Last year, Sam Yarbrough added a fifth Myrtle Beach Speedway track championship to his resume. With the historic track entering what will be its final season, the Shalotte, North Carolina racer wants to put one final stamp on the track’s record books.
Yarbrough is three-for-three at the famed South Carolina facility in 2020. He won the Icebreaker 125 in February, then swept twin Late Model Stock features to start the track’s points-paying season in March before the COVID-19 pandemic brought racing to a halt.
With racing returning to Myrtle Beach Saturday, Yarbrough is eager to get back to his winning ways and continue his pursuit of another track championship.
“Going to Myrtle Beach Speedway, I feel really good about it,” Yarbrough told Speed51. “We have a good track record there, and the car has been awesome lately. I really can’t wait to get back out there and pick up where we left off.
While Yarbrough has not raced since March, he did strap back into the car for a test last week ahead of Saturday’s race. It felt good to be back at the track, but Yarbrough admitted to some unfamiliar sensations after being away for several months.
“We were out there last week for a test. We had a lot of our guys that work on the car there to help. It felt good to get back to the track and get back to what we need to do and where we want to be.
“It took me a while to get buckled up. I hadn’t been in it in a while. I had shut the door on it for a while, I didn’t think we’d get back into late summer. The way things are rebounding, people are ready to go eat at restaurants and go to race tracks and get back to life as we know it. We’re happy to get back to Myrtle Beach Speedway.”
While he hasn’t been at the track, Yarbrough and his team have been hard at work making sure they were ready to roll as soon as the Myrtle Beach Speedway gates reopened.
“It’s unreal, really. We got off to such a hot start with the win in the Icebreaker victory and sweeping the first points races. Then, the whole world shut down. It’s been kind of a daze. We’ve been hanging bodies, building cars, making sure we’re ready when racing starts back. Finally, we get to go to the track and get some racing in.”
The South Carolina track has been part of Yarbrough’s life as a racing fan since he was a child, attending races as a fan. He looks back fondly on watching future NASCAR stars cut their teeth at the track in the 90s, and cherishes his own success at Myrtle Beach.
“The Myrtle Beach Speedway has been there for decades and decades. I’ve been going there since the 90s as a little kid, watching the big names come up there in the Busch Series, the Goody’s Dash Series, the Slim Jim All Pro cars.
“To have the success I’ve had there is really special and means a lot to me. To share it with the people I’ve shared it with, starting with my parents in our own car and then getting hooked up with Chad McCumbee and Robert Elliott.”
However, that Myrtle Beach success will soon come to an end. With the track planning to contest its last race in August 2020 before being sold for redevelopment, this will be the final season for the facility.
Yarbrough knows that nothing lasts forever, not even famed racetracks. Still, he hates to see the demise of his hometown track.
“All things must come to an end, so I’m not completely heartbroken about it. But to have a track that awesome, with that much history, that great of a racetrack right in your backyard and not be able to use it, that’s the part that stings the most. Now, we’ll have to travel two hours down the road just to test. We’ll have to find some new places to call home.”
Thus, it is now the mission of Yarbrough and his team to finish off the final season in Myrtle Beach the same way he has finished five other seasons at the track – atop the track’s final points standings.
“We heard late last year it might be coming to a close this year. At that point, when we knew it was coming to an end, we just decided we wanted to go out there and win every race. Just cap it off the best way we can do it. We’ve worked hard and stuck to it.
“I think it’s a real possibility, depending on the inversions and all of that, I think we’re up to the task. We’ve got really good cars, really good engines. Our team wants it really bad. Hopefully we can win out the rest of the year and finish on top as the track closes down.”
Myrtle Beach Speedway resumes its 2020 season Saturday, May 23, headlined by twin features for the Late Model Stock Cars. Fans can watch the event on Speed51 by clicking here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo