SUMMER SIZZLES WITH LOWE’S SUMMER SHOOTOUT SERIES by Amy Hayes
Popular Summer Series Gets Back On Track On Tuesday
Every sport has their season. Fall is when the pigskin fans get ready for football and spring has March Madness in college basketball. For those who reside near Charlotte, Summertime means one thing: The Summer Shootout Series at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
The summer officially got underway last week as Memorial Day came and went. This past Monday, many drivers headed on over to Lowe’s to practice in preparation for next weeks events as the Summer Shootout officially kick off next Tuesday, June 13th.
“I think one of the reasons that everyone comes here is because this is the heart of racing. This is also where 600 Racing is based out of so everyone comes here to run this series. The fact that it is during the summer so everyone can do it is important too and it makes it much more convenient.”
Former Champions are also returning this season and they hope to be able to add to their list of wins and championships. One of those drivers is Thomas VanWingerdon.
“I am ready for the Summer Shootout to get going,” said VanWingerdon. “We have a good time every week and when it is the off season I miss doing it, I love this ten week deal that we do during the summer. I just hope that we can do as well as we did last summer.
There is something special in the air when the Summer Shootout begins. It is the biggest spectacle in Legends racing in the country as the series draws more competitors than any other across the nation. All of the drivers attribute that to one thing: the competition.
16-year-old Bailey Freeman has been racing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for two and half summers. She is racing this year in the Bandoleros and she hopes to keep moving up through the divisions as the level of competition strengthens her driving abilities.
“The competition is probably my favorite part,” said Freeman. “People come from all over the United States to race here.
“We ran both the Roadsters and Pro last year. We are going to do both again and hopefully we can win both this year. We won the Championship with the roadster last year. Hopefully we can repeat that one at least and get a Legends one.”
Many of the drivers competing in the Summer Shootout are trying to work their way up through the ranks of racing, but others have already made it and are coming back to Legends racing. Those racers are doing it because of the very same reasons that Freeman and others are racing in it and they are helping that competition level rise.
The Summer Shootout regularly draws in over a hunderd cars to Lowe's Motor Speedway. (51 Photos)
NASCAR Southeast Series driver Josh Hamner will also be making a cameo appearance in a Legends racecar as well. He will be making the trek weekly all the way from Alabama to compete in the series mainly because he wants to get back to what racing is supposed to be all about.
“I am running the Summer Shootout just to have fun,” said Hamner. “I am running it with a car provided by Chris Rogers. We just came up here to have fun. It will be nice to have no pressure when we are running here during the week.
“I am going to run the whole season for the championship, but when I am up here I don’t know what points are. I am just up here to have fun.”
NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Busch series driver David Ragan is also returning to his roots to race in the series where he got his start.
“I’m just here having a good time, this is where I grew up racing here at the quarter-mile of Lowe’s and Atlanta so I thought I would come out.”
“Mark Wallace with the Jasper engines company out of Atlanta, is going to let me drive the car this year, it’s just something fun to do. The competition is as tough as probably just about any NASCAR competition but we come out here just to have fun and try to win some.”
Hooters Pro Cup stars Brett and Ken Butler are among the stock car drivers who will compete in the summer shootout this year.
“We are going to run the Summer Shootout just to get more experience and to just try and be better drivers,” said Ken Butler III. “I love any type of racing, but I have never been in one of these cars before, I did Pro Challenge but they are a little bit bigger than these, so we are basically going to go cold turkey, we are going to practice next Monday before the summer shootout starts on Tuesday.”
Fun and competition are the names of the games that fill the summer shootout and these drivers and more will all take to the track next week as the summer shootout begins and will get their chance to chase their championships.
Be sure that you don’t miss the action next week when the Bandoleros, Legends and Thunder Roadsters all get back into action at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Summer Shootout.
CRASHCars will be in action seven times during the 10-race series while a trio of school bus races is also on the schedule.
Tickets for the Summer Shootout Series are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Parking is free. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:30 p.m. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. and concludes by 10:30 p.m.
2006 Summer Shootout Series Schedule
June 13, Opening Night featuring School Bus Racing Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters, Bandoleros and School Bus Racing
June 20, CRASHCars Craziness Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters, Bandoleros and CRASHCars
June 27, CRASHCars Craziness Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters, Bandoleros and CRASHCars
July 3, Monday Night - Fireworks Extravaganza plus CRASHCars Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters, Bandoleros, CRASHCars and Fireworks
July 4, Fireworks Extravaganza plus School Bus Racing Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters, Bandoleros, School Bus Racing and Fireworks
July 11, CRASHCar Craziness Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters, Bandoleros and CRASHCars
July 18, CRASHCar Craziness Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters, Bandoleros and CRASHCars
July 25, CRASHCar Craziness Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters, Bandoleros and CRASHCars
Aug. 1, CRASHCar Craziness Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters, Bandoleros and CRASHCars
Aug. 8, Championship Night featuring School Bus Racing Legends Cars, Thunder Roadsters, Bandoleros and School Bus Racing
This year, the Shootout is drawing a lot of big names, including Pro Cup regular Andrew Rogers (top) and Southeast Series star Josh Hamner (bottom).