Updated: Apr 11, 2022
For Immediate Release
NEWS PROVIDED BY
April 7, 2022
Raleigh, N.C., April 7, 2022/ - You could not have asked for a better night to open the 60th Anniversary Season at Raleigh's Wake County Speedway on Friday, April 1st. With temperatures in the mid-60s all afternoon and around 52 degrees once the green flag dropped on the INEX Legend Series race at 8:45 pm, fans, drivers, and the speedway staff were in for one heck of a memorable night.
What had been promised leading up to the 2022 season opener was delivered, and then some. Fans who were able to find a parking spot in the overflow crowd were greeted by Checkers - "America's Favorite Bull" and his trademark smoking guitar. Blasting a few volleys of brand new Wake County Speedway t-shirts into the stands, courtesy of Pounds Towing, Checkers was the opening act to what came next...a rock concert!
Billed as "Rock the Ring presented by Bandit Towing and Transport", the pre-race, four-song set by Motley Crue tribute band, Mostley Crue, had the sold-out speedway crowd rocking the stands to classic Crue songs from the MTV era of Headbanger's Ball. Playing right on top of the LeithCars.com Victory Lane stage, with the drummer set atop Bandit Towing's flatbed truck, the fans that made their way down onto the front stretch received a front-row music experience like nothing this venue had seen over its previous 59 years.
All of this entertainment of course. was just the appetizer to what was to come. As fans continued to make their way into the speedway, other fans were still in their cars, cued up on Simpkins Road, all the way down to US401 from the east and Lake Wheeler Road from the west. It was like nothing anyone on the speedway staff had experienced before. Big crowds for a race, sure, but every grandstand full and standing-room-only by the front fence safety railing? This season opener was something else for sure in the long history of Friday night lights at the Simpkins Road race track.
"We were prepared for a typically large opening night crowd of maybe 850 to 1,000+ fans, but Friday night's turnout was way beyond expectations," said Charlie Hansen, Wake County Speedway promoter. "We were thrilled to see so many new faces but also mindful that we'll need to prepare more in terms of overflow parking and trying to get fans in the gate more efficiently. We apologize to the fans who missed some of the racing Friday night, we're just going through a few growing pains but it will get better, for sure", said Hansen.
One issue that the speedway is addressing in preparation for the second race of the season, the Denny's 175 on Friday, April 8th, is providing a huge overflow parking area, located on the backside of the speedway. Fans should still enter Race Track Road at the Glenn Simpkins Garage entrance off Simpkins Road and make their way south along the road as they enter the main parking areas on their right. If all the spaces in the main lots are filled, fans should slowly drive around to the backside of the race track on Race Track Road until they see the entrance gate to the overflow parking field. Once parked, they can simply take the walk back up towards the Simpkins Trucking building (north), turn left, and walk around the backside of turns three and four until they are back in front of the speedway and headed towards the ticket booth. Download the Wake County Speedway facility map, here.
Of course what the fans, new and old came to see on April 1st, was the brand of door-to-door, fender nudging, three-wide stock car racing that has cemented Wake County Speedway in the annals of grassroots short track racing. Goldsboro's Clay Jones brought his lucky "Blue Goose" Chevy Camaro Late Model Stock car to the season-opening sixty-lap headline race and made his way past some fierce competition from Fuquay-Varina's
Daniel Vuncannon (p2), Ethan Johnson (p3), Brandon Hobbs (p4), and Tyler Matthews (p5).
Other division winners from the opening night included Dennis Capps in the Modified-4s, Brandon Clements in Mini-Stock, Carson Haislip took the INEX Legend win, Olivia Murray won the Country Superstars Bandolero race, and Sam Pacitti took home a trophy in the Bomber/Any Car race. Get the full race results here.
Gates open at 6 pm on Friday, April 8th for the Denny's 175 featuring a $1,000 payout for a two-race sweep in the headline Zaxby's Charger Division twin-30 lap battle. Mod-4,
Mini-Stock, Legend, Country Superstars Bandolero, and Bomber/Any Car racing are on tap too.
Speaking of on-tap, be sure to stop by the custom 1954 Ford parked in front of the control tower, near the flag stand Friday night, where Tap Truck NC will be serving up craft beer from Clouds Brewing (must be 21 or older and have ID).
We'll see you at the track on Friday night!
Charlie Hansen - Promoter
Photos courtesy of BryanReganPhotography.com
Wake County Speedway is a NASCAR Sanctioned 1/4 Mile asphalt stock car oval In Raleigh, NC known as "America's Favorite Bullring." The track is home to 7 racing divisions including Late Model Stock, Charger, Mod-4 Cylinder, Mini-Stock, INEX Legend, INEX Bandolero, and Bomber/Any Car. Founded in 1962, the speedway has featured such NASCAR notables over the years as J.D. McDuffie, Benny Parsons, Ken Schrader, Randy Renfrow, and Ryan Blaney. Wake County Speedway is located at 2109 Simpkins Rd., just south of downtown Raleigh off Highway 401.