GREENVILLE PICKENS SPEEDWAY***YOUR HOME FOR NASCAR IN THE UPSTATE
GREENVILLE PICKENS SPEEDWAY ROARS TO LIFE FOR A 63rd NASCAR SEASON
Media Contact: Keith Cochran, marketing director
GREENVILLE, SC (March 11, 2008)- The continuing strength of the local race show is apparent in the upcoming 2008 Greenville Pickens Speedway schedule, as the 4 local divisions will be taking center stage for most racing events on the '08 race card. The fun begins as the historic half mile roars back to life for an unprecedented 63rd season of racing in Upstate South Carolina on Saturday, March 15, with all four local divisions in action for the first points race of the season.
Opening night 2008, presented by your racin' station WESC, will feature Late Model, Sportsman, Charger and Renegade racing action. "We're never really concerned about the temperature on opening night," said GPS marketing director Keith Cochran. "We've had some mild and some fairly cool openers over the years, but no matter, that's the first chance for the Upstate racing community to reconvene at the historic half mile. The famous Dale Earnhardt Memorial backstretch will be packed with tailgaters and those famous GPS bonfires will usher in a brand new season of racing. There's really nothing like opening night at GPS," said Cochran.
The featured Late Model division will get a real test at the second event of the season, with Twin 50 lap features scheduled for Saturday, March 22. An added Twin 50 for the Late Models is scheduled for later in the season, on Saturday July 12.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will make an appearance at the speedway on Saturday, April 5th for a 150 lap feature event. The open wheel racers promise plenty of excitement with a large field of competitors squaring off on the flat GPS oval, a course that's sure to showcase the exciting fender to fender and wheel to wheel action that the series has become known for. "This will really be something special for GPS race fans," said marketing director Keith Cochran. "Look for sparks to fly and a large field of competitors for this special event."
The 2008 premier event on the schedule will be on Saturday, April 19, as the newly named NASCAR CAMPING WORLD SERIES, formerly the BUSCH EAST SERIES, opens their 2008 national tour with a visit to Upstate South Carolina.
"We are very honored to host the season opening event for the re-named NASCAR Camping World Series East for the third straight year," said speedway owner Kevin Whitaker.
A new chapter in NASCAR history is expected to open at the legendary Greenville, S.C. half-mile paved oval for the second consecutive year.
In the 2007 version of the 150-lap event, a 17-year-old Jeffrey Earnhardt made his first career NASCAR start. The young grandson of seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt had a successful Greenville debut. He qualified eighth and finished sixth. He finished fifth in the final point standings for the season.
This year, the young star-power is expected to double, and a nostalgic symbol of NASCAR championships returns to NASCAR racing in the NASCAR Camping World Series East, starting on April 19 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway.
Young Earnhardt is expected to be joined on the track by Austin Dillon, 17, of Lewisville, N.C. Dillon is the grandson of the senior Earnhardt's legendary car owner, Richard Childress. Dillon's Garage Equipment Supply Chevrolet will be fielded by Andy Santerre Motorsports with the support of Richard Childress Racing.
Dillon's car will carry the white "stylized 3," synonymous for the fabled years it was carried on the doors of RCR's GM Goodwrench Chevrolet's driven to six championships by Earnhardt. The trademarked number has not been seen in NASCAR racing since 2001.
"Greenville-Pickens Speedway is Dale Earnhardt country," said the track's former owner Tom Blackwell, who oversees track operations to this day. "Dale was a great friend of our track, and visited with our fans as a champion at least a dozen times over the later years. I've been with NASCAR from it's beginning," the racing promotion veteran said. "To have grandsons of Earnhardt and Childress here and see that number "3" on a NASCAR race car taking the green flag again is going to give a lot of people goose-bumps... even me!"
Drivers in all GPS divisions will have their first shot at those valuable 'Double Points' on Friday, May 9. Many points chases in previous seasons has turned on the events of these 'Double Points' nights, so strap in and hold on...anything is possible on Double Points nights. Drivers will have one more opportunity for double points, that being on Saturday, July 26.
The top Pit Crews at GPS get a chance to strut their stuff on Saturday, August 9 in the Garner's Huntin' & Fishin' PIT CREW CHALLENGE. Top Late Model teams will once again compete for the title of top pit crew in a timed tire change event. It's a fan favorite as the spotlight goes to the pit crews on August 9.
Track champion Jeff Hawkins will be honored at the Saturday, August 16 event as the speedway dedicates the third section of frontstretch grandstand to the five time track champion. Hawkins dominated during his time at GPS, and holds the unique distinction of being the only track champion to win a championship both on the dirt and asphalt surface. The Jeff Hawkins Grandstands will be official installed alongside the Donnie Bishop and Butch Lindley Grandstands on Saturday, August 16.
The fastest times of the season by any racing vehicle will come as the United Sprint Car Series returns to GPS with the Outlaw Sprint cars. This year, they'll be a part of the Upper South Carolina State Fair line up. The winged sprints will be on center stage, but the Charger and Renegade ALL STAR events will get plenty of attention as the best of the best in these divisions will be determined in an ALL STAR non points event. "The All Star show has truly become a feature event here, as past All Star events have featured some unbelievable racing competition, showing the best of our Renegade and Charger divisions," said speedway marketing director Keith Cochran. The Sprints and All Star show open the 2008 Upper South Carolina State Fair on Thursday, August 28.
The United Auto Racing Association, Southern Touring Asphalt Racing Series (UARA - STARS) will make a return appearance at the speedway in 2008. Series veterans Ross Furr, Jamie Coddell, and B.J. Mackey will be joined by several new faces including Curtis Truex Jr. and Larry McReynolds' son Brandon as the gang invade GPS for a Saturday, October 4 engagement.
The PASS South Super Late Model series made a first ever appearance at GPS last season, and it was such a huge success that the Series will return in 2008 with two shows on the card. The 'Firecracker 150' is sure to bring excitement to your Freedom weekend celebration, set to roll on Thursday, July 3. The series returns as the finale event of 2008 with 'The Howler 150', scheduled to run on Saturday, October 18.
That's an overview of the big nights on the race card at Greenville Pickens Speedway for 2008. There's something for everyone on this year's race card with more special events than ever before scheduled. But don't discount just one of the 'regular' nights of racing featuring our local heroes in the Renegade, Charger, Sportsman, or Late Model divisions. Some of the best and most memorable moments of previous seasons has come on these regular nights of racing. Big shows bring in the glitz, glamour, and big time stars, but more often that not, it's the local stars at Greenville Pickens who steal the show week after week.
Whether you're brand new to the speedway, or a track old-timer, we look forward to seeing you again in 2008 at the historic half mile. Come out early and stake a claim on the famous Dale Earnhardt Memorial Backstretch, bring the entire family to enjoy a one of a kind backstretch race day tailgate party. Or, get the best seat in the house in the GPS grandstand. Either way, we hope you have a great time at the races in 2008