There’s no better place in the world to watch a race than Hickory Motor Speedway.
There’s room for the cars to pass, you sit on top of the action and the most thrilling finishes I have witnessed in person were all at Hickory — and I’ve seen a few races.
I was at Darlington when Bill Elliott took home the Winston Million. For years, a group of us went to every fall race in Charlotte. And I was in Bristol when Kyle Busch licked all the red off the fans’ candy by passing Tennessee favorite Mark Martin.
Give me Hickory, every time.
Tonight, racing will be back at what is known as the “birthplace of the NASCAR stars.”
Fans fueled by racing fumes and Budweiser will not be admitted. Neither will the completely sober.
But there will be a race. And if you’ve got an internet connection and $25, you can watch it.
I reached out to Kevin Piercy at the track to learn more.
Is your setup going to be similar to what NASCAR is doing in Darlington and Charlotte?
I am sure there may be similarities, but we are really working with the NCDHHS and Catawba County Public Health which is providing our guidelines.
What precautions are you taking to keep drivers, crew, etc. healthy?
We are following all social-distancing guidelines.
I see it is available online for $24.99. How many viewers do you expect?
It’s the first time I have done this. I really don’t know. The main reason we are doing this is so the fans won’t miss a race.
How many drivers have signed up to race?
With all five divisions we expect about 60 cars.
What is the best story about putting this race together?
The opportunity to get our loyal competitors back on the track and the community back to racing. We hope to have our fans back on May 23. It won’t be the same without them! We are going to miss them this week! They add all of the excitement!
What did I forget to ask you that is crucial to this story?
It has been a mental drain facing all of the challenges and emails/conference calls starting at top and moving down. It was far from an overnight decision. More like five weeks.
Note: The track’s six races in five divisions can be found online at speed51.com.
Eric Millsaps is editor of the Hickory Daily Record.
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