Cars
1/2-Mile Dirt
Sheldon Kinser
10/17/82 311 Speedway
Madison, N.C.
Sprint Cars
1/2-Mile Dirt
Sheldon Kinser
12/22/90 Charlotte Coliseum
Charlotte, N.C.
Midgets
1/10-Mile Concrete
Jim Hettinger
7/25/97 Charlotte Motor Speedway
Concord, N.C.
Formula 2000
1.6-Mile Road Course
Ray Hampton
7/26/97 Charlotte Motor Speedway
Concord, N.C.
Formula 2000
1.6-Mile Road Course
Andrea DeLorenzi
7/24/98 Charlotte Motor Speedway
Concord, N.C.
Midgets
1/4-Mile Paved
Tony Stewart