- Last Updated on 08:00 AM 05/29/13
- BY Joe Chandler
NASCAR is coming to VIRginia International Raceway this summer.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR’s top developmental series, will make its first-ever stop at the legendary road course Saturday, Aug. 24, with the series’ drivers and teams competing in a 50-lap, 112-mile event.
A “for fun” event for Late Model Stock Cars that meet HSR rules and drivers that hold competition licenses recognized by VIR dubbed as the Dixie Cup Doubleheader, will be staged as a companion event to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race.
“We live in the heart of (NASCAR) racing country in South Boston,” noted VIR Owner and CEO Connie Nyholm.
“There are more racing fans within a 150-mile radius of VIR than anywhere else in the country. I think having them here with our first professionally-sanctioned NASCAR event will put the spotlight on VIR with a different group of people in a different way. Hopefully, we will get broader acceptance locally in the community and gain excitement with the fans.”
VIR Track Manager Kerrigan Smith said bringing NASCAR racing to VIR is another step in growing the famous road-racing facility.
“I’m very excited about having the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East come to VIR,” Smith said.
“That was one of the things on my punch list, getting an FIA certification on the track, get the American LeMans Series here and then start knocking on NASCAR’s door. During the 24 Hours At Daytona, we sat down with NASCAR’s George Silberman to talk about the future of possibly getting the K&N Pro Series East at VIR. He was wonderful. He ogave us a telephone call about a month ago and said ‘let’s get this going.’”
Smith said he and VIR officials are looking to bring the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East back next year and in future seasons.
“We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t anticipate having them come back,” Smith pointed out.
“I’m hoping to make this an annual event and grow into other (NASCAR) series.”
Six NASCAR K&N Pro Series East drivers were on hand at VIR yesterday for a media event held in conjunction with the track’s annual stock car test day featuring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series teams.
“I was extremely happy when it was announced the series was coming to VIR,” said Austin Dyne, who drives a car out of the Turner Scott Motorsports stable.
“We had one road course race at Road Atlanta scheduled at the beginning of the season. Once I heard this at Richmond, I was one of the happiest people in the drivers’ meeting. With my past experience racing at VIR and my background in road racing, I’m really excited to be here.”
Gray Gaulding of Colonial Heights, a young racer fans have seen compete in the PASS Super Late Model Series at South Boston Speedway the past two seasons, is competing in his rookie season on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East circuit and will compete at VIR.
“I’m very excited,” Gaulding said.
“I can’t thank everybody at NASCAR and VIR enough to give us the opportunity to come to a place that is very close to my hometown, Colonial Heights. Seeing a great facility like VIR getting a NASCAR K&N Pro Series race is exciting. I’m looking forward to coming back for the race.”
Other NASCAR K&N Pro Series East drivers that were on hand included Brandon Gdovic of Yorktown who scored his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway in April, Coulter Motorsports driver Jesse Little, son of former NASCAR Nationwide Series star Chad Little, Michael McGuire of Vinton and Turner Scott Motorsports driver Kenzie Ruston, whose third-place finish at Greenville-Pickens Speedway gave her the best finish for a female driver in the series’ history.