The New Year’s Bash at Dillon Motor Speedway has become a staple event to kick off short track racing in the Carolinas each year. The event, headlined by a marquee Street Stock event which draws competitors from across the country, enters its 11th year on January 8-10.
Ron Barfield, owner of Dillon Motor Speedway, gets excited each year for the event, which has grown from humble beginnings 11 years ago.
“It gets bigger and bigger each year,” Barfield said on Speed51’s “The Bullring” Monday. “I’m telling you, the New Year’s Bash, when you’ve got a Street Stock race going on MAVTV, it makes everyone want to be a part of it.”
The event was a spiritual successor to the Polar Bear 150, an event at Rockingham Speedway each winter headlined by Street Stock racing. When that event went away with the closure of Rockingham, the New Year’s Bash took its place.
“Rockingham had it on New Year’s Day. When they quit doing it, I had a lot of friends that had a lot of those Kimmel cars. They called me up, started talking about it and we tried putting something together.”
However, the New Year’s Bash was anything but an immediate success. Barfield recounted the meager car counts of the early years.
“The first New Year’s Bash that we had, we had nine cars on the grid. I actually bought three of the Street Stocks and put them out there myself. We had nine cars on the grid, and three of them were mine. We did it for two years. To be honest it was horrible. There was nobody coming. We just had a hard time getting anyone to come.
“We changed it off of January 1 and moved it to the weekend after New Year’s. It felt like a lot of people weren’t ready yet. After the second year of it, it was terrible. Honestly, in the middle of December and we were like, ‘Guys, are we going to do this again?’
“I said, let’s do it one more year. That one more year, it took off.”
Now, it can be a challenge at times for Barfield and his staff to find enough space to park all the cars who come to the New Year’s Bash across several divisions. It has led to the event changing over the years, with more classes now competing in their feature races on Saturday.
“The crowd we had last year with race cars, I opted for some classes to qualify and race on one day. That way, they didn’t have to come in and buy the motel rooms and the expenses go up.
“I found myself saying I was trying to pack in too much on Sunday. I was opening the gates at 9 a.m., starting practice at 12. I got further and further behind. We’ve got qualifying on Saturday and two races on Saturday to focus on making this one of the best shows on Sunday afternoon.”
Barfield believes much of the success of the event stems from drivers simply being eager to put the long winter’s rest behind them and get back to racing.
“It definitely has grown, and the support classes have grown each and every year. It just gives everybody a chance to go racing. I tell you what, I’m tickled to death with how the New Year’s Bash is going on.”
Race fans unable to attend the 11th Annual New Year’s Bash will be able to watch live Sunday on Speed51.TV. Click here to subscribe and watch Sunday’s broadcast.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo