The North-South Shootout was built as a premier open Tour-Type Modified event at a destination racetrack, Concord Speedway, that was anticipated by racers and fans alike. From 2003 to 2010, Concord hosted the event and it continued to be one of the most anticipated short track events in the country through its time at the tricky triangular half-mile.
In 2011, the event moved to Caraway Speedway with new event promoter Darren Hackett, but the allure of the Concord event never quite was matched at its second home.
This November however, The North-South Shootout tradition that had been built since its inception by the late Charles Kepley and Josh Jenkins will return in 2015.
Event promoter Darren Hackett told Speed51.com powered by JEGS Friday that the North-South Shootout will be returning to its original home, Concord Speedway, November 6 and 7.
“There’s no doubt that the history and tradition of the North-South Shootout began at Concord Speedway,” said Hackett. “If you were to take the Icebreaker or the World Series events from Thompson and moved it to Stafford, even though the tracks are about 30 miles apart in Connecticut, it wouldn’t do as well. It’s because of the history. That’s what happened to the North-South Shootout and that’s why we’re excited to bring it back to Concord.”
This year’s North-South Shootout will continue to be headlined by the John Blewett, III Memorial Tour-Type Modified race along with the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Models. Support divisions that will be a part of the Shootout weekend at Concord will be announced soon.
Moving the race back to Concord after a four-year run at Caraway will likely attract the racers who have supported the event at both tracks and also welcome back the teams that competed in the event’s heyday at Concord. Located within about a 30 minute drive from Charlotte and the numerous NASCAR race shops and parts suppliers in the region, the North-South Shootout is back at a place where racers and fans can make a complete weekend out of their trip to the race.
“I had not been to a race at Concord since it was dirt in 1983, but I went around the racetrack yesterday and I could see how it puts on an exciting Modified show,” added Hackett. “To run that type of an event with a live pit stop and everything, you need a bigger facility than Caraway can offer. After I went to Concord, I can see how the race was so successful for so long there. I’m excited to bring back that tradition.”
Ryan Preece, a former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion, won the 2014 edition of the Modified North-South Shootout at Caraway, while Ryan Moore scored the win in the thrilling PASS South Super Late Model event. Past Modified winners of the North-South Shootout at Concord include the late John Blewett, III (2003 and 2005), Donny Lia (2004), Matt Hirschman (2006, 2007, 2010) and Burt Myers (2008, 2009). Since the event moved to Caraway in 2011, Hirschman (2011, 2013) and Preece (2012, 2014) have alternated victories.
Now, in the event’s 13th running this November, a winner will pull into victory lane at Concord Speedway to add their name to an impressive North-South Shootout winners list.
“David (Laton, Concord Speedway Managing Partner) said it’d be good to move it to Caraway after Charles (Kepley) died, but honestly he and everyone else really thought it’d do better there than it did. On the Southern (Modified) side, I think the move to Caraway helped, but the Northern guys never supported it the way they did at Concord. I think this move will be well received by drivers, teams and fans everywhere as we try to bring the allure of the North-South Shootout back to where the event deserves for it to be.”
“After all, there’s half-mile tracks everywhere. There’s not a Concord everywhere. It’s a unique racetrack.”
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentfield
– Photo credit: Speed51.com