ROCKINGHAM — Next generation drag racers from 15 states and Canada will descend on Rockingham Dragway this Thanksgiving weekend for the second annual Holiday Junior Jam featuring age group showdowns, pro tree shootouts, a host of special awards and a Saturday main event with a $5,000 top prize.

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NASCAR was at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend for the second running of The Roval.

The track configuration only saw one change to the backstretch chicane, but the racing was no different from last year. With side-by-side action and the drama of who was getting cut from the Playoffs, it was on par with the inaugural race.

Chase Elliott Strikes Wall Head On, Rebounds For The Win

It was one of the most impressive performances of the year and another major highlight of the 23-year-old’s career. Nabbing his 6th Cup Series win, Elliott has been making a name for himself as a road course specialist.

After locking up the brakes and slamming into the wall of “heartburn turn” on the frontstretch, it looked as though his day was done. He was locked into the next round already with enough points to advance, so one might expect his team to decide they had no need to stick around with the damage. Instead, Elliott came back from 37th place and took the checkered flag. He celebrated by doing a burnout on the exact spot he wrecked.

There’s no doubt that Elliott has been the front runner at Hendrick Motorsports this year, now up to three wins on the season (the other two at Talladega and Watkins Glen), the Dawsonville, Georgia native is now a legitimate threat to the championship.

Thanks to the win, Elliott enters the Round of 12 at 6th with 19 points above the cutline. His win gave him five bonus points to carry over every round. He’ll still have a hill to climb with three Joe Gibbs drivers, Joey Logano, and Kevin Harvick all sitting above him. But with Talladega in this next round, Elliott may have a chance to put himself into the round with another win. Also in this round is Dover, where he won in the spring of last season.

Should Elliott get a win at either of those two, he’ll be able to breeze through the cutoff race at Kansas and focus on the Round of 8. But just in case, Elliott also has a win in the Sunflower State from the fall race last year as well as a top five back in the spring of this season.

Watch out Gibbs, Logano, and Harvick. NASCAR’s new most popular driver may be hoisting that championship come Homestead.

Drivers In The Groove

This section highlights a driver in each of NASCAR’s national touring series for having a solid race in the weekend.

In The Groove

MENCS: Alex Bowman

Hendrick Motorsports as a whole was on fire at the Charlotte Roval and no doubt Elliott was at the forefront, but Alex Bowman was fighting for the final position of the Round of 12 against Ryan Newman. Towards the end of the race, Bowman was either tied or only a point ahead of Newman. The tiebreaker would have saved the 88 driver, but it was no longer needed as the 6 was penalized for cutting the backstretch chicane short. Still, it was quite impressive to see Bowman battle all the way up to a second place finish. And he got a Gatorade bath from Bubba Wallace.

NXS: Noah Gragson

The JR Motorsports driver had a huge week for the second race of the Xfinity Series Playoffs at the Roval. Gragson finished 5th after starting 12th and racked up enough points to put him 11 above the cutline heading into the elimination race Dover. Although he may not be completely safe, it’s still a strong lead over the guys beneath him.

Looking Ahead: Dover

The Monster Mile will play host to both the Monster Energy Cup and Xfinity Series this weekend. Back in the spring race in the Cup Series, Martin Truex Jr. grabbed the checkered flag leading 132 laps. But the river who led more than him was Chase Elliott at 145. Given Elliott’s past success at the Delaware track, he is no doubt the favorite. But don’t count out Truex to sweep at the Monster Mile. He’s been a short-track stud this season and he’s won two of the last six races with an average finish of 4.7. Truex also swept the two Richmond races and has won two of the first three races in the Playoffs with finishing 7th at the Roval.

Playoff Standings After Charlotte Roval

Now Entering Round of 12: Race 1 of 3 at Dover

1. Kyle Busch, +43

2. Martin Truex Jr., +36

3. Denny Hamlin, +25

4. Joey Logano, +24

5. Kevin Harvick, +23

6. Chase Elliott, +19

7. Brad Kselowski, +19

8. Kyle Larson, +1

9. Alex Bowman, -1

10. Ryan Blaney, -2

11. William Byron, -5

12. Clint Bowyer, -6

Eliminated from Playoffs

Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Erik Jones

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ROCKINGHAM — Cassie Lewis of Lumberton and Donald Norris of Conway, South Carolina, claimed the biggest shares of the purse in the seventh annual Carolina Powerfest at Rockingham Dragway.  

