Monday, 18 April 2022 19:55

CARBS Thunder Alley 455 set to roll this weekend at Rockingham Speedway

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A version of Rusty Wallace’s No. 27 Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac Grand Prix used in “Days of Thunder” rolls down the front stretch at Rockingham Speedway during the track’s open house on March 5.  The car, from Classic Pontiac Rescue, will be one of several stock cars at the CARBS Thunder Alley 455 this weekend. A version of Rusty Wallace’s No. 27 Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac Grand Prix used in “Days of Thunder” rolls down the front stretch at Rockingham Speedway during the track’s open house on March 5. The car, from Classic Pontiac Rescue, will be one of several stock cars at the CARBS Thunder Alley 455 this weekend. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM – Several classic stock cars will be making laps around the legendary Rockingham Speedway’s oval track this weekend in the first installment of Motorsport 4the Masses’ Classic American Racing Barnstormer Series.


As of Monday, M4theM owner Rob Bolling said six drivers were committed for the CARBS Thunder Alley 455, though he’s hoping to add a few more by the end of the week.

When announcing the season schedule, Bolling said the CARBS events will include practice laps, qualifying and an exhibition race for what he called “a living history experience.”

Pete Bruschi, M4theM’s director of marketing and public relations, designed the event’s flier based on the program for the 1990 AC Delco 200/500 at the track when it was known as North Carolina Motor Speedway.

Both the old program and the new promotion feature Rusty Wallace’s No. 27 Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac Grand Prix over a yellow triangle with a checkered flag background.

Joe Jackson, of Classic Pontiac Rescue, based in Honea Path, South Carolina, will be bringing a version of that car that was used in the 1990 racing film “Days of Thunder.”

The car saw track time during the speedway’s open house and during the CARBS test and tune last month.

Bolling said Jackson will also be bringing a Terry Labonte No. 5 Kellogg's 1995 Monte Carolo.

Thomas Hensley, nephew of former NASCAR driver Jimmy Hensley, will be driving the No. 63 Lysol ‘94 Chevrolet Lumina. 

The elder Hensley’s career spanned nearly 30 years and he had his only Cup series pole win in 1989 qualifying for Dale Earnhardt – who couldn’t make it due to the damage caused by Hurricane Hugo.

According to RacingReference.com, Henley ran six races at Rockingham from 1990-1995, with his highest placement being 14th in the 1991 AC Delco 500.

Other drivers signed up so far include:

  • Jeff Cini in a Marty Robbins No. 42 Dodge Charger
  • William Davis in a No. 36 Skittles Pontiac Grand Prix
  • Mike Daurity in a Bobby Issac No. 71 Dodge Daytona
  • Timothy Tew in a No. 41 Kodiak Monte Carlo
  • Cody Dennison in a No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger

Four of the cars – the No. 27, No. 71, No. 12 and No. 63 – were at both the open house and M4theM’s Motorfest at Thunder Alley in November.

The family of late NASCAR driver J.D. McDuffie, of Sanford, will also be at the event. 

McDuffie drove for 27 seasons until his death from a wreck in 1991 at Watkins Glen. 

McDuffie holds the record of most Cup race starts without a win at 653. He had 106 top 10 finishes, with third being the closest he ever came at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in 1971.

Early in his career, he raced at the Rockingham dirt track, and according to a 2018 post at brock.lastcar.info, the Rock was McDuffie’s favorite track.

That story states that 42 of McDuffie’s career starts were in Rockingham, the first being at the Peach Blossom 500 – the track’s second race in 1966. In that race, McDuffie started last in a 44-car field, finishing 16th.

McDuffie’s best finish at the speedway, according to the post, was at the Carolina 500 in 1968 “when he charged from 30th to finish 7th in a race won by Donnie Allison” – the first of Allison’s two career wins at Rockingham.

The article’s writer, Brock Beard, published “J.D.” – a biography about McDuffie – last month.

A mural of McDuffie is scheduled to be unveiled in his hometown of Sanford in September.

There is also a petition to have McDuffie inducted into the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame.

With the unexpected low driver turnout, M4theM decided last week to make the event free and open to the public – although donations will be accepted.

Originally, the CARBS event was scheduled for Saturday with M4theM’s High Performance Driver Education course on Sunday.

However, Bolling said they decided to combine the two events on both days, with sports cars and race cars making hot laps around the oval and the roval.

Spectators will also have the opportunity around the lunchtime hour to take pace laps around the track, as they did at the open house, as well as tour the garage.

Gates will be open from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. both days. Spectators should enter at Gate D off of N.C. 177. The Zerbini Family Circus will also have shows this weekend.

Visit M4theM’s website and social media pages for more information.

See more photos from the Rockingham Speedway open house and CARBS testing:

(Note: Links to photos added after initial publication. 8:16 p.m. 4-18-22. Updated again 8:21 p.m. Updated to add driver 4-19-22 1:36 p.m.)

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 April 2022 13:36