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SWANSBORO, N.C. – NASCAR racing is coming to the Crystal Coast.
Carteret County Speedway, the .4-mile oval located just a few miles from Emerald Isle, will be NASCAR sanctioned in 2017. The venue will host NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) racing action throughout the season.
The opening race on April 16 will be the first NWAAS race at the track.
“We’re very excited to be NASCAR sanctioned this season,” Carteret County Speedway owner Bobby Watson said. “This is going to be great for our fans, our racers and our sponsors. NASCAR brings a lot more than just the name to the table for our drivers and fans. They’ve been an institution in stock car racing for many decades and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
“We are pleased to welcome Carteret to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series,” said Kevin Nevalainen, director of weekly racing operations for NASCAR. “Bobby Watson has done a wonderful job in building a state-of-the-art racing facility and we are looking forward to an exciting season of NASCAR racing there.”
With the NASCAR sanctioning, drivers competing at Carteret County Speedway will now be able to race for points in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track, North Carolina and national championships. Carteret County Speedway will not just be able to race for points at Carteret but will also be able to race at East Carolina Motor Speedway and Southern National Motorsports Park, which are both NASCAR sanctioned, for points as well.
“I definitely think, whenever you win at a NASCAR track, it’s more credible than when you win at an unsanctioned track,” Chris Burns, who scored three Late Model wins at Carteret County Speedway in 2016, said. “It will give more people the opportunity to race for points and bring in some stronger competition. The layout of the points championship is nice. It would be nice to be known as a NASCAR champion and I’m looking forward to getting my first NASCAR win.”
The NASCAR title extends beyond the Late Models and to the other divisions that will compete as well at Carteret County Speedway. Racers competing in support divisions, such as Street Stocks and Mini Stocks, will also be racing for points in their respective divisions as well.
“It creates an opportunity for an entry level driver to run for a national championship, especially with having three NASCAR sanctioned tracks in the area,” U-CAR driver Travis Miller, who has five career wins at Carteret County Speedway, said. “That will allow us to maximize our NASCAR points and it would be pretty cool to have a local driver from Eastern North Carolina go to the NASCAR national awards banquet in Charlotte. It will be pretty awesome.”
NASCAR, which was formed in 1948 by Bill France, Sr., has six other NASCAR sanctioned home tracks tracks in North Carolina – including the nearby tracks at East Carolina Motor Speedway in Robersonville and Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama.
Carteret County Speedway started out as a kart track in 1982 and ran until 2000 before owner Bobby Watson rebuilt the facility into an asphalt oval. Carteret County Speedway opened as an asphalt track on September 6, 2015. Since then, Carteret County Speedway has become the action attraction for the Crystal Coast.