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RALEIGH — Steve Earwood, who in 1992 realized a lifelong dream with his purchase of Rockingham Dragway, was recognized Tuesday, July 23, on the floor of the North Carolina General Assembly for his contributions to the state, Richmond County and the city of Rockingham.

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ROCKINGHAM – Reigning track champions Michael Smith and Allen Furr of Clinton are expected to be among those taking advantage of the free entry aspect of this week’s annual Racers Appreciation Bracket Shootout at Rockingham Dragway.

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ROCKINGHAM — Just exactly what the new owners have planned for Rockingham Speedway is still up for speculation, but cryptic posts on Twitter appear to show racing — and more.

Published in Local News
Friday, 21 December 2018 18:25

Rockingham Speedway wins Twitter poll

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County’s landmark racetrack remains popular among NASCAR fans, according to a recent poll.

Rockingham Speedway garnered half the votes on a Twitter poll released Thursday by NASCAR on NBC asking at which historic track fans would rather NASCAR return. The other two choices were North Wilkesboro or Nashville Fairgrounds.

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ROCKINGHAM ― The idea of bringing dirt-track racing to Rockingham Speedway is garnering overwhelming support.

Frank Bloom, tweeting as Rockingham Speedway on Saturday, asked for feedback on “hypothetically” turning the Little Rock into a dirt track.

Most of the responses were a resounding “Yes.”

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 19 July 2017 22:23

The Southern 500: Racing Memories

I had taken a liking to NASCAR Racing in 1952 when I listened to the 1952 Daytona Race. This was back when it was run on the old Beach Course. Later, I listened to my first Southern 500.

Published in Lifestyle
Tuesday, 11 July 2017 09:30

The First AMERICAN 500 Race at The Rock

I think it was spring 1964 I found out that a race track was being built up on U.S # 1 Highway where NC Highway 177 met at Newton’s Point.

On a Sunday afternoon I took a ride to see what was going on, it was this time that I met Mr. Harold Brasington who was doing the work. I started talking to him and we became friends, and I would go out two or three times a month and talk with him. Sometime in July 1965 he told me if I wanted tickets to the race to go into the stands and pick out the seats I wanted, so I did and picked out Section P, Row 12, Seats 1 and 2,then went back and told him what I wanted. He told me to be out at the track the next week and he would have the tickets. The next week as I was getting ready to leave the track, Mr. Brasington said come over to his truck and he gave me the tickets and said, "these are free you might never get them free again." I still have the tickets to this day.

Well on Sunday October 31, 1965 (Halloween) I got to the track about 11:00am, and I made my way into the stands and to my seats. I had my brother-in-law who was about 12 years old with me, and it was the first race he had ever seen.

At 12:30 PM the First American 500 started. Richard Petty was on the pole, Junior (Jr.) Johnson on the outside, Richard had trouble at the start and Jr. Johnson led the first 45 laps, then Curtis Turner led a lap, followed by Marvin Panch for two laps, then Jr. Johnson for 33 more laps. The lead ultimately changed again between Bobby Isaac, Jim Paschel, Cale Yarborough, but the last 27 laps belonged to Curtis Turner, who held on for the win.

Turner was driving a 1965 #41 Ford for The Woods brothers, and he finished 11 seconds in front of 2nd place Cale Yarborough. Third place belonged to Marvin Panch, fourth to G.C. Spencer, delivering a sizable win for Ford, who manufactured the cars for all top four finishers.

The Rock had some great racing over the years, and it is a shame that it had to give away to big money, and the date moved to other venues that are certainly no better than The Rock.

My only hope is that the group that is trying to buy it now will be able to do something for the Veterans.

I have some good memories of great racing at The Rock and hope to be able to leave it in some form for others to enjoy.

First AMERICAN 500 STATS

The 1st. Race,

Race time 4 hours, 54 minutes, 11 seconds. Curtis Turner.

Average speed 101.942 MPH

Pole Speed 116.29 MPH Richard Petty.

8 Cautions for 55 laps.

Margin of Victory 11 seconds.

Attendance 35,000.

Lead changes 16

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