Racers Travel Extreme Distances To Compete in the Summer Shootout Series
Racers from 25 states and Canada converge on Charlotte Motor Speedway every Tuesday night throughout the summer to compete in the Summer Shootout Series.
They come from as far west as Las Vegas, Nev., as far north as Port Perry, Ontario, and as far south as Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in hopes of finding glory in the 10-week series.
Some drivers travel by air each week while others drive and some have packed their bags and relocated for the entire summer. Whatever method they use to get to Concord, N.C., they all come with dreams of winning against some of the nation's best Legends Car and Bandolero drivers.
Dylan Kwasniewski, Dustin Ash and Brecken Snow are among those who travel the furthest, all journeying more than 2,000 miles to compete in the Bath Fitters Legends Car Pro division.
Both Kwasniewski and Ash are from Las Vegas, Nev. Ash, 20, relocated to Mooresville, N.C. for the summer, while 14-year-old Kwasniewski travels by plane each week.
A former Legends Car champion at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kwasniewski is hoping to prove himself by racing against the tough competition of the Summer Shootout Series.
"I came out here to compete with the best of the best," said Kwasniewski." It's tough racing and a lot different than Vegas. I just have to get used to it."
Ash has competed at Las Vegas in both Legends Cars and a full-size super late model stock car, where in 2005 he won the Legends Car Pro division championship. He then went on to win the Super Late Model Championship and the Nevada State Super Late Model Championship two years later.
"The competition at Lowe's is 10 times harder than anywhere I've raced before, even than the late models back home" explained Ash. "You've got to have your stuff together and be prepared to race hard."
Snow, a native of St. George, Utah, is also a product of the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he finished third in the Legends Car Pro division standings last season in addition to winning the championship at I-10 Speedway in Corona, Calif.
Snow and his family have also relocated to North Carolina for the summer. It has been a tough adjustment for the 16-year-old, but he says it's the kind of experience he needs in order to improve his driving skills.
"It's hard racing in the Summer Shootout Series, but it's what I need to get better," said Snow. "There's not as much competition at the tracks back home, but here you have to race against the best drivers in the country."
Kenzie Ruston, of El Reno, Okla., is in her second season of competition in the Summer Shootout Series. After competing in the Legends Car Young Lions division in 2008, she has successfully transitioned into the Briggs Collision Semi-Pro division and is currently in the top 10 in the championship standings.
Along with her crew chief, the 17-year-old racer drives 16 hours to Concord each week. It's such a long trip that her parents have only been able to accompany her once this season.
"It's a really long drive to race at Lowe's, but it's worth it because of the competition and all the attention you get racing there," said Ruston. "It's too far for my parents to drive every week, but they support me and that's what counts."
Of all the out-of-town drivers that compete in the Summer Shootout Series, Scott Hensley, of Olive Branch, Miss., has had the most success this year. The 14-year-old has already won two Legends Car Young Lions features and is currently leading the division's championship standings.
Hensley and his family drive the 10-hour one-way trip each week in order for him to compete at Charlotte Motor Speedway, before heading back to Mississippi where he races a winged sprint car on the weekends.
"I'm just trying to get as much experience and seat time as I can," said Hensley. "Racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway is challenging. It's a lot different than anywhere I've ever raced and that's why I like it."
The 10-week Summer Shootout Series runs each Tuesday night through Aug. 11. Tickets are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 on race nights. Parking is free. Admission is just $7 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are free.
Contact the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS for information or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.