Towe Lives Out His Racing Dream In The Bojangles' Summer Shootout
Many race teams and fans call Charlotte Motor Speedway NASCAR's home track, exemplifying racing's values of tradition and family. For Herman Towe, Charlotte Motor Speedway is not just the place he races on Tuesday nights in the Bojangles' Summer Shootout Series, but it is the place that makes him feel most at home.
Towe competes in the Security Force Master's division, designated for drivers 40 years of age and older. When not competing in the Bojangles' Summer Shootout, the North Carolina native works as a sports producer and photographer at NBC News Channel. Towe and NBC News Channel cover the series and distribute driver features and stories to network affiliates nationwide.
"Something like that happening is just unheard of," Towe said. "I remember seeing 180,000 race fans and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. I knew this was the place to be."
Towe competed in his first Shootout in 2001 when he was a sports producer at WCNC. During five years of competition, Towe had the opportunity to race alongside former Legend Car drivers and current day NASCAR stars Joey Logano, David Ragan and Reed Sorenson.
Towe also participated in the Media Mayhem school bus exhibition races and was the back-to-back winner in 2009 and 2010. Most recently, he was part of the WCNC/NBC News Media Mayhem championship team in 2013.
While Towe is known today as the news channel's go-to guy for all things racing, he has not always been an adrenaline junkie. He grew up in the small town of Plymouth, North Carolina with a high school graduating class of 220. He played percussion for the school band, loved calculus and considered himself a quiet bookworm who was always studying.
"My passion for racing is something that my former classmates would have never expected from me," Towe said. "When I'm on the track competing, it's like I have an alter ego. I just want to go out there and make myself and them proud." In the garage, Towe is affectionately nicknamed the "Chocolate Rocket."
Towe decided to get back in the driver's seat at Charlotte Motor Speedway and has returned to the Bojangles' Summer Shootout Series after a decade long break from Legend Car racing.
"I don't expect to win," he said. "If I start last and finish last, that's fine as long as I can say that I did my best. Would I like to pass some cars and be a little more in the mix? Yeah. But I'm still learning and competing against people that have been racing consistently for years. To me, I feel like I'm a beginner all over again."
While Towe always remains realistic in the goals he sets for himself, he can't help but love the sport and dream of taking his passion to a higher level.
"I'd love to have a NASCAR Truck (Series) ride!" Towe confessed. "I want Rick Hendrick to come out and say, 'I want that guy to run for me!'"
The Bojangles' Summer Shootout Series showcases the talents of various drivers of all ages and skill levels. "Competing in the Summer Shootout allows me to see so many people with so many different things going on in their lives," Towe said. "Even though we are all from different walks of life, we all share a passion for racing."
If competing in the Bojangles' Summer Shootout Series is as far as his racing career ever goes, Towe said that he is just appreciative of the opportunity to be out on the track where he feels most at home.
"I couldn't do any of this without the help from the speedway," he said. "From Marcus Smith to Scott Cooper, Lenny Batycki and everyone at U.S. Legend Cars, thank you for breathing life back into my body and allowing me to race again."
The Bojangles' Summer Shootout Series continues Tuesday, June 23, with a full slate of Legends Car and Bandolero racing. In addition, fans can enjoy Media Mayhem, where they can see local media personalities search for a victory on the frontstretch quarter mile in giant school buses.
Tickets are $8 for adults and free for kids 13 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or in advance by calling 800-455-FANS or online at charlottemotorspeedway.com. In addition to the weekly highlight shows on MAVtv, fans can watch live action through a pay-per-view via Performance Racing Network and Speed51.com for just $14.99 per night. For more details or to purchase a pay-per-view subscription for the Bojangles' Summer Shootout, visit www.speed51.com/watch-the-2015-bojangles-summer-shootout/.
For more information on the Bojangles' Summer Shootout Series, call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit charlottemotorspeedway.com. Connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or get all the latest news and information with the Charlotte Motor Speedway mobile app.