It is about that time of year! Yes, the start of the 2012 racing season for local dirt track’s in the Upstate SC, NC and Georgia area’s.(I will add events as they become available as well as more information, so stay tuned as this year’s kick off begins to ramp the season into overdrive.) (Some tracks have websites with a plethora of information. The one’s who have them are listed in our links section on the front page.)
March 30th – Carolina Speedway Full Program (Late Models, NDRA, Four Cylinder, Renegade, Street Stock, OWM)
March 31st - Harris Speedway Regular show ($1000 to win in Pure Stock)
MARCH 31st – Cherokee Speedway regular weekly event.
This race has been rained out. The rescheduled date should be in 2 weeks, but we will post as soon as we have official information.
The 3rd Annual Grass Roots Nationals Plus More @ TR Speedway Oct. 30th-31st 2009.
$3.000 to Win GM Performance Late Models (40 Laps)
$1,500 To Win Limited Sportsman (25 Laps) Based on 15 cars
$1,200 To Win Stock 8 (25 Laps) Based on 15 cars
$1,100 To Win Renegade (25 Laps)
$1,000 To Win Street Stock 4 (25 Laps)
$500 To Win Young Guns (20 Laps)
$500 To Win FWD’s (20 Laps)
$1,500 To Win Pure Stock (Enduro Style Format – Start by Entry / Heats with 20 or more cars we will pay $2,000)
Kid’s Halloween Costume Contest
3 Age Groups $100.00 to win each group
Kid’s Trick or Treat Friday and Saturday Night
BIGGEST Free Candy Give Away in the Upstate on Saturday Night
Kid’s Meet and Greet with Race Car Drivers on Front Straightaway
All kids will get to ride with their favorite driver on Saturday as part of our Halloween Extravaganza
October 30th – Get those cars geared up and run the heat races for placement. Gates open at 5pm $10 stands and $20 pits
October 31st – Nothing but the best and highest payouts for this bunch of drivers. Last years show was one to talk about for months and this years will be even bigger. Gates open at 2pm with racing starting at 5pm. Stands $20 and Pits $30
You can get a deal for both days Stands $25 and Pits $45
I have been fortunate enough to speak with many drivers from different racing classes, backgrounds, ages and walks of life. More often than not, I am overwhelmed at the pure love for the sport of dirt track racing by all who have taken time to sit down with me. However, Tony Coggins of Travelers Rest, South Carolina, brought a very pronounced spiritual side to the discussion along with his love for this sport, the fans and all drivers from every division.
As a devote Christian, Tony Coggins has worked to help others through mission trips with his church to towns right here in the United States. “It breaks my heart to see some of the living conditions right here in our own country. Now I in no way am making light of the same in other countries, but the US is supposed to be the richest country in the world and yet still there are thousands, if not millions, living way below poverty level.” said Coggins. I believe his pure love of humanity as well as his spirituality has brought a new feel to the dirt track for everyone who knows him.
Mr. Coggins began his racing career back in the 1970′s, which would put him in the drivers seat for about 36 plus years now. Running divisions like the Mini Stocks at Speedway Park, Late Models at Riverside, the old T & L class and now the Limited Division at TR Speedway has given him just the edge he needs to be one of the best drivers around the Upstate racing scene.
Though his wins have been fewer than some, his class act is recognized through out the stands and pit area. “I race simply because I love it. Sure I would like to win more, but not at the cost of going about it the wrong way. If I can’t look at the other drivers out there and feel good about winning, then it wasn’t worth it.” said Tony. He has however won the T & L Championship in both 1999 and in 2004. Also, we are waiting to hear where he finished in points for the 2009 season at TR Speedway in the Limited Sportsman division.
Thanks To Big Dog For This Picture
As with most drivers I have spoke to this 2009 racing season, He feels racing has grown more costly over the last several years. “If it were not for the many who have helped out, I would not make it on the track some weeks.” Coggins said. This tough economic time we have been in the last year or two has put an even tighter strain on most drivers and crews. However, his biggest concern is that of others before himself on and off the track.
I have spoke to many fans and drivers about Tony Coggins and they all have the same to say. “Tony is a class act. He simply loves racing and enjoys being at the track.” said Jody Palmer. “He is and foremost the best person and driver I know, never has a bad thing to say about no one in the years I have known him. He is laid back and the most trusting, honest person there is. He races to have fun and that is what he does and josh his son is just like him, they both love racing. It’s been an honor to know them both.” said Bowerpower on Trackforums. “One of the cleanest drivers around. Keeps his car looking good and a real nice guy. I like to see Tony every week.” said Warren Wallace. These are just a few of the remarks about Tony Coggins. You can read more on TrackForums.
His racing career is far from over. As long as it is humanly possible, he will be in the seat somewhere at a local track. One day he may decide it is time to retire, but at the age of ? (I’ll never tell) he has said, “it want be any time soon.”
Mr. Tony Coggins would like to take this space to thank his sponsors Presnell Automotive, Lynch Racing Engines, Smoking Graphics and Sharp Cut Lawn Maintenance as well as his wife Brenda and his children Josh, Nikki, Tonya and granddaughter Savannah and especially the fans. “Without the help, love and support of each of these people, racing would not be possible for me.” said Tony.
On a personal note: I would like to thank Mr. Tony Coggins for allowing me the opportunity to write this article. I may not have done justice to a man of his caliber, but I hope that all who read this can have a better understanding of the impact one man or woman can make within their community, State, Sport, Life, ect.. Just a single persons presence can mean all the difference in the world. You don’t have to have fame or fortune to be a class act.
The Renegades at TR Speedway in Upstate South Carolina, have stepped it up a notch this 2009 season. Though Stock 8 is still one of the favorites among dirt track racing enthusiast, Renegades is quickly becoming just as popular, with fans often on their feet by the end of each race.
Car counts over the last several months have expanded this class to match the large Pure Stock division in driver turn out on many a Saturday night. Onlookers along highway 25 can’t help but notice the sudden flux in traffic around 5pm headed to the dirt track in this small town of Travelers Rest, South Carolina.
Each driver puts forth the extra effort to give the fans something to wright home about, or in my case, blog about. Bad economy or not, this division may very well be one of few that could be helping to keep local area tracks together in such trying times. This class is one that started out the season a little slow, but has been able to advance speed coming into the last half of the 2009 racing season.
Good luck out there Renegades! This one is for you!
#8 Dwight Smith – This driver has won multiple races this season in the Renegade division at TR Speedway. Using his skill to lead and win, he has kept his name in the headlines week after week, and is leading in the points for the championship this year so far.
#0 Mark Anders – Mr. Anders came out this racing season to have some fun in the mud with all the other drivers, and frankly has done a great job at maintaining his sights on the prize. Though he has not kept a winning streak alive every week, he has managed to sit pretty in the second place spot for points championship so far this 2009 season.
#7 Jason Faulkner – This driver seems to still be getting a feel for the track, but has come a long way this season and is in the third place position so far this year for the points win.
#20 Joey Chastain – What can one say about this one? “Just a good old boy”, comes to mind. A great driver, nice man and knows how to give the fans what they want to see at precisely the right moment. He is also in line for the fourth place in points so far.
#4 Kyle Westmoreland – At only 16, this young man has made his way up to the front on several occasions and took the checkered flag for the win. He is one of the nicest and cleanest drivers you’ll ever meet, which would account for his growing fan base week after week.
#7 Nathan Nash – This guy has been running as often as possible, but has had to over come multiple obstacles at keeping his car on the track this 2009 racing season. Each driver has off time and he is ready to get back out on the track with all the others for the remainder of the year. He hopes to see the dirt Sept 7th for the big Labor Day bash at TR, so if he is able to make it, “Good Luck and Be Safe.”
#14 Kris Stepp – Father and son racing at the same track each Saturday night, say it isn’t so! But oh yes it is. Daddy Kris Stepp has a fantastic style and ability to put his car up front for the main event, even though it alludes him at times, he gives it his best week in and week out.
#B1 Barry Thornton – I know very little about Barry Thornton, except to say that “when he comes out to play, he knows how to keep fans on their feet.”
#45 Buddy Whitworth – This driver has made his way back up the field after bad luck catches him from time to time. He has grown as a driver over this season and this one would be the one to keep a watch on. The never give up attitude has seemed to only make him stronger every time he puts his wheels on the track.
#76 Chase Earwood – I have not learned much about this driver as of yet, but he has been able to survive in a field of massive pile-ups.
#555 Greg Dodgens – No need to even state my post here, but I’ll do it anyway. Two words sum it up, “Great Driving”. A down home nice guy, with the knowledge that “it doesn’t matter what the car looks like, it only matters how you drive it.”
#5 Dustin Taylor – This one is new on the scene for me. A late comer to TR this season, but already making heads turn on a weekly basis.
#68 John Redding – This is another new one to me. He has been running out at TR for the last month or so, and is just now really getting his boots dirty. This would be my pick for possible serious competition next year.
#33 Dale Morgan – Mr Morgan never gives up. Talk about one who is a “never quit” type of guy, and this is your man. He has yet to get the bugs worked out of his car, yet continues to show up and give it a go anyway.
#6 Timmy Smith – He has not been out to play in this division as often this year as last. Due to his other ventures trying out new classes among his colleagues, Renegades have not seen his action as often.
#04 Billy Ramey – This one is another one to watch. Just an all around great driver.
#777 Steve Beacham – This guy has had a rough ride a few weeks ago flipping so hard and fast that his car was completely a mess. There was nothing much left in-tacked, but he managed to limp away with minor injuries.
Point Standings as of August 22nd, 2009
Dwight Smith 2040 / Mark Anders 1628 / Jason Faulkner 1460 / Joey Chastain 1322 / Kyle Westmoreland 1226 / Nathan Nash 1222 / Kris Stepp 1172 / Barry Thornton 1160 / Buddy Whitworth 882 / Dale Morgan 704 / Timmy Smith 680 / Chase Earwood 650 / Greg Dodgens 646 / Billy Ramey 574 / Steve Beacham 554
TR Speedway first practice and race set:
It is almost time for racing season at local Travelers Rest Speedway. There will be an open practice February 21, 2009 at 2pm. The pit fees are $10 and stands are free if you just want to come out and watch.
Drivers should be getting ready for the first race of the year on February 28. Gates will open at 12 noon with racing starting at 2pm. The classes racing on that day have not be confirmed yet but I have gotten word that on top of the O’Reily SAS East Super Late Models, Pure Stock, Stock 4 and GM performance are pretty much a done deal and are going to be there. Many are not ready yet, so we are just waiting to hear exactly who else will be showing up.
Update – Race is still at 11pm 2/27/09 Possible rain tomorrow so stay tuned for track updates. CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN.