Drivers Buzzing About Legends Million July 15-17 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Legends Million quickly approaching and the garage area is buzzing with talk about the recently announced format, and of course the $1 million purse that will be on the line, July 15-17 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
When the Legends Million was first announced in January, the thought of a grassroots race featuring a total purse of $1 million was hard for many drivers to fathom.
“I didn’t believe it,” said Legend Car Pro competitor Travis Braden. “I heard a rumor a couple of days before it was announced, but it just seemed too crazy. I thought there would be no way they could pay that much money for a Legend Car race.”
The largest amount 16-year-old Braden has raced for in a Legend Car is only $1,000, which pales in comparison to the Legends Million payout. First place will take home an unprecedented $250,000 and the final spot in the feature is assured $10,000. This one-of-a-kind race was not only hard for young Braden to believe, but it was also hard for 51-year-old Legend Car veteran Clay Hair to imagine.
“I thought it was just a vicious rumor,” explained Hair, a Masters division driver and 45-time race winner in the Summer Shootout Series. “I got asked what I thought about a race that had a $1 million purse, and I thought that was unheard of, but now it’s coming to fruition and I am excited about it.”
Recently, Charlotte Motor Speedway announced a format that will allow drivers to compete in one of three divisions: Young Lions/Semi-Pro, Masters or The Legends Million, which is open to all drivers.
Each division will run heat races and an A-Main race, with the Legends Million feature serving as the grand finale of the three-day event. The winners of the Masters and Semi-Pro/Young Lions A-Main races will earn an unprecedented $30,000 and $25,000, respectively, and have an opportunity to advance to the Legends Million feature through a “Deal or No Deal” option.
The format will give competitors the opportunity to choose in which division they want to compete and many drivers feel this will give everyone a chance to compete in the Legends Million feature no matter what their skill level or experience.
“Before the format announcement I thought not having a Masters division was a stumbling block for drivers like me,” said Bruce Silver who is registered to compete in the Legends Million in the Masters category. “I can’t compete with the Pro division drivers out there. I like to compete in my own division [Masters] and I prefer to run with the people in my category. I am relieved and glad about the new format because it gives me a better chance to take home some money.”
Many of the Legends Million competitors also participate in the 10-week Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series held each Tuesday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and when asked what, if anything, they would do differently in a race of this caliber their strategies varied.
“I am definitely going to be more aggressive on the track than I normally am,” explained Kyle Plott, a Pro division driver. “Instead of giving and taking, I am going to be taking! I am definitely going to be going for it in the Legends Million.”
Legend Car Young Lion driver Gray Gaulding agrees with Plott’s strategy.
“I’ll probably be more aggressive,” said 12-year-old Gaulding. “All the guys in the world are coming out to run this race and I just want to run a clean race, while being as aggressive as I can. If I end up winning a race like the Legends Million it will be unbelievable.”
While Plott and Gaulding plan to get up on the wheel and drive a little harder, competitors such as Hair and Chad Finchum don’t plan to change a thing.
“Everything is going to stay the same,” explained Hair. “We’ve been too successful in the past to reinvent the wheel here. I like the idea of this race and I love this track. The sport has been really good to me and I think I am going to approach it like I would any other race. I am just going to keep doing the same stuff I’ve been doing.”
“We’re not going to try to change much from what we normally do on a Tuesday night,” said Legend Car Pro driver Finchum. “We like to stay in a routine to help keep us focused, and if we change our routine then we might lose that focus.”
With $1 million up for grabs some of the competitors are already planning on how to spend their prize money.
“I am going to buy my grandpa a brand new Chevy Camaro,” said Gaulding. “I will spend it all on my family. They spend a lot on me, so being able to give back to them would be great. I can’t wait to race here at Charlotte Motor Speedway and try to win that big money.”
While Gaulding already has big plans for his prize money, Braden is a little more cautious.
“I don’t want to think about that yet,” explained Braden. “It’s bad karma to plan a celebration ahead of time and I don’t want it to hurt my chances.”
The Legends Million will include Legend Car Series regulars, up-and-coming drivers and the sport's top stars. To date, drivers from 28 states, as well as Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are entered in this first-of-its-kind event.
For additional information on competitor registration for the Legends Million, go online or call the Charlotte Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205.
For tickets to the Legends Million, contact the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or go online.