Five years after hanging up his racing gloves, one of the original drivers in the Summer Shootout Series has returned to Charlotte Motor Speedway for another shot at glory.

Dr. Mark Moskowitz, 61, of Gastonia, N.C., walked away from the sport in 2007 to focus on his career. He returned to Legend Car racing this summer during Round Seven of the Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series.

Moskowitz’ first stint in Legend Cars came about during the series’ first season in 1993 and he racked up two wins. Up until that point, Moskowitz raced sports cars. 

“Sports cars took a tremendous investment in terms of time. To race for 45 minutes to an hour. you’d have to go spend a whole weekend a couple hundred miles away. All of a sudden at a storied track, they were having races where you could go after work to race and then come home at bedtime. It was perfect!” Moskowitz said, referring to the first season of the Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Growing up in Massachusetts, Moskowitz always had an interest in cars. At age 16, Moskowitz took his love of cars to the next level when he began to race. That love only grew as he continued to race throughout his life.

“I grew up in a really small town called Great Barrington, Mass. In small New England towns, there are only three things: cars, football and girls. I wasn’t very good at football,” Moskowitz explained.

However, racing cars was only a hobby, and Moskowitz attended medical school to become a general and vascular surgeon. Moskowitz knew that he could do much more with medicine than he could with a fast car. Eventually, Moskowitz moved to North Carolina and opened his own practice in Gastonia. He recently retired.

“I am still a doctor, but I retired from the full-time practice of surgery earlier this year. I’d been a doctor for 38 years,” said Moskowitz.

After years of racing in the Summer Shootout Series, Moskowitz felt like he had to call it quits in 2007.

“The demands of practicing what I was practicing in the last five or six years just didn’t allow me the time to race anymore,” Moskowitz said.

Instead, Moskowitz took the last five years to indulge in other car hobbies and spend time with his family.

“I did a little bit with classic cars and show cars and I ran maybe two or three practice days down at Carolina Motorsports Park which was fun.  I also did a lot of traveling with my family. The kids are all grown up, but I wanted that last little bit of time.  I saw all the soccer games and cross country meets.”

Now that Moskowitz is retired, he’s found the time to get back into Legend Cars. It took some encouragement from his friends, but Moskowitz returned to the Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series last week, racing in the Auto Country Club Masters division. According to Moskowitz, the racing has evolved since he was last in a Legend Car.

“The tires have a lot more grip and it’s a little hard for me to tell the changes in handling now as compared to when I ran with the old tires,” he said. “I’m having a little trouble figuring out what’s fast.”

During his first night of racing, Moskowitz drove his car to a 15th place finish. In his second week, he jumped higher on the scoring tower and finished seventh.

Moskowitz is taking his venture back into racing one step at a time, but he’s already excited about the camaraderie that comes with racing Legend Cars.

The 19th annual Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series continues Tuesday with Fan Appreciation Night and the Little Luggies 600. In addition to the regular racing divisions, Charlotte Motor Speedway will hold its inaugural Little Luggies 600 Power Wheel races.

Tickets for the Summer Shootout Series are $7 for adults and are available in advance at the speedway ticket office or at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Kids 13 and under get in free. The first 1,000 fans through the gates get a free Frisbee courtesy of Jack in the Box.

For tickets to the Summer Shootout Series, call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.

For live updates during the Summer Shootout Series, follow hashtag #SummerShootout on Twitter. To join in on the conversation simply include #SummerShootout in your tweet.

Connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or become a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.