The Cook Out Summer Shootout is a family affair, especially for fourth-generation Bojangles Outlaw Driver Owen Zacharias.

Zacharias is a four-time Cook Out Summer Shootout competitor, driving for AK Performance in his No. 35 Bandolero. Coming from a family whose lives have revolved around all things motorsports, he quickly found a love for racing at a young age. 

In 2018, eight-year-old Zacharias' racing journey unfolded. His racing enthusiast father introduced him to motorsports at Myrtle Beach Speedway, where he first laid his hands on a Go-Kart. Looking to add to the family legacy of racing, Zacharias made a significant leap the following year, transitioning to driving Bandoleros for the first time, beginning a new voyage of victory. 

For the Zacharias family, racing is more than just the on-the-track action but has turned into a family business for them as well. Zacharias is learning both the driving and business side from his father Steve Zacharias, owner of Florence Motor Speedway. Zacharias said his dad has always continued to push the need for speed on him and has played a significant role in his love for motorsports.

"I say my dad has had the biggest impact on me because he first put me in racing," said Zacharias. "My dad has brought me everywhere and has spent all his money to put me in racing and to let me drive all across the East Coast to do it.”

Along his path, in the 2022 season, Zacharias had the opportunity to prove his tenacity on the track. After a typical ride on a four-wheeler led to four broken knuckles and 42 stitches, it was then that Zacharias truly learned to battle through adversity and injury. With his hand in a cast, Zacharias had to adapt his driving style in the heat of a championship battle.

Ahead of the title fight at Florence Motor Speedway, Zacharias had to re-learn how to drive with one hand putting the other to the side as he recovered. Conquering the challenge was no easy feat, but Zacharias said it made him into a better driver.

"Having a broken hand made me more of a smooth driver,” said Zacharias on how it affected him later. “If you get loose when you have one hand, it's kind of hard to fight. It lets me carry on more speed." 

Using his improved style of driving, he overcame adversity by rising to the top and quickly found his way to Victory Lane winning back-to-back track championships at Florence in 2022 and 2023. In spring 2024, Zacharias added to his repertoire by becoming the Nashville Fairgrounds Spring National Co-Champion.

From his family track of Florence Motor Speedway to America’s Home for Racing, driving at historic tracks is nothing new for Zacharias. Coining both tracks as his favorite to race on, he once again gives credit to his father for introducing him to the famed quarter-mile which has given him great competition, challenging him each week during the summer.

“It's [Charlotte Motor Speedway] definitely my favorite track because it's a lot of great racing. It is super fun to come out here all the time,” said Zacharias. 

Zacharias is taking lessons from his family lineage to forge his legacy in racing, honing his craft at the Cook Out Summer Shootout.


Cook Out Summer Shootout is a 10-race showcase of speed among eight different divisions of Legend Cars and Bandoleros. Races are held each Tuesday night, with drivers accumulating points throughout the summer towards a season-ending championship. 


On Monday, Dads with three or more kids get in FREE, while on Tuesday, First responders and military personnel receive free admission with an ID in recognition of their service. Tickets start at $10 on Monday and $15 on Tuesday; Kids 12 and under get in FREE. For tickets, schedules and more details about all the happenings at Charlotte Motor Speedway, visit


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