DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The month of March means spring is just around the corner, and for most NASCAR Whelen All-American Series fans, its means their favorite NASCAR Home Track is ready to reopen for the 2015 season. This weekend there are four member tracks opening up for the year.
Historic Hickory Motor Speedway opens for its 65th season on Saturday night along with Houston Motorsports Park.
Caraway Speedway will feature a Sunday afternoon program for its opener, but no opening is more anticipated than that at Greenville Pickens Speedway, where reigning Whelen All-American Series national champion Anthony Anders has decided to give up driving full-time and is now promoting events at the well-known track in upstate South Carolina.
Although he hasn’t had his official opening yet, Anders was excited after holding his first open practice of the year and feels he made the right decision to make short track racing even better at his home track.
“It has been a lot of work but this is something I have wanted to do and I feel like we are ready to make (opening night) happen,” Anders said. “We had an open practice the other weekend and we had over 220 people here with the infield full of cars and it looked like a race night.”
Anders knows it’s going to take a lot of work and he has already put in a lot of hours, manpower and money before selling his first pit pass of the season.
“We have gone in and tried our best to make the track presentable and something racers and fans would be proud to call their home track,” Anders said. “We want to get the racing program back to what it once was when the late Keith Cochran worked here building fun things for fans to enjoy along with the great racing and entertainment.”
Part of the entertainment scheduled for opening weekend includes amusement rides for the kids, a pre-race concert and improved trackside parking and concessions for the fans to enjoy in addition to racing.
While remodeling buildings and giving the facility a fresh coat of paint looks great, he knows he won’t succeed without the support of racers and the Easley, South Carolina native feels he is off to a good start in that area.
“I have entered in to a six-year agreement to operate the track and it is all on me. I am a racer and I feel I know what the racers want when they come here to race,” Anders added. “We are going to give them an affordable place to race with rules that make it fair for everyone to compete when they decide to spend their hard-earned money to come and race here and put on a show for the fans.”
Anders has placed rules on the track website and has created an open-door policy for racers to ask questions and get information. He has also brought on help with his staff hiring Clemson University graduate Haley Wilbanks to help in management of the track and to oversee the marketing and social media programs.
“We want to be a strong part of the community and offer our business partners a venue they can proud to be a part of and support,” Anders said.
Hickory’s opening night will be headlined by a 100-lap race for the late models and a full program of feature divisions.
Caraway will also feature a 100-lap race for its late model stocks and Houston will get things rolling with its Division I Modifieds and the return of the pro stock division full-time to the program.
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing. In all, 57 paved and dirt tracks throughout the United States and Canada participate. Drivers will be awarded points through Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015.
Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars across North America are among the many showcases for Whelen products.
-NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications Press Release. Photo credit: Greenville Pickens Speedway