If you grew up with a Dad who built race cars in his spare time, was his own mechanic, and never, ever stopped loving a good drive or a good driver, then you’ll appreciate this post. My brother texted me this morning saying that I was only about 20 miles from South Boston Speedway, a short track (0.4 miles) with a storied history, from the Wood Brothers to Jeff Gordon. So after doing the laundry in town this afternoon, I aimed the car for South Boston.
It wasn’t hard to find the speedway, three miles off Route 58, the main road in these parts. I pulled past the big sign and headed down the entrance road to see if perhaps I could find a way in.
Well, THAT was easy. I walked right through the open gate and was free to wander around all I pleased. So I did. Just as I got inside, I heard that distinctive sound of a race car starting a run so I hustled down through that tunnel to see what was going on.
Click here to watch one lap of the track in 19 seconds.
Turns out the 58 team was having a practice session and they did a few more runs while I was there. This isn’t top-shelf NASCAR, these guys don’t have a lot of money or sponsors (notice the white hauler to the left of the car doesn’t even have a fancy paint job, let along any sponsor decals), they do it for the love of racing. Just like my Dad and his friends did, back in the day. Here’s a photo of a car my Dad and his friends were building to race at Bonneville during Speed Week.
Back at South Boston Speedway, I got up close to turn four. Just look at all the laps laid down on that track. For race fans, yes, there were “marbles” of rubber dotting the first few rows of seats in the grandstand!
If you’re not into racetracks, maybe this cool photo of the grandstands in wide angle mode will suit your fancy…
There’s a little plaque at the entrance to the speedway that lists the people inducted into the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame. I’ll bet my brother recognizes a few of these names 🙂
With one last look at the track and the grandstand, I headed back home.
Seeing that lone car and hearing that engine scream as it shot around the oval reminded me of all those times my brother and I took my Dad to NASCAR races (Sonoma, Fontana, Phoenix, Las Vegas…). I’m glad we did all those races, they were good times.
You know you’re in trouble when the first person to get to you after a wreck is carrying a beer.
NASCAR driver, Jimmy Horton, speaking of his accident at Talladega in 1993