2020 was a mix of “Do” and “Don’t”. Do wear masks. Do social distance. Do wash your hands and do stay home. Don’t gather. Don’t have public events. Don’t have restaurants or clubs or bars or concerts… or races…

South Boston Speedway, with strong ties to NASCAR, did everything right. With the guidelines put in place for Virginia, SoBo settled in with their 2020 schedule essentially put in the garage. It was a decision to play it safe with the rules and stand down. The risk of having any cloud fall over the facility, and the possible ramifications and scrutiny if there was an event and anyone linked the track with a Covid incident, was just not worth it for the long run.

Fast forward to 2021. Vaccines are out. Restrictions on numbers of people are relaxed… a bit. Racing events are able to have limited attendance and indications lead to higher numbers as the year progresses. The folks at South Boston Speedway make the moves on a schedule and the “Season Opener” is on for mid March.

It’s one thing to get ready for racing once winter starts to warm. However, after a full year of down time it would be a bit more complex. Add to that the preparations for the rules still in place with additional signage, staff training and documented cleaning guidelines and you have a task to make things right.

They pulled it off like it was a regular mid-season track event. Fans came in with masks and little hassle. The staff was ready like it was routine. The track officials and safety crews were on mark and the schedule for the day progressed rather smoothly.

The racing was great. A full afternoon of Saturday track speed was spirited and lively. Short track racing as presented by SoBo has a long history of fast laps and crowd pleasing action. This first day of racing for 2021 was no different. Six races and four classes of cars on track brought something for everyone. Two Late Model races (75 laps each), two Limited Sportsman events (25 laps each), 15 laps of Budweiser Hornets and 25 laps Budweiser Pure Stocks filled the afternoon of a brisk March Saturday.

Peyton Sellers was the big winner of the day taking the checkers for both Late Model events. The second win from starting mid pack with an inverted line up from the first race. Sellers, a seasoned driver with winning results around the region, is a regular performer at South Boston. Daniel Moss was the strong winner of the first Limited Sportsman race running out front practically start to finish. The second Sportsman event was won by Eric Winslow who also dominated with his run. Nathan Crews, a Budweiser Pure Stock SoBo title winner, began his 2021 with a win in the series opener. Josh Dawson grabbed the win in the 15-lap Budweiser Hornets Division.

South Boston Speedway is set to host the next event on April 3rd. Late Models, Hornets and Pure Stocks return with the SMART Open Wheel Modifieds. Mark your calendars!

Bristol. Matt Kenseth took the win. Keselowski had an incident. Kahne couldn’t quite make the move. Jimmie Johnson just had a flat out bad day. Fortunately for him he could afford it.

Two races remain, Atlanta and Richmond, before “The Chase” is set. Minor miracles need to happen for some while Johnson, Bowyer and Kenseth can relax even though Bowyer has yet to log a win for the season. Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch are practically in and would need major setbacks over the next two to jinx it. Dale, Jr., Kahne and Biffle just have to finish well to hold their spots, for the most part.

Bubbles and longshots include Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. along with the likes of Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Jamie McMurray…

We’re not going for selective alliteration… We promise.

Actually, none of the above is really the point at all. It just so happens it is top tier NASCAR racing the same day (night, as it were) as the entry level series we actually attended. While the Sprint Cup drivers ran for the shrinking availability of Chase points at Bristol, the K&N Pro Series East was packing it in at Virginia International Raceway. It was this race, the first road course for the “East” series, that had us out in the countryside of southside Virginia rather than fighting the traffic around the Tennessee – Virginia border. (more…)