Local track racing at Motor Mile Speedway seems to turning some heads as the crowd was noticeably larger than our last visit there. The track is not slowing down at all for August. In fact, they are turning up on several levels. The track is hot 3 of 4 weekends in August with some profile events.
Friday August 6 – Family Fun Night – Super Cup Stock Car Series. $25.00 per car with Bike Races for the kids, FREE Rusty Wallace Ride-Alongs for Winners during intermission plus UCAR, Sportsman and Big Rig Trucks on display in advance of August 7 FASS racing. Access to Friday Night Fury at the drag strip, too!
Saturday August 14 – Shelor Motor Mile Presents – Kenny Wallace Night – NAAPWS-CT LMSC Twin 60’s Watch The Motor Mile Stars Race Against Kenny Wallace In Two Big 60 Lap Features! Rusty Wallace Racing Experience Championship, Sportsman, Super Street, Mod-4, UCAR
For CMC Supply Night on July 31st, the show brought some racing history out with the The Southern Ground Pounders and began the night with tiny but fast Mini Cup laps. NAAPWS Late Models, Limited Sportsman, Super Street, Mod-4 and U-Car filled the night for a full schedule.
Local track racing is making the move to get started with Spring on the calendar, vaccines on the roll out and events starting to draw people out of their shutters.
We’re trying. Everyone is trying to get back to doing some things that involve not being stuck at home. 2021 is offering some hope on that front but many variables are still playing out. We have some control over some of these variables. Weather… Not so much.
Motor Mile Speedway joined the fray with their season opener on April 10. The deck was stacked already with NASCAR Cup racing set for the same weekend at Martinsville. Weather forecasts did not help either facility. Martinsville had the TV schedules to adhere to, at least for getting started. The folks at Motor Mile had more flexibility and made a decision to move the Saturday schedule up by several hours.
They almost pulled it off. As if taking a dare on the schedule change, the rain came earlier than expected. Six races were scheduled and they got four completed and the fifth was interrupted by a quick shower that put the red flag out.
A mad dash to dry the track had drivers ready to roll back out just as the rain came back. It was evident that the time to get that water cleared again would only stall the inevitable. These bouts with rain were just the opening round for the larger front that was definitely coming.
Pack it in. Call it done for the “Super Street” race that was in progress and set the final Late Model as a make up later in the season.
The weather made a dent for fans, as well. The opening had fans ready but the forecast could not be ignored. Even with that and the schedule change, many diehard race fans in the New River Valley area did come out. Drivers and teams arrived as the early morning looked promising. Practice sessions were under way by 9:00am. Fans arrived and the green flag was ready to wave for the first event at 12:30pm. Racing was underway with Mod-4 opener.
These races go by quickly. For the Mod-4 group, there were 25 laps to make it happen and that’s just what Brittany Cockram did. She started in the fifth spot and managed to drive the #16 to the front and take the checkers. Scott Foley ran second followed Tony Sarver in third.
The first of the scheduled “Twin 60” Late Models hit the track with Kres Van Dyke on the pole. Van Dyke in the #15 held the spot for the first half with Ryan Wilson in the #2 and Kyle Dudley in the #4 racing hard to catch. The #2 fell back as Dudley kept the #4 in the second slot. The last half of the 60 laps brought Mike Looney’s #87 into the fray and up to the front. At the finish, Looney took the win with Dudley keeping the second spot and Van Dyke taking third. Karl Budzevski drove from sixth to finish fourth and Bryan Reedy made his way to fifth after starting ninth.
The 20 lapper Blue Ridge Church UCar race scrambled out with Joe Vaught on the pole. Vaught’s #21 car fell off the pace and the second place starter, Peyton Howell took the lead and the win. Jamie Lafon came from the back to finish second and Cary Thomason finished were he started in third.
With clouds thickening, the Collision Plus Sportsman went out for their 40 lap run. Cory Dunn in the #75 made moves from starting third to the front and held it for most of the race to the finish. Brian Sutphin, starting first, fell back and chased Dunn but lost a bit more late in the race. Kyle Barnes in the #00 and Drew Bond in the #84 drove in to finish second and third.
The Super Street got started with rain just minutes away. They made it to lap 17 and the rain came in. Wayne Corprew led them out from the green flag. By lap 9 Matt Gusler had come up front. By the time the rain came across the track, Ray Sowers had taken the lead with Scooter Hollandsworth in second and Gusler in third.
The final 8 laps of the Super Street and the final 60 lap Late Model race could not beat the radar. The rain came in and even with a big effort to get back under way, rain came again and the day of racing was parked and put in the trailers.
April 24th marks the next event on the Motor Mile schedule. NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Late Models with four support series are on tap.
Full Photo Gallery Below from April 10 at Motor Mile Speedway
There is a big garage on the edge of a pleasant and quiet neighborhood in northwest Roanoke County. In that garage a handful of people gathered to work on a race car. Beyond that, the house is similar to the others. There is no other indication that there is anything going on any different from the other homes beyond that big garage. It’s just those racetrack people at the end of the street. They’re good people. Pleasant neighbors and all that…
There is a common stereotype when it comes to “race” people. Old cars in various states of repair sitting in weeds or up on blocks and odd folks coming and going with bits of other cars and driving things barely beyond a salvage yard…
That may fit some. Not so much for Tink Reedy. Nice man. Nice home. Nice yard. There just happens to be a racing car in a big garage. The car is driven by third generation racer Bryan Reedy. Bryan, Tink’s son, took a wheel as his father stepped away. The Late Model #17 is being prepped for the season opening race at Motor Mile Speedway.
Bryan was no stranger to the track. He had been coming with his father and working in the pit crew. He began driving the Mod-4 series in 2007 and grabbed some wins along the way. He also won some in Limited Sportsman. He ran well enough for a third in points at Motor Mile in Late Model in 2017. Reedy and the white and striped #17 was doing well that same year at Martinsville in the Valley Star 300 when it stopped… Suddenly. With nowhere to go but the wall with other cars spinning in front of him Reedy and the #17 were done for the night.
The car was broken and Motor Mile, the home track, was down for a re-think on future racing for 2018… Without a “home track” it was a slow fix on the car. However, it was fixed and ready for Motor Mile when they set the 2019 schedule.
Reedy is simply doing what his father did. Race cars. His grandfather, Orvil, raced and made some runs in the NASCAR Busch Series. His father, Tink, raced to championships at Franklin County and Motor Mile (New River Valley Speedway).
Bryan is friendly, open and unassuming. During a chat at the garage, while changes were being made to the #17 after some practice laps at Motor Mile, Reedy was happy to talk about racing and the new season. He just wants to race, see his friends at the track and run as well as he can. He has many reasons to be looking forward.
First and foremost, he has respect for the sport and his fellow drivers. Bryan made it clear that he knows what the teams put in their cars off the track and the investment of time and money it takes. He takes that with him as he climbs behind the wheel to race. Racing clean and respecting his equipment, and that of the other drivers, is something he takes to heart.
His family and friends… In the garage was his father, Tink. Tink Reedy, despite no longer driving, is still pretty quick. To see him move whenever there was a chance he was in a camera shot was reminiscent of Speedy Ganzales. (A “Speedy” sticker is on the #17, a carryover from the same on some of Tink’s cars) Also in the garage, more precisely, shoulders deep in the suspension of the car, was Clay Highberger. Clay is an “old school” mechanic who knows the #17 like Commander Scott knows the USS Enterprise. He knows racing and he knows cars and beyond the Reedy team also does some wrenching for some dirt track racers.
Sponsors… Without them it’s simply not possible to put a competitive car on the track. For 2019, Bryan scored top 10s and top 5s following a rocky start of the season. 2020 was a bit strange with Motor Mile down yet again for Covid restrictions. Bryan ran at Dominion, Ace and Franklin County during 2020… All the while being conscious of the health guidelines in place. Despite all of that, he did drive to win at Franklin County putting the Reedy name in Victory Lane where his father held a championship. The sponsors rode along to help make it happen.
The car has influences from Bryan’s father. He had changed some of the scheme for a couple of seasons but for 2021 is back to the stripe and color configuration he ran in 2017. His father and Clay said they liked that look better, anyway. The style of the “17” itself is the same type style his Dad ran with.
Bryan is a devoted family man and his daily job keeps servers and computers running smoothly at the community college. By all measure he is your average fellow making a way for his family. Racing just happens to be a thing he enjoys and the family has known for a long time.
Will there be a fourth generation of racers…? Time will tell. His sons are racing karts.
For now, it’s a new season with the challenges of getting the car ready and keeping it in shape to race again. He has lots of support behind him from family, friends and sponsors.
He did point out… There is room on the car for more. The car is white. Sponsor logos really pop on a white car. Interested…?
Racing is difficult. It takes time and money to put a race car on a track.
With that out there, consider the race track. The preparation, maintenance and safety concerns for the facility take a lot of effort and cash flow. Economics underline the whole of it. There are so many factors to weigh in that some tracks are falling out.
Motor Mile Speedway was in that situation. The track opened in the 1950s and operated as Pulaski County Speedway, New River Valley Speedway and currently, Motor Mile Speedway. There was a downturn that caused some hard decisions which included an off year in 2018.
The decision to drop the NASCAR licensing and restructure for 2018 left a pool of local racers in a bind facing the prospect of more travel to tracks further away. However, the track came back in 2019 with sanctioning in place and began to look forward.
Then there was 2020. We all know about 2020…
For 2021, facing economy and the distraction of fans, there was some uncertainty. However, the latter part of 2020 brought some new life to the planning and execution of events at Motor Mile. Rusty Wallace…
The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience is handling much of the operations for at least two years. This also brings more fan involvement directly to the track as RWRE will be offering track time to fans by putting them in a race car and on the track. The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience have four dates currently scheduled for fan driving. The cost is quite attractive and starts at just $69.00 to try your hand at the wheel.
With RWRE in the mix, Motor Mile Speedway has some new tires and fuel to push forward to future laps for drivers and fans. However, much of this may depend on the fans. It’s going to take the support of the community and the drivers to generate the interest and excitement at the track.
There are many things to do. People have so many “entertainment” options. The economy of the “car” is changing. Hybrids and electrics and the interests of people are certainly changing the dynamics of keeping people interested in racing. The challenge is there and it’s being played out at race tracks across the country.
Racing is going to change. It is inevitable. However, that change can also be a part of the fan experience. To be there and witness the speed and the sound is part of the attraction of racing. As the dynamics of the automobile and its influence evolve it will become a challenge at race tracks to embrace those changes.
Race fans shouldn’t be looking backward to what was but looking forward to what can be. Get into these tracks and experience some of it and have some memories and conversations as the changes come into play. Racing is changing. Be a part of it. Keep it going. We’re going to keep racing things with wheels.
Motor Mile Speedway has their season opener this weekend. Saturday afternoon has a full schedule of racing with Late Models and several support series. These drivers are ready to race.
*Yes… The Big Dogs are at Martinsville. NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Whelen Modifieds are scheduled for Thursday through Saturday nights. Everybody can’t go. Even with a relaxed Covid attendance requirement, everybody can’t go. Motor Mile could be a great alternative…